While most of Benicia is still asleep, sisters Tiana and Kelsea Duvauchelle are starting the day’s tasks: grinding organic fruits and vegetables, brewing kombucha, and preparing nut “mylks” made with almonds and cashews. It’s 4am, and the women and their Juice House Co. team are hard at work in a commercial kitchen in the Industrial Park, crafting concoctions Tiana describes as “food energy.” With names like Green Machine, Popeye Power, and Ginger Up, the glass-bottled products not only look and sound healthy, they offer food nourishment in its purest form: raw. “My sister and I have always played around with juicing,” says Tiana, “and always felt better when we did it.”
The concept for Juice House Co. was sparked in 2016, when Tiana and Kelsea started brewing batches of kombucha and flavoring them with homemade cold-pressed juices. Tiana, who also owns Yoga House Co., shared the brew with friends at the studio. “They thought it was amazing and told us, ‘You guys should sell this’,” she says. Kelsea was visiting from Hawaii at the time, but within a year she moved to Benicia to embark on the business with her sister. In January of 2018, the co-owners opened the doors to their storefront location—a bright, cheerful space on the corner of First and F Streets.
On a recent visit, I tasted several samples—offered freely by staff—before deciding on something green and delicious. The juices have three to five ingredients, all organic, and the cold-pressed technology they’re made with ensures they don’t lose any nutrient content. “You feel good when you drink the juice,” says Tiana, and I have to agree. While the organic price tag ($9-$11 per juice) might feel like a splurge, the quality is undeniable. Along with juice and kombucha, Juice House offers elixirs (AFA blue-green algae, for example, or activated charcoal), nut mylks, and cold brew coffee from Vallejo-based roaster Moschetti. The nut mylks provide an alternative to dairy milk, with ingredients like cinnamon and vanilla bean rounding out the nut flavours with a touch of sweetness.Juice House Co. ingredients are sourced primarily from farms in Northern and
Central California, enabling its owners to communicate directly with vendors who visit the farms. “The farmers are being treated well and paid fairly for their work,” says Tiana. “We’re all working together in unity to create something bigger.”
While the sisters anticipated serving a health-conscious crowd, they have found a diverse range of people walking through the doors. A typical day might bring in a mom whose child isn’t eating enough vegetables (“We’ll find a way to get your child to drink kale,” says Tiana), a student on a study break asking for “brain food”, or a daughter concerned her elderly mom isn’t getting enough nutrients in her diet. “Being a part of a community is our number one goal,” Tiana says. “We’re all in this together, and we want to help people in whatever way we can.”
For those who want to take juicing a step further, Juice House Co. offers a range of 1-day or 3-day cleanses, which come with 5 juices, 1 nut mylk, and 1 elixir per day. (Unless you opt for The Junkie, which skips the nut mylk and replaces it with another low-sugar juice.) The cleanses are designed to give your body maximum nutritional benefits while eliminating processed foods. I’m tempted to try one myself, but I can guarantee it would be The Rookie, described as “perfect for newbies.”
Looking ahead, Tiana says she and Kelsea are working on adding food options to the menu: items like vegan muffins, energy balls, and raw organic bars. “We want to create a bigger community around health and healthy options,” says Tiana. “We’re honored to be a part of First Street, and super stoked that Benicia is well receiving of our goods.”
Juice House Co.
611 First Street, Benicia