Review: New Health-Ade Kombucha Flavors, Ranked

Kombucha is a bubbly, fermented, tea-based drink that has had a rapid rise in popularity due to its health benefits, the growing number of brands stocking supermarket shelves, and the ever-expanding choice of flavors. Whether made at home or commercially, the process is pretty similar. Tea (black, green, or both) is mixed with sugar, water, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It ferments in two stages, resulting in a probiotic drink that is sour, sweet, carbonated, and packed with live, active cultures. Making kombucha yourself takes time, experimentation, and some equipment, so many turn to prepared kombucha, and that's where Health-Ade comes in.

Health-Ade has been leading the pack in the kombucha market in the US since its launch in 2012. The brand has risen from a small company selling at farmer's markets to a nationally available brand in a wide variety of flavors. Health-Ade is easily recognizable thanks to the signature squat brown glass bottles, though cans of kombucha are now also available. In addition to a core group of flavors, Health-Ade introduces new flavors and limited-time seasonal offerings throughout the year. Recently, Health-Ade launched three tropical flavors, and we couldn't resist giving them a taste to see how they stack up. As a long-time fan of kombucha, I was looking forward to assessing the overall flavor of each drink in addition to how well the flavor matched the name of the drink.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

What are the new Health-Ade Flavors?

Health-Ade recently launched new tropical flavors that can be found individually online, or in stores, or as The Tropical Variety Pack on the Health-Ade website. The kombucha trio includes a new permanent flavor, an old favorite with a new name, and a new seasonal flavor. Health-Ade rates the trio tasting notes on a scale as 3 out of 3 for fruity flavors, 2 out of 3 for tangy flavors, and 1 out of 3 for floral flavors, making it a refreshing combination for someone looking for a fruit-forward sweet-tart balance.

Tropical Pineapple is not a new flavor for Health-Ade, but it now has a new name. Previously called Tropical Punch, the main flavor profile is the same with cold-pressed pineapple juice accented with mango and orange. Guava Dragon Fruit debuted as a seasonal flavor and was so popular that it has become a permanent flavor. The kombucha is flavored with guava and dragon fruit purees for a sweet-tart, floral combo. Lastly, the seasonal offering of the group is Mango Lemonade. Sweet mango puree balances tart lemon juice for a tropical twist on a classic drink. Each flavor is 80 calories for a 16-ounce bottle and contains between 7% and 10% juice per bottle. Each variety is certified gluten-free and vegan in addition to being certified organic and non-GMO project verified.

Where can you buy Health-Ade and how much does it cost?

Between retail locations and the Health-Ade website, it is easy to get your hands on Health-Ade's kombucha. Health-Ade notes on its website that it is "a Top 3 national brand available at nearly 30,000 retailers nationwide." There is a store locator feature on the website to ensure you know where you can find the products, and includes well-known stores such as Whole Foods and Target, where it is stocked in the refrigerated section. The price will vary across stores. In the New York City area, a 16-ounce bottle ranges from $2.99 to $3.79.

You can order directly from the Health-Ade website in many different ways. In terms of volume, there is one 6-bottle sample pack with six different flavors priced at $31.95, but the rest of the cans or bottles, regardless of a single flavor or a variety pack, are sold as a 12-pack. A single purchase of 12 cans is $39.95, but if you prefer bottles, a 12-pack will cost $10 more. You can build a bundle with your choice of 12 cans and 12 bottles for $72 before taxes, which is a 10% discount. There is also a Subscribe & Save feature for repeat buyers. The Subscribe & Save feature allows you to set up repeat ordering every 7, 14, or 30 days and offers a 15% discount off the single purchase price.

3. Health-Ade Mango Lemonade

This flavor is not the first time Health-Ade has crafted a lemonade (or limeade) drink. There is currently a Mint Limeade and Berry Lemonade, marked a best seller, on the flavor roster. While Berry Lemonade has raspberries and blueberries, Mango Lemonade is all about mango. Mango puree is mixed with lemon juice and lemon extract, and then combined with the kombucha base. The 16-ounce bottle has 80 calories, 17 grams total sugar, 12 grams added sugar, and contains 7% juice.

The main aroma when opening a bottle is a fruity lemon smell, though it's hard to pinpoint it initially as mango. The kombucha is a pale yellow color, almost identical to the color of Tropical Pineapple. The flavor is very crisp and lemony, but it is not too sour. In addition to the aroma, the flavor of the mango is subtle as well. It tastes primarily of lemonade, and although you know there is another fruit mixed in, it is hard to identify it as mango if you haven't looked at the label first. Still, the flavor the mango adds is delicious and fruity, and the drink has the perfect amount of lemony pucker to satisfy that craving for classic lemonade without all the squeezing.

