Raised in a small glass jar

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Is kombucha alcoholic? How much does it contain?

Is kombucha alcoholic? How much does it contain? | The brewing process, lady stirring a large mixing vessel

Yes, there is alcohol in Kombucha, but only a trace. It’s a natural part of the brewing process and will be present in any authentic 'booch.

But why is alcohol present? What's the alcoholic content of Kombucha tea? Is Kombucha an alcoholic drink? And are all brands the same?

We brew hundreds of litres of kombucha every single day. Here's how it works.

Why does kombucha contain alcohol?

Alcohol is simply a fact of fermentation.

Sauerkraut, sourdough, yoghurt, miso and kombucha all share a boozy secret. Like all fermented products, they contain at least a trace amount of alcohol. How much alcohol depends on a few things. The main factors being:

  1. The length of fermentation.
    A longer fermentation time can mean a boozier brew.
  2. How much yeast is present.
    Yeast is the alcohol producer in the fermentation process.
  3. The amount of sugar present in the initial mix.
    The more sugar, the more “food” to create alcohol.

As a fermented tea, kombucha follows the same principles - with a twist. The special kombucha culture, with its eye-catching SCOBY, adds a little extra to the usual chemistry of fermentation.

The symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast work as a team. After the yeast eats the sugar and converts it to alcohol, the bacteria then munch on the booze and change it into acetic acid.

It’s this process that creates the unique, rich and tangy flavour of Kombucha. You can make kombucha with varying ABVs, but if it’s real kombucha, it will contain at least a trace of booze. We carefully calibrate the fermentation of MOMO Kombucha to deliver maximum flavour and to keep the alcohol content to a minimum.

How much alcohol is in Kombucha?

MOMO contains less than 0.5% alcohol ABV. In our small glass jars, we carefully monitor the fermentation process to keep the alcohol level nice and low. Without due attention, all of the sugar in the tea would be converted to alcohol and acids. This would create an unpalatable, vinegary brew.

With homemade kombucha it’s possible to crank up the volume by a few percentage points. This is called "hard kombucha" or "kombucha wine". Hard kombucha is a much bigger thing over in the US, but it hasn’t taken off here yet.

In small glass jars, the whole process becomes easier to control and monitor, like home-brewed kombucha at scale. We can easily detect any off-brews and remove them.

Will it get me drunk?

Does kombucha contain alcohol? Yes. Will it get you drunk? No. Kombucha is not classified as an alcoholic beverage.

The volumes present are miniscule. You’d need to drink over 40 bottles of MOMO in one sitting to match the alcohol of a single pint of beer. You’ve got better things to do with your day.

Kombucha makes you feel good - just in different ways. It contains acetic acid which is great for boosting energy, is full of live cultures that support digestion and is full of antioxidants which fight free radicals in the body. It also has a little caffeine which can also bring you a little lift.

Is it safe to drink during pregnancy?

So, kombucha contains a trace amount of alcohol - does that make it unsafe? The answer depends on where you're getting your drink from.

First, there's commercial kombucha, the stuff you can buy online and in-store. This booch must always be less than 0.5% ABV to be classed as a non-alcoholic drink.

From an alcohol perspective, commercial kombucha is completely fine to consume while pregnant or breastfeeding .

Our founder Lisa consumed lots of raw, fermented products during her pregnancy (including gallons of MOMO) and they made her feel great. However, if you have any concerns, or your body isn’t used to drinking kombucha, we would recommend consulting with your doctor when pregnant. Safe to say that we aren’t health professionals.

If you're brewing kombucha at home, it's a different story. Homebrews can be hard to control. Without expensive measuring equipment, you won't know the alcohol content before trying it.

Homemade booch can have a higher alcohol content, up to 3%, so you'll need to be much more careful.

Is 0.0% non-alcoholic kombucha possible?

MOMO makes raw, completely unfiltered kombucha. We're all about getting the brew right the first time, and sharing the deliciousness in its original form.

Some brands make their kombucha artificially, or change it after it's brewed. It's hard to keep on top of what each company is doing, but there may be an artificial 0.0% kombucha out there.

All we know is this. Trace alcohol is a natural part of the kombucha brewing process, a sign of healthy fermentation. So don't fear the negligible quantity. Authentic natural kombucha offers incredible health benefits. Artificial or "ambient" kombucha does not.

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