First of all, what the fuck even is kombucha? Kombucha (or as the veterans refer to it, booch) is a fermented tea drink that is sweetened with fruit juices or sugar. People tend to have strong opinions on kombucha because of its distinct fermented taste. It's supposed to have numerous health properties, the biggest being promoting gut health due to the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also known as SCOBY; if you're drinking kombucha, you're probably taking in lots of good bacteria. Here’s the low–down on some different brands that are available around campus (and although prices vary, we've included the rough estimates of on–campus costs):
This locally brewed brand is available at Saxby’s, so it’s super convenient. They also sell it at United by Blue now, thanks to the expansion. The flower power is sweet and has a hint of floral, without making you feel like you just gnawed on some potpourri. Plus it's in a super cute bottle and is slightly smaller than other brands, which helps when you don’t want to guzzle fermented tea all day long.
For Kombucha Beginners: eh, definitely tastes like kombucha, but has a mild “booch–y” taste.
Price estimate: $6.50
You can buy this brand at Gourmet Grocer (aka if you're a freshman you can use your leftover dining dollars) in a variety of flavors, but we enjoyed the lemon ginger. This variety was super sweet and was similar to drinking a lemonade. There was little to no fermented taste, making it feel less like kombucha and more like a juice drink. (Ed. note: Don't mistake other probiotic Kevita beverages for their kombucha, or you'll definitely miss out.)
For Kombucha Beginners: For sure. This barely had any fermented taste.
Price estimate: $4
Brew Dr. Kombucha
This brand is available at Trader Joe’s, and if you trek there, the price pays off. This is one of the cheapest brands of kombucha, so you can enjoy the health drink without breaking the bank. This brand prides itself on being a tea company, which comes through in their kombucha because it's much less flavored with fruity juices. We tried the Clear Mind flavor and it was absolutely amazing. It has the distinct fermented taste, while still being fresh due to the strong tea flavor.
For Kombucha Beginners: probably not, unless you don’t mind the fermented taste as it has the distinct “booch–y” flavor.
Price estimate: $3.50
GT’s Enlightened Organic Kombucha
This is considered the go–to kombucha brand. We drank their Gingerade (sense a trend here? Do we like ginger?) and it had much more of a gingery taste than the Kevita, as well as a more fermented taste. It's fairly easy to get this brand—they sell it at Gourmet Grocer as well as other retailers on campus—and it comes in a variety of flavors, which allows you to find the one that will be best.
For Kombucha Beginners: yes, but only if you don’t mind the fermented taste. This is kind of the OG grocery/health food store mass–produced kombucha, so you would be getting the “authentic” experience.
Price estimate: $7
For this brand, we tried the Pink Lady flavor and it tasted like cider (the alcoholic kind). It was super easy to drink and the sweetness of the apple balanced the slightly more bitter, fermented taste to create a great kombucha. Some kombucha purists may find that it's a little sweet, but for most this is a great option. The only issue is that the bottle is huge and it's hard to actually drink the entire bottle, but they also have jugs so that you can portion control more and buy in bulk.
For Kombucha Beginners: this has an “alcoholic” taste more than a fermented taste. It really does taste like hard cider, so if that’s your thing (whose isn't it?) then this is perfect.
Price estimate: $4.50