By Brenna O’Dea
Are you part of the fermenting frenzy sweeping the nation? From pickles to sauerkraut to kimchi to KOMBUCHA, more and more people are munching and sipping on fermented foods to aid in overall health and digestion. Now what exactly is kombucha? Maybe you’ve never even heard of this wacky word before. Look no further, we’ve got the knowledge you need to decide if this fizzy beverage is right for you, and which flavor you might fancy. Before we begin our taste tour, I will let you in on a little secret. Kombucha is not as complicated as it sounds. It is simply tea combined with a starter culture containing yeast and healthy bacteria. Let these ingredients mingle for a few weeks and you’ve got yourself a freshly fermented creation loaded with friendly bacteria that will leave your taste buds and tummy happy. Now I will introduce you to a few friends in the booch business:
Who? GT’s Kombucha
What? Enlightened Synergy Trilogy
Where? Beverly Hills, CA
If you’ve only tasted one booch brew in your lifetime, this is probably it. One of the most popular brands on the market, offering a wide variety of flavors, GT’s Kombucha has something to sip on for all palates. “Mystic Mango,” “Strawberry Serenity,” “Cosmic Cranberry” and “Guava Goddess” just to name a few. I have sampled a few of these fruity varieties, but usually stick with my personal favorite, Trilogy flavor. With notes of raspberry, lemon and ginger, it is the perfect sweet ‘n tart afternoon (or any time of day) pick me up. Loaded with folic acid and five, count ‘em, FIVE B vitamins, not to mention only TWO grams of sugar, just a few sips (or the whole bottle) will crush your sugar cravings and give you a healthy energy boost.
Who? Raw & Organic Live Beverages
What? Sparkling Ginger
Where? Austin, TX
If you are feelin’ the fizzzz then this brew is for you. So I guess I am a bit bias toward ginger and I can just never get enough of the stuff. This one however, has a fainter ginger flavor and tastes a bit more sour. Now for kombucha, sour can definitely be a good thing. This one is all about the fizz and less about the fruit, with just hints of ginger throughout and that’s pretty much it. The fermented flavor from the yeast is not too potent, so if you like simpler flavors and want to ease into this whole drinking bacteria thing, I would opt for this baby.
Who? Kevita Sparkling Probiotic
What? Lemon Cayenne
Where? Ojai, CA
Sweet ‘n spicy says it all. As someone with a very low spice tolerance, I can definitely handle the hints of cayenne pepper in this potion. They are nicely balanced with soft sweetness from the maple syrup and tingling tartness from the lemon juice. Just a few simple ingredients but plenty of flavor and flare. Sip on this sparkling beverage on a hot summer day, or after a sweat session at your local SoulCycle or Corepower Yoga. This drink is the perfect refreshment after detoxing your body with some good ol’ fashioned fitness.
Who? Tapuat Brewing Co.
What? Wellness Kombucha
Where? Door County, WI
A recent discovery, this brew is one of the freshest I have tasted. Bursting with bubbles and some fascinating flavors, this Wisconsin based booch brings things to the next level. The Wellness flavor includes elderflower, elderberry, Echinacea, olive leaf, lemon balm and of course, ginger root. With these herbs and spices this kombucha brings a bundle of health benefits with each sip. Tapuat offers a wide variety of interesting flavors for the more adventurous palates, including brews made with gunpowder green tea, local bee pollen, rosehips, hibiscus, pineapple, lychee and ginkgo biloba.
Who? NessAlla Kombucha
What? Juniper Rose
Where? Madison, WI
And now for the grand finale…living as a Madisonian for four years I have been lucky enough to taste this fine delicacy. Brewed just down the street, I can taste the freshness in every sip. Juniper rose is one of the more floral flavors I have encountered. This brew is particularly powerful making it a great option for those who love the potent fermented flavor. NessAlla also offers seasonal flavors including their fall flavor, turmeric lemon ginger, and their winter flavor, hibiscus cardamom ginger. Heat some up and curl up by the fire with a good read for a cozy oasis on a cool winter night.
Now that you know the basics of brewing the booch, go grab a bottle (or ten!) and try them out for yourself. Maybe you can even try making your own, or mixing some with your morning coffee. You can even get it delivered right to your front door. Whether you favor sweet or sour, hot or cold, elderberry or Echinacea, you are sure to find a kombucha that keeps your taste buds singing and energy levels soaring. So swap out your next tame glass of tea for a bubbly bottle of fermented freshness, you just might be pleasantly surprised.
(Image by flickr member Sandra licensed under Creative Commons)