Behind each product we use is a story of how it came to be and the people that made it happen. In this Behind The Brand feature, we go behind Theonista to discover the woman who made Kumbucha happen locally.
After spending time in Lesotho as part of her career in public health and policy, Meghan Werner landed up in Cape Town, where she stayed. The only thing missing from her home in the US, was kombucha. So, she started brewing her own and after more and more shops started requesting Kombucha, she set up shop. First in her kitchen and then in Woodstock. But Kombucha is only part of what her small craft beverage company, Theonista makes. They also make Chai Latte, Ginger Beer and Body Scrubs.
The name Theonista is derived from the Greek word for cocoa trea ““Theobroma” which means “Food of the Gods”. Even though she no longer focuses on chocolate, the name speaks of the transformation that can happen through the process of fermentation, femininity and the revolutionary, and so it has remained throughout the evolution of Theonista as a brand.
Theonista is best known for popularizing kombucha commercially, but we make a variety of honest, healthy, interesting beverages by hand with a general focus on fermentation.
How old is the business?
5-ish years…I really started it as a side project so it’s hard to say when it became a “Real Business”.
What inspired you to start it?
I just wanted to create the things I was craving from home.
What’s your favourite part of the business?
The creativity and the community. I love being able to create not just products I love but that I feel truly good about both consuming and sharing. I also love how running a business like this has connected me to all sorts of inspiring people I may not have otherwise crossed paths with, including my amazing staff.
What’s Your favourite Theonista Kombucha flavour?
What inspires new flavours?
Mostly seasonal changes and walks on the mountain.
You sell homebrew kits, what’s your advice to someone keen on making their own Kombucha?
Don’t be intimidated—making kombucha is easy, it’s making it at scale and consistently that’s trickier and homebrewers don’t need to worry about that anyway. Feel free to try anything that inspires you, but before you get too experimental make sure you have created at least one backup SCOBY that hasn’t been exposed to anything unusual in case your creativity doesn’t pan out.
The best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten
Current Beauty Obsession
Current Food obsession
The blueberry muffins from Hail Pizza and the Millionare Shortbread (or really anything) from the lovely folks at Thank goodness.
Your Go to easy meal
Baked Orange Sweet Potato, reconstituted nori, sesame oil, tamari, hemp seeds
Never leave home without
After a hard day I…
Swim in the ocean without a wetsuit (I do this almost every day, but it’s especially great on challenging days)
Product that changed your life
Favourite way to move your body
Yoga, trail running, freediving
Best budget tip
Swim in the ocean and get out in nature as often as you can. It’s free medicine.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara
Favourite Healthy eating spot in your city
Hail Pizza or Clarke’s for breakfast and lunch and Botanical Bar for lunch and dinner. You might not think it, but both have really amazing and tasty healthy food choices and the owners of both establishments are incredibly rigorous in their sourcing.
Images supplied by Meghan Warner, Graphics by Feige Lewin
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