Taste test: Kombucha

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From the Taste test: Kombucha edition

For many, it's a bottle of kombucha a day to keep the doctor away.

Long a libation among the homeopathic set, the iced tea fermented with live cultures of bacteria and yeast is gaining popularity beyond raw foodists.

Here's what I found by sampling the leading national brand and a variety bottled in Central Ohio.

Tea: Kombu-Tea Kombucha Kvass

Flavor: Blueberry

Brewed in: Worthington

Cost: $3.49 for 13-ounce bottle

Color: A beautiful, light maroon

Carbonation: Wildly effervescent, with a thick lavender head and tiny bubbles that continue to march up the glass 10 minutes after pouring

Smell: Light, airy notes of vinegar, almost like a lambic, with berry aromas underneath

Taste: Invigorating sourness gives way to slight blueberry taste, though it's not at all sweet.

In short: Central Ohio kombucha king Bob Munley has crafted a quality beverage for those who want a simple, straightforward version of the tea.

Tea: GT's Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha

Flavor: Botanic No. 9 (bilberry, honeysuckle and red clover)

Brewed in: Beverly Hills, California

Cost: $3.99 for 16-ounce bottle

Color: Purple with dark cultures swirling about

Carbonation: Pours without a head, though miniscule bubbles continue to rise rapidly after pouring

Smell: A slight sour smell is followed by spicy herbal aromas, including chamomile, clover and lavender.

Taste: An obvious sweetness bears fruity notes and those of herbal tea.

In short: This version of GT's was tasty and not too intimidating for the first-time partaker.