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We’ve all been there. You walk into your favorite health food store and you see the vibrant Kombucha fridge display welcoming you with bright colors and what feels like 100 brands. If you want to know what the best Kombucha on the market is but don’t want to spend time or money, you’ve come to the right place. As a self-proclaimed Kombucha connoisseur, I took the liberty of trying 8 of the most popular Kombucha brands on the shelves to pick my faves.
Ever since I had my first sip of GT’s Guava Kombucha back in high school, I knew that Kombucha was the drink for me. It’s something about the sweet taste, carbonization, and unique vinegar-y flavor that makes Kombucha stand out. Plus, you don’t have to feel completely guilty when drinking it. The perfect Kombucha balances flavor while supplying probiotics and organic ingredients that improve your gut health. When the TQE team asked me to become your unofficial Booch’ ambassador, I obviously used this as an excuse to re-sample some brand that I love already and while also adding a few I’ve been dying to try.
Below I proudly present the results of my Kombucha taste-test. You’re welcome.
Price: $2.97 per bottle
Flashback to 2006 when there was not a single company that thought to bottle Kombucha and sell it to the public. This changed thanks to 15-year-old GT Dave. In the late 1990’s, GT began to bottle Kombucha in his family kitchen after it was revealed that his “homemade tea” recipe potentially helped his mother beat breast cancer. Once he realized that his Kombucha could improve other people’s health, he began to mass produce and sell his recipe to the public. GT’s Kombucha has remained unchanged since the original bottling, and each bottle ensures a raw, organic handcrafted serving of Kombucha. What more could you possibly ask for?
GT’s mission was to make the world a better place, and that is exactly what he did. 26 years and 39 flavors later, GT’s Kombucha is the #1 selling Kombucha on the market. You can find it at your local gas station, 7/11, and of course, Whole Foods. Considering that I’ve consumed upwards of 100 bottles of GT’s “Gingerade” flavor, I decided to try a new flavor, Pomegranate. GT Dave’s synergy Kombucha is the perfect embodiment of what Kombucha should taste like: true to the flavor, a subtle vinegar kick, and the perfect amount of carbonation. I will say that if you are not used to that strong carbonation that most Kombucha brand’s offer, it may take some getting used to. You’ll learn to love it!
Price: $3.29 per bottle
The Bu was pioneered by Gary Hawes, a surfer living the good life in Hawaii. As he started to drink more and more Kombucha himself, he realized that he was all about the booch, but not so much the vinegar aftertaste. A few formulations and business meetings later, The Bu Kombucha was born! The Bu offers unique Kombucha flavors including: Strawberry Hibiscus, Honeydew, Ginger Peach, Lavender, and Tropical.
I will give this Kombucha credit where it deserves, the bottle looked great. So great that I couldn’t help but take home a bottle and try it for myself. The honeydew flavor caught my attention because I’d never seen this type of flavor before. That being said, and I’ll say this in the nicest way possible: This is the worst Kombucha I have ever tried in my life. To me, this tasted like flavored carbonated water. If I wanted bubbly melon flavored water…I would have bought melon flavored water. The intention of the company was to create a Kombucha that lacked the vinegar-y taste, and that is exactly what I got. In other words, if you like the taste of Kombucha but can’t get past that unique after taste, The Bu has got you covered. It’s just not for me.
Price: $2.50 per bottle
This is the Kombucha that you crave at 9:00 pm and have no choice but to run to Whole Foods to satisfy your craving (yes, I am speaking from experience). Canned in Downtown Los Angeles, the creators of better booch combined the brains of a chemist, chef, and microbiologist in order to achieve what I believe is the best Kombucha on the market. Each of the 9 flavors is made of teas, herbs, botanicals, and absolutely no added sugars. Do yourself a favor, “trust your gut” and get your hands on some Better Booch.
The perfect Kombucha flavor to carbonation ratio doesn’t exis---. Chef’s Kiss. Muah! I’ve found the holy grail of Kombucha and it lies in this beautiful 16 oz can. I would be lying if I said I had never tried every single flavor of Better Booch on the market. The flavors range from Rose Bliss, to Cherry Vanilla, all the way to Ginger Mint. Though it is pretty hard to choose a fav flavor, mine has to be the Ginger mint. It’s the perfect combination of lemongrass, mint and ginger to give you a little boost of energy when needed. If you have tried Kombucha in the past but weren’t completely sold, I am pretty confident that after a can of Better Booch, you will change your mind.
Price: $4.39 per bottle
While diving on the Central Coast of California, Mike, one of the founders of Whalebird Kombucha, spotted what he believed to be a “Whalebird.” What is a Whalebird you might ask? I truly have no idea…But let’s roll with it. The small but motivated team of Kombucha-makers has a mission to produce “the best Kombucha the world has ever seen” in the most sustainable way possible. Huge round of applause for this group of entrepreneurs for placing an emphasis on sustainability! We absolutely love to see it.
