Kombucha is a relatively new trend among health-conscious Americans, but this fermented tea beverage dates as far back as 221 BCE. Nearly every gas station, supermarket, or corner store has stocked its shelves with at least one kombucha brand, and Americans cannot get enough of it, especially among younger shoppers.
About 51 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 drink kombucha in the United States. But why? Not only is kombucha delicious, but this fermented drink is associated with a wide arrange of health benefits that range from disease prevention to improved gut health.
There is a kombucha for everyone, regardless of taste preferences. Kombucha is often a tart and fizzy drink that can vary between floral, fruity, and herbal flavors. For those who like ginger beer, probiotic soda, or sparkling apple cider, kombucha will become an immediate favorite. You can find refreshing fruit-flavored bottles or grab a ginger-filled immune-boosting recipe.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage, with origins in China dating back over 2,000 years. The “tea of immortality” is traditionally brewed with a blend of green or black tea, sugar, remnants of the last batch, and, of course, the SCOBY. But what’s a SCOBY? Short for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, this cellulose mat is essential to the fermentation process.
This traditionally home-brewed beverage has developed into an international trend, and now, American shoppers can find bottled Kombuchas at nearly every store in the United States. The global kombucha industry is valued at $2.64 billion, according to Grand View Research.
Kombucha’s purported health benefits include boosting the immune system and improving gut health. This fermented beverage is rich in probiotics and offers the same health benefits as tea. Also, most kombucha is packed with antioxidants that can help fortify your immune system. One study found that regular kombucha consumption reduces liver toxicity by about 70 percent.
Some advocates who urge us to drink kombucha claim that this fermented beverage can help reduce stress, fight cancer, improve liver function, help reduce gout symptoms, and much more. But more research is necessary to uphold these claims.
But which brand makes the best kombucha? Here, we rank the top kombucha brands on the market for taste and health.
The Best Kombucha Brands
Aqua ViTea: Hibiscus Ginger Lime
If you’re seeking a low-sugar kombucha without having to give up on taste, AquaViTea provides not only delicious, inventive flavors like Turmeric Sunrise and Hibiscus Ginger Lime, but also uses organic ingredients and is naturally low sugar. The kombucha is made in small batches in Vermont and you can taste the care that goes into each bright, cheery bottle.
Total Sugars 6g, Includes 4g Added Sugar
Brew Dr.: Love
Another familiar face that crowds grocery shelves is Brew Dr., an organic brand that is quickly rising in popularity. Its flavors range from names of emotions such as ‘Love’ and ‘Clear Mind,’ to more specific offerings such as ‘Island Mango’ and ‘Strawberry Basil’ and taste more delicate and floral than other varieties of kombucha. Raw. unpasteurized, and craft-brewed, Brew Dr. retains the values and care consistent with a smaller company while still remaining widely available.
Total Sugars 12g, Includes 12g Added Sugar
Buchi Kombucha: Ginger
Packaged in adorable snack-sized cans, Buchi Kombucha may just be the perfect on-the-go offering to pop into a lunch box or work briefcase. Started by two mothers on a mission to make better kombucha for their children, you can feel the love and care put into this women-owned brand. With flavors named after nature and the elements (for example, Fire is a punchy brew of Ginger and Cayenne) this brand makes Kombucha the way nature intended––organic, raw, non-GMO, and unpasteurized.
Total Sugars 10g, Includes 10g Added Sugar
Buddha’s Brew: Pineapple Super Greens
Buddha’s Brew is the best option to introduce new kombucha drinkers to the fermented tea beverage. With 14 dynamic flavors, this brand offers a kombucha catered to anyone’s taste preferences. The brand uses organic ingredients and fair trade teas in its brewing process, developing an authentic and healthy beverage that’s perfect in the mornings. With only 11 grams of sugar per bottle, this is a gut-healthy option with less sugar than its lead competitors.
Total Sugars 11g, Includes 11g Added Sugar
GT’s Synergy Raw Kombucha: Trilogy
GT’s signature raw kombuchas feature a completely organic recipe packed with enzymes and probiotics to keep your gut healthy. This kombucha brand is responsible for propelling the fermented tea into the American mainstream. GT’s slogan is “living food for the living body,” containing 9 billion live cultures per bottle for only 50 calories. On average, the bottle contains 12 grams of sugar, and once you’ve tried (and loved) Synergy, I recommend tasting every variety at least once.
Total Sugars 12g, Includes 0g Added Sugar
Health•ade Kombucha: Pink Lady Apple
Health-Ade is a standard, widely-available kombucha that will do the job in a pinch. Although Health-ade’s kombucha is heated after brewing and comes in a stout, hard-to-drink vessel, it still has a nice mild taste. That being said, the brand adds cane sugar to its brew, so it’s not exactly the purest form of kombucha you can find. But there is something to be said for its accessibility –– stop into any corner store or supermarket and you can likely find a vast array of Health-Ade flavors sitting on the shelves.
Total Sugars 16g, Includes 12g Added Sugar
Holy Kombucha: Prickly Pear
Holy Kombucha’s signature beverages only contain about 60 calories without any artificial ingredients or preservatives. This refreshing, gut-friendly drink comes in several addicting flavors, including Prickly Pear. The Prickly Pear is unbelievably refreshing and not too sweet. For anyone looking for a healthy, thirst-quenching drink on a hot day. Holy Kombucha is a safe bet.
Total Sugars 6g, Includes 6g Added Sugar
KeVita Kombucha: Pineapple Ginger
Despite offering the same health benefits as its market competitors, KeVita Kombucha ranks relatively low on the list. This sparkling probiotic drink tastes more like conventional juices than a fermented tea beverage. There is also a vingery aftertaste that’s nearly impossible to ignore. KeVita also contains 16 grams of sugar per bottle, making it one of the sweetest options on the market.
Total Sugars 16g, Includes 15g Added Sugar
Remedy Kombucha: Raspberry Lemonade
Remedy is one of the top kombuchas for beginners. For shoppers interested in the health benefits of kombucha but turned off by the taste of the fermented tea, Remedy is an appealing solution. This nearly soda-like option features a balanced flavor packed with tea polyphenols, antioxidants, and probiotics. This option also works as a great mixer for quick cocktails. And the best part: there’s no sugar!
Total Sugars 0g, Includes 0g Added Sugar