Review: Evolution Fresh Kombucha
Covers Products: Ginger Greens Kombucha, Mango Pineapple Kombucha, Spicy Greens Kombucha, Turmeric Pineapple Coconut Kombucha, Ginger Lemon Honeycrisp Kombucha, Pink Grapefruit Kombucha
As previously reported, Starbucks-owned Evolution Fresh is getting into the kombucha category..
The six initial flavors of organic kombucha include Ginger Lemon Honeycrisp, Mango Pineapple, Spicy Greens, Ginger Greens, Turmeric Pineapple Coconut, and Pink Grapefruit. As you can probably tell from the names of the products, they are heavily influenced by the company's core business as a cold pressed juice maker.
This is definitely an intentional move with, as cited in the article linked above, Evolution Fresh believing that there is a high overlap of consumers who consume premium juice and kombucha. So, the company set out to offer the consumer something that satisfies both needs inside a single bottle.
That being said, it’s no surprise that all six flavors contain what is, at least by kombucha category standards, a high level of juice-- ranging from 7% to 12% per bottle. If you have ever had a bottle of Evolution Fresh juice, the flavors of these products will certainly be slightly familiar.
As for the kombucha that they’ve blended it with, it is certainly on the lighter side as far as the overall category goes. There's a mild level of effervescence and only the slightest bite from the addition of the fermented tea. While you can definitely taste tea, it's very much a secondary note and starts to disappear as you continue to drink your way through the bottle.
This is especially true in the flavors where there is a more pronounced spice. Spicy Greens, which contains jalapeno, is the best example of this as the natural spice of the pepper masks most, if not all, of the tea. You can say the same for the Ginger Greens variety, which packs a pretty hefty dose of ginger juice.
Fortunately, in these two SKUs as well as in the others, Evolution Fresh has done a very nice job of crafting balanced, fresh-tasting, and flavorful juice blends. It certainly lives up to the quality that we've come to expect from the brand. Our favorites were the Spicy Greens, Mango Pineapple, and Turmeric Pineapple Coconut, although we say that with the bias of having tried hundreds of different kombucha products.
As far as the packaging is concerned, the 15.2 oz clear glass bottle definitely looks the part of the category. The familiar Evolution Fresh logo has been placed in a prominent position and, therefore, we expect that most consumers will quickly recognize this as part of the Evolution Fresh family.
While the overall design and format of the label is intuitive and clean, we have two bits of constructive feedback. First, it is somewhat hard to tell the difference between the various flavors -- especially the ones that have similarly colored liquid. We would love to see an additional design element to help give the consumer cue as to which flavor they are looking at. Second, we’re not huge fans of how they’ve split kombucha into “kombu” and “cha.” It did, at least at first, make us stop and ask what this was supposed to mean.
Ultimately, we wonder how the combination of cold pressed juice and kombucha will fare when marketed in such a direct manner; some other brands use the combination, but not as the focus of the brand. To play devil's advocate, this product is neither the best tasting cold-pressed juice or the best tasting kombucha on the market right now. So, if you are one of those consumers that is consuming both of these products, will this make you change your habits and consume this single offering? In our opinion, probably not -- at least not right away simply by virtue of this product launching into the market.
However, we do think at these products will certainly appeal to consumers who are still trying to navigate these two categories. The flavors are clean, it should have broad appeal, and the packaging and branding are approachable and healthy in a way that's slightly less serious than many others in the category today. In the long run, this certainly presents the chance for Evolution Fresh to broaden its reach and gain a foothold in this rapidly growing category.