One of the things that I really value about Kombucha is when the flavor matches the label. In other words, it’s really disappointing when I try a Kombucha and have no idea what the flavor is supposed to be. And that is exactly what happened here. When I tried the “Manguava” flavor. I was expecting to take a sip and immediately transport to Hawaii enjoying a Mango + Guava Kombucha flavor on the beach. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Instead, it just tasted like a fruity, almost citrusy flavor that was over powered by bubbles. That being said, in terms of carbonization, Whalebird checked the box.
Price: $2.99 per bottle
Back in 2006, Mike Thomas opened Townshend Tea Company in Portland, Oregon with a goal to serve tea in a comfortable, homey cafe setting. Once he started to brew his own Kombucha in the back of the teahouse, everybody fell in love, so he began to bottle it. And boy, are we glad he did. Dr. Brew Kombucha is made from high quality, organic ingredients with natural live and active cultures. On top of that, all of the natural alcohol is removed and repurposed. Bonus points for sustainability! As if all of this wasn’t enough, 1% of the revenue from each bottle is donated to nonprofits that focus on saving the planet. Drink Brew Dr Kombucha and feel good doing it.
This Kombucha has a special place in my heart. One time I told my dad that I loved Kombucha and he came back with a case of Brew Dr from Costco. Within a week or two, the entire case was gone, and I added Brew Dr. to my list of favorite Kombuchas. When examining the shelves at Whole Foods, I knew that I could not leave without the “Lavender, Chamomile and Jasmine" Flavor. It seemed like the type of flavor that makes you feel really calm and healthy after drinking it, and it was. I absolutely loved this flavor. Not overpowering, not too sweet, but just right.
Price: $3.00 per bottle
Do you know when you’ve eaten the same thing too many times to the point where you simply cannot consume it anymore? Yeah, that’s my current relationship with Pink Lady Apple Health-Ade Kombucha. Health-Aid was started in 2012 by a couple and their best friend at a small farmers market. Each bottle offers beneficial probiotics, healthy acids, and antioxidants that help get rid of the icky bacteria in your body. Some of the most popular flavors include (but are not limited to), Ginger-Lemon, Pink Lady Apple, Passion-Fruit Tangerine, Pomegranate, and even Blood Orange-Carrot Ginger. Sign me up!
Health-Ade Kombucha places an emphasis on quality which is on display when trying each flavor. Regardless of the flavor, whether it be Ginger-Lemon, Pomegranate, or Pink Lady apple, of course, you are getting what you signed up for. Each Health-Ade flavor is delicious, true to the label, and the right amount of sweet. In terms of carbonization, it can be a bit overwhelming…In other words, I’ve had a few bottles explode on me. Drink responsibly: open with caution!
Price: $5.99 per can
Imagine drinking alcohol that isn’t completely terrible for you. Thanks to June Shine Hard Kombucha, this dream has recently become a reality. In June 2018 a few friends in San Diego started making hard Kombucha out of their garage. Their Kombucha dreams soon became one of the most popular hard Kombucha brands on the market. “Better-for-you-alcohol,” “Low Sugar,” and “Real. Refreshing.” Not sure what else one could ask for when it comes to an alcoholic beverage…June Shine checks every box. With flavors including Blood Orange Mint, Midnight Pineapple, Hopical Citrus, Acai Berry, and Honey Ginger Lemon, it is truly impossible to choose a favorite.
I know that this might not be a popular opinion, but my favorite type of alcoholic beverage is the one where you cannot taste the alcohol. That’s why hard k=Kombucha has recently become my drink of choice. By combining different fruits and vegetables to create unique flavors, June Shine pretty much hits the nail on the head when it comes to the flavor department. June Shine offers a flavorful, carbonated, light alcoholic beverage, and I could not ask for more. Simply put -- to try June Shine is to love June Shine.
Price: $3.19 per can
During the fall of 2016, a group of passionate entrepreneurs came together to create what is now Flying Embers Kombucha. The formulation was born in a hundred-year-old wine cellar in Ojai, California. Just weeks after their recipe was first brewed, it was threatened by a massive California wildfire. As the team watched a fire travel towards their precious fermentation lab, they began to come to terms with reality: their dreams of revolutionizing the alcohol beverage industry could soon be in the past. Minutes later, the winds turned left which ultimately saved their business and dreams. There you have it… The name “Flying Embers” is tied inextricably to that fateful moment in Ojai.
Sweet and Bubbly, but a little too much vinegar. Remember when I said I love that vinegar flavor in Kombucha? I still do, but not enough to where it overpowers the flavor. If you are in the mood for something pretty strong, Flying Embers is the beverage for you. Depending on what you are in the mood for, Flying Embers offers both “Light” and “Hard” alcohol Kombucha. I’m definitely a “light” kind of girl.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed our tour-de-Kombucha fridge. It’s clear the Kombucha is here to stay and the market continues to grow by the day. Next time you are at your local grocery store, grab a booch or two. I know it may not be for everyone, but as I said before... Baby steps. Happy drinking!
Oh, and, pro tip: save your bottles of Kombucha, strip the label with a dish soap and sponge, and Voila! A beautiful flower vase. The epitome of trash to treasure.