2. Health-Ade Guava Dragon Fruit

Guava Dragon Fruit launched in 2022 as a seasonal flavor and was so popular it's now earned a permanent spot in the flavor lineup. In addition to the same organic kombucha base Health-Ade uses across other varieties, this flavor has pink and white guava puree and dragon fruit puree. A 16-ounce bottle is 80 calories, has 14 grams of total sugar, including 13 added grams, and contains 10% juice.

Because the bottles are brown, you can't see the beautiful soft pink color of the kombucha until you pour some out, but you do instantly get hit with the fruity tropical aroma of the guava. Guava is a distinctive flavor that's hard to fully describe. It's often noted as a blend of strawberry, pear, and melon while being fruity, sweet, and juicy. The combination creates something really unique. Dragon fruit can have a red or white interior and has a much more subtle flavor that can be earthy, tart, or sweet. In this drink, the dragon fruit is just a back note, giving some depth and harmony to the guava but not overstepping. When the guava and dragon fruit combine with the tangy flavor that develops when brewing kombucha, it gives the drink a lightly citrusy aroma and taste. It's very fruity without being overly sweet or cloying, which makes it quite refreshing.

1. Health-Ade Tropical Pineapple

Previously called Tropical Punch, this kombucha is a blend of organic cold-pressed pineapple juice (from Costa Rican pineapples), mango puree, and cold-pressed orange juice. There are 80 calories in the 16-ounce bottle. This variety has 16 grams of total sugar, including 12 grams of added sugar, and has 10% juice.

The kombucha is a lovely yellow color and has a strong pineapple aroma. The flavor is pineapple forward as well, as expected by the name, but the mango and orange flavors are easy to identify in the blend and not a hidden back flavor. Using cold-pressed juice for the pineapple and orange ingredients in this kombucha not only retains extra nutrients, it keeps the fruits tasting bold, fresh, and bright. The combination of the three fruits works very well together and instantly tastes tropical. Tropical Pineapple is the sweetest tasting of the three varieties, which makes sense since pineapple, mango, and orange have some tang to them but are more sweet than sour. The carbonation and tang from the fermented kombucha base keep the drink light yet full flavored, not too sweet, and thirst-quenching.

Health-Ade Tropical Variety Pack vs. Health-Ade Fan Favorite Variety Pack

So, how do these new tropical flavors compare to some of the best-selling Health-Ade varieties? The Fan Favorite Variety Pack is made up of three top flavors: Pink Lady Apple, Berry Lemonade, and Pomegranate. Nutrition-wise, the calories on the Fan Favorite kombuchas range from 70 to 80 calories per 16-ounce bottle, 14 to 16 grams of total sugar, and 12 to 13 grams of added sugar. The trio contains 10% juice. Across the board, the numbers are very similar to the Tropical Variety Pack.

Flavor-wise, each pack has a lemonade blend, though the Berry Lemonade has cold-pressed lemon juice, and the Mango Lemonade does not. Also notable is that all the flavors in the Tropical Variety Pack are blends of two to three flavors, but the Fan Favorite pack features two single-flavored kombuchas. Pink Lady Apple has no other ingredients to counter the flavor of the cold-pressed apple juice. In fact, it only has three ingredients altogether: apple juice, kombucha, and live active cultures. Pomegranate similarly only has pomegranate juice and pomegranate essence to create a single flavored drink. While the Fan Favorite Variety Pack features three very different flavors, the Tropical Variety Pack has three unique flavor combinations more closely connected to each other.

Are the new Health-Ade flavors worth it?

I had my first bottle of kombucha over a decade ago while working as a line cook. One of my fellow chefs brought me a bottle on an especially hot day, and I was hooked by how rejuvenating the slightly sour, bubbly drink made me feel. Since then, I have sampled many brands and flavors of kombucha, including a wide assortment of Health-Ade kombucha varieties, and I can assure you that not all kombucha are equal.

When tasting the three new flavors of Health-Ade, I considered two main factors. The first was the overall taste and carbonation. It's rare to encounter a flat bottle of kombucha, but it has happened before. Were the flavors bright and fresh, and were the bubbles active? Second, did the taste of the kombucha match the flavor description? These three flavors were all delicious, very drinkable, and largely tasted like what they were labeled to be, though some flavors were more subtle than others. Though the bottle states that 16 ounces is one serving, I often find having a smaller amount and yielding two to three glasses from the bottle is enough and makes the cost per glass even more affordable. Regardless of how much you drink at a time, the high quality of ingredients translates to fresh, big flavors and makes it well worth trying. The health benefits are an added bonus.