Review: Agua Bucha Kombucha-Infused Sparkling Water
Covers Products: Grapefruit, Key Lime, Meyer Lemon
Agua Bucha Kombucha-Infused Sparkling Water is a new product line from Florida-based Mother Kombucha. The products contain only 5 calories and 1 gram of sugar per can and are both USDA Organic certified and shelf stable.
The line is launching in three initial flavors: Grapefruit, Meyer Lemon and Key Lime. Ingredients include sparkling water, organic kombucha (made with green tea and cane sugar) and organic flavor. It’s being marketed as having naturally occurring B vitamins and organic acids, but probiotics, which are a key part of traditional kombucha, are noticeably absent.
From a taste perspective, the brand has definitely delivered a product that tastes like a kombucha flavored sparkling water. The use of citrus flavors, which is a common flavor profile for both flavored sparkling water and kombucha products, in all three SKUs also gives it a familiar taste profile.
We find it easier to look at this product through the lens of the sparkling water category than kombucha, largely due to the fact that the former is a larger category with more dollar volume and one in which differentiation is always a challenge. To that end, adding a splash of kombucha flavor feels like a fresh and new approach. It’s definitely crushable and has slightly more flavor than a typical sparkling water.
However, if we are looking at it as a kombucha, the use of flavoring is somewhat less appealing and we feel that some other “light” and shelf stable offerings out there are better tasting and more authentic. If Agua Bucha wants to compete with them, we think they need a little bit more kombucha flavor and perhaps should also think about adding some form of shelf stable probiotics.
Moving on to the packaging and design, Agua Bucha comes in a sleeve wrapped 12 ounce can that features “AGUA BUCHA” in large block outline letters stacked on top of each other. Below that is a straightforward product description of “kombucha-infused sparkling water.” The lower third of the can is dedicated to callouts for the calories, sugar and USDA Organic certification as well as the flavor name and a corresponding fruit image.
It’s an intuitive design that can be scanned quickly; the name makes it pretty obvious as to what’s inside the can, which is always a good thing. We’d say the same about the clean and polished visual layout.
While unique, overall this product feels somewhat sterile in comparison to Mother Kombucha’s flagship line. We wish the Mother Kombucha brand were treated as an umbrella and got some level of billing on the front of the can. This could help the cross sell between the two product lines and would, at least on the kombucha side of things, provide some brand equity and credibility.
In the end, this product line is definitely one that feels like a good mainstream extension for Mother Kombucha. With some tweaks to the flavor and better integration of the Mother Kombucha brand name, we think they’ve got something that has the potential to be a winner.