When it comes to healthy lifestyle choices, getting away from sugary drinks is a must. One great alternative is kombucha. However, not many people are aware of kombucha and may have a lot of questions before making the switch. One common concern is whether kombucha is alcoholic or not.
What Is Kombucha and Is Kombucha Alcoholic?
Kombucha is a fermented beverage whose production dates back thousands of years. Originating in China, it went on to spread through Russia and Europe until it reached global commercial success in the 21st century. These past few years, it’s become popular as a health elixir.
Kombucha is a sweet, fermented black tea. It is commonly described as effervescent, so it can easily satisfy any cravings for carbonated sodas. It combines well with herbal and fruit infusions allowing it to be a flexible base for various drinks. The flavor possibilities are endless.
How Is Kombucha Made?
To make kombucha alcoholic sweetened black tea is fermented using something called a SCOBY — this stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Also known as a “mother,” this growth is a zoogleal mat composed of one or more types of yeast and living bacteria that are probiotic.
It is the sugar added to the tea that the SCOBY feeds on, fueling the fermentation process. The mixture is sealed and left at room temperature for up to 14 days while this occurs. During this time, another “daughter” SCOBY forms across the top.
After the first pass of fermentation, all the SCOBY is removed, and the liquid is strained. It’s left to ferment a second time at a colder temperature for a few days. Then, ta-da, you have kombucha! It’s at this point that other flavors can be introduced. You can find everything from pineapple to mint "booch."
Kombucha and Alcohol Content
The process of fermentation creates alcohol as a byproduct, which inherently makes kombucha alcoholic. So, the longer the kombucha ferments, the higher its potential alcohol content. This allows for a lot of variation in the end product. However, most companies try to keep it consistent for the market.
Although trace amounts of alcohol are inevitable, most commercially available kombucha contains less than 0.5 ABV. It is safe to consume and does not have intoxicating effects. The same cannot be said of home-brewed kombucha. Make sure you clarify with whoever you are getting the kombucha from before you take it home.
There are a couple of forms of kombucha that are the exception to this rule. Hard kombucha is intentionally fermented longer to increase the alcohol content. It is marketed as a kombucha alcoholic beverage and sold alongside products such as beer or cider. Some breweries offer hard kombucha on tap.
In the other direction, it’s possible to eliminate all alcohol from the drink. This is great for those sensitive or allergic to alcohol. Microencapsulation turns kombucha into a powder. Its active ingredients are kept intact, but all alcohol is eliminated in the process. Powdered kombucha also is more flexible than a liquid beverage. You can add it to food, smoothies, or a hot beverage.
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Kombucha?
The big ticket for kombucha is gut health. The active bacterial cultures are probiotic, meaning that they are a kind of good bacteria that supports digestion. Having a healthy gut microbiome helps you to naturally ward off bad bacteria and manage other issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. Better digestion acts as a mechanism for detoxification, as well.
Kombucha may also support various aspects of mental health. The health of your digestive system has been linked to your mood and can ease depression. The active cultures in kombucha can enhance your metabolism, which boosts energy and may help to clear your mind. A happy gut can also give you a better quality of sleep.
There is some evidence that kombucha can assist with cholesterol, as well. This is good for preventing heart disease. There have been multiple studies done on small mammals with hopeful results. If you’re interested in weight management, kombucha is the drink for you.
Where Can You Find Kombucha?
Once kombucha became commercially available, it wasn’t hard to find. Go to any grocery store, and you can find it on the shelves. However, the flooding of the market also put a lot of pretenders out there. You have to be careful about what you’re buying.
Read the label and make sure that there are active ingredients. This is also where you can confirm the alcohol content of what you are putting in your cart. It can be a safer bet to go directly to specialty sellers and health companies to find quality kombucha. That way, you don’t have to second guess yourself.
Can You Make Kombucha Alcoholic Yourself?
If you have a lot of time and patience, you may be able to make kombucha yourself. Many hobbyists enjoy fermenting. It requires specialized equipment, a lot of sterilization, and practice.
This puts control of the alcohol content into your hands, as well. You can aim for whatever percentage you’d like. You’ll also want to make a list of interested friends; as the SCOBY replicates itself, you’ll need someone to give the pieces to.
If You Don’t Want Your Kombucha Alcoholic, Powdered Is Best
If you want to eliminate alcohol content, no matter how minuscule, you can still get all the benefits of kombucha in its powdered form. You can also mix it into a wide variety of foods and beverages. Powdered kombucha is easier to buy in bulk, store, and introduce into your diet. If you’re going to start anywhere, why not with the best?
At Superfood Company, you can be sure the powdered kombucha you’re getting is ethically sourced and made traditionally with natural ingredients. You can also get it shipped straight to your doorstep, without having to make a trip to the store. Give your body the boost it needs with a tried and true miracle beverage, without wondering if the kombucha is alcoholic.