Best Kombucha Brands

The 6 Best Kombucha Brands in 2019

Although kombucha has been around for 2000 years or so, until recently it was a fridge staple in the local health food store or brewed by a few local health gurus. After making its Hollywood debut in the last decade, it seems that kombucha is now here to stay. Containing probiotics which can help improve digestive health and tea that has several health benefits, it can include other natural and raw ingredients which may also have some benefits for wellbeing.

With so much kombucha now on the shelves, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. In this article we review some traditional kombucha and some of the best kombucha brands with a contemporary twist. We also look at the background of this popular drink, its potential health benefits and some of the concerns around its safety. So, whether new to kombucha or a regular drinker, we hope that when you read on, you will find some interesting new facts about this very old drink.

​Best Pick

B-tea Raw Organic Kombucha

The B-tea kombucha is our best pick as a traditional kombucha which is organic, probiotic and alcohol-free.

​Budget Pick

Wonder Drink Kombucha Traditional

The Wonder Drink kombucha traditional is our budget pick with its sweeter blend of three teas, organic flavors and juices.


1. ​Wonder Drink Kombucha Traditional  

Highlighted Features

  • A sweeter tasting modern style kombucha with black, green and oolong teas and acetic acid
  • Made in the US from globally sourced organic ingredients
  • It is free from any GMO ingredients and suitable for vegan and gluten free diets
  • Available as a value 24 pack of 8.4oz cans

Made from premium organic black, green and oolong teas, the Wonder Drink kombucha traditional is fermented and blended with organic flavors and fruit juices. This non-alcoholic sparkling drink is certified USDA Organic, gluten free, vegan and non-GMO.

Offering a more modern twist to a traditional kombucha, it is available in a 24 pack of 8.4oz cans. As this is a pasteurized drink, it does not contain any probiotics unlike raw kombucha. This also has a sweeter taste and some drinkers may find it tastes better served over ice.

​Pros

  • check
    Sweeter tasting modern style kombucha
  • check
    Sparkling and non-alcoholic
  • check
    Certified USDA Organic
  • check
    Contains tea and acetic acid
  • check
    US-made

​Cons

  • check
    Does not contain probiotics as these are lost during the pasteurization process
  • check
    If you drink kombucha you may find this a little too sweet in flavor
  • check
    May find it better tasting if served cold and over ice

2. B-tea Raw Organic Kombucha 

Highlighted Features

  • A traditional kombucha made from 100% Darjeeling black tea leaves
  • All ingredients are raw, all-natural and organic
  • Contains SCOBY probiotics that are fresh in each batch of drink produced
  • The BPA-free and UV-protected bottles can be stored and served at room temperature

The traditional B-tea kombucha is made with Darjeeling black tea leaves and is certified organic. It uses only raw and all-natural ingredients which are primary fermented for three weeks. It uses fresh SCOBY, or ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’, in every fresh batch of kombucha made.

SCOBY can sometimes develop in the bottles even though the drink is micro-filtrated before bottling and you may find an occasional clump at the bottom of the bottle which although completely harmless, you may find it slightly unpleasant to drink.

This non-alcoholic kombucha comes in two sizes of bottle and the 8oz bottles come in a handy pack of 12. The plastic bottles are free from BPA and UV-protected. This kombucha does not need storing or serving cold and it is gluten free.

​Pros

  • check
    Kombucha made from Darjeeling black tea
  • check
    Contains probiotics
  • check
    Organic
  • check
    Can be stored and served at room temperature
  • check
    UV protected bottles
  • check
    Gluten free
  • check
    Non-alcoholic

​Cons

  • check
    Clumps may settle at the bottom of the bottles which you may find a little unpleasant to consume
  • check
    You may find the 8oz bottle a little small for complete refreshment

3. GetKombucha Kombucha Extract

Highlighted Features

  • Non-GMO and certified USDA Organic Fairtrade kombucha extract
  • Caffeine and sugar-free and suitable for gluten-free and vegan diets
  • Dropper bottle for easy measuring for dilution
  • Can mix with different drinks, marinades or sauces to make it more palatable if you are not keen on the flavor of kombucha

The GetKombucha kombucha extract is certified USDA Organic Fairtrade and GMO-free. Made with an in-house formulated blend of organic whole tea leaves, it is free from any alcohol or sugar. Unlike traditional kombucha, this extract does not contain caffeine.

