Kombucha appears to be all the rage right now, with stores stocking more companies and flavors than I’ve ever noticed before, even outside the shelves of my local health food store. What is kombucha? Kombucha is fermented black tea. The fermentation process gives the brew carbonation and bacteria, the good kind of bacteria like in yogurt, which helps the digestive system. Due to the fermentation process, some kombuchas are contain alcohol, and others have gone through processes to filter out this excess alcohol and make it safer for those who don’t partake. Check on the alcohol content of the next bottle of kombucha that you pick up to make sure it’s at a level you prefer.
My favorite Kombucha brand at the moment is GT’s Living Foods, specifically their Enlightened and Synergy series. These teas come in heavy glass bottles with well-designed labels, and those with a white cap contain only trace amounts of alcohol. Not to mention, these teas are available in seemingly every flavor imaginable. Each time I find a store that stock’s GT’s Kombucha, I find a new flavor I haven’t seen before.
The best flavor I’ve tasted is their Synergy Trilogy flavor, which I see most often on the shelves. Trilogy features a trio of fruits and spices, blending raspberries, lemon, and ginger with the bubbly black tea base. This is the perfect balance of sweet and tart that compliments the sour bite of the fermented tea. The fizziness makes this feel like a sweet treat, but it has far less sugar than a can of soda, and more natural ingredients. With black tea, bubbles, and that perfect touch of tartness, this kombucha always makes me feel like celebrating. I can’t speak to how the good bacteria has helped my stomach, as I haven’t noticed a drastic change, but drinking the tea does do wonders for my morale.
Some of the other flavors I’ve had an opportunity try include:
- Trilogy – I’ve already waxed poetic about this flavor, see above.
- Gingerade – Less fruity, with more lemon and a spicier ginger kick, a great flavor for fans of ginger beer soda.
- Limited Edition Liberty – This blend came out for 4th of July, and features a blend of watermelon, cherry, and lime. It’s a fun limited edition, but the fruit is a bit too delicate to hold up against the bold tea base. I think it would have been better with a stronger lime-ade presence.
- Guava Goddess – Tasty, tropical, and pink, this was one of the sweeter blends available with the guava powering through the black tea base.
- Gingerberry – Very similar to the Trilogy flavor, but slightly sweeter with blueberry instead of raspberry, and still a hint of ginger spice.
- Cosmic Cranberry – The tartness of the cranberries work well with the sour tea base. It’s similar to the Trilogy flavor but with more tart zing.
- Multi-Green – Surprisingly nutty and not too grassy at all. Much more savory than the other flavors. Definitely an acquired taste.
- Lavender Love – The brew is almost purple in color from all the lavender. The soft, fragrant florals dance over the top of the sweet/sour tea.
- Lemonade – Most of the blends feature some lemon notes, but this blend is all-lemon, the sour citrus pairing perfectly with the tart tea.
- Mystic Mango – This blend is bright and opaque, full of fresh mango fruitiness. This is like a kicked-up orangina, with hearty sweetness and a burst of bubbles.
Even looking at their website now, I see additional flavors I’m intrigued to try. They even have a whole chia-seed series I haven’t seen before. I’ll have to keep an eye out at my local stores.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of kombucha, give one of GT’s Living Foods many delectable flavors a try and see what new avenues of tea await you.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: GT’s Living Foods (or at your local grocery/health food store)
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
A refreshing hint of organic natural lemon in harmony with green tea.
Learn more about this product here.
I am probably the last person to ever try Kombucha. Yeah … imagine that … a tea reviewer has been hesitant to try a tea product. About as inconceivable as the thought that I would be hesitant to try something new (especially when it pertains to tea.) But there it is … I love my tea, but, the idea of fermented tea … and what little I have read about Kombucha, the making of it sounds a little bit like how they make vinegar.
Now, I like vinegar when I drizzle it on my salad or my green beans, but, it’s not something that I will chill in the refrigerator and then pour myself a glass to drink. You know what I mean? Yeah, I know that they make sipping vinegars, but I haven’t tried those either. And to be perfectly honest, if I hadn’t received this can of Green Tea & Lemon Sparkling Fermented Tea from Kombucha Wonder Drink in my April Knoshbox, I probably wouldn’t be about to try it now, because, I doubt I would have actually paid for a drink that has filled me so much unease.
