In the past several years, kombucha has become a popular drink that health experts swear by, thanks to its richness in probiotics, antioxidants and vitamin B. The drink is made by fermenting tea with a live, expanding bacterial culture and yeast for two weeks.
During the fermenting process, the bacteria and yeast grow to resemble a giant mushroom that can be used to make another batch of kombucha. The drink is highly acidic (which is why it tastes somewhat like vinegar) and contains a slight amount of alcohol due to the fermentation process.
At Whole Foods, you can find five brands of the drink in varying flavors. I tried each one to give those new to kombucha a sense of what they're getting into.
1. GT’s Synergy (Gingerberry)
This one definitely has the best mixture of acidity and taste. GT’s synergy has a lighter and smoother personality than original kombucha formulas, and it comes in a variety of flavors like mango and strawberry. Synergy also has kombucha with chia seeds, which adds protein to the drink.With only 70 calories and 8 grams of sugar per bottle, this one provides you with the general probiotic benefits of kombucha, without setting you back health-wise.
#SpoonTip: The glass bottles can easily be washed and reused as a to-go drink container that can be recycled anywhere.
2. Dr. Brew Kombucha (SuperBerry)
The most acidic of all the brands, Dr. Brew Kombucha gives you a stronger kombucha taste with about the same amount of sugar and calories as GT’s. Unfortunately, the bottle is not portable because the top does not screw on again once opened.
The varieties include spiced apple, super berry and white rose. Despite such promising flavors, it has a slightly bad after-taste, but remains a good choice (potentially for the more seasoned kombucha drinker).
3. Kevita (Raspberry Lemon)
This is definitely a beginner's kombucha that doesn’t have a strong acidic taste while still providing the same bacterial health benefits. The raspberry lemon flavor tastes like crystal lite powder or watered down lemonade, thoroughly masking the classic kombucha flavor.
It's not surprising that this sweetness comes from a higher sugar content (16 grams), but if it's your first time tasting kombucha, this is easily one of your best bets.
#SpoonTip: Add a splash of vodka to the raspberry lemon flavor for a “healthy” summer mixed drink.
4. ComKom (Pomegranate)
Those hoping to support a local brand might choose this one simply because it undergoes the least processing of the five.
5. BluePrint Organic MisTang (Lime Lemon Ginger)
This one is reminiscent of watered-down lemony carrot juice. It lacks any strong flavor or sweetness, and is not particularly acidic or kombucha-y at all. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone starting out on a kombucha journey because it simply doesn't have the taste or texture of the beverage.While most of the often-cited bacterial health benefits of kombucha may be unfounded, most of these kombucha varieties are relatively low in sugar and calories, which makes the drink a tasty alternative to water if you're looking for something unique and tangy.