Suitable for gluten free or vegan diets, it comes in a dropper bottle that allows you to add varying amounts of the extract to iced tea, juice or water. You can even use it as a marinade or dressing. As it is an extract, and if you are not keen on the taste of kombucha, it does give you the option to dilute even further and hide its taste.

​Pros

  • check
    Organic and GMO-Free
  • check
    Kombucha extract for diluting
  • check
    Caffeine free
  • check
    Contains probiotics
  • check
    Sugar free
  • check
    Does not need refrigeration

​Cons

  • check
    ​The bottle dropper may not always work very well, particularly if there are clumps of probiotics
  • check
    ​If you do drink kombucha you may not be as keen on this as its flavor is diluted

4. TEALIXIR Herbal Kombucha Dr. Marigold 

Highlighted Features

  • Kombucha made with Ceylon tea with echinacea, St. John’s Wort, ginkgo, hawthorn and other botanicals that may offer health benefits
  • It contains probiotics and is GMO free, organic and Fairtrade
  • Suitable for those on a gluten free or vegan diet
  • Available in 12oz cans that are lined and free from BPA.

The TEALIXIR herbal kombucha Dr. Marigold is made from Ceylon tea, echinacea, St. John’s Wort, ginkgo and hawthorn. It also contains an infusion of marigold, dandelion and other fruits, flowers and spices that may offer health benefits. Like the traditional kombucha drinks, it contains probiotics.

It is non-alcoholic, does not have any GMO ingredients and is Fairtrade. It is also gluten free and suitable for vegan diets. It comes in premium line 12oz cans that are free from BPA

​Pros

  • check
    Blend of Ceylon tea and botanicals
  • check
    Probiotic
  • check
    Comes in lined BPA-free 12oz cans
  • check
    Non-alcoholic
  • check
    ​Free from GMO ingredients
  • check
    ​Organic and Fairtrade

​Cons

  • check
    Some consumers may find it has more of the ‘vinegary’ taste than other kombucha drinks
  • check
    Different tasting kombucha due to its many extra ingredients

5. GT’s Hibiscus Ginger Kombucha 

Highlighted Features

  • A fermented and organically produced kombucha containing black and green teas, hibiscus and ginger
  • Naturally effervescent, it is raw and contains probiotics
  • Available in a handy 12 pack of larger 16oz bottles

A raw fermented drink with natural effervescence, GT’s hibiscus ginger kombucha is organically produced. Made with black tea, green tea, kiwi juice, hibiscus and ginger, it contains naturally occurring alcohol and is a probiotic drink. These 16oz glass bottles come in a pack of 12, and because this kombucha needs shipping and storing cold, its delivery costs will be higher than comparable products.

​Pros

  • check
    Raw fermented kombucha
  • check
    Made with black and green teas
  • check
    Organically produced
  • check
    Contains probiotics
  • check
    Large 16 oz bottles

​Cons

  • check
    It may not be suitable for all as it contains naturally occurring alcohol
  • check
    This needs to be shipped and stored cold which will add to delivery costs
  • check
    Comes in glass bottles which may make it less suitable for drinking away from the home

6. Health-Ade Jalapeno-Kiwi-Cucumber Kombucha 

Highlighted Features

  • Made with green and black teas, it also contains jalapeno, kiwi and cucumber – giving a spicy and unique flavor
  • Effervescent and contains probiotic cultures
  • Made with USDA certified organic ingredients, it is also non-GMO, gluten free, vegan and raw

The Health-Ade jalapeno-kiwi-cucumber kombucha is made from a blend of USDA certified organic ingredients, including black and green teas. This small batch kombucha is also non-GMO Project verified, certified gluten free, vegan and raw.

This is a spicy flavored kombucha which may not be popular with all and shipping is currently limited to certain states as it needs cold shipping.

​Pros

  • check
    Spicy probiotic kombucha
  • check
    Made with black and green teas
  • check
    Jalapeno, kiwi and cucumber flavor
  • check
    USDA certified organic ingredients

​Cons

  • check
    The different flavor may not be as popular with those who drink more traditional kombucha
  • check
    May not be available for shipping to your state as it is shipped cold

Things to Consider Before Buying Kombucha

All About Kombucha

Kombucha or ‘booch’ is a traditional drink that has been around for the last two millennia. It is a fermented tea with an acidic taste and a little sweetness. Originally brewed in China it spread to Japan and Russia and the name kombucha is thought to be from Japan; when a doctor treated an emperor called Kombu with the tea. As the Japanese word for tea is cha, the names were joined together to create kombucha.

