How Much Alcohol Is In Kombucha?

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By: Tom Valenti


When it comes to drinks that are both healthy and delicious, Kombucha tends to be one of the first drinks that people think of. It is full of probiotics and other health benefits, but many have questions about how much alcohol is in Kombucha? The truth is there can actually be quite a lot of varying levels or amounts when it comes to alcohol in Kombucha.

So if you’re struggling with finding out exactly how much alcohol there is in your favorite type of Kombucha, take this journey with us – because by the end you will know everything you need to make an informed decision on whether or not consume specific types might work best for your lifestyle needs!


What Is Kombucha?

What Is Kombucha

Let’s start to find out how much alcohol is in Kombucha by understanding what is it. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage made by combining black or green tea, sugar and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) a bacterial culture that ferments the tea, creating a combination of lactic, acetic and other acids as well as probiotics, or beneficial bacteria.

The resulting drink has several health benefits associated with it such as aiding digestion, boosting the immune system, and providing antioxidants with the taste and carbonation of a fizzy soda. Kombucha is often flavored with fruits, herbs and other ingredients as well.

It can also be used in place of alcohol to make mixed drinks. As Kombucha is fermented, it does contain trace amounts of alcohol.

Is There Alcohol In Kombucha? 

Is There Alcohol In Kombucha

The drink known as Kombucha undergoes fermentation, as already stated. There is very little amount of alcohol within Kombucha because of the fermentation process and the existence of yeasts that are required for that procedure to occur. The majority of the Kombucha you’ll get at the local market, meanwhile, is not regarded as an alcoholic beverage. How is this possible?

In order for Kombucha to be deemed a “non-alcoholic drink,” it must test below the 0.5% ABV threshold as required by regulatory organizations. A properly fermented Kombucha contains trace levels of alcohol that are not intoxicating but also serve as an organic preservation agent and a catalyst for the extraction of therapeutic benefits from the herbal constituents.

How Much Alcohol Is In Kombucha?

So how much alcohol is actually in Kombucha? Generally, there are technically three Kombucha levels.

The first one is non-alcoholic Kombucha. The process of fermentation involves converting sugar and other carbs into alcohol. Since Kombucha is produced by fermentation, a small quantity of alcohol may be found in all of the carbonated tea products. Because both bacteria and yeast help maintain the alcohol contents low, the majority of commercially available Kombucha contains less than 0.5% ABV. Because it is regarded as “non-alcoholic,” traditional Kombucha can be purchased by anybody over the age of 21.

The second is traditional Kombucha. It is usually 1 to 2 percent alcohol, although it can reach 3 percent. If fermentation is carried out normally, Kombucha typically yields 1.5% alcohol.

High or hard alcohol Kombucha can contain 3% or more, produced by a twofold fermentation method. High-alcohol kombucha is only available in certain states and must be treated as you would any other alcoholic beverage.

Why Does Kombucha Contain Alcohol?

Kombucha contains alcohol due to the fermentation process. During this process, the Kombucha SCOBY’s bacteria and yeast are responsible for consuming the sugar present in sweetened tea into alcohol and carbon dioxide – resulting in a naturally effervescent probiotic beverage.

As soon as the yeast produces alcohol, bacteria start turning it into a chemical called acetic acid. These procedures turn Kombucha from a natural low-sugar beverage into one that is also slightly alcoholic and vinegary.

What Factors Affecting How Much Alcohol in Kombucha?

Many factors come into play when it comes to determining how much alcohol is in Kombucha. Let’s take a look at some of the factors.

  1. Sugar Content

Since yeast consumes sugar to generate alcohol, the initial sugar concentration will decide the amount of alcohol that the yeast may eventually produce. The amount of alcohol in Kombucha increases with the initial sugar concentration.

However, the amount of sugar that the yeast may convert is limited. Your Kombucha cannot be converted into whiskey for instance. The presence of bacteria will reduce the total alcohol concentration of Kombucha since it is a blended fermentation and the bacteria use the alcohol to produce vinegar.

  1. The Yeast Present

Wild yeast presence in the kombucha culture has an impact on the quantity, quality, and kinds of Kombucha fermentation. The alcohol percentage of Kombucha increases with yeast culture richness.

Nonetheless, there are countless varieties of yeast, each with unique properties. The brewer has minimal control over their number and potency, which will affect the Kombucha’s ultimate alcohol level. In an open environment, Kombucha is fermented.

This implies that the Kombucha and its surroundings will swap microbes. The wild yeast will change depending on the surroundings. Because of this, it is difficult to predict which ones will be present in our Kombucha and how they could affect how much alcohol is present there.

  1. Fermentation Temperature

The temperature of the fermentation will also affect how much alcohol is in Kombucha. Higher temperatures enable yeast to convert more sugar into alcohol, resulting in a higher ABV after fermentation is complete.

As the temperature decreases, fewer microbial compounds are metabolised and so less alcohol is formed. The ideal temperature for fermentation is between 18°C and 25°C. When it drops below 10°C, the yeast becomes dormant and may die off if the temperature gets too low.

  1. Fermentation Time

Yeast proliferates quickly at the start of the Kombucha fermentation procedure and generates a lot of alcohol as well as carbon dioxide. This process takes a week or so. Following this initial stage, fermentation slows, and the volume of alcohol that the yeast produces declines.

