What Does Kombucha Taste Like – A Well Cultured Beverage

This oddly-named beverage has been making its way into mainstream markets for the last few years. What was once a specialty brew is now available in corner stores and grocery stores. You may be tempted to buy it because you want to know, what does kombucha taste like? It is easier to understand the answer if you know why it is sought-after and how it is made.

What Does Kombucha Do?

You may be wondering why kombucha has become more popular. Many people claim that kombucha provides a variety of health benefits from regular consumption. As a result, a greater number of people have been seeking out this natural drink to try for themselves. This may even be why you want to sample kombucha.

First understand that as a beverage, kombucha is relatively low in calories. It also contains some vitamins. These two factors alone make it a worthwhile beverage compared to soda and juice. You should always read the label to see the nutritional breakdown of your particular brand. Some contain more grams of sugar than others.

Furthermore, kombucha has probiotics and antioxidants. These substances provide a variety of positive health effects. They can support digestion, circulation, and general health. A simple search will reveal different claims. There are relatively few scientific studies on how effective kombucha is as a remedy for what ails you. Regardless, if you are trying to increase your intake of probiotics and antioxidants kombucha is a potential source.

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How to Make Kombucha

The answer to “What does kombucha taste like?” is better answered when you know how to make kombucha. Perhaps you will want to make some of your own after sampling what could be your new favorite drink.

The key to making a great batch of kombucha is to start with a well-made scoby. If this word sounds odd, that is because it is an acronym. It stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. This substance is actually closely related to vinegar. That is important information to remember for later. You can buy pre-made scoby, get some from a friend, or make your own.

Once you have a scoby, you start by making a batch of sweetened tea. The sugar is important because it provides food for the organism. You can use different types of tea, although black or green tea is most commonly used. The yeast and bacteria work in harmony to convert the sugars and tea into the finished product, which is what we call kombucha. This action is what creates a fizzy, effervescent liquid.

Be aware that this process takes time, so if you are making the foray into kombucha brewing you will need a safe place to store the drink as it ferments. There are many recipes available online. You should read through a few and find one that appeals to you based on how much you want to make, the flavor profile you are seeking, and how much time you have.

Does Kombucha Taste Like Beer?

Now that you understand how kombucha is made, you can better understand what you are going to taste with your first sip.

Another beverage that is brewed with yeast is beer. The yeast transforms the sugar to alcohol. As a result you may wonder, does kombucha taste like beer? This is why a good scoby is important. In the absence of bacteria you would simply make a form of beer with a tea base. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is not kombucha! If anyone tells you kombucha tastes like alcohol, they may be onto something. However, the addition of the yeast means that less than 1% of kombucha is alcohol so they may be exaggerating.

Despite all of this, kombucha does not taste very similar to beer. Even with the wide range of beer available it is a poor comparison. Some people say it tastes more like a sour apple cider. Remember that the fermentation process of kombucha is very close to the one that makes vinegar.  

Does Kombucha Taste Like Vinegar?

With the knowledge that kombucha is a cousin of vinegar, you are closer to understanding what kombucha tastes like. Does kombucha taste like vinegar? The answer is yes and no. Imagine if you made a soda out of vinegar. This is a much better characterization of kombucha. The difference is that the process for kombucha creates a much gentler acid than the one that makes vinegar. As a result you get a bit of a kick when you drink it, but your face does not turn inside out as it would if you actually drank vinegar.

It may help to take a sniff of the kombucha before you drink it for the first time. You may notice other scents such as fruit or flowers. There will also be an undertone of vinegar. It is gentle but noticeable. This is perfectly normal and expected. If your first sample of kombucha is store bought then you are guaranteed a mild exposure to this.

If you are making your own kombucha, be aware that it will be somewhat more vinegary. Furthermore, the longer you leave it to brew, the stronger the vinegar scent and flavor becomes. It may take some time to dial in the perfect balance of sweet and savory in your homemade batch.


What does kombucha taste like? The best way to find out is to buy some for yourself to try. Be prepared for a bold, fizzy flavor and texture. Now that you know more about what kombucha is and how it is made, you can better appreciate the value of what you are about to consume.

Read my other post on what does Sake taste like.

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