Hard Kombucha vs High Alcohol Kombucha: Is There a Difference?
We frequently get the question - "how much alcohol is in Kombucha", so we're here to shed some light on the topic of alcohol and Kombucha.
Kombucha is a slightly sweet, fizzy and acidic beverage that (rightfully so!) is becoming increasingly popular in the health community. Kombucha has been around for centuries due to its incredible health benefits and is thought to originate in China. Some people even consider kombucha to be a health elixir, which is why we love turning it into a hard drink and providing an alternative to other alcoholic beverages. So what is hard kombucha and is there a difference between it and high-alcohol kombucha? Nope. Just semantics. Hard kombucha tends to be used more by the general public but could be confused with a beverage that was spiked. High-alcohol kombucha is a mouthful and might indicate the alcohol was fermented into the beverage, but neither assumption would be true as both words are completely unregulated. Hard, high alcohol, tomayto, tomahto.
What is Kombucha Simply put, kombucha is a fermented drink made with bacteria and yeast mixed with black tea and sugar. Kombucha is made using a SCOBY aka a “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast,” which is typically a dense, round, rubbery and opaque looking ingredient that often has a mild, vinegar-like smell. Some people think that a SCOBY looks similar to a mushroom. A SCOBY is a dish-like structure that is comprised mostly of cellulose and it hosts a variety of yeast and bacteria that aid the fermentation process by breaking down the tea’s sugars and converting them to alcohol, carbon dioxide and acids. During fermentation, the yeast in the SCOBY breaks down the sugar in the tea and releases probiotic, or healthy bacteria. This makes the tea carbonated and bubbly. The fermentation process is what sets kombucha apart from other drinks and helps with the incredible health benefits of our favorite fizzy beverage.
Is There Alcohol in Kombucha There are actually three levels of kombucha... Non-Alcoholic Kombucha: Fermentation is the process of turning carbohydrates, like sugar, into alcohol. Because kombucha is made by fermentation, all of the fizzy tea has a small amount of alcohol in it. Most commercial kombucha sold has less than .05% ABV because the yeast and bacteria help keep the alcohol levels low. This is why you do not have to be 21 to purchase traditional kombucha and it is considered “non-alcoholic.”