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Leanne The Dreamer and Creator at Zama Tea and Kombucha

MEET LEANNE: The Woman behind the magic. I am a wife of 30 years and a proud mother of 2 adult children. I am a Christian. A passionate and driven business owner, I got my start in the restaurant industry working my way from the front of the house to upper management. When I became a mother, I transitioned over to the world of self employment to be able to meet all of the rewards and challenges that only motherhood could present. Around the time that my kids got themselves settled into their respective colleges, life threw me a curve ball and I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder by the name of Sarcoidosis. This Lovely disease is an inflammatory disorder that creates masses, also known as granulomas that settle into one more more organs. These granulomas can be present with little to no symptoms, or can start affecting the function of the organs in which they are present. Apparently, my body decided that it was going to keep me on my toes by growing them in my lungs, heart, liver, spleen and lacrimal ducts. Sarcoidosis or Sarcoid for short has no known cure but is considered for the most part as manageable. One of the most common treatments is low dosage chemotherapy that is thought to fight the inflammation and try to balance out the immune system's over reaction. Needless to say the idea of taking Chemo for the rest of my life was not exactly my idea of a sustainable solution. Therefore my adventure into educating myself about food and it's healing power began. I started researching herbs and teas and was happy to discover that both had a lot to offer when it came to the body being able to heal itself. Next, came my diet. After years of research I have found that a balance of Ketogenic and plant based seems to be what my body responds to most. While I prefer a plant based diet, I haven't yet find that sweet spot in the plant based world so call me a work in progress. I have discovered I am human and have many imperfections. Maybe that is why I am so drawn to offer so many Vegan options at the Booch Bar® . Along the way, I discovered Kombucha and all of it's amazing benefits. With the Booch layered in, I am happy to report that in the last 8 years I have been able to manage my disease and symptoms with food instead of medication. While I absolutely believe in western medicine as a useful tool for diagnostic purposes, I think there is a lot to be said about what we do and don't put into our bodies to help heal ourselves. Our bodies are amazing and when you listen to them, magical things can happen. I am a huge proponent of anything natural or alternative and believe there is power in balance and moderation. With the success of my own adventures in health, I felt a burning to share my knowledge and experience to help other people who have found themselves in similar positions with their health. I have taught and spoken at tea and kombucha conferences around the country and have also become a consultant to others trying to start their own businesses. Whether it is a brick and mortar store or a home-based operation I take pride in being able to empower those around me that want to make a difference. I started in Orange County, California selling teas, herbs at 10 Farmer's Markets. As we grew and developed a following, we knew that we were going to need a more accessible way to get our products to our customers. We opened two shared locations that we quickly outgrew. When my "landords" that I shared space with at Both the Packing House in Anaheim and Honor Roll at 4th Street Market in Santa Ana decided to close their doors that lead me to the decision to take the plunge and open my own piece of the American Dream. The name Zama Tea came from my birth place: Camp Zama, Japan. I was an army brat and lived there a very short time while my father served in the Korean War. We opened our first brick and mortar in Old Town Tustin. I love our cute little historic building that is loaded with history and charm. I felt instantly connected to it when I first walked into it's tired walls. It was the home to the 1st doctor's office in Tustin. How cool is it that our charming building has come full circle and is now full of life, health and alternative medicine. Learning to live with a chronic illness has been a rollercoaster. It makes you dig deep and forces you to make some decisions that you never thought you would have to. Some days I want to lay in bed and hide from my circumstance and ask why me? Other days, I am thankful that life and God flipped my world upside down because it gave me the strength to not identify as my illness but to be someone who found a solution to cope with it. Here I hope to inspire others to make small changes in their lives to heal their own mind, bodies and souls.

Having an awesome staff and support team is what makes Zama Tea and Kombucha such a fun and lively place. From left to right. Zac is my assistant manager. He has been working for Zama Tea for 21 months. His favorite flavor of Kombucha is Ilex Forest. He has a hard time choosing Blue Beauty Oolong or Tulsi Lemon Ginger as his favorite loose leaf tea. He is passionate about creating things that people appreciate. Alex, has been with me for almost 3 years. He and Zac are our resident scientists. They love coming up with some really awesomely different kombucha flavors. Alex's favorite flavor of kombucha is our Hawallan (Hawaiian Punch) and favorite tea is our very popular White Tropical Ginger. What drives him to work every day is the ability to create and test out new Kombucha Flavors. Starting to see a pattern? WE LOVE KOMBUCHA. Front and Center is Carlos, my husband and myself. We love our staff and our customers. My favorite Kombucha is our Lady Lavender which is actually a Jun (kombucha made with raw honey instead of sugar) and Carlos loves anything but floral and ginger, although he finds himself pouring a glass of just about anything and liking new flavors. Then we have Drue, she's our resident Bee expert and newly married. Although she will be leaving us soon to pursue her dream of someday raising bees, we are enjoying her last months with us. She created Drue Bee's Dreamin' Peach Kombucha which is hands down one of our most popular and her favorite. Her favorite tea is the Mint Chamomile and she loves being around people that make her smile. And Kati, our almost college graduate. She brings her infectious smile and fun personality to the team. Both of the girls are tasked daily to write out our flavor board because they are so creative and you can actually read their writing. Kati has been working at Zama Tea for over 8 months. Her favorite flavors of kombucha are Pearadise, fruit salad and berry berry vanilla. Her favorite teas are turmeric ginger rooibos, tulsi lemon ginger and Helen's Tea. Her favorite part of the job is working in a fun, relaxing environment and tasting all of the new flavors. We are always looking for that special someone to bring something unique to the team. From time to time we post openings, please follow up on instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/zamatea/

My Dreams of breathing New Life into this 135 year old very tired building began the day we met. I had the vision to see what this old building could someday be again. I dreamed of a shop with character (it was built in 1885) and outdoor seating (we have a dog friendly patio) and inside the walls would be filled with people's stories as I meet my customers and listen to their journeys and pray with them as they struggle and cheer their achievements. A building filled with laughter and picture taking and a place where old friends can reunite over a cup of tea or new friends meet over a flight of Kombucha.
We will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary in April. It's been a fun journey. It's time to create the next phase which includes additional seating, food and specialty drinks.

My Family is my inspiration. I make no apologies for who I am. I am far from perfect. I have curves. I have scars, all because I live a full and incredible life. I love wearing pajamas all day. Sometimes, I don't wash my hair.

I love to travel with my husband. I love adventures.

I love my country and I love my job. Come check us out on Instagram
Created By
Leanne Herrera
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Credits:

Most pictures were taken by me.

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