Starbucks

The mix of fermented tea and cold-pressed juices comes in six different flavors.

Mike Pomranz
August 09, 2018

Even if you don’t exactly know what kombucha is, you know it’s one of the trendiest beverages out there. Now, the fermented tea drink (yes, that’s what kombucha is) has gotten a financial endorsement from one of the biggest beverage names on the planet: Starbucks. Though Starbucks-branded kombucha still doesn’t quite exist, the company is launching a bunch of kombucha flavors under its packaged Evolution Fresh label.

Evolution Fresh Organic Kombucha combines an artisanal-tea base of either Congou black tea, yerba mate, pu’erh black tea, green tea, or matcha with cold-pressed juice in six varieties: Ginger Lemon Honeycrisp, Mango Pineapple, Ginger Greens, Spicy Greens, Pink Grapefruit, and Turmeric Pineapple Coconut. These drinks will initially be available at grocery and natural food stores in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle, before being rolled out in additional cities into the spring.

“We know our consumers are looking for beverages with functional benefits,” said brand president Ryan Ziegelmann, “and Evolution Fresh Organic Kombucha is just what they are asking for—a delicious and refreshing pick-me-up that also supports digestive wellness.” Previously, Evolution Fresh, which Starbucks purchased in 2011, had focused mainly on just cold-pressed juices and smoothies.

One of the largest ongoing discussions around kombucha is the drink’s alcohol content: Since these are fermented beverages, sometimes they’ve been known to both purposefully and accidentally contain surprisingly high levels of alcohol. But Ziegelmann told BevNET that his brand has that covered. “We take proprietary steps to ensure that we are both bottling below the industry’s 0.5 percent [ABV] requirements, as well as ensuring that the alcohol content does not rise above that threshold through its shelf life,” he was quoted as saying. “Our organic kombucha nutritional labels undergo the same process as our juices, which is tested and validated by a third-party provider.”

Evolution Fresh’s will be available in 15.2-ounce bottles, and are said to be certified USDA Organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and kosher.