Top 10 questions you might have about Kombucha

by Liang Cha

You should have heard about kombucha and its elixir benefits. Kombucha has been exploding in popularity worldwide including Singapore with greater interest in fermented food and gut health. A beverage that was little known 5 years back is everywhere from supermarket shelves to cafes in Singapore. Its popularity has rose, so did its claims on health benefits, from better gut health, improved digestion, increased energy, better liver function and more.

Top 10 questions you might have about KombuchaWhat is kombucha? What is kombucha good for? Does it contain caffeine? Are kombucha alcoholic? Are kombucha drinks carbonated? Can kombucha help you to lose weight? Can kombucha help to poop? When to drink kombucha? Who’s kombucha girl? Can i drink kombucha during pregnancy?What is kombucha? What is kombucha good for? Does it contain caffeine? Are kombucha alcoholic? Are kombucha drinks carbonated? Can kombucha help you to lose weight? Can kombucha help to poop? When to drink kombucha? Who’s kombucha girl? Can i drink kombucha during pregnancy?

We have compiled the top 10 commonly asked questions about kombucha.

  1. What is kombucha?
  2. What is kombucha good for?
  3. Does it contain caffeine?
  4. Are kombucha alcoholic?
  5. Are kombucha drinks carbonated?
  6. Can kombucha help you to lose weight?
  7. Can kombucha help to poop?
  8. When to drink kombucha?
  9. Who’s kombucha girl?
  10. Can i drink kombucha during pregnancy?

(1) What is kombucha

Where is kombucha from 

Kombucha is a refreshing beverage made from the fermentation of tea (i.e Black tea, Oolong tea, Green tea and White tea) from the Camellia sinensis plant. There are no lack of articles about kombucha and its elixir benefits. Kombucha is believed to have been originated from China about 2000 years ago. It was also consumed in Russia and some parts of Europe. During the world wars, kombucha fell in popularity likely because sugar and tea, which are used to make kombucha, were scarce. In modern days, it gained popularity in the US with brands like GT, Health-Ade, Brew Dr and many more. Kombucha is made by fermenting sweet tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) or “mother”. The yeast will consume the sugar to produce alcohol, whilst the bacteria will produce aectic, gluconic and other acids. This gives kombucha it’s unique sweet and tart taste.

(2) What is kombucha good for

benefits of kombucha 

Many drink kombucha for its supposed health benefits.  Most of the benefits are anecdotal from people who consume it. One concrete benefit if you swapped out your sugared or soda drink with kombucha is the reduction in sugar consumption, which can help you to shed some weight. Supporters claim it boosts your energy level, boosts your immunity and aids your digestion. Others also claim that it helps to remove toxin from your body and lose weight. The 3 potential benefits of kombucha are

(1) its antioxidant properties
(2) its bioavailability of nutrients
(3) its probiotics
Its antioxidant properties
Kombucha is made from tea which is rich in polyphenols, including catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins, that behaves as antioxidants.  Antioxidants protect your cells from damage.They are effective antioxidant by hunting free radicals and regulating the activities of different types of oxidases in the body.
Its bioavailability of nutrients
Fermentation of kombucha increases the bioavailability of the much needed nutrients. Bioavailability is a measure of how easily your body can absorb a particular nutrient, such as iron, or vitamin C. The yeasts and bacteria break down the cellulose fibre of plants by consuming the simple sugars. The nutrients are in simpler form which can be better absorbed by our bodies.
Its probiotics
As it is fermented, it contains more probiotics including lactic acid bacteria. Probiotics, also known as good gut bacteria, contribute to a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy gut is the foundation of your immune function to alleviate issues like diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other fermented foods, such as tempeh, kimchi and yogurt, are also rich in probiotics with similar benefits.
Note: There are no conclusive research done to support health claims of drinking kombucha.

(3) Does it contain caffeine?

