Product Review: Kombucha
Your S&H team puts the "mother" of all health drinks to the (taste) test.
Of such popularity today that even Coca-Cola has ownership in a version, Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea (usually green or black) thought to have originated in China 2,000 years ago. Sometimes referred to as a "mushroom,” or, more fondly, “mother,” the kombucha culture is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, a.k.a. SCOBY. Probiotics are produced as a byproduct of the reaction between the tea and the bacteria in the SCOBY. And therein lie the oft-touted health benefits.
While there are plenty who warn of kombucha’s potential harm when a home-brewed batch is contaminated, health claims among its staunch believers are broad and varied: kombucha boosts the immune system, improves energy, digestion, and metabolism, and may even help grow hair! Drinking the beverage is not viewed as a curative for diseases such as cancer or arthritis, but one method of bringing the body back into balance when compromised.
The Nitty Gritty Flavor Report: Kombucha is certainly an acquired taste. Tangy, fizzy, and clean-tasting are the good news; slimy, medicinal, and smelling slightly of compost are also fair assessments for some juice versions. All the flavors we tried were organic and raw. Each 16-ounce bottle cost $3.79, contained two servings, and listed sugar at two to three grams per serving. All are recommended chileld and/or over ice.
GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha (Citrus)
An earthy brew tasting slightly of vitamins and roasted lemons. Refreshing.
GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha (Multi-Green)
Blue-green algae and spirulina give this juice its seaworthy hue. The cleanest and most revitalizing taste of the bunch.
Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha (Hibiscus Ginger Grapefruit)
Tasty, but so strongly acidic that adding a bit of a melon-flavored competitor (below) improved it greatly.
Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha (Passion Mango Ginger)
A favorite among our group. Ginger is a perfect flavor note for this drink.
Synergy Organic and Raw Kombucha (GT’s) (Raspberry Chia)
Okay. Now we understand the hair-growth claim. This stuff is truly unpalatable!
TheBu Kombucha (Melon)
The mildest of all the flavors we tasted, with a slight hint of cantaloupe. This is the pick for those who want a soda-like experience.
Those interested in making their own kombucha at home can get started here.