Kombucha Tasting Notes – Part 2

As we hinted at the end of Part 1, we found the “whale” of a site. This is by far the most comprehensive product review and tasting notes site we’ve seen. Ladies and gentlemen, meet…

The Kombucha Hunter

This full-featured site sells supplies for the home brewer, ‘booch themed T-shirts, and a comprehensive 20-page 2017 Kombucha Guide to California. Their Instagram has 888 posts and, if a recent one is anything to go by, they have a pull-no-punches, take-no-prisoners, publish-and-be-damned approach.

Sticking it to Lassens

This review slams the generic ‘booch some of the chain retailers are now stocking. Lassens is a Southern California chain of natural food stores. In addition to selling Health-Ade and other brands, stock their own brand. The Kombucha Hunter is not impressed.

Guys, we need to talk about this trend we’re seeing in the world of kombucha. And that is: Grocery store chains releasing their own versions of kombucha at lower price points. 🤔

At first, we were like, hey, more options – why not? But now, after finding store upon store (from Von’s to Ralph’s) that create these sub-bar, kombucha-like products, we must give this new trend a big thumbs down. 👎

Firstly, there is not enough disclosure about who exactly brews the kombucha. In the case of Lassens—a local, LA chain where we actually like to shop because they carry an assortment of tasty local, organic, vegan goodies—the origins of their own kombucha are simply described as “produced for Lassens” and certifies organic in Colorado. So who is brewing the booch?

And now onto the taste, which in the case of all of these store-created kombuchas is, simply, generic. These are not artisan brews, as the label claims. Although not undrinkable, they are utterly forgettable and just a watered down version of what we think of when we think of craft kombucha.

So we kinda just want them to stop. Grocery stores, stop making your own booch unless you really put your heart into it. Unless you wanna develop some kind of truly unique flavors and not just try to take a bite out of the kombucha pie. Because us die-hard booch-heads can taste the difference.

Wow! Now that’s a review with strong opinions.

The Hunter has done an amazing job of reviewing multiple brands. Their main website covers much more than tasting notes. They include Q&A interviews with company founders, stories about SCOBYs, teas, and more.

But it’s the tasting notes that shine. And make no mistake, these are not brief, off-the cuff comments along the lines of “awesome taste” or “yummy for my tummy”. These are REVIEWS!

Here’s one of a brand we love.

Review: Whale Bird Kombucha

On a recent trip down to Los Angeles we were impressed with this San Luis Obispo brand. The Kombucha Hunter review goes into exquisite detail:

That flying whale is hard to miss! But that’s not the only thing memorably about this booch. These are imaginative, nuanced flavors that are completely different from any flavors we’ve tried before. Lavender Lemonade  has that nice tartness of lemon with the smooth finish of lavender. The citrus note lingers, making it light and crisp, and perfect for those impending long summer days and nights. Ginger Sarsparilla is super unique. The rootsyness of sarsparilla with the mild kick of ginger at the end really satisfies. There’s a depth and pleasant sweetness to it, with a soft vanilla note. Jasmine Bliss has a strong floral flavor and almost tastes like liquid candy—but a candy that’s good for you! There’s a strong cherry note, and the ingredients include rose hips, hibiscus, black currants and raisins.

Complete Listing

The only missing piece of the puzzle on their website is an index of the dozens hand-picked finds from around the globe listed on their brand profiles pages. There’s currently 82 profiles (we counted). In the spirit of sharing, here’s an alphabetical listing with a link to each profile (you’re welcome!)

If you want to know which ‘booch is worth your hard-earned buck, check here for an unbiased assessment — unless you happen to be a fan of Lassens!

The Best of the Midwest

  • Deane’s Kombucha, Minneapolis, MN
  • Arize Kombucha, Chicago, IL
  • Northstar Kombucha and Lake State Kombucha, Minneapolis, MN
  • Prohibition Kombucha, Minneapolis, MN
  • Bucha Bill, Akron, OH
  • Tapuat Brewing Co., Sister Bay, WI

Bambucha Kombucha, San Diego, CA

Big Easy Bucha, New Orleans, LA

Noli South, Panama City Beach, FL

Aqua Vitea Kombucha, Middlebury, VT

Awaken Kombucha, Vero Beach, FL

Baba’s Bucha, Phoenixville, PA

Better Booch, Los Angeles, CA

Blessed Booch, Laguna Beach, CA

Bloom Kombucha, Portland, OR

Blueprint Kombucha, Queens, NY 

Blue Ridge Bucha, Afton, VA

Bootstrap Kombucha, San Diego, CA

Brew Dr. Kombucha, Portland, OR

Bucha Bill, Akron, OH 

Buchi Kombucha, Asheville, NC

Buddha’s Brew Kombucha, Austin, TX

Buffalo Mountain Kombucha, Floyd County, VA

Caboost Kombucha, Bend, OR

Cali Kombucha, Los Cabos, Mexico

Capital Kombucha, Washington, D.C.

