Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Kombucha Alcohol Content?

Have been interested in understanding the appeal of kombucha, so have been reading about its properties. 

One characteristic is the presence of yeast (Saccharomyces sp.) in the fermentation mix. Yeast transforms the sugar that's added to the tea into ethanol and acetic acid (vinegar). 

So an important question is: how much ethanol is present in the drink? 

A study published this month detailed the ethanol content of several commercial kombucha drinks, and found that the ethanol content of each was above the US federally designated limit for a drink to be considered non-alcoholic, 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).* 

Ethanol (alcohol) content of commercial kombucha products used in this study.
The red line indicates the legal limit for non-alcoholic drinks. Note that the alcohol content of light beers, that is beers with the lowest alcohol content, averages around 3.5% ABV, so about twice the content in these kombuchas.

Apparently fermentation continues in the bottle, because the amount increased with storage at room temperature, and even at cold temperatures.

I wonder whether some of the attraction of kombucha may lie in its ethanol content. What do you think?

* Talebi, M., Frink, L.A., Patil, R.A. et al. Examination of the Varied and Changing Ethanol Content of Commercial Kombucha Products. Food Anal. Methods (2017) 10: 4062.

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