3

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Why is Kombucha sweet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 15, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I keep hearing that there should be little sugar left in Kombucha since it's cultured. Why, then, does it still taste sweet? Is there another compound that remains, similar to some fermented sweeteners? If so, then which is it closest to?

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on November 06, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Sugar does have addictive qualities, so that's not surprising Ryan1HD... I'm curious to hear what your results were on blood sugar?

27bac964edd249667d0fb749daeeb090

(263)

on November 01, 2012
at 01:35 AM

Interesting answer jjtitus. I've thought the same thing. The bottle says 30 calories x 2 servings but I've always felt like it was more. I'm a type 1 diabetic, and I wear a continuous glucose monitor. It seems like my blood sugar goes up more then it should. One of these mornings I'll drink it on an empty stomach and see how much my blood sugar goes up. I'll try to compare it to a sugary beverage on another morning. I do love the stuff though. I find it really addictive.

276a5e631b62f8e0793987c0496364bb

(1644)

on September 03, 2012
at 08:53 PM

3-6 months!? After just a month our kombucha tastes like vinegar. Not even a hint of sweetness.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:23 PM

...Added after the fermentation process.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:22 PM

But that's silly. My mom drinks these "health" drinks made from aloe vera and coconut water. Sure, those ingredients are healthy by themselves, but a 24oz bottle has 30g of sugar in it. That sugar injection is gonna outweigh the subtle benefits of those things.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:18 PM

After the microbes eat the sugar, they add more sugar and then bottle it.

5e92edc5a180787a60a252a8232006e9

(345)

on September 03, 2012
at 12:32 AM

That's what I thought, too. But it seems like based on my BG response, there is a bit more sugar than very little. I think there's about 6-10g of sugar per 12 oz of kombucha, similar to the commercial ones. And I brew my kombucha for a very long time -- something like 3-6 months. They still taste sweet however and my BG does move up significantly as if ingesting 10g of sugar.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 09:21 PM

I haven't gotten into water/coconut water kefir, I've just been buying it every once in awhile... last time I looked into it, the kefir grains were pretty expensive and they only last for so long before they have to be replaced (in water). On the other hand, kombucha is really easy, SCOBI + sweet tea and it's still going strong after 1 yr!

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 15, 2012
at 05:11 PM

I suppose it's possible. Have you made water/coconut water kefir, though? The fermentation time is 24-48 hrs as opposed to a week or more with kombucha. I've made both, with a number of sweeteners, and the beginning ratio of water: sugar is the same for both. Eh, whatever. I make my own and let it ferment for a couple of weeks. I don't worry too much.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 15, 2012
at 05:07 PM

{cont.} Sorry- my computer froze. Anyway, I think that there's a bit of residual sugar, but very little unless you do a short second-ferment with a good deal of fruit juice. And kombucha =/= soda.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Yes, I still stand behind my 10g/serving estimate... and Yes, I do think that's high, especially since there are 2 servings per bottle. I am comparing it to the Lemon Ginger Kevita, which I believe is sweetened by date juice concentrate (no Stevia, those ones tast awful). If I remember right, it has 7-8g of sugar per serving (same serving size as GTs), and I think the kombucha is a little bit sweeter...

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 15, 2012
at 04:32 PM

@GurlzLuvSteak -- See, I disagree. I think the benefits of kombucha far exceed the tiny amount of sugar left in a serving. And I, um,

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 15, 2012
at 04:31 PM

You think 10g/serving? That's almost a tablespoon of sugar. I have tasted sweet tea after I've made it for my kombucha, and I'd guess that there's no way the regular kombucha has that much sugar left. I've been making my own kombucha for quite some time and let it ferment a good deal. It's a bit more sour than the GTs, but not THAT much more. I would say that the 2g/serving is not necessarily accurate, but it's probably relatively close. Also, I think Kevita adds stevia to its beverages.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 04:03 PM

If you make your own kombucha, it's as "healthy" as you want it to be...

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 03:52 PM

You could leave the bottles out at room temperature for a second round of fermentation (about 5 days; add ginger, fruit, etc)... make sure to use the appropriate capped bottles (beer type), because this also builds pressure and carbonation. Also, refrigerate the finished product before opening any of the bottles! If you open them at room temp, be ready for a bath.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 15, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Okay, thanks. I usually ferment a batch at room temp for about 10 days, then bottle it and keep it in the fridge for a while before I drink it. Would it be better to keep it at room temp longer, or would the health effects still occur if it was "fermenting" (albeit MUCH more slowly) in the fridge for 30 days? I don't have a setup yet for continuous brewing. I follow the recipe in Nourishing Traditions, but if you have any improvements over that, I'm all ears!

