For those who are still unfamiliar with kombucha, they might be living under a rock. The fermented beverage has gained tremendous popularity in recent years and rightly so! As a natural alternative to soda, kombucha has found its way onto many menus, local stores, and supermarket shelves.
Drinking kombucha is one thing, but brewing it is a whole different story. It requires precision, passion, love, patience... and a bulletproof planning system. We visited Figa, a small-scale kombucha brewery in Antwerp, where Yassine distills his knowledge and expertise into beautiful bottles.
Paper means Focus
The first glimpse into the brewery immediately warms our hearts. Not only do shelves, kettles, pots, and aprons catch the eye, but various planners from Redopapers also adorn the corners—and fortunately, they prove to be hyper-functional as well.
In Yassine's busy life, structure turns out to be essential. Besides Figa, he also holds a regular job, volunteers for 11.11.11, and - of course - enjoys a private life beyond that. "My life has never been busier, so I feel a great need for structure. Creating overview comes natural to me, but in recent years, I've seen its importance even more," says Yassine.
When asked if he always plans on paper? "Absolutely. I try to keep track of things on my iPhone or computer as little as possible. Before I know it, I open a tab and get distracted. Planning on paper means a moment of focus for me, without other distractions."
Living Day by Day
In almost every corner of the Figa workshop hangs a Daily Planner. Yassine uses it primarily as a logbook and an overview tool. "I am constantly measuring, cooking, and brewing. By noting all the ingredients in advance, I don't have to think during the process. It's like taking the brain out of your work; that's what the daily planner does for me."
"A color structure also helps to maintain an overview. I write the quantities of sugar in green, and tea in red. Added an ingredient? Then I put a checkmark. With a clear structure, you automatically make fewer mistakes."
The biggest advantage of the Daily Planner? The layout. "You can really put everything in it. For example, I use the Daily Planner over several days to note the pressure measured on all bottles. The right column is for handy notes, while my overview remains clear."
Is Yassine a day-to-day enjoyer or more of a dreamer about the future? "I'm not a long-term thinker; I like to live from day to day. That doesn't mean I'm chaotic; planning and creating structure are really in me."
Kombucha: Ready in 7 or 10 Days?
It stands out on Yassine's wall, as it should. The biggest product in our range is the Monthly Planner. "That's actually where it all started for me: the Redopapers Monthly Planner. Everything in green is for private matters. In black, I note things for my main job, and everything red is about Figa and brewing."
"I need the monthly planner to keep an overview during brewing. Kombucha is ready when the pH level and sugar content are right. This can happen within a time frame of 10 days, but also 7. So, it's good to know that I don't plan weekends away during that period and regularly come to check in the workshop."
From Monday to Sunday: Weekly Planner or Agenda?
Do you prefer your weekly overview in your pocket or on the wall? Yassine likes to keep his planning close. "The Weekly Planner is still hanging here, but I use it much less since I discovered your Agenda two years ago. I take it everywhere with me. I also use color to distinguish my core profession, the brewery, and my private life."
"The layout of the agenda is perfect for me. There is enough space in the weekly overview. Things that still need to be done but are not scheduled, I write in the to-do section. I use the scribbles to make quick calculations, for example. The weekend days have less space, but that's ideal. I really want to do fewer things on the weekend."
All planners hang neatly on the wall, secured with nails. A new week or month? Yassine doesn't throw away the planners but hangs them at the back. A real paper logbook. "This way, I can always refer back to a particular recipe or calculation."
"Before I discovered Redopapers, I also worked on paper. At that time, I used stickers. At a certain point, my house and brewery were full of stickers, and I lost overview. It's also harder to keep track of old stickers. So, your planners have meant a lot to me."
A pleasure for our ears. And our taste buds didn't go unattended either. Figa's kombucha is something you simply must try. No additional flavorings at Figa, allowing all aromas to come from the tea. Thanks to its natural fizz, Figa makes the perfect non-alcoholic aperitif.
As a small-scale brewery, Yassine delivers in and around Antwerp every Friday, using a cargo bike. Placed your order already?