So, I sit here, with this innocent enough looking can of chilled tea drink, still sealed … wondering if I will actually open it and drink it. And after looking at it for some time … I finally popped the top and took a sip.
First impression: weird.
Second impression: tart and lemony.
Third impression: I’m not getting a whole lot of tea flavor here.
I get the lemony tingle on my tongue … and I don’t know how much of that is actually lemon and how much is the fermentation. It’s very bubbly like a soda pop would be. I’m not big on soda. This is also quite sweet despite the tarty taste of it … which I guess I’m glad for the sweetness otherwise it might end up being too sour.
It’s different. It’s not bad. It reminds me a bit of a sparkling lemonade with a little bit of something else to it. I find myself wishing I could taste more green tea, and as I continue to sip, that wish is granted – but only barely! – because the green tea notes do develop as I sip. It’s never a strong green tea taste. I don’t get a lot of grassy or vegetative notes or anything else that strongly resembles a green tea. Just a hint of it.
And I do taste a slight ‘vinegary’ note to this as well, and this taste develops by about “mid-can” … it’s like someone added maybe a teaspoon of vinegar to my sparkling lemonade, along with a teaspoon of green tea. I taste more lemon than green tea here though, and I feel that is important to mention since the description suggests that there is a “hint” of lemon, and to these taste buds, it is more lemon than anything else with the exception of sugar.
Overall, I’d say that my first impression is the best one: it’s weird. Very unusual, but I don’t dislike it. But, I like other things better, and because of that, I doubt I’ll be buying another can of this in the near future. That said, I do find myself sort of intrigued by the Asian Pear and Ginger flavor, so I might … MIGHT try this flavor at some point.
Leaf Type: Black
Where To Buy: Vintage TeaWorks
Inspired by Merlot, we blended natural ingredients to create a black tea blend that is velvety and robust. The hints of black currant, plums, licorice and violets make drinking this tea quite a sensual experience.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I first pried open the lid on this canister, I was amazed at how good it smells. It has a distinct wine-like aroma to it. I’m certainly not able to discern that it smells like “Merlot” … or any other specific type of wine, but it does have that certain fermented dark-colored grape scent to it. It smells sweet, fruity, and has some floral tones as well as earthiness to the fragrance as well.
Once brewed, the tea maintains much of that fermented-grape/wine-like scent, with notes of flower seeming to dance across the surface of the tea – not staying around for long, but there is just enough flower there to entice the olfactory nerves.
The flavor is really delightful. Vintage TeaWorks touts this as their “velvety and robust” tea, and it certainly is that. It has a very velvety smooth character, strong with a definite boldness to it. I imagine that this would be the ideal way to start the day for the wine enthusiast.
But then, I’m no wine enthusiast, but I am still really enjoying this tea. It has a very pleasant refinement to it, it is strong and delicious. No signs of bitterness, and only a touch of tangy astringency toward the tail, finishing sweet. It reminds me of the finish of a glass of red wine: sweet (but not too sweet) and smooth.
The flavor is not so much like “grape” as it is very fruit-like. Like a medley of dark fruit: black (or red) grapes and currants. That doesn’t really surprise me much, as I have often noticed a currant-like taste in red wine. I even taste a hint of plum here, more like the sweetness of plum, not so much the tartness of the fruit.
Then, I noticed another taste in the background, one that I don’t normally associate with wine: Licorice. I kept tasting it to determine if that was what I was really tasting, and then I happened to glance over the ingredients and noticed that licorice is one of the ingredients (as well as currants!) Now, I suppose that there are wine connoisseurs would say that there is indeed licorice-y notes in wine, and I’m not one to debate with them because I know next to nothing about wine. I just know that I am tasting it here, and while this doesn’t taste strongly of licorice, it has a distant yet distinct background note of licorice that really harmonizes with the overall cup, and seems to enhance the wine flavors of the blend.
Overall, I find this to be a very fascinating tea blend, one of the nicest representations of wine flavors in a tea that I’ve yet to taste. This company – Vintage TeaWorks – has really impressed me!