Review: Doctor D’s Water Kefir is a Nice Alternative to Kombucha
Covers Products: Ginger Lemon, Mandarin Orange, Concord Grape, Crisp Apple, Lively Ginger , Tart Cherry
Doctor D’s is a line of water kefir beverages that are infused with fruit juices for flavor. The products, which are produced in Colorado, are marketed for their probiotic content and great taste.
Utilizing between 4 percent and 17 percent fruit juice for their formulations, Doctor D’s has largely succeeded when it comes to creating products that are pleasing to the palate. Unlike kombucha and some of the other fermented concepts out there, these products have only the slightest bite and it really doesn’t linger. In addition, they’ve finished all of the flavors with a touch of pink Himalayan salt and it really helps round things out nicely.
There are currently six flavors: Crisp Apple, Lively Lemon, Ginger Lemon, Mandarin Orange, Tart Cherry, and Concord Grape. The use of real juice is a plus, with flavor profiles that at times taste more like sparkling juice drinks.
For the most part, we think that this approach will be successful. Some of the flavors, such as Ginger Lemon and Mandarin Orange, are really stellar in how they’ve created elevated versions of classic craft soda flavors. Others, such as Tart Cherry and Crisp Apple, taste more like flavors that you’d expect to find in a kombucha line. The last two, Concord Grape and Lively Lemon, were the only two that seem in need of refinement. In the case of Lively Lemon this is for a practical reason: it’s too similar to Ginger Lemon and can’t compete with its depth and complexity. For Concord Grape, we think the grape juice is just a bit too assertive.
Packaging is a 12 oz. amber glass bottle with a clear label. The Doctor D “face” is what takes up most of the label. This gives the product an artisanal and slightly quirky vibe, although it is definitely something that catches the eye due to the uniqueness of its approach. However, there are two concerns that we have. First, the logo is off to the side and doesn’t really catch the eye quickly. Second, we wonder if the use of “doctor” undermines “delicious” in the context of something like a water kefir. In the end, we wish the product had more of a “delicious” vibe rather than the slightly functional vibe that it has right now.
Overall, we really like the concept of Doctor D’s. There’s a growing market for sparkling probiotics (just look at things like Kevita and the kombucha category) and this feels nicely positioned (although it would be even better positioned with a bit of polish) in terms of what it’s offering and what’s inside the bottle. It certainly could be a nice alternative to kombucha or similar products that have an acquired taste due to the fermented flavor.