Swami Juice, Tampa’s newest juice venue, joined the region’s growing cold-pressed, organic juice scene on April 26.
Sisters Kim Dionisio and Kelly Koleos and their business partner Kerry Hanan, who are all yogis, run the shop at 2832 S. MacDill Ave. In the teachings of yoga, swami means “saint,” “sage” or “master."
Following months of product promotion at markets and Tampa Bay events, Dionisio, Koleos and Hanan are cautiously optimistic about their recognition.
“Almost every walk-in customer returns,” Koleos says. “Word-of-mouth and convenience are essential.”
Located two blocks west of Bayshore Boulevard, Swami Juice attracts a sector of the area’s fitness-oriented population. The shop also anticipates customers eager to negate the effects of a less-than-stellar lifestyle.
Offering one, three and five-day juice cleanses, Swami Juice shares the dedication of other businesses that educate the public on the benefits of cold-pressed juices and overall health.
St. Petersburg’s Squeeze Juice Works, believed to be the first cold-pressed juice establishment in Tampa Bay, plans to open a South Tampa location mid-June.
Squeeze Juice Works proprietors Kelly Lessem and Amy Losoya view juicing’s recognition as more generational than trendy.
“Baby boomers are more aware of health benefits now, as are their children,” Lessem says. “Now nutrition and juicing aren’t viewed as a niche market or one that is associated with fringe cultures.”
Having lived in Los Angeles, Hawaii and Seattle as a yoga instructor, massage therapist and nutrition student, Lessem saw the juicing movement — more specifically, cold-pressed juicing — grow exponentially.
Cold-pressed juicing involves fruits and veggies being pressed between plates rather than shredded by the blades of a centrifugal juicer. Advocates of the cold-pressed technique say that friction from juicer blades heats the juice, resulting in the loss of nutrients and enzymes.
At Swami Juice, the machine grinds the produce — locally harvested and certified organic whenever possible — before shooting it into a woven bag. Then the produce is squeezed between two panels until liquid runs into a pan, through a filter and into a vessel. Raw and unpasteurized, Swami Juice products have a shelf life of four days.
While many customers stop in for a pick-me-up of the Ginger Shot (ginger and pineapple) and the Ray of Sun (turmeric and orange), others choose Swami Juice for a meal replacement or snack. Yo Greens (kale, chard, spinach, cucumber, celery, sprouts, ginger and lemon) and Sweet Treat (pineapple, strawberry, orange, ginger and lime) are two of Swami Juice’s most popular squeezes.
“Those new to juicing tend to steer towards juices that are sweeter,” Koleos says. “We slowly introduce them to other options to acclimate their palate.”
Hanan, a holistic health coach and alumna of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, joins her partners in educating customers on the benefits of general juicing and, more specifically, cleansing.
“We suggest those new to cleansing to start with a general elimination precleansing of processed foods, dairy, sugar and meat,” Koleos says. “We recommend a one-day cleanse to test the waters.”
As the brainchild of Koleos, who often juiced with her boyfriend, Swami Juice has locations in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. Family and friends make up their staffs.
Swami Juice is grab-and-go only for now. The shop features all-natural, gluten-free bakery items from Tampa-based Base Culture, and plans to add acai bowls and superfood smoothies to its menu.
“The market has definitely responded to us,” Dionisio says. “We’ll continue to evolve as we learn more from our customers.”
Customers receive a free juice for every 12 bottles they return for recycling. Swami Juice provides delivery with a minimum order of six bottles.
Another cold-pressed juice bar called the Urban Juice Co. will open at 510 N. Franklin St. in Tampa later this month.