 Caffeine in kombucha, caffeine comparison

Kombucha brewed from black, oolong, green or white tea will contain some trace of caffeine. During fermentation process, the amount of natural caffeine content is reduced by 2/3. 1 cup of coffee (8oz/236ml) contains about 95mg of caffeine. 1 cup of black tea contains about 47 mg of caffeine. 1 cup of kombucha contains about 10-15mg of caffeine. if you have a cup of kombucha, it will not give you the needed caffeine boost for your work.

(4) Are kombucha alcoholic

Kombucha alcoholic or not? 

To make kombucha, you ferment sugared tea with scoby and kombucha from the previous batch. Alcohol is the by-product of fermentation. The alcohol concentration is 0.5% or less in most commercially brewed ones. That’s about the same alcohol concentration as a ripen banana. There is a trend of hard kombucha which differ from kombucha in their proportion of tea, sugar and starter culture. They are usually fermented with more sugar for a longer period of time to get more alcohol. It’s considered alcoholic once the alcohol by volume, ABV, exceeds 0.5%

(5) Are kombucha drinks carbonated

Depending on the fermentation method, you can get highly carbonated kombucha or flat kombucha. Carbon dioxide is another by-product of fermentation. The bubbles produced which cannot escape the bottles will make kombucha more fizzy. Depending on the amount of sugar used, the diameter of the bottle tip and the amount of headspace, you get kombucha with varying fizziness. The higher the amount of sugar used, the more the fermentation activities, so more carbon dioxide produced. Using bottles with narrow neck and tight cap makes a more carbonated kombucha.

(6) Can Kombucha help you to lose weight

Kombucha is not a miracle drug. It does not guarantee weight loss. According to studies, probiotics and acetic acid have proven to help with weight loss. They curb hunger and reduce storage of fats. Nevertheless, excessive consumption of kombucha (which contain small quantity of sugar) daily might lead to weight gain.

(7) Can kombucha help to poop

Like coffee and fibrous food, kombucha is known to help with bowel movement. Drinking of kombucha balances your gut and the side effect of it is pooping. Nevertheless, each bottle of kombucha is different and its hard to predict how your body will react to kombucha. Each individual reacts differently to probiotics depending on their genetics, diet and microbiome. Take kombucha and experience it for yourself.

(8) When to drink kombucha

Drink Kombucha, Liang Cha, Lavender, Chamomile

A frequently asked question is when is the right time to drink kombucha? You can drink kombucha any time if you are not sensitive to caffeine or alcohol. Kombucha made from black, oolong, green or white tea contains varying amount of caffeine depending on several factors, such as origins of tea, how the tea was processed and duration of the brew. The amount of caffeine in a fermented tea has been greatly reduced to about 10 - 15mg per cup of kombucha. If you are sensitive to kombucha, drink it in the earlier in the day. As a fermented product, the ABV for kombucha is about 0.5%. You might want to consider the time to drink it.

You can take kombucha first thing in the morning as it provides low amount of caffeine to kickstart your day. For starter to kombucha, it’s recommended to pair kombucha with some light food. Some would recommend drinking kombucha before a meal to help with weight maintenance. It’s believed that acidic food curbs your appetite. It’s not uncommon to feel bloated after a meal. Having kombucha can help to alleviate the bloatedness post-lunch or dinner.

Drink it the way you like it, there is no right way of having it.

(9) Who’s kombucha girl?

Brittany Tomlinson, Kombucha Girl, TikTok Viral

Brittany Tomlinson accidentally became the kombucha girl after a video of her tasting kombucha for the first time went viral on TikTok in Aug 2019. She became a huge internet meme which costed her her day job. Read here to find out more.

(10) Can i drink kombucha during pregnancy

Just like raw salmon is not recommended during pregnancy or nursing, kombucha is not the beverage of choice for pregnant women or nursing mums because of its caffeine and alcohol content and lack of pasteurisation.  Be safe than sorry. It’s important for you to consult with your doctors before consuming. We will save some bottles for you post-delivery. in the meanwhile, take care and have a smooth delivery.

Hope this blog post on the top 10 questions about kombucha helps you understand more about kombucha.