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Does kombucha have caffeine?

Does kombucha have caffeine? And can you make caffeine free kombucha? Answering it all here!

Despite being touted as a health elixir, kombucha contains a few of our favorite vices: sugar, alcohol, and caffeine!

That’s right, friends, kombucha contains caffeine. But just like the sugar and alcohol content of kombucha, the caffeine levels depend on the fermentation.

Kombucha is a fermentation in which bacteria and yeast (known as the SCOBY) eat up sweet tea, transforming it into a probiotic packed fizzy drink. So while the tea may begin with 25 mg caffeine (in a cup), the finished kombucha will have less, about 10 to 15 mg. For reference, a cup of coffee contains about 40 mg.

Why is there caffeine in kombucha?

The main ingredient in kombucha is tea leaves from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Tea is a natural source of caffeine, meaning kombucha also contains caffeine.

Black tea bags on a white background

How to make kombucha with less caffeine

After fermentation, the caffeine content in the kombucha is less because the bacteria and yeast feed on it. There are a few ways you can further reduce the caffeine content of your kombucha.

Reduce the caffeine in your initial tea: You can reduce the caffeine content by opting for lower caffeinated teas. If your fermentations begin to lose their strength (i.e. taking longer to ferment, not becoming acidic), make a batch of kombucha using strong, caffeinated tea to bring the SCOBY back to good health. Discard that batch (or give to a caffeine-loving friend), then continue brewing with your lower caffeinated teas (more on best teas for kombucha here).

  • Use decaffeinated tea, aiming for a high quality tea to ensure the SCOBY remains healthy. Rooibos and hibiscus are both great choices.
  • Use lower caffeinated teas, like white or green tea, which are lesser oxidized versions of black tea.

Remove the caffeine: You can also easily reduce the caffeine content of black tea.

  • Let caffeinated tea bags steep in boiling water for 30 seconds. This will pull out a lot of the caffeine, and you can then use the tea bags to make your kombucha.
  • Let the fermentation run longer, allowing more time for the caffeine to be consumed by the SCOBY. Note, this will influence the taste of the kombucha, making it a bit more tart.
Jar of green tea kombucha with a SCOBY

2 thoughts on “Does kombucha have caffeine?”

    • Yep! Every few batches you may need to use a strong, caffeinated black tea to reinvigorate the SCOBY (if you notice your fermentation going much slower or not tasting strong anymore, just do that).

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