Oregon's Kombucha Kings
Whether you’re a devoted daily drinker or are still working up the nerve to try the stuff, local kombucha brewers offer something for everyone.
Oregon’s always been ahead of the game when it comes to health food, and our kombucha 'culture' is no exception. While most of the country is still shooting suspicious looks at the phlegm-like substance in the bottom of the bottle, Portlanders have been guzzling the fermented tea for decades. The city currently houses at least five major kombucha brands, with the oldest dating back to 2001, and countless devoted home brewers. The probiotic beverage is on the menu at most mainstream eateries in town, and can be even purchased by the growler at local markets.
With so many brands and flavors to choose from, what’s a casual kombucha drinker to do? We wrangled up every bottle of Oregon-brewed kombucha we could find—40 flavors in all—and came away with flourishing gut health and a list of recommendations for every palate.
If you love: classic kombucha
Drink this:Prima Materia by Invisible Alchemy
Invisible Alchemy’s mystical marketing and fancy swing top bottles led one taster to describe the brand as “kombucha for people who love Magic the Gathering.” And while some of their flavors were perhaps a tad too adventurous for us (think cherry cinnamon habanero), we enjoyed the refreshing tang of the classic black tea.
If you love: Apple cider
Drink this: Apple Sass by Kombucha Mama
We loved the 'sassy' kick of this autumnal beverage, which tastes like fresh mulled cider in kombucha form.
If you love: Kicking that winter cold
Drink this: Jump Start by Eva’s Herbucha
Need to clear out your sinuses? Eva’s herbal blend of maca root, red panax ginseng, and cayenne will do the trick without offending your taste buds. This flavor was highly popular among our tasters, who found the spicy kick oddly addicting.
If you love: Tropical vacations (And Getting Caught in the rain...)
Drink this: Pina Colada by Kombucha Mama
Bend’s Kombucha Mama bottles an array of sweet, juice-like flavors, from pineapple to pomegranate lemonade. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but if you’re stranded on a tropical island with only one bottle, we recommend indulging with the pina colada.
And this: Pineapple Ginger by Lion Heart Kombucha
When the lifeboat arrives to get you off that island, ask them to bring along Lion Heart’s pineapple ginger, which is delicious, summery, and highly accessible to those new to kombucha.
If you love: Flower arranging
Drink this: White Rose by Brew Dr. Kombucha
While many floral flavors left us feeling like we just ate a bouquet, Brew Dr.’s blend of white peony, rose petals, and hibiscus provides all of the delicate spring taste with none of the petal-y mouthfeel.
If you love: Spice over sugar
Drink this: Ginger Fixx by Lion Heart Kombucha
This fantastic flavor thoroughly won us over with its zesty ginger flavor and the nutritional allure of a zero-sugar beverage.
If you love: Arizona Iced Tea
Drink this: Green Tea and Lemon by Kombucha Wonder Drink
Still skeptical about this whole “raw fermented probiotic” thing? Try KWD’s green tea and lemon. Your taste buds will think you’ve just opened a can of familiar convenience-store sweet tea, but you’ll receive the benefits of over 2 billion live and active cultures.
If you love: Embracing your lady side
Drink this: Goddess Blend by Eva’s Herbucha
Eva’s tart, fruity blend of lady’s mantle, red clover, and yarrow had even our male testers channeling their inner goddesses. (But not in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” way… although we could probably find the perfect kombucha for that, too.)
IF YOU LOVE: LEMONADE
DRINK THIS: LAVENDER LEMONADE BY LION HEART KOMBUCHA
Upgrade your boring lemon water with the detoxifying, energizing elements of kombucha and a flowery hint of lavender.
If you love: NASCAR
Drink this: Spirit by Invisible Alchemy
We’ll pass on this cultured smoke tea, which left us chewing on, acording to one taster, "charcuterie tires". But if you’re into smoked meats and peeling rubber, this is your brew.
IF YOU LOVE: CRAFTY D.I.Y. PROJECTS
TRY THIS: KOMBUCHA STARTER KIT BY OREGON KOMBUCHA
Join the leagues of do-it-yourself kombucha brewers with this simple starter kit from Oregon Kombucha. Once a brewer & distributor, Oregon Kombucha recently shifted its focus to letting you have all the fun. For $13.99, the company will provide you with a fruity tea base and your very own symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Who's thirsty?