When you’re searching for the best kombucha, there’s one criteria that’s most important: Sugar content.
Like many bottled beverages, some companies have co-opted the drink and added way too much sweetness to it in order to appeal to more people. But you may have heard that we like to read labels … and we’ve got your back.
First, a refresher on what kombucha is and why you’d drink it in the first place (especially given the stringy stuff that floats around in there). Kombucha is tea that has a culture of bacteria and yeast added, which causes fermentation, adding probiotic benefits to the brew. You can make it at home, but many people are skeeved out by the process since you have to deal with a SCOBY (a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast … that looks like a jellyfish) and keep everything super sterile. (We totally support home-brewing, by the way. It’s just not for everyone.)
So, enter the now-wide, wide world of bottled kombucha. It gets more vast and populated every year, which means you have more choices at the grocery store.
What to look for? As we mentioned, sugar is the first issue. There’s really no need for more than 5 grams per serving (and watch out, because many companies count one bottle as two servings!). Second, you want a simple ingredient list: Tea, a sugar source (the yeast eats the sugar to ferment the tea, so some sugar will always be added), and some acknowledgement of “live cultures.” The only other things on the list should be whole-food health boosters such as ginger, turmeric or lemon juice. You also want to make sure the company isn’t pasteurizing its bottles, since that process will kill the beneficial bacteria.
Our five low-sugar favorites? Check them out, below.
Found: The 5 Best Kombucha Brands
We can’t get enough of Health-Ade. Not only do its bottles contain the least amount of sugar, they also taste the best (in our humble opinion!) They also come with super cool packaging, and are certified organic. They add forward-thinking healthy ingredients such as reishi mushrooms and maca to their flavors. The hefty price tag is the only downside, as far as we can tell.
$42-$48 for 12, amazon.com
GT is like the hippie mom of the kombucha crew. It’s been around forever and is the most recognizable brand. There’s nothing new or trendy about it, but it’s made from simple, clean, organic ingredients, tastes great, is low-sugar, and you can find it all over the place. It’s also generally more affordable than newer brands.
$68 for 12, amazon.com
Oregon-based Humm gets points for its funky, custom packaging designs and creative flavors, like Coconut Lime and Chai. Its brews are organic, uniquely delicious, and come with very little extra sugar.
$80 for 12, amazon.com
This small Fort Worth, Texas-based company brews its certified organic ‘bucha with an extra serving of purpose, by regularly donating a percentage of profits to charity. Its bottles are also raw, low-sugar, and come in delish flavors like Blood Orange and Green Apple Ginger. The only downside is it can be hard to find outside of the Lone Star State. We did spot them at Expo East, however, where natural brands go to increase distribution … so that could mean that’ll change soon.
Find a retailer near you at holykombucha.com
(Photo: Holy Kombucha)
OK, some of Brew Dr.’s bottles contain a little more sugar than we’d like, but the ingredients (all raw and organic) and flavor are so darn good that we’re cutting it some slack. The company also makes brilliant, functional blends like “Clear Mind,” brewed with herbs that are known to help with mental clarity and focus.
$26 for 4, amazon.com