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Which locally brewed kombucha is king?
Kombucha dates back to a time when fermentation was a by-product of cleaning your kitchen once a year, but these days Vancouverites can’t get enough of the golden elixir. The drink, made from tea and a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast,” is delightfully tart and effervescent—plus it’s widely believed to improve digestion and overall gut health. We tasted six of B.C.’s best brews to see which kombucha rises to the top.
This “light and refreshing” kombucha took home the win for its balanced flavour and smooth finish. “The ginger is there, but it’s not overpowering,” said Loukas, who admitted she could easily drink a full bottle of the stuff. Our other judges agreed, praising its tart, “not too sweet” aftertaste and natural carbonation. buchabrew.ca
The judges loved the unique colour (“It looks like a rosé wine!”) and taste of this Powell River brew. Made from a mix of green rooibos and sencha green tea, dried cherries and rose petals, this kombucha is “really light but full of flavour,” said Nakamura Nguyen. raincoastkombucha.com
This was the top choice for Welch, who liked the combination of mint and lime in this cocktail-inspired kombucha. Though our other judges disagreed (“The mint just doesn’t work”), Welch was pleased with the strong, fermented flavour: “It tastes like home brew.” sparkkombucha.com
The base of this unpasteurized kombucha—an oolong tea from China—resulted in a fruity but unidentifiable flavour (“Is it pear or apple?”) and a delicious, earthy quality that reminded our judges of spiced cider. o5tea.com
“Whoa,” exclaimed one judge upon taking a first sip. This kombucha has an “aggressive” profile that packs a powerful “gingery punch,” and though there are some sweeter notes—our judges detected a hint of honey—it’s not for the faint of heart. odditykombucha.com
This Earl Grey, vanilla and lavender variety, made in East Vancouver, failed to really impress our judges. They called it “slightly too sweet” and “flatter than most kombuchas,” but worth trying if you’re new to the scene. hoochybooch.com
Cory Welch is lead cook at vegetarian eatery the Arbor and a real kombucha enthusiast—he makes his own brew at home and drinks it on the daily.Lia Loukas is the director of marketing at Chinatown’s plant-based pizzeria Virtuous Pie, where she can enjoy a glass of kombucha straight from the bar’s tap.Lisa Nakamura Nguyen is the program manager at Nourish Cafe and Cooking School. She drinks kombucha for its health benefits and enjoys trying new blends.