Kiefer Kefir Has One-Man Bike Delivery of Probiotic Milk Drinks in Quezon CityMarch 20, 2017
- Bea OsmeñaWords
Who ever thought that drinking weeks-old milk could be considered a lifestyle? But that is exactly what Carlos Afable of Kiefer Kefir advocates and lives by, with his homemade milk kefir concoctions that he consumes on a daily basis because he wants to, as he puts it, “live, live, live.” Kiefer Kefir got it’s name as a suggestion from Afable’s former boss, and the name just stuck. On top of that Afable adds that “. . . it may remind you of Kiefer Ravena, who is sexy and fit. Like me.”
Afable is a passionate cyclist interested in fitness, but outside that he says, “I’m a writer by calling,” growing up in a family of artists, poets and the like. “We innately distrust the man in the suit. I grew up thinking I’d never become a businessman, thinking they were evil, greedy . . . ‘square.’ [But] I’ve learned that business takes discipline, drive, decisiveness, creativity, intelligence, even empathy. Bawal maging greedy.” Though he has decidedly embraced entrepreneurship, especially with kefir being a product that he believes in, he tells us that he will always expect the brand to stay small, “because I don’t want to make the compromises big corporations make.” That is why you can expect home-crafted kefir from Kiefer Kefir, with the product constantly improving with each order.
Like yogurt, milk kefir is filled with healthy probiotics that create a healthy gut environment and contain vitamins like folic acid, lactic acid, phosphorous, vitamin K2, vitamin A, B vitamins and more. Azel Gorne (Afable’s former co-worker and friend who was tapped to assist in accounting and marketing) and Afable tell us that compared to yogurt’s 3-4 probiotic strains and approximate 7 million CFUs (colony-forming units), milk kefir contains over 40 strains and about 10.2 billion CFUs. Yet why is it not as popular or widely distributed? This is probably due to the limitations of milk kefir, which ferments very quickly and is thus hard to store (the process creates gas which can cause bottles to pop, a mishap that’s been known to happen with any fermenting product) and also hard to control in terms of flavor. Though the pair tell us that milk kefir technically will never go bad, it will continue to ferment and create more vitamins; in the process it gets more sour and thus difficult for some people to take—which is why they recommend kefir newbies to drink it within the first 2-7 days that they receive it.
The kefir is delivered in recycled and unlabeled white plastic milk bottles with red caps—the same bottles in which they receive the fresh, whole milk which form the base of the kefir. Using French milk, Afable explains, results in a rich, cream cheese-like taste. Sure enough the explanation translates to its flavor as we try the plain kefir (though because of the probiotic tartness we are more inclined to compare it to a rich sour cream than to cream cheese). The chocolate has a more approachable taste due to the sweet and familiar flavoring; it is easy to consume on its first day, but it sours more quickly than the plain kefir thanks to the additional sugars from the flavoring which boost the fermentation. Our favorite by far is the less sweet yet refreshing and playful melon flavor (they use fresh melons so this is only available seasonally), which tastes like a creamy dessert drink that we’d like to lap up with a spoon on a hot afternoon.
The kefir’s creaminess and sourness have a strange isolation from one another, and drinking it does not leave neither that stuck-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth layer nor the lingering aftertaste that milk, yakult or yogurt offer. After you get used to it, you might even learn to enjoy its unique and strong flavor profile, and wonder how you can prepare it in more varied ways. (Afable himself says he likes to take it in an “Xtreme kefir smoothie or liquid meal,” where the health buff raw eggs, unwashed organic vegetables, unwashed fruits, protein powder, peanut butter, honey oatmeal, MCT oil, crushed vitamin pills—mind you, this combo isn’t exactly for the flavor).
“When I’m 80, I want to be running 5-minute miles, traveling the world,” Afable says. “So we drink kefir because it’s so brimming with life: all yeast and love and bacteria.” And someday he dreams that milk kefir will become mainstream enough so they can hire a fleet of cyclists (so they can pay them to do what they love: bike) to deliver freshly made kefir across the rest of Metro Manila and nearby cities.
Kiefer Kefir is a made-to-order milk kefir home-based brand owned by Carlos Afable, who delivers flavored or unflavored milk kefir throughout Quezon City by bike.