In October 2013, I was surprised to open my email one morning to find that I’d won a giveaway promo from hip, offbeat local food ‘zine Pepper.ph featuring the products of homespun artisan tea brewer Bayani Brew. The prize? Sixteen bottles of some of the best-tasting herbal iced tea I’ve ever tasted!
Inspired by social entrepreneurship movement Gawad Kalinga (GK), Bayani Brew uses indigenous organic ingredients in its beverages. Both of the current flavors are spin-offs of the drinks brewed by nanays - mothers and housewives – for volunteers and staff working on various GK livelihood projects and at the GK Enchanted Farm in Bulacan. In doing so, Bayani Brew promotes social consciousness and responsibility as well as the kind of patriotism born of a genuine love for Filipino ingenuity, perseverance, and locally-sourced ingredients.
Currently, Bayani Brew is available in two flavors: Classic and Purple Leaf. The Classic is a golden-hued blend of lemongrass and pandan [screwpine leaf] with a pleasant, tangy-spicy flavor that is almost gingery but isn’t too sweet. Served chilled, it makes for a refreshing and invigorating drink. Given that lemongrass is also a traditional ingredient for many local home remedies against the common cold and sore throats, it is also a good thing to sip if you’re feeling under the weather as its quite soothing as it goes down your throat.
The other flavor, Purple Leaf, has become my favorite between the two. This unusual iced tisane is brewed from sweet potato [kamote] leaves. While the leaves are a dark, almost pine-colored green, the water these are boiled in ends up purple. These are a good source of iron and a broth made with kamote leaves is often given to girls suffering from anemia. Bayani Brew’s take on this classic restorative makes taking one’s iron so much more enjoyable: the purple brew is mixed with lemongrass and tastes oddly – yet deliciously – of guava for some odd reason with a pleasant vegetal aftertaste that serves to remind the drinker of the leaves used in making the drink.
Bayani Brew is a great way to cool down and give your health a well-needed boost. At the same time, it’s also a wonderful way of giving back to the community and helping build a nation.
Note: Bayani Brew is currently available nationwide via Human Nature outlets and at Chicken Charlie and Bo’s Coffee branches. If you’re in the Makati area, you can grab your fix via The Market and Commune in Salcedo Village or at Ganso Shabuway and Mesa Filipino Moderne at Greenbelt V. Click here for a full list of retailers.