Food

8 Coffees, Kombuchas, and Cold Brews at LA's Eat Drink Vegan Festival

Here’s what to drink when you don’t “drink” at a beer festival.

Summer is upon us, which means concert and festival season is here! Eat Drink Vegan, held at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena in May, kicked off the celebrations by showcasing dozens of vegan-friendly beverage vendors from across the United States. Thousands of beer aficionados and cork dorks attended the event, enticed by the perk of unlimited pours of craft beer and wine. But what about those of us who don’t drink alcohol? Eat Drink Vegan had us covered by showcasing a plethora of coffee, kombucha, speciality soda, and tea companies so even the sober guests could partake in the giddy festivities, while highlighting terrific beverage options for the summer. Here are eight companies we’ll be toasting at our next summer shindig.
 
1. MatchaBar
On trend with the nation’s latest craze, MatchaBar served a variety of its famous green tea -based drinks, all infused with matcha sourced from a fifth-generation family farm in Nisho, Japan. Matcha proponents claim the green tea powder helps support mental performance and increases energy levels without the jitters or crash associated with other caffeinated beverages. Our favorites were the Iced Matcha, Iced Matcha Latte, and Coconut Chai Latte—which combines matcha, chai spices, and coconut milk—flavors.
 
2. Kombucha Dog
If you were looking for a tiny buzz without the beer, then you probably checked out Kombucha Dog, a company that produces authentic, undiluted, organic kombucha with approximately 1.4 percent alcohol by volume (in comparison, beer is approximately 4.5 percent, depending on the brand). We also loved the fact that Kombucha Dog features an adoptable canine on each of its labels, so if you’re unfamiliar with kombucha but want to help a dog, do what we did, and choose your brew by the cutest pooch on the label.
 
3. Califia Farms
Califia Farms is one of the most recognizable names in the plant-based milk industry thanks to its location at grocery store shelves nationwide. At Eat Drink Vegan, the brand sampled its expansions into the worlds of coffee, agua frescas, and protein drinks. Sober guests enjoyed the cold-brew and nitro almond milk coffees, seasonal Watermelon Ginger-Lime and Strawberry Basil Agua Frescas, and plant-protein beverages in three flavors: Choc-A-Maca, Maca-‘Nilla, and Maca-Spresso. Missed the event? You can likely find these products at a store near you, or purchase them online.
 
4. 2nd Craft Coffee Co.
For the designated drivers in need of a pick-me-up this summer, check out 2nd Craft CoffeCo.’s Kelapa Coconut Milk Cold Brew. This energizing concoction combines roasted coconut, organic coconut milk, and vanilla beans with cold-brewed Sumatran coffee beans that were aged in rum prior to roasting. We loved getting the flavor of an adult beverage while knowing that this drink is 100-percent non-alcoholic and sober-driver approved.
 
5. FRÏSA Beverages
Because we prefer some bubbly during our summer soirées, we had more than a few samples of FRÏSA Beverages’ Elderflower Botanical Sparkling Beverage and Black Currant Roseship Botanical Sparkling Beverage. Made with natural botanicals and European mountain spring water, FRÏSA can make any event upscale ... even if you’re drinking out of plastic champagne flutes at the kids’ table.
 
6. Boots Beverages
Speaking of the kids’ table, nothing screams childhood nostalgia like a good old-fashioned cream soda. Hailing from the Lone Star State, Boots Beverages brought its hometown flavors for all the kids (and kids at heart). One thing is certain: our next family-friendly get together is sure to include the creamy Coconut Cream Soda.
 
7. Tractor Soda Co
We’re fans of sustainability, which explains why we sampled Tractor Soda Co’s coconut, root beer, and cola sodas. Crafted with natural ingredients and free from artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives, after one sip, we wanted to add a farm-to-fountain beverage to your farm-to-table meal.
 
8. The Brauhaus
The Brauhaus is a Santa Ana, CA-based independent coffee brewery known for its single-origin cold-drip coffee. Produced through a meticulously engineered state-of-the-art brewing system the brand designed themselves, this beverage’s scrupulous precision to detail won The Brauhaus “Best Cold Brew” at the 2016 Eat Drink Vegan. We couldn’t help but have a cup this year because we love to geek out on the mechanics of coffee brewing and can appreciate a robust cup of cold brew.
 
Tanya Flink is a certified Master Personal Trainer based in Orange County and host of the new podcast The Vegan Potluck.

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