Kombucha tea is becoming more and more popular every day, but there are still a lot of people who haven’t tried it. If you’re one of them, you may be curious. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s a healthy beverage, certainly better for you than soda pop, and you’d like to kick your soda habit by replacing it with something more nutritious.
But you worry. “Will I like kombucha?” you may ask.
The answer? Maybe not on the first sip, but give it time.
How Would You Describe the Taste of Kombucha?
Let’s start with the original, plain kombucha tea. It’s made from regular tea (black, green, oolong, or white) and sugar, plus a bacterial and yeast culture that drives the fermentation process.
Plain kombucha is most often described as slightly tangy, tart, and a little sweet. It’s been compared to sparkling apple cider but with a sour taste. Other comparisons are to a mild lemonade or zingy tea.
Indeed, the drink is rather complex because it consists of more than one flavor. It has a tanginess from the fermentation process, balanced by a little sweetness, though it’s a mild sweetness—nothing like soda pop. Think vinegary, like kimchi or beer.
Plain kombucha is also slightly fizzy. During the fermentation process, carbon dioxide is released and some of it stays in the final tea, making it a little effervescent. Again, it’s not like soda, but reminiscent of soda.
Don’t be surprised if the first time you try kombucha, you are rather confused. Whatever you may have expected, it’s likely to be different than that. Most people are hesitant to say they love it after one or two sips, but find that they want to try it again. The flavor tends to grow on you.
In addition to plain, original kombucha tea, there are many varieties available today that provide other flavor and texture experiences.
What is the Best Kombucha Flavor?
As kombucha gained popularity on the market, producers began creating several new flavors and varieties. Today, you can find dozens of flavors, from lavender to lemongrass to ginger. You can also find many fruity flavors like mango, berry, peach, lime, apple, and more, as well as combinations of fruit and herbal flavors, like apple cinnamon and mint lime.
Adding flavors is something that homebrewers love to do. The possibilities are endless. During the second fermentation process, brewers can add fruits, herbs, and spices to create any flavor they like.
Some of the most popular flavors for home-brewed kombucha include ginger, rosemary, turmeric, vanilla, any type of berry, pumpkin spice, mango, pear, pomegranate, banana, and pineapple, and even chia seeds!
Kick Your Soda Habit with Fizzy Kombucha
If you’d like to cut back on your intake of sugary sodas, fizzy kombucha may fit the bill. While original kombucha is slightly fizzy, kombucha that undergoes a second fermentation contains more carbon dioxide and is often just as fizzy as a soda. Yet it typically contains less sugar and more beneficial nutrients and acids than soda, which has no nutrients whatsoever.
Do keep in mind that if you or a commercial kombucha producer adds fruit juice as a flavoring, the result may be a kombucha with more sugar. Some commercial producers may also add in extra sugar. Always read the label. Still, you’re likely to find that even these varieties are healthier than soda.
There is some debate as to whether fizzy kombucha contains the same level of probiotics as plain kombucha. The fact that kombucha contains probiotics—helpful organisms for gut health—is one of the reasons many people like to drink it. How many probiotics it has depends on the batch, the flavor, and the producer.
So far, we don’t know whether the additional carbonation negatively affects the probiotic content. However, other fermented foods and beverages are known to be high in probiotics, like miso, kefir, yogurt, plain kombucha, and tempeh if you want something known for its positive probiotic impact.