Health-Ade makes the best-tasting kombucha we've tried so far
- Kombucha is a rapidly growing industry, with US sales nearing $700 million in 2018. Health-Ade is one of brands leading the growth of this functional fermented tea.
- It launched in 2012 as a local favorite at Los Angeles farmers markets. Today, it's one of the fastest growing functional beverage brands in the US and brews 120,000 bottles of kombucha a day.
- It's also our favorite kombucha brand because it comes in many delicious flavors, which are made only with cold-pressed juice from organic produce bought from local farms, and isn't as sour or vinegar-like as other brands.
Kombucha - the mere mention of this fermented beverage is enough to cause faces to contort into grimaces, or conversely, eyes to light up with excitement.
Lately, it seems like the latter is more true. Total US cross-channel sales reached approximately $689 million in 2018, with sales in convenience stores growing 71% to around $23.3 million.
If you've checked out the refrigerated beverage aisle at your supermarket or corner bodega lately, you've probably seen - and been overwhelmed by - the rows and rows of colorful bottles of kombucha. The three biggest players fighting for control of the US kombucha market are GT's Living Foods, KeVita and Health-Ade.
Of those three, Health-Ade is my favorite.
Health-Ade Kombucha is cofounded by Daina Trout, who began brewing kombucha at home while pursuing her Masters' degrees in Nutrition and Public Health at Tufts University. In 2012, she, her husband, and her best friend started selling bottles of the apartment-brewed drink at local farmers markets in Los Angeles.
These homegrown beginnings are still present in how the company, which was the fastest growing functional beverage brand in 2018, operates today. The kombucha is brewed in small batches in 2.5 gallon glass jars, though Health-Ade now ferments at a much higher rate of 60,000 jars a week.
A functional beverage is any drink containing added ingredients that claims to provide specific health benefits. In the case of kombucha, these benefits may include improved digestion due to the increased presence of healthy bacteria and blood sugar control due to the antioxidant qualities of the green tea. That being said, there hasn't been a lot of substantial studies about the benefits of kombucha.
The plain, original flavor contains just four ingredients - black or green tea, sugar, a starter of aged kombucha, and scoby, which is the culture of bacteria, yeast, and enzymes that turns the sweet tea into tart and bubbly kombucha tea.
Health-Ade's many delicious flavors include Pink Lady Apple, Pomegranate, Blood Orange-Carrot-Ginger, and a newly released Cherry Berry. They're made only with cold-pressed juice from organic produce bought from local farms, and among its many certifications, Health-Ade is USDA-certified organic and Non-GMO Project-verified.
Take a sip of Health-Ade
I always like trying out new drinks, whether it's lemonade or a cold-pressed juice. Kombucha is one that's really piqued my interest in the last couple of years because of its divisive taste.
I've tried various kombucha brands both national and local, but the only one I've unequivocally enjoyed was Health-Ade.
It doesn't have as strong of a sour, vinegar-like taste as other brands, and it's bubbly and refreshing. Each 16 ounce bottle contains less than 100 calories, and different amounts of sugar and carbs depending on the flavor.
The cold-pressed brews are enticing, and the kombucha is said to help aid digestion thanks to the naturally occurring probiotics and organic acids that result of the fermenting process. There's also a Superfood line made with "functional and botanical superfoods" such as maca root which purportedly helps increase energy, spirulina for antioxidants, and wheatgrass which is believed to be super nutrient-dense, giving your body even more benefits than kombucha alone. But like kombucha itself, there hasn't been a ton of substantiated studies that back up these superfood claims.
Other members of the Insider Picks team love Health-Ade despite the gray science claims. One editor didn't seem interested when he noticed I was opening a box of kombucha samples, but practically ran over once I specified that they were from Health-Ade.
I would call myself an entry-level kombucha drinker - as in, I'm happy having a bottle once every couple of weeks - so I thought the 16-ounce bottles were a bit large for me and I usually couldn't finish the entire bottle in one sitting.
If you drink at my pace, know that the fizziness will be weaker the next day, but the drink will still taste great.
By being USDA-certified organic, the company is helping support healthy ecosystems, and it also provides better conditions for farmers.
Health-Ade composts all of its organic matter, including tea bags, juice pulp, and scoby. Since starting its composting program in May 2017, it has diverted more than 2.5 million pounds of waste from landfills. In 2018 alone, it composted more than 1 million pounds of organic waste. It has also upcycled more than 1,000 bottles into soap dispensers and small herb gardens.
If you're looking for a new kombucha brand to try, Health-Ade is our favorite and the one we recommend the most. The taste is not too sour, all the flavors are delicious, and it's a nice afternoon pick-me-up. It also only uses local and organic ingredients, and gives back to the community by composting and upcycling.
Shop Health-Ade Kombucha at Amazon here
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