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on May 15, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Amy, Kombucha has a lot of health promoting properties that occur at 14 and 30 days, which is why the continuous brew method is popular, as the newer sweeter stuff counteracts the vinegar of the older stuff. The fizzyness is the amount of carbon dioxide that either gets trapped or not.

Ddfdaa75ac9f47e01fc71162dd0d38dc

on May 15, 2012
at 03:16 PM

It's really amazing how people find ways to excuse their sugar intake. At Whole Foods everyone goes on about the "healthy" kombucha - it's just another fizzy sugar drink.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 15, 2012
at 02:28 PM

I've let a batch or two go too long and yes, it tastes like apple cider vinegar. I don't mind drinking it, though. A little strong, but it's palatable. My question is, does it still have all the same health-promoting benefits if the fermentation went a little long? (Also, sometimes my batches get fizzy and sometimes they don't. Any benefits to it being or *not* being fizzy?)

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on May 15, 2012
at 02:13 PM

Yes, kombucha that's fermented too long tastes like vinegar. People prefer sugar to vinegar so commercial kombucha has a somewhat sweet taste.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 15, 2012
at 01:31 PM

It's the sugar.

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9 Answers

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3
44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 04:02 PM

I have a feeling that store bought kombucha is not what they claim, not even close... I believe GT's says it has 2g sugar per serving, but IMHO I think it's closer to 10g/serving. First of all, sweet sells, especially when you can make people believe it's low in sugar. Secondly, by using shorter brew times these companies can increase production and profits. Win-win as far as they're concerned.

Since it's a "living" beverage I guess they can get away with it (theoretically, if you left it at room temp for long enough it could possibly get to 2g), but I still think they should be held accountable when 99% of the product they sell has way more sugar than they claim on the label... Just my 2 cents, I can't actually prove anything, but going off the sweetness of other commercial fermented beverages like Kevita these are my thoughts.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 04:57 PM

Yes, I still stand behind my 10g/serving estimate... and Yes, I do think that's high, especially since there are 2 servings per bottle. I am comparing it to the Lemon Ginger Kevita, which I believe is sweetened by date juice concentrate (no Stevia, those ones tast awful). If I remember right, it has 7-8g of sugar per serving (same serving size as GTs), and I think the kombucha is a little bit sweeter...

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 15, 2012
at 04:31 PM

You think 10g/serving? That's almost a tablespoon of sugar. I have tasted sweet tea after I've made it for my kombucha, and I'd guess that there's no way the regular kombucha has that much sugar left. I've been making my own kombucha for quite some time and let it ferment a good deal. It's a bit more sour than the GTs, but not THAT much more. I would say that the 2g/serving is not necessarily accurate, but it's probably relatively close. Also, I think Kevita adds stevia to its beverages.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 15, 2012
at 05:11 PM

I suppose it's possible. Have you made water/coconut water kefir, though? The fermentation time is 24-48 hrs as opposed to a week or more with kombucha. I've made both, with a number of sweeteners, and the beginning ratio of water: sugar is the same for both. Eh, whatever. I make my own and let it ferment for a couple of weeks. I don't worry too much.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 09:21 PM

I haven't gotten into water/coconut water kefir, I've just been buying it every once in awhile... last time I looked into it, the kefir grains were pretty expensive and they only last for so long before they have to be replaced (in water). On the other hand, kombucha is really easy, SCOBI + sweet tea and it's still going strong after 1 yr!

27bac964edd249667d0fb749daeeb090

(263)

on November 01, 2012
at 01:35 AM

Interesting answer jjtitus. I've thought the same thing. The bottle says 30 calories x 2 servings but I've always felt like it was more. I'm a type 1 diabetic, and I wear a continuous glucose monitor. It seems like my blood sugar goes up more then it should. One of these mornings I'll drink it on an empty stomach and see how much my blood sugar goes up. I'll try to compare it to a sugary beverage on another morning. I do love the stuff though. I find it really addictive.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on November 06, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Sugar does have addictive qualities, so that's not surprising Ryan1HD... I'm curious to hear what your results were on blood sugar?