The bacteria now grow stronger and transform the substances into acid ethanoic using oxygen and alcohol. After then, the Kombucha starts to taste acidic and the alcohol content starts to decrease. Therefore, “older” Kombucha has less alcohol than “younger” Kombucha.

  1. The Surface in Contact With Air

In order to turn the alcohol that’s in Kombucha into vinegar, acetic bacteria require oxygen. The longer the Kombucha is exposed to air, the more acid ethanoic will have been converted, reducing the amount of alcohol in the beverage.

Faster air exchange will occur in a container with a large opening than in one with a narrow one. As a result, it will contain less alcohol. Similar to how Kombucha brewing in a closet would have less air exchange than Kombucha brewing in a space with adequate ventilation. The quantity of alcohol decreases as the air exchange rate increases.

What are the Benefits of Kombucha?

Kombucha has many health benefits. It can help improve your digestion, boost your immune system, and even increase energy levels. The probiotics in Kombucha also aid in improving gut health and decreasing inflammation.

Kombucha is also a great source of antioxidants which can help protect against free radical damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. In addition, Kombucha can also help detoxify your body from toxins and heavy metals that may be present in the environment or food you eat.

Finally, Kombucha is low in calories and sugar so it can be a great alternative to sugary drinks like soda and juice.

So as you can see, Kombucha has many benefits and can be a great addition to your healthy diet. If you’re looking for a refreshing, probiotic-rich and natural way to improve your health, Kombucha is definitely an option.

Will Drinking Kombucha Make You Drunk-off?

Kombucha is a fermented beverage made with tea, sugar and yeast with an average alcohol between 0-2% ABV, whereas normal beer and wine contain around 5-15%. Therefore, while it does contain small amounts of alcohol, the amount is so small that drinking Kombucha will not make you drunk in any way

However, it’s vital to note that some brands of Kombucha may contain more alcohol than the average that can make you feel the effects. For example, “hard kombucha” can contain up to 6-7% ABV.

So, if you are worried about consuming too much alcohol in a single serving, make sure to read labels carefully before purchasing.

Can I drink Kombucha if I am a Recovering Alcoholic?

Everyone’s experience with alcohol is different, which is something we appreciate. Kombucha probably isn’t for you if you’re having trouble with alcohol and don’t want to drink anything with any alcohol in it.

In contrast, many people who have given up drinking have told us that Kombucha was a crucial part of their road to recovery. Beer and cocktails may frequently be substituted with fizzy, fermented drinks. Intestinal bacterial diversity and sobriety maintenance are directly related, according to a new study. Recovery from alcoholism was better in individuals with a diversified microbiome than in ones without.

At the end of the day, this is a very complicated and unique choice. We are aware that each person’s body may respond to fermented drinks differently, thus it is crucial to constantly pay attention to yourself and to your physician. Also, we advise against drinking any Kombucha if you are sensitive to alcohol for dietary, religious, or other reasons.


Is it OK for Kids to Drink Kombucha?

Kombucha is generally safe for children to drink, although it should be advised that caution should be taken. Just like with any other food product, it’s important to monitor your child’s consumption of Kombucha as too much can lead to stomach discomfort or dehydration.

It’s also important to note that some varieties of Kombucha can contain up to 2% alcohol, which is not suitable for those under the legal drinking age.

You should always check the label of any Kombucha product before offering it to children, and make sure that it does not exceed 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume).

How Much Kombucha Can I Drink in a Day?

It is recommended to drink no more than 4-8 ounces of Kombucha a day. Drinking too much in one sitting can lead to an upset stomach, so it’s best to stick with the recommended amounts.

Why does Kombucha Give Me a Buzz?

Due to its fermentation process, Kombucha can contain up to 2% alcohol. This amount is not enough for it to be considered an alcoholic beverage, but it may be enough for some people to feel a slight buzz.

Can Kombucha Trigger a Breathalyzer?

Kombucha typically contains very small amounts of alcohol, and generally will not register on a breathalyzer test. However, some brands contain more alcohol than the usual 0-2% ABV average, so it’s important to check labels before purchasing if you are worried about triggering a breathalyzer.

Can Kombucha Test Positive for Alcohol?

Kombucha can test positive for alcohol on a standard drug test, depending on the amount of alcohol in the drink and the sensitivity of the test. Check labels for ABV (alcohol by volume) to make sure you’re not drinking more than 0.5% ABV if you are worried about testing positive.

Final Thought

In conclusion, it is important to remember that kombucha contains some amount of alcohol from 0.5% to 7%, although it varies between brands. If you’re looking for a way to enjoy kombucha without worrying about the alcohol content, it may be better to look for brands that offer low-alcohol or “alcohol-free” options.

It’s also important to note that the FDA currently prohibits any label claims stating that a product is “non-alcoholic,” so be sure to investigate each brand’s specific production processes and ingredients before deciding what type of kombucha you want to purchase and consume.

Ultimately, drinking kombucha responsibly is key and will provide you with a unique and delicious beverage experience. When enjoyed in moderation with knowledge of its potential risks and benefits, kombucha has the potential to be part of a balanced lifestyle.

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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