Taste-Testing Four Kinds of Kombucha


Among the aisles of juice, milk, water, and every other beverage we have come to know, is a somewhat new competitor in the United States. While the quality of the taste of kombucha is to be disputed, the health benefits draw in many consumers. Wellness trends have allowed this drink’s popularity to skyrocket in recent years. “I love kombucha,” said senior Kara Gavaghan. “It’s my favorite drink besides water.” This sentiment is not universal, however.  “[Kombucha] is so gross, it tastes like dinosaur pee,” said senior David Lattos. I decided that, like all things should be, this disagreement will be settled by me. 

To keep it fair, I tested each kind of kombucha based on four categories. First, I noted the initial flavor. Then, I observed the sweetness or bitterness in each drink. I also judged whether or not the flavor matched what the label claimed it would taste like. Lastly, I noticed each drink’s aftertaste. 

To begin, I tried a kombucha I was already familiar with. I knew I had liked it, but I wanted to revisit it to make a more in-depth analysis of how it tastes. This kombucha was Humm’s Strawberry Lemonade flavor, and it certainly smelled that way. The taste reminded me of sparkling water, and despite being kombucha the taste wasn’t overwhelmingly sour. There were hints of sweetness in there as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the kombucha really did taste like strawberry lemonade, albeit quite a bit stronger. The aftertaste left me feeling like I just ate a slice of lemon; it was sour, but fresh. 

Next, I tried the highly popular GTS brand of kombucha in the “Watermelon Wonder” flavor. The smell refused to be ignored. It smelled like a public restroom that was recently cleaned, but not well. Thankfully, it tasted better than its scent lead me to believe. It had a hard-to-describe, “natural” kind of flavor to it that would require some getting used to. It wasn’t very sour, but I wouldn’t describe it as sweet, either. I continued to drink and wondered where this supposed watermelon was supposed to be. I have no idea what GTS thinks a watermelon tastes like, but this is not it. The aftertaste on this one was stronger than the first, and less pleasant. 

This next kombucha scared me. To be fair, the cap clearly indicated that it had expired a year ago. Besides the fact that it was expired, I was also afraid of this GTS kombucha because the flavor claimed to be “Gingerberry”. What is a gingerberry and why does it smell so terrible? I decided that the smell could be attributed to the fact that is was very, very expired. According to a quick Google search, there is no such thing as a gingerberry. The word was created to describe the flavor: a combination of ginger and blueberries. The taste, unfortunately, was not as enjoyable as saying the word gingerberry. The ginger flavor was overwhelming in the worst way and it was extremely sour. The aftertaste was somehow worse than the previous GTS kombucha, but again, it was expired. 

I had hope for the final kombucha from the brand KeVita. I liked the Humm lemonade kombucha, and this kombucha claimed to taste like “Lemon Raspberry”. When I opened the bottle, it smelled similar to the first one as well. The taste was like a glass of lemonade someone had left out in the sun. In comparison to the sourness of the previous two drinks, I was pleased. The flavor was only slightly sour, and it wasn’t enough to distract from the main flavor of the drink. The aftertaste wasn’t the most pleasant, but at this point, I think that’s just what you get when you drink kombucha. 

Overall, I was left wondering why people drink kombucha, considering the fact that many flavors of kombucha taste like cleaning products. While I walked away from this experience with many questions, I did have one answer. If you’re going to drink kombucha at all, go for something lemon or lemonade-based.