Back in the day when we ran the semi-daily news bulletin Drinkhacker Reads, we reported on an article featured in the New York Times discussing such trends as gluten-free beer, non alcoholic alternatives, and kombucha starting to take hold with the more health conscious among us, author excluded. Fast forward six years and we’ve managed to subvert most of the trends of the time (shout-out to flavored vodkas), but kombucha remains. And here we have KÖE.
KÖE proudly pronounces itself as the only kombucha-based sparkling beverage which is fruit-forward, USDA organic, and packed with probiotics for everyone wishing to enjoy a healthy, flavorful beverage. It’s also non-alcoholic and contains 15 mg of caffeine from green coffee beans for a boost of energy.
That’s swell. But how does it taste? We sampled the entire core range; here we review and rate them from best to worst.
KÖE Organic Kombucha Mango – After having consumed an entire can of the Blueberry Ginger (more on this in just a second), I was ready to call it a career on reviewing beverages. However, this vindicated KÖE and got me back in the game. Lucky you. The sweetness heightens the flavor of the mango, and with it being the sole flavor ingredient (besides the kombucha) really shines. Easily the best of the bunch. A-
KÖE Organic Kombucha Lemon Lime – Exactly as advertised, with a heavy burst of lime followed by lemon and sugar sweetness. Light and inoffensive, it doesn’t drown everything out in a cloying, syrupy fashion. Worth checking out if you’re a health fanatic missing the taste of Diet Sprite. Or you could just have a cheat day and enjoy a Diet Sprite. Either way, this does the job. B+
KÖE Organic Kombucha Strawberry Lemonade – The strawberry comes through on the nose, but it’s nearly all lemon on a palate that’s sweet at first, then turns curiously sour and vegetal before the strawberry and mild cream notes return on the finish. Its very curious balance makes it surprisingly the most challenging of the bunch. B+
KÖE Organic Kombucha Raspberry Dragonfruit – The nose filled with ripe raspberry brought promise, but the Stevia drowns out what could have been a very lovely marriage with the dragonfruit. Overly sweet and syrupy at first, but it calms down eventually. B
KÖE Organic Kombucha Blueberry Ginger – Ever wondered about the taste profile of mixing Vernor’s and vinegar? If so, this one has you covered, especially if you want to leave that cocktail out in the sun for a few hours. Lots of ginger with very little blueberry to be found, most likely drowned out by the carbonation and sugar. D-
There are so many positive benefits to drinking kombucha, and I’m not going to list them here. KÖE serves its purpose fairly well and delivers a reasonably good kombucha at a decent price point. If they could calm down on the artificial sweeteners, this could be a beverage worth having around on the regular.