Kombucha has been popping up in health food stores, grocery chains and restaurants for a few years, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows exactly what it is. Like kefir, kimchi, yogurt and cheese, kombucha is a fermented food that is made from brewing a combination of tea, either black or green, and symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast or scoby. Used in China for thousands of years, kombucha is now making waves in North America for its health benefits.
For those who suffer from digestive issues, kombucha can help soothe upset stomachs and help with bowel movements when things get backed up. It’s believed to strengthen the immune system and, in some cases, includes probiotics that help with gut health.
Although kombucha provides several benefits, there are some precautions that must be taken when consuming the drink. Traces of alcohol appear in almost all brands of kombucha drinks because of the fermentation process. As bottles and cans of kombucha sit on shelves or in warehouses, they continue to ferment and the amount of alcohol per serving may increase. For this reason, kombucha should be avoided by children, pregnant women, and anyone with substance abuse issues. It’s also important to use common sense when drinking kombucha if you’re going to be driving, operating heavy machinery, at work or caring for young children.
There are many ways to enjoy kombucha, including hot teas, sparkling waters, and more. Check out our favorite kombucha drinks below.
1. Yogi Tea Green Tea Kombucha
The Yogi Tea Green Tea Kombucha gives customers a boost of caffeine along with the added health benefits of both green tea and kombucha. The clean and green tea is made with organic ingredients and is free from artificial sweeteners and flavors. Gluten-free, kosher and vegan, each of the six boxes in the set of Yogi tea come with 16 bags of the herbal supplement tea. The tea blends spearmint, plum and passion flavors for a delicious hot beverage that can be served with one or two tea bags per mug. We also like that the individually packaged tea bags make it easy to take Yogi tea on the go and that the company offers a decaf option.
Pros: The Yogi tea includes green tea as well as kombucha, which includes antioxidants to support overall wellness.
Cons: The Yogi tea does not include probiotics like other kombucha products.
2. Theory of Kombucha Powdered Drink Mix
For a healthy gut and a great tasting drink, try the Theory of Kombucha Powdered Drink Mix. Theory uses 2 billion CFUs of probiotics and five grams of prebiotics, which together provide a strong basis for healthy digestive function. Theory combines delicious flavors that are known to have positive digestive and gut side effects, including ginger, lemon, and apple-cider vinegar, which detoxify and calm the gut. Theory doesn’t have a fermented vinegar aftertaste and doesn’t contain sugar or alcohol. Like the Yogi Tea, it’s also gluten-free, vegan and kosher.
Pros: The Theory drink mixes are individually packaged in 12 pouches, making them easy to travel with and take on the go. Each pouch contains 15 calories and one carb.
Cons: The Theory pouches contain caffeine and have a very sweet taste because of the use of stevia, which some customers may not like. Theory offers various flavors that contain coloring and may stain cloth or fabric if spilled after being added to water.
3. Wonder Drink Kombucha
For a refreshing drink that will leave you feeling healthy, try the Wonder Drink Kombucha. The sparkling fermented tea is sold in 24 packs of 8.4-ounce cans and made with USDA organic ingredients that are gluten free, vegan, non-GMO and BPA free. Wonder is made with friendly yeast and bacteria that is good for users and their gut health. The Asian pear and ginger flavor shown here include the antioxidants found in black, green and oolong teas and acetic acids.
Pros: Wonder is available in five delicious flavors, four of which contain no juice (the cherry flavor contains 7% juice).
Cons: Wonder Drink contains 70 calories and 15 grams of sugar and may not be appropriate for diabetics or people who are avoiding sugary drinks. The company also markets itself as safe for children, but kombucha should be avoided by all children and pregnant women. Wonder Drinks are pasteurized, a process that unfortunately takes away some of the benefits of kombucha.
4. Get Kombucha Starter Kit
Detoxify your body and boost your immune system with the Get Kombucha Starter Kit. The kit comes with everything you need to ferment and enjoy your own kombucha, including a large kombucha culture or Scoby, 60 servings of flavored tea blend, a recipe guide and access to online videos and community support. One kit comes with enough ingredients to make five gallons of kombucha, offering major cost savings. All ingredients included in the kit are organic and Get Kombucha uses Fair Trade evaporated sugar cane.
Pros: The Scoby included in the kit is 6.5 inches, which the company advertises as the largest in North America.
Cons: Scoby is not recommended for those who are immunosuppressed. Each batch takes two weeks to ferment, so if you’re looking for a kombucha option to drink immediately, this isn’t it. The kit does not come with the five-gallon container necessary to make the kombucha or storage bottles.