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!
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.
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.