I really want to try kombucha and water and/or coconut kefir but for some reason I have a hard time getting myself to try them. I think the idea of eating something fermented grosses me out. My other experiences with fermented foods are sauerkraut and kimchi - both of which I REALLY did not like.
So my question is - what do kombucha, coconut kefir and water kefir taste and smell like? Are there any store brands of any of those y'all would recommend to try before I spend the time and money making my own?
Try some! You can buy GT's kombucha in most Whole Foods, Food Co-ops and health food stores. Try the "original" to keep the carbs low and get an idea of what home-brewed would taste like.
If you don't like it, you are only out 3 bucks.
GT's Synergy Trilogy is by far my favorite! it's got raspberry juice, lemon juice and ginger juice and only 2g of sugar. I found it to be the least vinegar tasting. The Raspberry Chia is pretty good too. The chia seeds making drinking the kombucha fun =]
They taste yeasty, kind of like beer. And if your alcohol tolerance is low (like mine), you'll even get a little buzzy. Kombucha got me through many a dull work day...
I've tried several brands and GTs is my favorite. Be careful opening it, though, esp. after transporting it home. Do it over the sink to be safe.
I too, was wary of trying Kombucha... I started with GT's "Synergy" in Guava. These are 95% Kombucha with 5% Fruit Juice. I got guava, because it's one of my favorite flavors, period. They do have lots of others though (here)... To me, it tasted like Guava nectar, but thinner, and slightly sour. I LOVED it!! I moved on to try some other flavors. Some of the herbal combos I liked so much, I decided to make my own! I grew a SCOBY out of a plain GT's bottle, and started brewing!! I used Oolong tea, and tried different flavors. Some mixed with cranberry juice, some with pomegranate (both 100% juice, not sweetened, organic). Others I infused with roses, hibiscus, elderberry, vanilla, etc. My two favorites were vanilla rose, and hibiscus.
As far as water kefir, I tried making that too. It was good (I did blueberry), but I didn't care for it as much as kombucha, personally. And, my only experience with coconut kefir is 1 bottle of the "Provita" that I got at Whole Foods. It was better than water kefir, I think, but I still wasn't wild about it.
The GT Ginger is pretty tasty, imho. I make my own kefir, and I add whatever flavorings make it yummy to me--current favorite is fresh squeezed citrus + mint leaves. I didn't much like the coconut water kefir-tasted too much like a vinegar to me.
I love the GT original, but im sure the others are fantastic too. None of the things you are looking to try are anything like kimchi or sauerkraut. I think when i tried coconut kefir it was like liquid yogurt.