Fizzy? Tart? Sweet? What Does Kombucha Taste Like?

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Kombucha is a fermented tea with a unique flavor full of antioxidants and probiotics. Though it is made with sweet tea, the exact taste of kombucha depends on the brewing process and any added flavorings. Some kombucha tastes fruity, while other kombucha tastes tart and zingy. 

What to Expect When You Drink Kombucha for the First Time

The first thing you may notice about kombucha is the vinegary smell. The lengthy fermentation process creates a tea drink with a very low pH, like vinegar. The fermentation process produces acetic acid, which gives kombucha a vinegary smell and a slight vinegar taste.

The taste of kombucha, however, is enjoyable. It’s tart, spicy, and subtly sugary. Even though kombucha is made with tea, the finished drink doesn’t taste like tea. Kombucha is light and refreshing and can provide a subtle afternoon energy boost.

The first time you drink kombucha, you may notice slight digestive upset. If your body isn’t used to probiotic drinks, it may protest at first. The carbonation may also cause some bloating and gas. The longer you drink kombucha, the more your body will get used to it.

Start with 1/2 cup (4 oz) of kombucha and evaluate how your body responds. You can adjust the amount over time.

Why Is Kombucha Fizzy?

Kombucha begins with sweet tea and a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). During the first fermentation, the SCOBY eats the sugar and caffeine and produces acetic acid, carbon dioxide, and alcohol.

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Carbonated kombucha

After it ferments for seven to nine days, kombucha is bottled and begins its second fermentation. Brewers add fruit or herbs and let the bottles sit at room temperature for another few days. During this time, kombucha develops its fizz and becomes carbonated.

Carbonation occurs as a byproduct when carbon dioxide is dissolved in liquid. The carbon dioxide converts into an acid, producing the ‘fizzy’ sounds and bubbles in carbonated drinks.

If your kombucha is not carbonated, it’s still ok to drink. Flat kombucha has the same benefits as fizzy kombucha.

Is Kombucha Supposed to Taste Like Alcohol?

Everyone’s taste buds are different. Some say kombucha tastes like sparkling apple cider because it is a fizzy drink; others say it compares to sour beer. However, kombucha has a very low alcohol content, around 0.5%, and is not considered an alcoholic beverage. It is safe for most people, including children over four.

Is Kombucha an Acquired Taste?

Some people enjoy kombucha immediately, while others have to warm up to the taste. Kombucha comes in a variety of different flavors. If you don’t enjoy plain kombucha, try one with a fruit flavor. Most kombucha is made from black tea, so you can also search for kombucha made with a different type of tea to see if you enjoy it more.

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Various kombucha flavors

Is Kombucha Healthy?

Kombucha has many health benefits. A few notable benefits include the following:

  • Probiotics in kombucha tea can help with gut health and may improve your immune system.
  • Kombucha may help improve your focus.
  • Kombucha may aid weight loss since it contains B vitamins and manganese.

Does Kombucha Have Caffeine?

Kombucha has approximately 15 mg of caffeine per serving. In comparison, one cup of coffee has around 95 mg of caffeine.

The caffeine in kombucha comes from the black or green tea used to brew this fermented tea drink. Occasionally you can find kombucha brewed with white tea (which is lower in caffeine). If you are sensitive to caffeine, stop drinking kombucha before 2 pm.

8 Common Flavors of Kombucha

Bottles of kombucha come in many different flavors. Most flavors are based around fruit which adds a sweet taste to help balance the vinegary smell. Each brewing company has unique flavor options, as well as unflavored kombucha.

Common kombucha flavors include:

  • Cranberry
  • Ginger
  • Lemon-ginger
  • Mango
  • Pomegranate
  • Strawberry
  • Turmeric
  • Watermelon

Sarah Pearce

Sarah first tried kombucha in 2015 and she was hooked. Her favorite flavor is ginger, but cranberry comes in a close second. She made her own for many years and loved experimenting with fruit flavors.

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