Hello my friends! And welcome to the ultimate Wesleyan kombucha guidebook. Maybe you’re a complete kombucha newbie and you just need some, shall we say, guidance on how to navigate the minefield that is kombucha (it can be very intimidating, I understand). Or maybe you’re a long-time kombucha drinker, and you just want to make sure your favorites are properly recognized (which, if you believe they were not, I extend absolutely no apologies—you need to re-evaluate your taste buds, love). Either way, you’ve come to the right place. I tried every last kombucha option Wesleyan has to offer, and have curated a ranking meticulously based on very strict criteria: looks, taste, and what I call the Kombucha Komponent (like component but with a K—get it?)
Kombucha Critique 1: Katalyst Kombucha
Ah, how high my hopes for Katalyst were! It comes in not a bottle, but a can! A can, I say! How cool is that?? If you can’t tell, my rating for looks on this one are pretty high: the color scheme, regardless of flavor, is an ombre dream, and the font in combination with the leafy-bubble-design-thingy they have going on just oozes calm and serenity. I cannot tell you how pleasing this is for my eyes to see. 10/10.
Now, the taste tells a slightly different story: I can understand the appeal, truly, I can. It’s sweet, and even the Bliss Berry flavor had a twang of ginger, which was rather pleasant (if you like ginger, that is). And it’s fizziness was the epitome of refreshing! But, in my humble opinion, it tasted a little more like a soda than a probiotic drink…which, if I wanted a soda, I would’ve bought one. Therefore, my taste rating is a steady 6.5/10.
Now for the Kombucha Komponent: as I said before, it didn’t taste like the true fermented bliss that I was craving. Perhaps this can be a good thing! If you’re testing out the kombucha waters, I’d say this is a good start: it doesn’t taste too raw, and it’s similar to other carbonated beverages, making it a good introductory kombucha. BUT, if you’re an avid kombucha lover like myself, I’d stray away for exactly the same reason I’d recommend it to newbies: its sweetness masks the fermented, raw taste you may be looking for. In other words, the Kombucha Komponent is—sorry for all you Katalyst fans out there—seriously lacking. 3/10.
Kombucha Critique 2: Kevita
Have you ever walked into pi, and seen that wonderfully full—vending machine? Drink box? Another name for a fridge that stores drinks that I don’t know exists?—FILLED with kevitas? Well, I have too, and every time I think this is the time I will try Kevita Kombucha. So, the other day, I did! And let me tell you…I wish I hadn’t.
I’ll start with the good: packaging. For whatever reason, the fact that the sticker dips into the curve of the big “V” gives me wayyyy too much serotonin. And there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned glass kombucha bottle. That might just be where visual appeal stops—overall, I’d give it a 6/10.
Now for taste: to preface, I will say that I’ve only ever had the lemon ginger flavor, so it could just be a byproduct of that particular taste. But given that flavor doesn’t change the overall kombucha taste that drastically, I find this highly doubtful. It was so unbelievably sweet, to the point where I could barely finish it once I started. And the ginger was aggressively attacking my taste buds. I’m talking to the point where I was tasting ginger for days after drinking this baby. Taste is a well-deserving 4/10.
As for the Kombucha Komponent: In all honesty, if it didn’t say Kombucha on the label I never would’ve guessed it was anything other than gingery, watered-down lemonade. Not to mention it’s as carbonated as a flat Sprite which has been sitting out for three days. Harsh? Maybe. Fair? Absolutely. To all my Kevita fans: so sorry to have to do this, but the Kombucha Komponent is a solid 3/10.
Kombucha Critique 3: GT’s Synergy
Ah, my one true love. GT’s Synergy. Let’s start with the bottle, shall we? Vibrant colors, and a typeface that makes me wish I lived in the days when apothecaries existed. I also can’t write this without mentioning their clever names—Gingerade? Guava goodness? Trilogy?! I don’t even know what that last one means, and yet it still made me want to buy a bottle! Overall, the look of this one is too welcoming to ignore. Solid 8/10.
On to taste: while taste is arguably subjective, you did come here to know my opinion so, as the authority on the subject, I’ll tell you: this one simply tastes the best. There’s almost no contest. It fizzles in my mouth and dissolves into kombucha goodness. Plus, you get what you asked for. With a ginger flavor I can taste just the right amount of ginger; if I’m looking for a fruitier taste (which I frequently am) the Passionberry Bliss delivers. It’s not too sweet (probably because this is the only brand without any added sugars) and that is, my good folks, how kombucha should be. The only thing is the variety of flavor; while some taste very different, others—like Gingerade and Gingerberry, for example, taste suspiciously alike.But other than that—GT’s has got it right. 10/10
Andddd Kombucha Komponent: If you can’t tell, I’m a GT’s stan. This is, to me, the epitome of good kombucha, the diamond of carbonated goodness, the embodiment of fermented bliss. It doesn’t feel watered down, and it’s not too sweet where I feel like I’m just drinking soda. Kombucha Komponent is there. 10/10
Kombucha Critique 4: Health-Ade
There’s a special place in my heart for health-ade kombucha; it was, after all, my first kombucha sip ever…total gateway glug. The look of it is, of course, hard to miss: if GT’s made me want to go back to the apothecary era, Health-Ade makes me want to be an apothecary. The bottle is splendid, down to color and, of course, that cute little cartoon fruit or vegetable on the side that changes according to flavor. Plus it’s just SO big….it really feels like you’re getting bang for your buck. 10/10 Health-Ade. Stellar job.
The taste is, of course, hard to beat. Its carbonation is splendid (I believe it’s the fizziest, which, if you’re anything like me…the fizzier the better). It’s sweet, and sometimes it’s a little too sweet, but it’s hard to get mad at anything that has an anchor on the front so I’ll let it slide. It would also be a total missed opportunity here if I didn’t point out the variety of flavors. I am forever indebted to whoever came up with pomegranate kombucha. They can seriously just take all my money (at this point, they basically have). I’ll give it an 8/10 for flavor, just because it can get seriously sweet…teeters on soda territory, but it’s not as bad as Katalyst so we’ll let it go.
Kombucha Komponent: They have it, folks! This tastes like honest-to-goodness, live-probiotic, melt-in-your-mouth-but-not-actually kombucha. Basically, it tastes good and it’s fun to look at, which means it has everything you’d ever want from a kombucha bottle. 10/10 Health Ade. But who’s surprised??
Alright Kombucha fans, thank you for going on this journey with me! If I insulted your favorite brand, my sincerest apologies (unless it was kevita…still not with you on that). If I helped introduce you to the world of kombucha, I hope you found this a helpful beginner’s guide! My official rankings of Wes options would have to be GT’s Synergy at #1, Health-Ade with a close second, followed by Katalyst and lastly Kevita. You may do with that as you will. Now go out into the world, kombucha lovers! There’s much fermented goodness to explore.