Now, I've already seen dramatic gut improvements after switching to the highest-quality probiotic I can afford, so if there's even a slight chance more of the same will help my anxiety, you KNOW I'm gonna try it.
So while John and I figure out if we're really going to have to start pickling our own vegetables over here, he decided to start me off with the most popular Kombucha varieties at 3 of our local health markets.
The employees at each store told John that these are some of their best-sellers.
Kombucha, for you non-health nut/hipsters, is a fermented tea that packs a hefty probiotic punch - meaning it's incredibly good for gut health. Some people go so far as to make their own Kumbucha at home, but since it involves fermentation, that's a scary proposition for newbs like me. Plus I'm, you know, LAZY.
So let's get to tasting, shall we?
Now, since these are some really strong flavors, I only tasted one Kombucha per day. I'll be posting them in the order I tried them.
Live Kombucha Soda in Rootbeer:
That's right, it's fermented, slightly alcoholic tea... flavored like root beer.
First impressions: Wow, this really DOES taste like it's flavored to taste like root beer!
After the initial strong root beer sweetness, there's a slightly bitter, vaguely medicinal aftertaste - which I'm guessing is the alcohol. Even so, I almost felt it was TOO sweet for something supposed to be super healthy. (It's sweetened with Stevia.) If you consider it root beer flavored medicine, though, it's pretty good! I finished the whole bottle by taking occasional sips over the course of an hour.
Synergy in "Enlightened"
Actually, I'm not sure which of these New Age-ish words is the flavor. Synergy? Trilogy? Enlightened? Can't they just call it "I See Auras" and be done with it?
First Impression: Whoa, I've just been punched in the face with a jar of vinegar. And is that... wasabi?
Assuming you can get through the eye-watering stench of apple cider vinegar (I quickly learned to hold my breath), you'll discover that this stuff actually tastes amazing... ly similar to the smell.
The smell is the worst part, though, so by holding my breath I was able to take a good 8 or 10 sips, in the hopes that the vinegar-and-ginger(?) flavor would "grow on me."
But on the plus side, I'm pretty sure it would make a rockin' shower cleaner.
Plus it's fun to shove in peoples' faces and say, "SMELL THIS. NO, REALLY." (John turned green, and my doctor reacted as if he'd been slapped, declaring, "It smells like feet!")
High Country Kombucha in Elderberry Hibiscus:
First Impression: Hey, it's beer!
... Too bad I don't like beer.
Granted, I only drink cider beer and the very occasional Corona, but to my uneducated palate, this is basically beer with a vague hint of something fruity added in. It's not sweet, and it seems a bit more alcoholic than the last one. After half a dozen sips, I put it back in the fridge for the next time we have a burrito bowl for dinner; I bet it'd pair pretty well.
Reed's Culture Club in Lemon Ginger Raspberry
First Impression: More vinegary beeriness... and is that lemon? Oooh, that's actually kind of refreshing!
This was by far my most exciting bottle of Kombucha, because when I tried to open it, it essentially exploded. Then it continued to explode - albeit more slowly - for the next several minutes.
Thank goodness I was near a sink.
For the record: I did not shake the Kombucha. I didn't even tip it! So be careful out there, peeps; this is some TOUCHY stuff if the mere act of unscrewing the top can cause a foam volcano. In fact, after waiting several minutes for the foam to stop building, I decided to take a little video, because this really has to be seen to be believed:
As you can see, that jetting fountain of carbonation swirled all the icky fermenty stuff [technical term] off the bottom and up into the drink, which made actually drinking it FAR less appealing.
That said, the taste wasn't too bad... for a Kombucha. It tasted a lot like the last two, with the same strong sour beer-iness I'm starting to expect, but then ends with a clean zip of lemon & raspberry. Makes a great palate cleanser.
Even so, I still couldn't take more than 8 or 10 sips. Just too strong.
GT's Enlightened Kombucha in Mult-Green:
Ahh, another one plastered with New Age buzzwords. I'm starting to wonder if that's a kind of warning. Like, "you're gonna need religion to get through this."
First Impression: No words. Only gagging.
This is, without question, the most curiously horrendous thing I've ever had in my mouth, and it absolutely defies - DEFIES - description. In fact, I think you should all go out and buy a bottle right now, just so you can explain to me what putrescent thing it tastes like. (Right now I'm leaning towards "tree mold and ogre armpits," but with no basis for reference, that's really just a guess.)
I went through 3 different drinks after this one just to get the taste out of my mouth. Ironically, the only thing that worked was the lemon raspberry Kombucha.
I seriously only managed a single sip, since both the taste *and* smell are - again - horrific beyond all understanding. I just went and took another cautious sniff, and decided this stuff could be weaponized. I'm thinking of decanting it into small vials that I can sprinkle on would-be attackers.
TL;DR - It's not really to my taste.
And just so I don't end on a sour note (ha!), here's one more Kombucha brand John found for me, and my favorite so far:
Kombucha Wonder Drink in Cherry
First Impression: Ok, there's the cherry... and there's the beer... and hey! I actually taste tea!
Like I said, this is my favorite so far, because it tastes like you'd expect a cherry-flavored, slightly alcoholic tea to taste. I like how the flavor hits you in 3 distinctly separate waves, ending with a pleasant tea aftertaste. It's not too sweet, not too bitter.
This and the first Rootbeer one are the only two I've managed to drink all of, though I still have the Lemon Raspberry & Elderberry flavors in the fridge, along with still MORE brands and flavors John has found in the interim. (Though he's steadfastly refused to try ANY except the Root Beer.) I'll let you guys know if I find any more must-tries.
So... who's ready to try some Kombucha?? :D