10 of the Best British Kombucha Brands
Okay, first things first: what is kombucha? Well, kombucha is an unpasteurised, slightly effervescent, fizzy drink that’s made by fermenting tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (also known as a SCOBY). It’s packed full of lovely live cultures and is, as a result, pretty kind on your gut and body. It’s also absolutely delicious; which is something that definitely helps whenever you’re trying out any sort of health kick. Unlike other saccharine soft drinks that are packed with artificial sweeteners and sugar, kombucha is tart and refreshing and has more in common – flavour profile-wise, at least – with a dry sparkling wine than it does with a Coca Cola.
Obviously, there’s a time and palace for a Coca Cola (like when you’re in need of an instant hangover cure) but I'd argue that there should be more times and places in your life for kombucha. Sure, you can make your own kombucha at home with just a few simple ingredients but I’d also recommend buying some bottles that have been made by actual experts. The British ‘buch scene has really blossomed and grown in popularity over the last few years and there’s now a range of talented British producers making some top, top kombucha.
There are also some slightly less talented kombucha producers who are shilling drinks that taste more like apple cider vinegar than anything you’d actually want to quaff on a sunny day. But this feature isn’t about them. This is about the British kombucha brands making tasty beverages that are fit to burst with friendly bacteria – the best of the 'bucha bunch. It’s also worth stating that I tried really hard to make a SCOBY Doo joke somewhere in this intro. And I would have got away with it, too, if it wasn’t those meddling kids. Anyway. These are the very best British kombucha brands that you should know about. Bottoms up.
Fix8 is the ideal kombucha if you’re chasing a naturally fermented buzz. Crafted in a London microbrewery and cultured in small batches by hand, Fix8’s kombuchas are suitable for quaffing whether it’s 8 in the morning or 8 at night. Tart without bordering into drinking vinegar territory, they’re über refreshing and come in a range of different flavours designed to rejuvenate your spirit and bring some balance to your gut health. The ‘Strawberry Tulsi’ is my pick of the bunch – it’s sweet, sour, and tastes like a strawberry that’s had a run-in with balsamic vinegar. In a really good way.
Opening up a kombucha brewery and taproom in Hackney Wick sounds like pretty standard behaviour for east London, right? Well, JARR were the first commercial kombucha brewery to open in London back in 2015 and the brand has been a consistent mainstay in the British ‘buch scene since its inception. With ginger, raspberry, and passion fruit rounding off an impressive array of flavours, it’s hard to go wrong with a bottle of anything that JARR produces. That being said, the original, plain kombucha – which is made with organic, single-estate green and oolong teas – is my jam.
Rather than seeing it simply as a health drink, Real Kombucha positions their premium kombucha as a non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling wine. Fermented from loose-leaf teas, both of Real Kombucha’s kombuchas ('Royal Flush' and 'Dry Dragon') come with a cork and cage situation that makes popping open a bottle feel a lot more luxe than having a cuppa. Royal Flush is produced from a fragrant First Flush Darjeeling tea that’s been picked by hand and… nothing else. The lack of any additional flavourings allows the complexity of the tea to shine and it’s that trust in the natural process of it all that makes Real Kombucha stand out amongst the best British kombucha producers.
No 1 Living
Yeah, you’ll probably recognise this one as the Jonny Wilkinson kombucha, MOB. Each bottle of ‘buch from No 1 Living is dairy-free, gluten-free, suitable for vegans, and packed full of live cultures. It’s hard not to feel a little smug and #wellness after nailing a bottle but the real enjoyment is in the drinking. Especially when you're necking the zingy and slightly savoury ginger kombucha with turmeric. Each lightly sparkling kombucha that No 1 Living produces should make you feel like you’ve got your life on track. Which you quite obviously don’t if you’re trying to seek enlightenment from a bottle of fizzy tea. But still.
Equinox Kombucha is all about doing things as back-to-basics as possible. That's why Equinox’s organic kombucha is made from Chun Mee Green Tea, raw cane sugar and a SCOBY live culture. Yep, that’s all. You won’t find anything artificial or fruity milling about in a bottle of that 'bucha and that O.G. flavour is still crisp, zesty and eminently crushable on a sunny day. More tropical options like ‘Pink Grapefruit & Guava’ are sweet, sharp, tangy and get their flavour thanks to an infusion of floral hibiscus, rose petals, honeybush and nettle leaf. All of Equinox's flavours are worth a go.
You + I Kombucha
Previously known as Clever Kombucha, You + I Kombucha is a British kombucha brewery based out in Glasgow who make a range of refreshing kombuchas packed with a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and organic acids. I think I broke my record of “most kombuchas written in a sentence” just then but the point stands that You + I make some cracking fizzy drinks. Their kombucha is fermented with French oak to give it a uniquely woodsy and herbal tang. You wouldn’t mistake this stuff for any of overly-sugared versions you might find elsewhere. This is legit shit, MOB.
Genie Living Drinks
As the great Cristina Aguilera once said: “If you wanna be with me, baby, there's a price to pay.” That rings true for just about everything in life and if you want to become a true picture of health then the price you have to pay is drinking this probiotic award-winning vegan kombucha made by Genie Living Drinks. Which, to be honest, is a rather enjoyable fee. All of Genie’s drinks – including the cracking Crisp Citrus, a blend of fermented tea and citrus juices – are super tasty and have the added benefit of aiding digestion and supposedly boosting your immune system. Go and set a bottle free.
It doesn’t get much more L.A. than cracking open a kombucha and taking down a salad bowl on a sunny day. The weather in the UK might be a lot more unpredictable than the violent Cali sun, but if you want to get yourself a predictably great beverage then you should check out L.A. Brewery’s range of kombucha. Fermented and bottled at a micro-brewery in Suffolk, every gently sparkling drink that L.A. Brewery makes is a proper, feel-good ride for your gullet and gut. The Citrus Hops flavour is one of the most individual kombuchas on the market, too; the hoppy depths of a New England IPA combining with the tart acidity of kombucha. It’s what all non-alcoholic beer wish they could be.
Hip Pop is an example of how a great idea can turn into a great business. What started as a bootstraps operation run out of a garage, and aimed at curing one man's IBS, has turned into a bonafide brewery on a beautiful farm in Cheshire. Fermented with a healthy culture of bacteria and yeast, Hip Pop's hand-crafted kombucha is just as good for your body as it tastes. It’s tart without being lip-puckeringly so and flavours such as Organic Strawberry Pineapple will be a hit with just about anyone.
Left Field Kombucha
Established in 2016, Left Field Kombucha is a UK craft brewer of kombucha based in the tea smuggling Scottish coastal town of Eyemouth. Owners Jo Easingwood Roberts and Geraint Owen Roberts are the mavericks behind the brand and the drivers behind Left Field’s rather, well, left-field approach to kombucha brewing. Expect austere kombucha made with a wide range of teas including Yunnan black tea, sencha green tea, Oolong tea, and Darjeeling tea. Fresh, fragrant, and zesty – you won’t find much better British kombucha out there.