Kombucha is a really unique drink that a lot of people don’t know much about. One of the most common questions that new kombucha drinkers have is "is there caffeine in kombucha? and if so how much?
Since it’s brewed from caffeinated tea, kombucha has a small amount of caffeine in it. Most bottles contain about 15mg of caffeine. For reference, the average cup of coffee has 95mg. The amount of caffeine in a bottle of kombucha can vary greatly however, depending on the type and amount of tea used, steeping time, activity level of the SCOBY, and the length and speed of fermentation.
Below you’ll find a table telling you how much caffeine is in the most popular kombucha brands, but first let's talk about what caffeine is and why it’s in your kombucha.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a drink made from fermented tea. Because it is fermented, kombucha contains beneficial bacteria and is known as a probiotic. The drink has become quite popular in recent years due to its great taste and many health benefits such as improved digestion and gut health, detoxification, and immune system strengthening.
What Exactly is Caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that affects your nervous system, helping you stay alert and preventing tiredness. The drug does this by attaching to receptors in your brain and blocking the chemicals that would normally make you feel tired from attaching to these receptors
Caffeine also releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain and raises adrenaline levels in the bloodstream.
Why Kombucha has Caffeine in it
The reason that there is caffeine in kombucha is because the drink is made from caffeinated sweet tea.
During the brewing process, the living bacteria culture in the kombucha known as the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) feed on the sugar and caffeine from the sweet tea, and produces alcohol, carbon dioxide, and healthy acids, giving kombucha that bitter, slightly sweet taste that so many people love.
How Much Caffeine is in Store Bought Kombucha?
When the SCOBY is done feeding on the sugar and caffeine of the sweet tea and the kombucha is finished, there is less sugar and caffeine in the drink than when we started.
Store bought kombucha is usually made from a combination of green and black tea, which has about 30-50mg of caffeine per serving. After a lot of this caffeine has been eaten by the SCOBY and kombucha is finished, the average serving of store bought booch will have a caffeine content of around 15mg.
For reference, a typical cup of coffee has about 95mg of caffeine and some energy drinks have as much as 300mg.
Most coffee brands and energy drink brands have very standard and consistent levels of caffeine in their drinks. But, because kombucha is made from a living bacteria and yeast culture, even a slight difference in the length or technique of the brewing process can change the level of caffeine and other ingredients drastically.
Below is a table of the amount of caffeine from most to least in some of the most popular kombucha brands.
Mg of Caffeine Per 8oz (1 serving) of Popular Kombucha Brands
How Much Caffeine is in Home Brewed Kombucha?
Just like store bought booch, the amount of caffeine in home brewed kombucha varies greatly. The kind and amount of tea you use, steeping time, SCOBY activity level, and length and speed of fermentation all will affect the amount of caffeine in the final product.
As long as your brewing process is mostly normal, your booch should have a similar amount of caffeine to the store bought brands: about 15mg per serving.
How to Lower the Amount of Caffeine in Home Brewed Kombucha
If by chance you want to reduce the amount of caffeine in your kombucha, there are a few tweaks you can make to the brewing process.
1. Using green or oolong tea instead of black will reduce the amount of caffeine in your brew since these colors usually have less caffeine.
2. Brewing your kombucha longer will give the SCOBY more time to eat the caffeine, which means less in the final kombucha.
3. Steeping the tea for less time will also lead to less caffeine in the final brew.
4. You can try to brew kombucha with decaffeinated tea, however the lack of caffeine could make the brew turn out poorly or damage the SCOBY over time because of a lack of nutrition. So if you’re going to try to make kombucha with decaffeinated tea, do it with an extra SCOBY and not your main one.
Is the Caffeine in Kombucha Healthy?
With all this talk about caffeine, you may be wondering whether or not it’s even healthy to drink. Like any drug, caffeine has some risks. Such as:
Reaction with some medications.
All these side effects are rare, and usually only happen when caffeine is consumed in an unsafe amount, but are still important to address.
As for the benefits of caffeine, studies have shown that it may:
Improve mood and brain function
Boost metabolism and fat burning
Enhance exercise performance
Protect against heart disease and diabetes.
What a drug! It seems from what I've found that caffeine is not only safe for most people (in the correct dosage of course) but may actually have some serious benefits!
Kombucha as a Replacement for other Caffeinated Beverages
Unfortunately, if you want the benefits of caffeine, you're probably not going to get them from kombucha. With how little caffeine is in most kombucha brands, you’d have to drink almost 3 bottles of booch to get the same amount of caffeine as you would from a bag of green tea.
This is good because it means you can drink kombucha at night without worrying about being kept up, but at the same time is bad because those that enjoy caffeine wont get the extra energy they want solely from drinking booch.
If you are one of those people wishing kombucha had more caffeine in it, I may have a solution for you.
Kombucha Energy Drinks
Energy drinks have almost always been considered unhealthy. Most are full of sugar, calories and artificial flavorings, with little to no nutrients or health benefits. Well recently a few kombucha brands have decided to bridge the gap between healthy choices and energy boosts by creating kombucha energy drinks.
The goal of kombucha energy drinks is to allow those that are drinking kombucha and energy drinks separately to be able to get the energy boost they need solely from kombucha.
They also provide a healthy caffeine boost to those who drink unhealthy and sugary energy drinks regularly.
The great thing about kombucha energy drinks is they not only give you the energy of caffeine with very little sugar, but also all the healthy probiotics and antioxidants that are in kombucha.
I actually wrote an entire article on kombucha energy drinks, including the top 4 best brands which you can read here.
The best kombucha energy drink that I found when researching for that article is Brew Dr. Uplift. Uplift combines live and active bacteria cultures with 130mg of caffeine per bottle using a blend of green tea, guayusa ( an Amazonian plant), and yerba mate. The flavor sort of tastes like ice tea.
The best place to get Brew Dr Uplift is at your local supermarket if they have it. But if you want to save a trip and get it online, you can buy it on Amazon here.
Kombucha does have caffeine in it, but at an average of 15mg a serving, it’s not much. If you’re someone who is sensitive to caffeine the low amount probably won’t affect you. And if you're looking for that extra kick of energy, maybe try out a kombucha energy drink. Or just drink a cup of coffee.
If you want to learn more about kombucha, how it relates to your health, and even how to brew it yourself, be sure to check out the rest of my website!