About five years ago, my friend Nobuko offered me some homemade kombucha. “What is it?” I’d asked. While”tea” appealed to me, “fermented” did not, even if I do eat yogurt, leavened bread, and miso. I opted for plain water.
I forgot about kombucha until I began seeing bottled kombucha next to the Odwalla lineup. After tasting three brands, I found my favorite, GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha. (Based in Beverly Hills, CA, GT’s was picked up by Whole Foods way back in 1999, according to W magazine. Who knew?) At first glance, its attractive label and generous size caught my eye. Other perks:
Among the brands, it has the lowest sugar content (longtime readers might recall my shunning of sugar), as low as 4 grams per 480ml bottle. It has the best packaging (resealable cap). Most important, it has the crispest, freshest flavor. (Whether it tastes like homemade kombucha, I do not know.)
Now I buy a bottle of kombucha as a treat, while five years ago I was averse to a sip. Sometimes an “idea” needs time to take root. While I was hooked on asana from my first class, it took years for me actually to try it.
Five years before I took that first class, a friend had suggested that I visit the Yoga Room in Berkeley. “You’d really like it,” she predicted. Eventually an acquaintance touted the free morning classes at the UC Berkeley rec center. Again, it made little impression. I even briefly tried hapkido before trying yoga! (Martial arts still appeal to me but I found the falling and rolling to be hard on my body, and I felt silly yelling “ha!” every time I made a move.)
Once I tried yoga and kombucha, I loved them. Maybe the prior timing wasn’t right. I wasn’t ready, for whatever reason. And then I was.
Other commericial kombucha reviews:
Kombucha Wonder Drink (Portland, OR): Organic. Too high in sugar content (24 grams per 414ml bottle) due to added sugar cane juice. Unresealable cap. Company founded by the co-founder of Stash Tea and Tazo. Pasteurized (see here regarding the raw-versus-pasteurized debate).
Crudessence Kombucha (Montreal, QB): (Note: my opinion might be skewed because upon first sip I got a mouthful slimy kombucha strands, present in raw kombucha. Now I expect such strands, typically at the bottom.) Organic. Higher in sugar content than GT’s but lower than Wonder. Slightly vinegary taste, perhaps due to prolonged fermentation.