Based in: Bend, OR
Founded: 2010 (as Komucha Mama; rebranded in 2014)
Humm started out as a tiny local brand in Bend, OR, and has gone through tremendous growth in the last few years. The company used to go by a different name, “Kombucha Mama” and had a different label, one depicting a lotus flower (we remember those labels, in fact, and they were cute!). But in February of 2014, with the help of a local ad agency, Kombucha Mama was re-branded as Humm, got a new label and identity. The flavors and brewing process have not changed, however. What did change was the consumer response to the re-branding, and Humm’s numbers grew very quickly as a result. It’s an inspiring story, one that is a testament to good marketing, and marketing is vital when expanding a brand that you’re passionate about. Especially when trying to get more people to reach for a booch instead of a soft drink.
Chai was really the stand-out of these. For sure, we have never tasted a kombucha flavor like this one. It contains MyChai tea in it, which is a tea company based in Bend as well (we love Humm’s commitment to sourcing locally). The chai is definitely prominent and gives the booch a really nice, earthy tone.
The Original flavor has the most wonderful tart and sweet bite and actually reminded us a bit of “Kvass”—a Russian fermented drink made out of black or rye bread. Blueberry Mint definitely has a very robust blueberry flavor; the mint is really subtle in this, and the blueberry is the star for sure. Both have a nice fizz and a really clean finish.
Apple Sass is perhaps our favorite of these. We taste lavender notes, which is funny because there’s actually no lavender in this one. Perhaps the swirl of cinnamon, apple, ginger and a little bit of a cayenne kick results in an entirely new flavor. Which is pretty exciting. Coconut Lime would definitely appeal to fans of coconut, because the coconut flavor is very robust…and basically tastes like you’re on vacation.
We had such a blast recently touring the Humm brewery, where their massive tea steeping tanks are so big that you need a ladder to reach the top! We loved chatting with one of their master brewers, Matt Anderson, who comes from a beer-brewing background, and started at Humm two years ago in their packaging department. "I’m so lucky to get to work with the scobys every day and experience their nourishing vibes," he says. Humm actually harvests smaller baby scobies for their workshops and brewing kits. The babies are grown in Humm's "Nursery," which does not allow photography, but we can tell you that it's filled with huge brewing tanks that will make your jaw drop, and each tank bears a cute name, as well as a positive message about the scoby inside.
Even though Humm has grown massively in the last two years—they are currently building another 33,000 sq foot brewing facility in Bend—they still retain that down-home, local booch vibe. There's a booch bar out front, where locals stop in to fill up growlers straight from the tap, or just hang out with a glass of one of their nine flavors or blends.And that down-home vibe will be an important quality to retain, as Humm continues to expand their distribution all over the U.S., becoming quite a kombucha giant.