The kombucha has a tangy yet sweet taste, not too bitter. The vanilla bean yogurt fizzles on your tongue as the live cultures from fermentation begin to react. The chicken and beef broth runs warm down your throat, providing comfort and nutrients. And through it all, you're doing good for your body.
This is how food was meant to be eaten, and Claudia Stubin's goal is to emphasize that.
Stubin, who helped to start Fermentation Farm in Costa Mesa last year, will open a kombucha and broth bar called Farm and Culture in the OC Mix building, 3313 Hyland Ave. in Costa Mesa, on Oct. 17.
"I think we're all coming to that stage where it's really hard to eat healthy with the existing food sources that we have," said the Huntington Beach resident. "Unless you're going to make a huge effort to get your food, which means going to the farmers markets and making all of your food, you can't get it anywhere.
"I think a lot of people were having health problems because of that, and they're trying to cure themselves through nutrition, which I'm a firm believer in. Medication is a band-aid and doesn't solve the problem."
Stubin said she believes people should rely on food for its healing factors rather than on medicine.
She said she has seen how her creations have helped those around her.
The live cultures in her kombucha — a fermented tea that includes a culture of yeast and bacteria — solved her son's eczema, and her fermented vanilla bean yogurt helped a friend's acid reflux, she said. Broth, which she makes from chicken and beef stock, is good for strengthening the immune system and repairing the body.
"Scientists are starting to discover now that most of our body is made up of bacteria," Stubin said. "We need to constantly replenish that probiotic, which is the healthy bacteria, because we're always exposed to antibiotics and things that are damaging our gut."
Stubin, who is half Korean, grew up making kimchi — Korean pickled radish — and other traditional dishes with her mother.
She brought that recipe, which includes a vegan daikon radish, to Farm and Culture.
"My mom used to always tell me this stuff like kimchi has vitamin C, and I didn't really take her seriously back then," Stubin said. "It turns out she was right. It's amazing to me to think that you can make vitamins and probiotics in your kitchen."
Stubin said one of her goals is to make healthy food, like kombucha, appealing to all palates.
Instead of the bitter taste that can be found in most store-bought kombucha, hers is sweet and is offered in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, jalapeño, apple and decaffeinated raspberry.
And she urges those interested in trying kombucha to drink the gunky stuff at the bottom, which contains a live culture with yeast and bacteria.
"That's actually really good for you," she said. "You should be drinking that."
She also said that because the drink is carbonated and fermented, it is a good replacement for people who are trying to wean themselves off beer.
The vanilla bean yogurt is also unlike anything that can be purchased in a grocery store.
It is flavored with vanilla beans and locally sourced honey, which helps aid fermentation and gives a carbonation effect to the yogurt.
Chad Sarno, a chef at Farm and Culture, said the carbonation is normal for raw yogurt.
"Carbon dioxide is the product of fermentation, so if something is truly fermented and fresh, it will be carbonated," he said.
The broth, yogurt and kombucha will be served to-go style. All of the food has a fairly long shelf life, Stubin said, adding that the yogurt is best if eaten within two weeks and the kombucha within 30 days.
Stubin, who also plans to offer cooking classes at Farm and Culture, said she is excited to bring her healthy food to Orange County.