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JL Tan wasn’t always brewing up batches of bubbly goodness. 

The 29-year-old founder of TepTep used to navigate the world of law, but a passion for wellness and a fortuitous encounter with tepache changed her course entirely. 

It all started with a personal battle—an H. pylori infection that left her feeling drained. But then, tepache entered her life. It’s a traditional Mexican fermented pineapple drink packed with probiotics and Vitamin C. 

Not only did it soothe her gut woes, but she also said, “Switching from coffee to tepache was a game-changer for me. I could focus so much better at work, and my overall mood improved drastically.”

This life-changing experience sparked a fire in JL Tan, and TepTep was born.

She believes that a healthy gut is the foundation for a fulfilling life, and TepTep is her way of making wellness accessible to everyone.

A passion project becomes a Malaysian first

TepTep’s journey wasn’t all sunshine and pineapples. JL Tan spent a year in research and development, meticulously crafting the perfect tepache formula. 

Image Credit: TepTep

Countless hours were spent in the kitchen experimenting with fresh fruits, botanicals, and spices sourced from local farmers’ markets and traditional medicine stores. This dedication has led to a series of recipes that cater to various tastes and health needs.

While TepTep is licensed by an Australian company, choosing Bangsar Trade Centre in Malaysia as their HQ was a deliberate move. 

They’re on a mission to make tepache a household name in Malaysia, the first country in the Southeast Asian region to embrace this gut-friendly beverage.

“The business initiated its first plantation in Malaysia as before this there was no other tepache brand available in the market. Therefore, TepTep is Malaysia’s first tepache brand,” claimed the founder. 

TepTep prides itself on using 100% natural ingredients, including premium fruits and botanicals, ensuring a high-quality and safe product. 

With 10 flavours crafted by JL Tan herself, TepTep offers a variety that appeals to both fruit lovers and those seeking health benefits.

The flavours include passionfruit lemon, butterfly pea calamansi, cranberry rosemary, dragonfruit mint, and sakura rose roselle.

“Tepache is a scrumptiously healthy drink. It’s rich in Vitamin C, probiotics, and antioxidants, making it a perfect choice for boosting overall health,” JL Tan elaborated.

Standing out in the crowd

TepTep doesn’t shy away from its unique identity. 

Unlike its tea-based cousin, kombucha, tepache is a fruity explosion of flavours, perfect for those who prefer a non-caffeinated option. 

“The fermentation and flavouring process is a little tedious, it is full of my blood, sweat, and tears to curate a series of recipes that actually work well for different groups of people,” JL Tan said.

She also made it vegan, keto-friendly, and free from preservatives and artificial colours.

Image Credit: TepTep

“Due to its natural fermentation process, there may be traces of alcohol but TepTep adapts its formula for its tepache-making to control the alcohol content within the Halal threshold,” she shared.

“The potential of the functional beverage market is limitless, going well along with the trend of sustainability and wellness. More and more people in our society are becoming more health conscious as chronic health issues are on the rise.”

They’re also committed to sustainability, using glass bottles and aluminium caps to minimise their environmental footprint. 

They even source their pineapples from their co-founder’s very own MD2 pineapple farm, ensuring the highest quality and freshest ingredients.

And with whispers of Halal certification on the horizon, TepTep will be making itself accessible to an even wider audience.

Making healthy choices easy

TepTep started things off strong, and now brews over 600 bottles a day. But their goals are even fizzier. 

According to JL Tan, once they hit retail stores and online marketplaces, they project a bright future with an estimated 15,000 to18,000 bottles finding happy customers each month.

TepTep is currently available online for RM12.80 per bottle. However, they’re partnering with major retailers like myNEWS, CU, Mercato, Cold Storage, BilaBila Mart, and Qra to bring tepache to a wider audience. 

Image Credit: TepTep

Soon, you’ll be able to find a bottle or two of gut-friendly goodness almost anywhere you go.

They believe their product speaks for itself, but they’re also planning in-store tastings, exciting partnerships, and promotions. 

TepTep has only been around for three weeks, but they’ve already sold out at events and their first store partner, Imby Greens. 

To introduce tepache to the public, TepTep has hosted pre-launch events like “Global Wellness Day” and “The Taste Of Australia” at The Exchange TRX. These events received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 200 bottles selling out within hours.

Looking ahead

JL Tan’s vision for TepTep is clear: to make health accessible to everyone. This involves not only expanding their product range but also setting up physical stores or kiosks that offer healthy food alongside their drinks. 

Image Credit: TepTep

With plans to expand to East Malaysia, Southeast Asia, and eventually Australia, TepTep is set to become a household name in the wellness community.

“Tepache changed my life, and I hope it can do the same for others. Our mission is to make health easily accessible to everyone, one bottle at a time,” JL Tan said.

  • You can learn more about TepTep here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: TepTep

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