Cha Cha Kombucha, Orange County, CA

Conscious Kombucha, Santa Barbara, CA

Craft Kombucha, Washington, D.C.

Culture Kombucha, Ottawa, ON

Curly Wolf Kombucha, Tucson, AZ

Elixirz Kombucha, Los Angeles, CA

Eva’s Herbucha, Portland, OR

Fermesch Kombucha, Orange County, CA

Fine Feathers Kombucha, Long Beach, CA

Golda Kombucha, Atlanta, GA

GT’s Kombucha—Brewer Q&A, Vernon, CA

Happy Mountain Kombucha, Portland, OR

Health-Ade Kombucha, Los Angeles, CA

Humm Kombucha, Bend, OR

Idaho Kombucha Co., Boise, ID

Inspired Brews, Philadelphia, PA

JARR Kombucha—Brewer Q&A, London, England        

Joe’s Kombucha, Portland, OR

Karma Kombucha—Brewer Q&A, Vernon Hills, IL

Katalyst Kombucha, Greenfield, MA

Kauai Juice Co., Kauai, HI

Kevita Kombucha, Oxnard, CA

Kombucha 221 B.C., Sarasota, FL

Kombrewcha, Brooklyn, NY

Kombucha 2000, Encino, CA

Kombucha Dog, Los Angeles, CA

Kombucha Hill, St. Petersburg, Russia

Kombucha Town, Bellingham, WA   

Kombulicious, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Lenny Boy Kombucha, Charlotte, NC

Lev’s Original Kombucha, San Francisco, CA

Lion Heart Kombucha, Portland, OR

Marin Kombucha, San Rafael, CA

Moniker Ferments, Fayetteville, AR

Mother Kombucha, St. Petersburg, FL

Mountain Culture Kombucha, White Hall, VA

Natalie’s Craft Kombucha, Bloomsburg, PA

NessAlla Kombucha, Madison, WI

Neu Kombucha, Farmington, MI

O Organics Kombucha, Pleasanton, CA

Oregonic Tonic, Portland, OR

Pilot Kombucha, Greenpoint, NY

Prohibition Kombucha, Minneapolis, MN

Puget Sound Kombucha Co., Seattle, WA

Pure Luck, Long Beach, CA

Rainbow Cloud Kombucha, Tacoma, WA

Raincoast Kombucha, Powell River, BC, Canada

Revive Kombucha, Sonoma County, CA

Rise Kombucha, Montreal, QC, Canada

Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, Boulder, CO

Scoby Baby, Los Angeles, CA

Skinny Piggy Kombucha, Cincinnati, OH

SOMA, Portland, OR

Tealixir, West Palm Beach, FL

Tonica Kombucha, Toronto, ONT, Canada

Tribucha, Raleigh, NC

Vida Kombucha, San Diego, CA

Whale Bird Kombucha, San Luis Obispo, CA

Zama Tea, Tustin, CA

Zeal Kombucha, Sacramento, CA

Zip Kombucha, Anchorage, AK

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2 Responses

  1. Ian says:

    Delighted that one of the responses on Instagram to this post was from Kombucha Club in Russia. They have extensive tasting notes on US Brands (from a visit to the States) as well as a listing of eight brands available in Russia.

    It’s entirely appropriate that ‘booch (known as kvass) is big in Russia. Since the time of Peter the Great, it was the most common non-alcoholic drink in every class of society. William Tooke, describing Russian drinking habits in 1799, stated that “The most common domestic drink is quas, a liquor prepared from pollard, meal, and bread, or from meal and malt, by an acid fermentation. It is cooling and well-tasted”. Nobel-Prize winning Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn writes in his book “Cancer Ward” that Kombucha Tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in Soviet labor camps.

  2. Kombucha Kween says:

    ‘Booch news, It’s so important to have honest reviews of product, and to hold both brands and the retailers accountable! Feedback is a gift!
    Thanks for sharing this

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