Kombucha is basically a tea fermented with bacteria to form a naturally effervescent drink that rules when it comes to tasting good while also having health benefits. A staple in the functional food movement, the popularity of kombucha has unfortunately brought out lots of fizzy phonies that make the drink simply by adding probiotics to sugary fruit juices.
Kombuchas brewed closest to the Asian tradition (make a tea, ferment it, call it a day) can strengthen your immune system, improve gut health, and impart the health benefits of teas like blood sugar control, antioxidant delivery, and possibly even reduce the risk of cancers.
Here are the kombucha brands brewing it up the right way, plus a beer-bucha for your liking.
Brew Dr. Kombucha
The founder of Brew Dr. started out as all Kombucha masters do, making tea. He personally invested everything he had into the company and it shows. Opting for a purist approach closest to Asian tradition, Brew Dr. Kombucha doesn’t add any extra flavoring or juice. It’s purely fermented tea made of dried roots, herbs, and whole fruits. That means a clean yet complex-tasting Kombucha with live and active cultures. Their newest summer 2019 flavor Power Flower was released April 15 and is a blend of hibiscus, orange, lemon thyme, and green tea. (Try adding it to a slushy.)
GT’s began as a home-brewed, pungent tea the founder would make for his mother during her battle with breast cancer. At the age of 15, the founder started bottling at home and today this widely popular kombucha has made the fizzy fermented tea easy to approach (and become addicted to). We found a 48-ounce bottle at the grocery store and didn’t think twice before buying it — that’s because the flavors are ridiculously delicious and the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria, which turns tea into kombucha) isn’t at all cringe-worthy.
Brewed in Los Angeles, Health-Ade is our go-to kombucha for the holiday season. While everyone else is drinking boozy eggnog and ciders, we’re knocking back their Holiday Cheers flavor with notes of ginger, allspice, and chocolate. Trust me on this, Health-Ade is also as legit as it gets, using only glass products during fermentation to prevent plastic and metal leaching, brewing each 2.5-gallon case at a time to perfect the final product, and adding cold-pressed juice from organic produce for flavor.
If kombucha feels too hippie and child-of-the-earth for you then pick up Búcha— which is still a kombucha, but feels fancier. With a lower acidity, you don’t get the vinegar taste but there’s still more than two billion live probiotics in the immunity-boosting elixir. A blend of teas and juice make up the base so opt for this kombucha at a backyard dinner party and trick your guests or kids into a healthier alternative to soda.
The cool players behind Humm Kombucha know that the drink starts and ends with the tea base. That’s where a ton of the health benefits come from, since teas are natural anti-inflammatories, rich in antioxidants, and kick ass against DNA-damaging free radicals. After the tea has been made into kombucha, then Humm adds organic fruits, berry juices, and spices. And they like to experiment with flavors, which is always fun. Then they add extra carbonation, which tastes great. The final result tastes earthy and real. (We’re looking at you, Ginger Juniper. Get in our belly.)
Suja is better known for their pressed health juices and wellness shots but the company also dabbles in Kombucha. They’ve put laser-focus on monitoring levels of sugar and alcohol — a problem that has gotten other kombucha brands into legal trouble in the past. Suja’s Organic Kombuchas use long-term fermentation to support digestive health, are verified non-alcoholic, and use no added extracts or flavors.
Maybe you want a boozy kombucha? We got you covered with Flying Embers, an organic hard kombucha brewed in Ventura, California. Because healthy beer is in right now and we’re all about it. Their badass hundred-year-old stone wine cellar turned fermentation lab was threatened by wildfires only a year after being founded but the site was miraculously saved. Hence the name, Flying Embers. They use superfoods like ginger, ashwagandha, turmeric, and goji berry alongside other botanical adaptogens and live probiotics to create their 4.5% alcohol by volume beer-bucha.