Have you ever heard of Kombucha? It’s a mysterious brew made from tea and sugar, but what can it do to benefit your health?
Despite its apparent health benefits, finding a Kombucha substitute can be perplexing.
Fortunately, there are some acceptable options.
From carbonated drinks, to beer and vinegar-based substitutes all the way to kefir and non-alcoholic beer – there are many ways to use other ingredients instead of Kombucha.
Here are the five best substitutes for those seeking something similar to Kombucha without the alcohol content or acidity.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a type of fermented tea made from a combination of black tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast.
It originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its many health benefits.
Kombucha has a tart, vinegary taste that is slightly sweet and can be served chilled or on the rocks.
Kombucha is packed with probiotics and antioxidants that help improve digestive health.
The probiotics may also help boost the immune system and reduce symptoms of certain diseases.
Additionally, Kombucha contains B-vitamins which may aid metabolism and energy levels.
The fermentation process for making kombucha involves first brewing tea using black tea leaves or green tea leaves along with sugar.
This mix is then combined with a starter culture called SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria And Yeast) and left to ferment over several days or weeks depending on how strong you like the flavor to be.
During this time the yeast will eat up most of the sugar so Kombucha contains very little sugar compared to other fruit juices or carbonated beverages.
To use kombucha as part of your daily diet, try adding it to smoothies or also pairing it well with spicy dishes such as curries or stir fries for balance in flavor profile.
It can also be used as a natural cleansing agent by drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach as an alternative to lemon water detox drinks if desired.
Kombucha can also be added to dressings, salads, marinades, sauces, baked desserts, yogurt parfaits, etc., for added nutrition boosts.
The 5 BEST Substitutes for Kombucha
However, for those who may be looking for an alternative or cannot find kombucha on store shelves, there are some great substitutes that can provide similar benefits.
Here are five of the best substitutes for kombucha:
1 – Water Kefir
Water Kefir is a fermented milk drink or tonic that can be enjoyed by those who cannot consume cow milk.
It’s made with water, molasses, and Kefir grains; resulting in a light, unusual taste.
This popular beverage can be found in many health food stores and is great for boosting immunity and aiding digestion.
It’s perfect for people with lactose intolerance or allergies, as well as those looking for an alcoholic-free alternative to beer or wine.
Some flavor options include fruits like lemon, lime and orange; but you can also add herbs such as rosemary or lavender to your Water Kefir to make it even more flavorful.
2 – Kvass
Kvass (AKA Bread Kvass), is a traditional beverage of Eastern Europe often made with stale rye or wheat bread.
A simple fermenting process using active sourdough and some kind of sweetener creates a slightly alcoholic, carbonated and tangy drink with a depth of flavor similar to beer, yet without the hoppiness.
Tart berries can also be added when fermenting, lending Kvass an even tangier flavor profile.
Despite its low alcohol content it is not recommended for children under 16.
In Eastern Europe, Kvass has long been perceived as less of a beverage than a health tonic with purported anti-cancer properties as well as being beneficial for digestive health, kidney function and blood circulation.
3 – Rejuvelac
Rejuvelac is a fermented probiotic beverage made from wheat berries, barley, millet or rye that has been left to soak in water for several days.
During the fermentation process, beneficial bacteria and yeasts are produced which contribute to the array of probiotics found in Rejuvelac.
The beverage is known for its light and refreshing flavor with mild lemony notes.
A bonus is that Rejuvelac typically contains more probiotics than Kombucha and can be made more quickly since it does not require additional ingredients like yeast or bacteria.
Because Rejuvelac is made from grains, however, it may not be an ideal option for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies.
It can also be used as a base in homemade sourdough bread recipes.
4 – Ginger Ale
Ginger Ale is an easily found alternative to Kombucha, providing a fizzy and slightly sweet taste.
It’s not as beneficial for health as Kombucha is, but it does contain some vitamin B-6 and iron.
It may also help to settle stomachs and reduce nausea which could make it a good substitute if you’re looking for something lighter and less acidic on the stomach.
However, this option won’t offer many probiotics so if that’s your goal with Kombucha you may need another option or two.
5 – Boza
Boza – Boza is a traditional drink made from fermented wheat, barley, rice and or millet.
It contains healthy probiotics, has low sugar content and is vegan friendly.
It has a sweet and sour flavor yet faintly bitter aftertaste.
Boza is an important part of the Turkish culture and is popular in other parts of Eastern Europe as well.
To make it at home, you will need to ferment the grains with water in an airtight container; boiling water can speed up the process.
In most instances, Boza is served chilled with cinnamon or raisins making it a unique substitute for Kombucha.
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that has become increasingly popular because of its fizzy, slightly tart flavor and purported health benefits.
If you can’t find kombucha or would like to try something new, there are several options that can provide flavorful, probiotic alternatives.
From other teas and sodas to lacto-fermented foods and drinks, many delicious beverages are worth exploring.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and what your palate desires.
Be sure to keep all possible health benefits in mind as you explore these different drinks, as some contain fewer probiotics than others.
Experiment with different options until you find one that meets your needs and preferences.
With these five substitutes for kombucha, including traditional fermented beverages like water kefir and Jun, you’ll be able to find something satisfying without compromising health or flavor.