Serious Eats: Drinks
Clearly Kombucha Makes Kombucha Less Scary
Kombucha frightens some people. The floaty bits, the cloudiness, the vinegar-y funk. The fermented tea isn't for everyone. But when you start seeing it on tap at bars and for sale at just about every corner store, you know that some people are drinking it.
I'm into it, but pretty sure nobody else at SEHQ is. Or so they thought, until they tried Clearly Kombucha, a new brand on the 'bucha scene started by Caleb Cargle and Ali Zarrow. The two were searching for some non-alcoholic alternatives and found themselves bonding over kombucha. They wanted to create a version that'd appeal to a wider audience, so they dialed down the pungency of the original GT's brand and developed a line of kombucha that's closer to a fruity soda or tonic water.
Clearly Kombucha comes in five flavors: Original, Tangerine, Black Currant, Asian Pear, and Ginger Berry, each ranging from 5 to 40 calories.
Tangerine is citrus-y but not too sour, with a mild sweetness balanced by the natural tanginess of the kombucha. Black Currant was another favorite, but really, you could drink this and not even realize it was a kombucha. It's closer to a black currant soda, without being too syrupy-sweet like Ribena. Asian Pear was reminiscent of a pear cider (plus how often do you see Asian Pear-flavored anything?). Lastly, Ginger Berry is a popular flavor of the original GT's brand, but this one didn't do it for me. I wanted it to have a spicier ginger bite.
Overall, these are very drinkable and less funky (read: less bucha-y) than what you might expect. Maybe not quite bucha-y enough for the more hardcore set of fermentation fiends who look forward to the floaty, jellyfishy SCOBY bits.