Does Kombucha Tea Contain Alcohol?

Medically Reviewed on 7/28/2022
Does Kombucha Tea Contain Alcohol?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink prepared from green or black tea (or both), sugar, yeast, and bacteria.

Yes, kombucha tea contains alcohol, and its concentration may vary from half a percent in most commercial preparations to up to two percent when brewed at home. 

The fermentation process of kombucha produces some alcohol. When the yeast ferments sugar to create CO2 and ethanol, some alcohol remains in the final product. It is a continual cycle, so the alcohol in kombucha is self-limiting, unlike beer or wine, which are purposely made to increase alcohol concentration.

Because authentic kombucha is organically fermented and not pasteurized to harm the beneficial yeast and bacteria, the trace quantity of alcohol in kombucha varies with each brew.

  • Most products on the market or commercially produced kombucha now contain only a trace of alcohol (less than 0.5 percent of alcohol by volume), allowing them to be sold as nonalcoholic beverages under the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau's rules. Advanced filtration techniques are used to accomplish this by removing the yeast to stop further ethanol production after the product is bottled.
  • Homemade kombucha often includes more alcohol than store-bought kombucha. If unfiltered and fruit juices are added, a home-brewed kombucha may contain up to two percent alcohol.
  • Some manufacturers now offer “hard” kombuchas with greater alcohol content (closer to three percent of alcohol by volume). However, these are advertised and sold as alcoholic beverages and, like other alcoholic beverages, should be consumed in moderation.

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink prepared from green or black tea (or both), sugar, yeast, and bacteria. It is prepared by adding a colony of live bacteria and yeast called symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to sweetened tea. Then, it is fermented for a few weeks until it transforms into a slightly sweet and sour beverage, which is isolated from the SCOBY and bottled.

7 science-backed benefits of kombucha tea

There has been no reputable study linking kombucha drinking to any health results in humans. However, there is some indirect evidence that drinking kombucha might be beneficial to health.

To begin, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers of Nutrition, both black and green tea (the key components in kombucha) include polyphenols, molecules that have a beneficial effect on health.

  1. Probiotics
    • Beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, grow during the fermentation process and are called probiotics.
    • Probiotics help fill your stomach with beneficial bacteria that ease digestion, strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, and produce critical vitamins, such as B vitamins and vitamin K.
    • Because kombucha provides probiotics, it improves digestion and bowel regularity and reduces nausea, bloating, and indigestion.
  2. Contains antioxidants
    • Kombucha is essentially green or black tea. They are high in antioxidants, including polyphenols, which increase metabolic rate, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, improve cognitive function, and lower the risk of chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and certain cancers).
  3. Have antibacterial properties
    • The fermentation process of kombucha creates acetic acid, which can eliminate dangerous organisms in the stomach, such as invading bacteria and yeasts, and prevent illness.
    • Furthermore, this antibacterial activity appears to preferentially target unfavorable pathogens while maintaining helpful bacteria.
  4. May help lose weight
    • Green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This enhances metabolic rate and fat burning, particularly in the abdominal area.
    • When combined with a healthy calorie-controlled diet and physical exercise, choosing a kombucha produced with green tea may help reduce weight.
  5. May improve blood sugar control
    • There is some evidence that drinking low-sugar kombucha daily helps reduce blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity.
    • Green tea helps manage blood sugar levels. So, as long as you are not drinking a kombucha loaded with additional sugars, you may reap some of these advantages.
  6. May play a role in joint health
    • Kombucha provides glucosamine that helps form hyaluronic acid needed for healthy bones and cartilage. These are frequently used as supplements to prevent and treat arthritis.
    • Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is abundant in the joints and is thought to preserve the cartilages.
    • Hyaluronic acid is usually present in connective tissue and helps the joints retain moisture and lubricated.
  7. May enhance athletic performance
    • Consuming kombucha boosts energy levels during exercise and hastens post-workout recovery.
    • Kombucha may help clear lactic acid from muscles during exercise.


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Is drinking kombucha tea safe?

Kombucha tea is considered safe for most adults if it is brewed according to regulations, in a sanitary atmosphere, and in glass jars. Any side effects may be caused by harmful bacteria development, increased bacteria levels, and even increased alcohol levels.

Drinking too much kombucha might result in some unpleasant side effects, such as:

Scientific investigations, however, suggest that most side effects in patients had a pre-existing ailment or drank a tainted batch of kombucha.

As with any food or drink, it is best to gradually increase the amount you consume to enable your digestive system to adjust. Start with 100 mL per day for the first week and gradually increase.

Kombucha may not be healthy for people who are pregnant or nursing or have a compromised immune system. So, consult the doctor before including it in the diet.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/28/2022
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