Dr Bucha


At the market: Every Sunday in the Carpark area

Contact: Fin McDonald

Call/text: 022 411 5117 

Email: fin@drbucha.com

Website: drbucha.co.nz 

Instagram:  @drbuchas

Fin's Story

Fin McDonald, or one of his crew, can be found at Grey Lynn Farmers Market on Sunday mornings, inviting people to try a range of kombucha flavours.

Tell me about your early life

We moved around a lot when I was young. I went to primary school in Karangahake and moved to Katikati for secondary school. I was always very independent and biked everywhere, sometimes long distances, and got my drivers licence as soon as I was old enough. I worked in an Australian mine at 17, until I earned enough money to return home and buy my first home in Katikati when I was 20.

Was that when you met Donna?

Yes - we have been a tight team since then, moving to Tokoroa for Donna’s first teaching placement. Tokoroa was the most welcoming, kindest, and cheapest place we have ever lived. People don’t judge there. While she was teaching, I studied for a business degree in marketing at Waikato university before we moved back to Katikati to work for my dad’s dental supplies company. It was convenient but it took a toll on my health.

What was the turning point?

When Covid hit, it became obvious that I would need to leave the business, but I wasn’t sure what I would do next.

Is that when you got into kombucha?

Yes - my mum had been making it for years, but I never wanted to try it. When I finally did, I was surprised how much I loved it and started making it. Lockdowns gave me space to scale up my hobby into something I could sell. We started selling it slowly at the local Katikati market and have expanded from there into other markets.

Why Doctor?

It became a bit of a nickname from my experimental concoctions to get the perfect kombucha. And the kombucha itself is like a doctor, supporting good health. We like to say that we are prescribing wellness and happiness in every bottle.

What are the health benefits?

Kombucha has been shown to improve blood sugar levels so it is helpful as a lunchtime drink - it helps reduce the insulin spike that can make you feel drowsy in the afternoon. It is a great alternative to alcohol for people who want to ditch the wine. And of course, it is a living drink, so it is excellent for gut health.

Why do you sell at markets?

We love being able to talk directly to customers and give them the opportunity to try a range of flavours. We have a new flavour each week, so even our regulars like to stop and try before they pick their flavours for the week.

How do you create those flavours?

We grow many of our ingredients on our lifestyle block, so it is a seasonal range – blueberries, raspberries, ginger, turmeric, kawakawa, and even jalapeño. The flavours are better if we can control when we pick fruit – commercial options tend to be too sweet.

Do you have lots of regular customers?

Yes – we have built a very loyal following. We can tell that by the number of people returning our bottles. We give a discount for returned bottles but most of our customers are keen to return them for sustainability reasons.

Do you get much spare time?

Not really. We have two primary-school aged kids plus a new baby a few weeks ago. Alongside our kombucha baby, we run a beach market in Waihi and are starting a small market in Katikati. And there’s always work to do on our lifestyle block. Life is busy but we love it.


As published in Ponsonby News : May 2024