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8 Substitute Options for Kombucha

If you are aboard the kombucha trend train then here are several other similar refreshing drinks that will catch your fancy kombucha palette to try at home and quench your thirst.

This is a close look at bottles of Huckleberry Ginger Kombucha.

Kombucha has become very trendy in the last few years, mainly because it is very healthy for your gut. It contains good bacteria, providing your gut a natural probiotic making it healthy and strong. So if you don’t have or like kombucha, then are there any substitutes for it?

Many probiotic drinks can substitute kombucha such as Tepache, Rejuvelac, water kefir, Kvass, fermented vegetable juice, apple cider vinegar, and dairy-free yogurt drinks. These are great for boosting your gut health and immune system.

A substitute for kombucha would be another beverage that contains probiotics; this is because this is the main reason a person would drink it. You may be looking for one because you are tired of kombucha, you may have had a bad bottle putting you off kombucha for the moment, or you may want to branch out a little.

Related: Preserving Food Through Fermentation | Food Preservation | Types of Fermentation | Online Tea Stores | Types of Tea | Types of Kombucha

What Can We Substitute For Kombucha?

Let us look at a few other fermented drinks rich in good bacteria to boost our gut health. Gut health is very important as it helps us fight diseases, prevents bacterial infection, and improves our immune system. We know that probiotics which are good bacteria, can help improve our gut health; we can get these by taking tablets or naturally through fermented foods and beverages.

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The different fermented drinks available to us contain different probiotic strains, including a few different drinks in your diet will help you take in the different strains. Here are a few probiotics drink substitutes for kombucha:


This is a look at glass mason jars of rejuvelac drink.

Rejuvelac is a fermented drink made from grains like rye, wheat berries, quinoa, or buckwheat, mainly made from wheat berries. The grains are left to ferment in water at room temperature for a few days; this drink, like kombucha, can be made at home.

Rejuvelac is fizzy with a citrusy flavor; it is best served cold so let it chill in the refrigerator before drinking. You can drink it exactly as it is, or you can mix it will take a little fruit juice to add flavor.

Water Kefir

This is a mason jar of water kefir with its crystals on the side.

Water kefir differs from normal kefir that most people know; it does not contain any dairy. This is a carbonated fermented beverage made from water kefir grains and sugar water, forming a grain-like culture of yeast and bacteria. You may be hesitant when realizing that it is made with sugar water; thankfully, this reduces significantly over time.

You can even make this drink using coconut water which may give it a lovely flavor. Sugar is important as it provides nutrients to the grains as they ferment. Other names for this drink include tibicos, Japanese water crystals, and California bees.

This drink contains lots of good bacteria and has other benefits in improving one’s health. This drink can be enjoyed as it is or flavored with lemon juice or any other flavorings.


These are glass bottles of pineapple tepache drinks.

Tepache is a Mexican fermented drink made from pineapples, usually the peels or rind of the fruit. It is seasoned with cinnamon and sweetened with either brown sugar or piloncillo, a cube of unrefined cane sugar.

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This beverage does have a little alcohol but not much, around 2% because it was fermented. Tepache is a lovely refreshing drink that can be enjoyed cold.


This is a pitcher of kvass and a piece of rye bread on a wood tray.

This is a traditional fermented drink from Slavic and Baltic European people groups, Russia and Asia. It is made from rye bread, commonly known as black bread in these countries; the color of the bread gives this drink its color.

This drink contains very little alcohol, typically 0.5 to 1%, considered by many as being non-alcoholic due to the low amount. Kvass has a malty, earthy flavor from the bread, which can be flavored with fruit such as raspberries or strawberries and herbs like mint.

Fermented Vegetable Juice

A jar of pickled cucumbers and a glass of pickle juice.

Fermented vegetable juices are common in many countries due to their health benefits. They are made by fermenting vegetables in water and then straining out the solids. A common vegetable used is beetroot, but it can be made by any vegetable that one desires.

This is different from fermenting vegetable juice, mainly due to the larger amount of water to vegetables. You can add herbs and spices to this drink to add flavor.

Ginger Ale

A couple of glass of cold ginger ale with lemon.

Homemade Ginger Ale is a probiotic-rich drink; this is much better than your basic store-bought ginger ale, which does not have probiotics. Before starting, you will need to make the healthy bacteria known as a ginger bug. This is very easy to make; you will need fresh ginger, sugar, and water.

Most of us are familiar with this drink for many years; it’s so tasty and healthy for your gut.

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Lacto-Fermented Lemonade

This is a close look at a homemade lactofermented refreshing drink with pieces of mint.

Most of us love lemonade, its tangy-sweet flavor is so delicious, and thankfully it doesn’t just have to be tasty but also healthy for our gut. You can find probiotic-rich lemonade at the store, but it may be hard to find, and it may contain other additives.

Luckily for us, it is very easy to make at home, and it’s affordable. The starter for this drink is whey protein which you can either buy or make at home; you will then combine it with lemon juice, sugar, and water and leave it to one side to ferment.


This is a close look at a glass of kefir with a topping of mint leaves.

Kefir is slightly different from kombucha and the above drinks because it has a diary; this is a lovely drink for many, but not if you are lactose intolerant. This drink is made from cow’s milk or goat’s milk and contains more probiotic cultures than yogurt, which is great. To make kefir, you need to add kefir grains to the milk of your choice.

These grains are not cereal grains but instead grain-like colonies of yeast and lactic acid bacteria. Kefir originates from Eastern Europe and Asia; it is not just rich in probiotics but also protein, calcium, and B vitamins.

Basic Things To Know When Making A Probiotic-Rich Drink

When making the above-fermented drinks, it’s important to know that some will need a starter culture or SCOBY while others use wild fermentation. Their starters then infuse the drink with live good bacteria and yeast, which is very healthy for our gut. The bacteria need to be fed and given nutrition to survive; this is done by adding sugar to the drink.

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This drink can ferment at room temperature for a day or a few weeks, depending on the recipe and what you desire. These fermented and cultured drinks can be split up into three categories depending on the method used.

  • The use of SCOBY: kombucha, Jun Tea, and water kefir
  • Ginger bug and whey sodas: ginger ale and root beer
  • Wild fermented sodas and tonics: Tepache and Kvass