What Is Kombucha, Anyway?
Did you know that kombucha is actually an ancient beverage? This drink has been around for nearly 2,000 years, originating in China where it was first brewed and enjoyed. Over the years, kombucha gained status and popularity in the United States largely because of its potential health benefits, and delicious flavors.
The production process of kombucha is actually quite simple. The ingredients list is made up of several simple ingredients like yeast, bacteria, sugar and tea. These ingredients are mixed together and left to rest in a warm environment for a few weeks at a time. During this time, the sweetened tea mixture is fermented, resulting in a slightly sweet and fizzy drink that can make you feel oh so refreshed!
Fun fact: even though kombucha has zero mushrooms in it and has nothing to do with mushrooms, it is sometimes called “mushroom tea.” So why does it have this nickname?
“Mushroom tea” is actually a loose translation of the bacteria involved in kombucha fermentation. A more accurate translation would be “red bacteria tea”, or even “red mold tea.” This is because all kombucha is fermented by a colony of bacteria and yeast called S.C.O.B.Y (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). You might have heard of this process before because fermentation is also what converts cabbage into kimchi and milk into yogurt.
What? Kombucha Is An Alcoholic Drink?
Not really, at least not traditional kombucha.
But, you might have heard that regular kombucha has a trace of alcohol produced during the fermentation process.
The alcohol content in most kombucha drinks is less than 0.5 percent and therefore not enough for you to feel its effects. That’s why most kombucha is categorized as a non-alcoholic beverage.
However, some brands like Wild Tonic Jun Kombucha and KYLA Hard Kombucha add additional sugar and other strains of yeast for additional rounds of fermentation. During this time, the sugar is further fermented for the next 10-14 days. At the end of this process, the alcohol level can hike up to 4.5-7 percent ABV!
So no, regular kombucha is not an alcoholic beverage, but hard kombucha is intentionally brewed to be alcoholic.