Staying Cultured with Happy Leaf Kombucha Owner Jenni Lyons.
Jenni Lyons and Mike Burns just wanted to put their own kombucha in the house. There was no plan to put it all over the city of Denver, but here they are.
After three years of brewing in the RiNo District, Happy Leaf Kombucha has outgrown its location and recently moved into a larger facility and restaurant space in Cherry Creek.
“Our dreams are big for Happy Leaf,” Lyons says. “And we all agree that growing needs to happen organically.”
Back in 2013, Happy Leaf was the first kombucha tap room opened in Colorado, and today the kombucha can be found in Colorado Springs, Vail and various breweries and coffee shops around Denver. In a city known for health-consciousness and craft beer, Happy Leaf fits in quite nicely.
“Happy Leaf really was created by the community of Denver,” Lyons says. “We are a unique group with very high expectations of our craft purveyors.”
Kombucha is a beverage made from a combination of tea, organic cane sugar and a culture called Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY). After fermentation, the results are a tart and effervescent tea that is tasty and ideal for a sunny Denver afternoon. The brewing of kombucha dates back thousands of years, with dedicated drinkers and brewers claiming various health benefits from the natural acids and probiotics found in the beverage.
According to Lyons, what makes her business successful is the commitment to staying true to the principals with which Happy Leaf began.
“The standards we hold to, such as non-GMO and organic, have been that way since the start,” Lyons says. “And we will not bend for the sake of growth. The Happy Leaf team is a family; we have all worked very hard to offer the community what we do best.”
Happy Leaf sources tea from Teatulia Organic Teas, a single-garden Bangladesh tea company committed to teaching primarily female residents sustainable farming practices. Using Teatulia’s product offers twofold benefits: Happy Leaf can support a business making a cultural and social impact within the Bangladesh community and the teas are a high-quality product that improves the kombucha.
“Mike and I spend a long time tasting, researching and fermenting many different teas,” says Lyons. “The tea we choose is Teatulia Organic Teas. The flavor is uncompromising, and you can taste the difference in the final product. The tea is single-origin farmed, handpicked and packaged in Bangladesh by mostly women who are paid above fair trade wages.”
Happy Leaf will soon offer three bottled flavors in stores and will continue to be seen at local farmers markets.
“Three years later Denver has brought Happy Leaf to a whole new level,” Lyons said. “Moving into a larger production facility, new restaurant space and an ever-growing distribution channel. I believe that Happy Leaf was made for Denver, and Denver made Happy Leaf.”
“I believe that Happy Leaf was made for Denver, and Denver made Happy Leaf.”