Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Product Review - Kombucha Wonder Drink...

So by now you should be well aware of my love for Kombucha. I’ve previously shared my thoughts and feelings on brands such as GT's, Mmm... TeaKevita, and REEDS, and today I wanted to tell you about another brand of kombucha I discovered back in May in Vancouver. It’s called Kombucha Wonder Drink - and boasts all the amazing health benefits of every other Kombucha brand I’ve tried and reviewed. KWD is founded by Steve Lee, who also happens to be the co-founder of the popular tea brands STASH and Tazo. Apparently he got really into kombucha on a trip he took to Russia in the 1990's, brought back some recipes and started messing around with home-brewing. Some of his friends - like microbrewery experts and microbiologists - got into the game and thus Kombucha Wonder Drink was born.

As far as I can tell - from my own trips to health food stores - KWD isn’t big yet, not in the was GT’s and Kevita are, but I’m sure it’ll get there. In Vancouver I first found KWD being sold in a small produce market, and then a few other health food stores around town. Here in Chicago the only place I’ve seen it for sale is The World Market, but it’s only popped up there within the past month. Since I didn’t know too much about it when I first discovered it I decided to Google it and read some reviews. Most of them unanimously say that the flavor is great, that seems to be the focus. People love the taste, and I can see why. KWD is relatively sweet, and doesn’t have that tart vinegary, mouth-pucker taste that some of GT’s or even some Kevita flavors have. KWD comes in eight really interesting flavors, it’s relatively low in calories at 50 calories a serving, and it’s organic.

Of their eight flavors my favorite are Asian Pear and Ginger, Niagra Grape, Green Tea and Lemon, and Cherry Cassis. The Traditional Flavor, Essence of Peach, and Essence of Mango are also pretty decent, but I’m less fond of the plain Essence of Lemon and the Essence of Juniper Berry, Spearmint and Lemon Myrtle. Of the flavors that I like the most I can’t deny that they are indeed very tasty, I can knock that stuff back with no problem and want more. However, the one major drawback for me is that Kombucha Wonder Drink is not raw. That’s right, KWD is pasturized. The other major drawback for me is that 12g of sugar per serving. That’s a bit too much sugar for me and I prefer the low-sugar of GT’s.

Now I guess in the Kombucha community there is some debate over what’s better, raw or pasturized. The people who prefer it raw claim that the living culture is what is providing the most benefit, the nutrients are left whole and intact, they are not degraded by the pasteurization process. They say it has to be raw to be healing and to provide energy. While on the opposite hand the people who are in favor of pasteurizing claim that the process helps to preserve the nutrients, as well as the flavor and make it both more stable and more safe. That’s certainly the explanation that KWD gives on their website for why they chose to pasteurize their drink. To retain flavor and keep Kombucha safe. I don’t know if I buy it though. I mean sure when you eat or drink anything that is raw and unpasteurized there is the risk that you could become ill, and I have heard horror stories of people home-brewing kombucha who have become sick. However I’ve never read an account of anyone drinking a bottle of say GT’s and getting violently ill. Surely there must be some sort of regulatory process that inspects raw products meant for commercial sale to ensure public safety? I don’t know.

Honestly I’m in the raw Kombucha camp all the way. I think it’s healthier, and more beneficial and while I do love the unique flavor of KWD, I don’t feel the same strong boost after drinking it that I do after drinking GT’s. I have to assume that’s because it’s pasturized, and possibly it’s also because of the sugar content. The sugars are quite high in the drink, and perhaps that makes me feel more sluggish then it does energized.

Bottom Line is that I like Kombucha Wonder Drink’s Flavor, and I’ll certainly drink it from time to time when I see it available, but it won’t be replacing GT’s as the constant in my refrigerator, and honestly I think it’s a little too much to ask to pay upwards of $3 a bottle for a pasturized Kombucha that may or may not be as nutritionally competent as it’s raw counterparts. As always, if you see it, try it for yourself, and let me know what you think. Where do you stand? Raw or Pasturized and why?

If you're interested in knowing more about Kombucha Wonder Drink you can check out their website.

Kombucha Wonder Drink

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