Why Is Kombucha So Expensive? The Drinker's Guide
Kombucha is expensive because it’s become commercialised. The ingredients to make it aren’t expensive, the bottling isn’t and the carbonation isn’t. For locally sourced kombucha the price is high due to the labor costs.
We’ll delve into all of the considerations that affect the price of kombucha, from kombucha’s ingredients, time to produce and the production process. Also showing you a range of more cost effective ways for you to get your sweet fermented tea fix.
Is Kombucha Worth The Price?
This depends on the individual and also a few considerations, the main considerations are if you consume for health benefits or just for the taste. Most consumers fall into two main categories, drinking for the purported health benefits and others because they enjoy the taste. The other factor to consider is how frequently you drink kombucha.
Health Reasons - When consuming kombucha for the purported health benefits it’s best suggested that you drink raw, unpasteurized, organic kombucha. This variety of kombucha will contain the live starter culture, which houses all of the bacteria and yeast.
When researching health benefits of kombucha you’ll find most will recommend avoiding commercial brands, for they have all been pasteurized, which means the live culture has been destroyed. If you’re unable to home brew kombucha we would suggest looking for a local supplier at a farmer’s market or on your local Facebook group, and asking for raw kombucha.
Tasty Drink - If you’re busy and looking to grab a bottle on the go, then yes it’s worth the price. The average price of kombucha is around $3.50 per bottle, making it comparable to other types of soft drinks. Accompanying your lunch or dinner, or on a hot summer’s day this can be a refreshing delight.
How Often Do You Consume Kombucha? - If you’re drinking a bottle a day or even a few bottles per week the cost quickly adds up. We would strongly suggest looking into brewing your own kombucha at home. You can store it in the fridge for a long time, and just remove to consume. Not only is it fun to brew, experiment with all your favourite flavors, you’re saving money too!
Factors That Make Kombucha So Expensive
A few considerations to look at when understanding the high price of kombucha are the commercialisation of kombucha, labor costs when brewing, and the marketing and PR efforts behind the brands. Below we’ve broken down all three.
Commercial Brands - Big name brands such as Coke have come into the market, with it distributing kombucha worldwide, and spending lots on advertising. By establishing it as a premium product, kombucha comes with a premium price tag.
Labor Costs - Although the ingredients aren’t expensive, when brewing on a smaller scale it does require somebody to be present, monitor the brew and also make adjustments. The amount of time required can add up quickly, which is in turn passed on to the consumer through increased prices.
Marketing & PR - Kombucha has an almost mythical quality about it, probably due to many claiming it to be a miracle cure. It’s likely the brands have harnessed this to inflate their prices too. We would always recommend home brewing or finding a local reputable source.
Price By Brand
The price of kombucha varies dramatically between brands and types. Although they all essentially use the same ingredients and process. We’ve curated a selection of brands, price points and flavors below to get an understanding of the full spectrum. For the full article on kombucha pricing by brand, and who stocks each and every brand of kombucha check out the guide: Where To Buy Kombucha.
Suja Organic Cold-Press Drink
Source: Where To Buy Kombucha
Ingredients And The Cost Per Serving
The ingredients that go into every batch of kombucha are very minimal and cheap to source. Just a SCOBY, Starter Tea, Sugar, Tea, Water are needed. Here’s a breakdown of the common ingredient price per 1 gallon batch and where to buy from. (1 gallon = 15 8oz bottles).
We worked it out to be roughly $0.23 / 8oz bottle - for the full information check out our breakdown below!
Kombucha is often drank for its health benefits so choosing the highest quality ingredients is paramount.
Raw, USDA Organic, Non-GMO Cane Sugar, is the recommend sugar of choice for your ferment.
Kirkland's Organic Cane Sugar is what we would recommend.
Green Tea -
You can use many different varieties and blends of tea for brewing kombucha. For a standard green tea we use Solstice Tea Traders.
Price / 8oz Bottle: $0.05
Our Recommended - SCOBY
A high quality, strong, SCOBY is an essential ingredient to brewing Kombucha.
Here at Grow Your Pantry we've developed our own super strong live liquid SCOBY culture.
Guaranteed to brew 1 gallon every time.
If you’re brewing kombucha you should use unchlorinated water only. Before using your tap water make sure it’s suitable for you to drink. [Water Price Source]
Price: / 8oz Bottle $0.0001 - Very negligible - almost 0!
This brings us to the grand total of the price of ingredients per 8oz bottle being just $0.23! That’s roughly 95% cheaper than buying from your grocery store. If you’re looking to save money then be sure to brew your own batch.
If you’re looking to buy kombucha equipment and ingredients we have a full list of our reviewed and tested products which you can check out here: Recommended Kombucha Products.
Homebrewing - The cheapest alternative is to brew your kombucha at home. It’s very simple to make, and takes minimal time too! Once it’s ready you can infuse the batch with your favourite flavors too. For a full guide on how to brew kombucha, we recently posted the most comprehensive online resource which you can find here: How To Make Kombucha.
Local Supplier - Kombucha is an artisan product, every brewer takes time to perfect their batch for taste, before selling. If you’re on the search for raw kombucha locally we would suggest heading to farmer’s markets, and posting on Facebook groups. Kombucha brewers are friendly and always go that extra mile to help!
Kefir - Kefir is another popular fermented drink, many drinkers say that it has health benefits, coming from the bacteria contained within the fermented milk. It uses grains mixed with milk to stimulate the ferment and bacteria growth. Certain bacteria strains found in the drink have been linked to reduced acne! For more information regarding the Korean acne stuck check it out here: Acne Study. The price is comparable to that of kombucha if you’re looking to drink a new ferment.
Apple Cider Vinegar - ACV is apple cider that has been left to ferment until turning into vinegar. Many have pointed to it as a miracle cure, although studies haven’t proven it so far. Certain purported benefits include weight loss, clearing colds, and healing your body. Comparably this is cheaper to consume per serving than kombucha, as 1tbsp is enough per day. Be sure to buy ‘Apple Cider Vinegar With Its Mother’, similarly to kombucha the health benefits are said to live within the live culture.
Kombucha Jar Covers
Are you thinking about making your own kombucha or Jun? Looking for the best cover that will protect and block all the wrong things from getting into the jar?
All aerobic ferments require oxygen, especially at the beginning of the fermentation process, and that is why a breathable cloth cover is the best.
If you're looking to get started with brewing kombucha check our all of our reviewed and recommended products here: Kombucha Recommended Products.