Beverage Battle: Bombucha vs Bucha Bar

The city is slowly catching on to the global craze for fermented foods. After kefir, Mumbai brewers are now experimenting with kombucha, a trendy fermented tea that wears a halo of health. We compare Bombucha and Bucha Bar, two recently launched kombucha brands, on variety, taste and price.

Bombucha, a brand of kombucha that we found at the Farmers’ Market in Bandra, has replaced iced tea as our favourite summer tipple. We’ve been fans since March, when Monika Pawlowska and Nitin Gandhi began selling the home-brewed drink, made using culture from the US, in vibrantly branded glass bottles. The duo does brisk business at the Sunday market and through home deliveries in the western suburbs.

Gandhi and Pawlowska regularly expand their roster of flavours (Rs200 per 500ml bottle) to include experimental ones such as hibiscus. Our top picks out of their fixed menu of five – vanilla coffee; beetroot and pomegranate; apple spice; chamomile and date; and original – are the original and chamomile and date. The original is energising and almost as tart as vinegar with a hint of sweetness. The chamomile and date is more sweet than tart but not cloying. Both flavours are refreshing and equally carbonated; there’s a hiss and pop when a bottle is opened.

Bombucha is sold at The Farmers’ Market which is held every Sunday, from 9am to 2pm at D’Monte Park, near Bandra Gymkhana, St. Andrew’s Road, off Turner Road, Bandra (West). Get directions here. For home delivery, call 74000 81781.

Former publicist Harsh Negandhi launched kombucha delivery service Bucha Bar in south Mumbai in February. Bucha Bar offers two variants of the drink, green tea and black tea, which are home brewed with culture from Goa, where Negandhi first sampled the drink. Bucha Bar’s beverages are packaged in dull, unbranded plastic bottles that belong in medicine cabinets. In this soulless packaging, the black tea kombucha, the colour of cherry amber, could pass off as cough syrup. The drink has a mildly bitter finish and unlike most kombucha, which is tart and fizzy, is largely bland and flat.

We puckered our lips as we sipped the smooth green tea flavour, which is optimally sweet, moderately fizzy and more enjoyable. Bucha Bar is a more expensive proposition than Bombucha. You have to order a minimum of two 250ml bottles, priced at Rs150 each, per flavour.

Delivery is free within south Mumbai; delivery charges apply in other parts of the city depending on the location. To place an order, email or call 84259 00590. 

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