Jing Chen’s childhood was anything but ordinary. She grew up in China until she was 8 years old, and then traveled to Perth, Brooklyn and finally landed in Chicago where her family ran a Chinese restaurant. It was at this time when Chen realized she loved being in the kitchen and learned as much as she could about delicious Chinese dishes.
After years in the Chicago cold, Chen was ready for warmer weather and moved out to the West Coast. In 2012, she landed in San Diego and loved everything about it - particularly the California burrito. However, she quickly realized it was taking a toll on her body and wanted to lose weight and make some healthy changes.
Chen started learning about the positive effects that probiotics have on a person’s body and turned to Kombucha - a probiotic fermented tea - as the answer. It didn’t take long until Chen was brewing her own Kombucha in her apartment.
By 2013, Chen created JinBuCha out of a commercial kitchen in Ocean Beach and started distributing it to local restaurants, farmers markets and bars all over San Diego. Finally in November of this year, Chen opened her first store front in North Park and plans to serve authentic Chinese food in the very near future.
Q: What are misconceptions that people have about Jinbucha??
A: The common misconception of JinBuCha Kombucha is that is is made from a portobello mushroom, which it’s not. The formation of the yeast and bacteria that form together look similar to a mushroom cap. People also often ask me what the difference between JinBuCha and Kombucha is. Kombucha is a probiotic tea and JinBuCha is my personal brew and brand name of Kombucha. The other misconception of JinBuCha is the way the word is pronounced - gin-bu-cha is the common mistake. In Chinese jin sounds just like jing. So JinBuCha is actually pronounced like jing-bu-cha.
Q: You grew up in China. What do you miss most about home??
A: I miss the local fresh food that I enjoyed as a little girl. There are so many street vendors and the market is filled with local farmers markets with a variety of dried goods. They also cook and sell meat, veggies and seafood. It is by far my favorite place to eat.You don’t need a ton of money to eat like a queen in China. Not having a car was also great, it was nice having everything in walking distance from my home in China.
Q: If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
A: I would love to fly as fast as Superman, so I can visit any place I want and deliver my kombucha to any place around the world.
Q: Favorite part about doing business in San Diego?
A: My favorite part about doing business in San Diego is being able to meet, teach and help people drink and eat healthier. Also, it is the closest thing to the area of China where my family is from. I have brought a little Chinese medicine to Southern California.
Q: CEO or company you admire and why?
A: I can’t think of one particular company or CEO I admire, I honestly would admire anyone who took a chance and makes a living by helping others and making a difference in small or big ways.? I believe that taking lead by setting an example is the best way to make a difference. So yes my respect goes out to all those people out there who are trying to get to a better place in the world.
Q: Favorite thing to cook for family and friends?
A: My friends love my noodles, bone broth (pho-style) and roasted duck!
Q: Other products you recommend to feel good and stay healthy?
A: I love other fermented foods like Kim Chi, Sauerkraut and eating locally grown produce and meats. Bone broth is also a great health tonic, I make that often. I definitely believe that you are exactly what you eat or don’t eat. If you eat live probiotic foods then you are becoming more alive. Also, eating food that is locally sourced and sustainable raised or grown, then you and your body feel and represent that in your mental, physical and spiritual health. I have been cold and flu free for over three years.