2
7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on May 15, 2012
at 01:40 PM

It'll have some degree of sweetness if the sugar hasn't been completely fermented away. If it's allowed to ferment long enough, kombucha becomes extremely sour.

35b2cb4d450e5288895c255dfdfff35d

(5828)

on May 15, 2012
at 02:13 PM

Yes, kombucha that's fermented too long tastes like vinegar. People prefer sugar to vinegar so commercial kombucha has a somewhat sweet taste.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on May 15, 2012
at 03:23 PM

Amy, Kombucha has a lot of health promoting properties that occur at 14 and 30 days, which is why the continuous brew method is popular, as the newer sweeter stuff counteracts the vinegar of the older stuff. The fizzyness is the amount of carbon dioxide that either gets trapped or not.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 15, 2012
at 02:28 PM

I've let a batch or two go too long and yes, it tastes like apple cider vinegar. I don't mind drinking it, though. A little strong, but it's palatable. My question is, does it still have all the same health-promoting benefits if the fermentation went a little long? (Also, sometimes my batches get fizzy and sometimes they don't. Any benefits to it being or *not* being fizzy?)

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on May 15, 2012
at 03:52 PM

You could leave the bottles out at room temperature for a second round of fermentation (about 5 days; add ginger, fruit, etc)... make sure to use the appropriate capped bottles (beer type), because this also builds pressure and carbonation. Also, refrigerate the finished product before opening any of the bottles! If you open them at room temp, be ready for a bath.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on May 15, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Okay, thanks. I usually ferment a batch at room temp for about 10 days, then bottle it and keep it in the fridge for a while before I drink it. Would it be better to keep it at room temp longer, or would the health effects still occur if it was "fermenting" (albeit MUCH more slowly) in the fridge for 30 days? I don't have a setup yet for continuous brewing. I follow the recipe in Nourishing Traditions, but if you have any improvements over that, I'm all ears!

1
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on March 02, 2013
at 08:09 PM

my homemade kombucha is not sweet at all. it's more like vinegar tasting. you can sweeten it with fruit juice if you want. that's what most store brands do.

1
886860d450138ddbe8d462880d16d90e

on September 03, 2012
at 04:35 AM

GT's recently had to shorten their expiration dates (and maybe change their formulation a bit,) because the ferment was creating more than 1% alcohol, the legal limit before a beverage has to be legally treated as an alcoholic beverage.

If there is less alcohol, there will be more sugar as it hasn't been converted yet by the culture. I noticed that the GT's brand got distinctly sweeter after this change, so I no longer use it. I'll have to try my hand at a home brew.

0
44b903861a648ca648cc175523fb60e2

(10)

on May 17, 2013
at 10:14 AM

http://www.kombuchakamp.com/2011/02/sugar-and-kombucha-faq-top-10.html

Ok, she obviously doesn't know about ketogenic diets, but, this ought to clear up people's worries about sugar in kombucha. I have found it to be an amazing health tonic. Obviously I have been making my own...

0
5dfdf6c260b049293104092bd9a863ec

on March 02, 2013
at 08:04 PM

I wouldn't go near kombucha. any sugar and strong cravings for all carby foods....toast! get sparked. Avoid sweetness I say. Just a bit of fruit. Now and again. Years of insulin resistance mean this is crucial.

0
5249df0c1098a8ea4607cc305f0cbdcf

on September 03, 2012
at 03:33 AM

Sugar. . . . . .

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:23 PM

...Added after the fermentation process.

0
Ade169aa75b0cc271104ddd6aa964001

on September 03, 2012
at 12:19 AM

i like mine a little on the sweet side. the way i figure it, its better to drink sweet kombucha than no kombucha at all.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on September 03, 2012
at 01:22 PM

But that's silly. My mom drinks these "health" drinks made from aloe vera and coconut water. Sure, those ingredients are healthy by themselves, but a 24oz bottle has 30g of sugar in it. That sugar injection is gonna outweigh the subtle benefits of those things.

0
66974b2cb291799dcd661b7dec99a9e2

(11121)

on May 15, 2012
at 03:02 PM

I make my own kombucha, I find the stuff I buy in the health food stores to be sweet to me (I do not eat sugar at all). I ferment mine long enough so it does not taste sweet, then do a second ferment with ginger & lemon added - my whole family drinks this now.

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