It is made with a probiotic culture often called SCOBY or ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’ and it is these cultures that many suggest offer the real health benefits. If you are new to kombucha you may sometimes see the SCOBY settled on the bottom of the bottle. Although you may not fancy drinking these clumps, they are completely harmless as they are made up of the beneficial probiotics that were added to the drink during production.

Black tea is the common tea in kombucha, but others contain green or oolong. Herbal teas or similar are not used as they do not support healthy SCOBY.

When kombucha is made, tea is steeped and removed from the water and then sugar is dissolved into the brew. Once it cools, the SCOBY and a small amount of previously fermented kombucha, also known as a starter liquid, is added. The brew then ferments at room temperature for around seven to ten days and may be tasted and bottled then or allowed to ferment longer for the right flavor.

Each batch of tea will usually have some minor nutritional differences due to the use of ‘live’ and raw ingredients.

Kombucha is usually raw or unpasteurized to prevent damage to its probiotics and nutrients. Because of this, most need cold storing to prevent them from over fermenting. When kombucha ferments it also produces natural alcohol and its shelf life usually determines how long it can be cold stored before its ethanol level goes above prescribed legal limits.

Kombucha has a low pH, but to make it safe to consume it cannot be any more acidic than 2.5 or more neutral than 4.2 on the pH scale. When the final pH is around 2.5, kombucha has antimicrobial activity against a broad spectrum of bacteria and yeasts, although this may not just be due to the pH; the polyphenols in the tea and other molecules may also act as antimicrobials.

Kombucha for Better Health?

There are many claims made as to the health benefits of kombucha. To date, few have any scientific evidence supporting them, although some of the ingredients such as probiotics and tea have been shown to have some health benefits.

Raw kombucha contains probiotics or live bacteria and yeasts. There are many types of probiotics, such as lactobacillus, which is also found in yogurt. Known as ‘good’ bacteria, probiotics can help maintain better gut health by balancing out ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut and increasing levels of good bacteria which are destroyed when you have taken antibiotics.

Although there is still much research needed in this area, it is suggested that probiotics are helpful in cases of infectious diarrhea or diarrhea caused by antibiotics, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Some also suggest probiotics may help with some skin conditions, oral health and urinary health.

Benefits of Tea

The probable benefits of tea have been examined in detail by many scientists and quite a few studies show links between tea consumption and specific health conditions.

Black tea contains polyphenols which are antioxidants. These remove molecules called free radicals in the body which cause damage to cells. Free radical damage is linked to major conditions such as cancer and diabetes. Polyphenols may also act as antimicrobials and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria in the body.

Flavonoids are another group of antioxidants found in tea and these may help reduce factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and higher triglyceride levels.

The Safety of Kombucha

Some groups advise against drinking kombucha due to a very low risk of contamination. However, as people do brew their own, it is more likely this which causes the higher risk of contamination, rather than commercially produced kombucha which is a specialized food process subject to federal controls.

There are several good manufacturing processes or GMPs and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that the FDA suggests to manufacturers for safer kombucha production. The FDA also says that kombucha can be safe for human consumption when properly prepared and is safe to consume up to four ounces per day.

If you have compromised immunity, are pregnant or have pre-existing health considerations then you should not consume kombucha. You should not allow young children to drink it either. Like any new food, start with a small amount taken with plenty of water and wait to see how your body reacts. You may have some temporary upset, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea, mainly because the balance of bacteria in your gut is altering due to the probiotics.

There have been occasional cases of illness and a rare death reported, although these cases were associated with certain factors, including non-hygienic home production practices. The more common side effects reported from kombucha include nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions and jaundice, although it may be that these arise through excessive consumption of kombucha, or other pre-existing medical conditions.

Conclusion

In this article we have looked at some of the reasons why ‘booch’ has become so popular. Although many of its health claims have yet to be confirmed, there are definite links between two key ingredients - tea and probiotics - and health benefits. There are occasional safety concerns with drinking kombucha, but these seem to be more often through poor home brewing rather than commercially available drinks which are subject to federal controls.

So, whether you want a traditional kombucha, or fancy something with a different flavor, we hope that our review of some of the best kombucha brands currently available has been helpful and supplied enough information for you to make your booch choice.
The 6 Best Kombucha Brands in 2019
5 (100%) 11 votes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.