Kombucha has become a popular health and wellness trend in recent years. While wellness gurus often praise kombucha for its potential health benefits, you might wonder whether it’s a suitable beverage choice for someone committed to a sober lifestyle.
Kombucha vs. alcoholic drinks
Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from brewed tea, sugar and a culture of yeast and bacteria. During fermentation, these microorganisms transform the sugar into organic acids and carbon dioxide, giving kombucha its signature fizzy and tangy flavor. The process also produces a minimal amount of alcohol, typically less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Kombucha, like beer and other alcoholic drinks, undergoes fermentation, but the key difference lies in their intended outcome. Fermentation is the metabolic process where microorganisms convert sugars into alcohol and other byproducts. In the case of beer and other alcoholic beverages, the primary goal of fermentation is to create a high alcohol content, often around 5% or higher.
On the other hand, kombucha is a low-alcohol beverage intentionally brewed to contain minimal alcohol content. The main focus of kombucha fermentation isn’t alcohol production but the creation of organic acids and probiotics, giving it its distinctive tart flavour and potential health benefits. Beers and ales are usually brewed at 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas kombucha is typically brewed at 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
While they share the basic fermentation process, the end product and purpose make kombucha distinctly different from traditional alcoholic beverages.
Pros of drinking kombucha as a sober person
There are several reasons why sober curious people might enjoy kombucha.
It has a low alcohol content
The alcohol content in kombucha is very low, usually well below the legal limit for non-alcoholic beverages. For comparison, many fruit juices and over-the-counter medications can contain more alcohol than kombucha.
It may offer gut health benefits
Kombucha is known for its potential probiotic benefits. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that aid digestion and support overall gut health. These benefits can be especially important if you no longer drink alcohol, as a healthy gut can contribute to overall well-being.
It’s a healthy alternative
Kombucha is a far healthier alternative to sugary sodas or energy drinks. It’s often lower in calories and sugar, making it a more mindful choice for your overall health.
There’s a variety of flavours
Kombucha comes in various flavours, from fruity and sweet to earthy and herbal. This variety can provide an enjoyable and refreshing option when you want something more interesting than plain water or traditional non-alcoholic beverages.
When should you avoid kombucha?
Some people, such as those in recovery, may want to avoid drinking kombucha for a few reasons.
If you want to avoid alcohol entirely
While the alcohol content is very low, it’s not entirely alcohol-free. If you’re extremely sensitive to even trace amounts of alcohol or you’ve relied on alcohol in the past, you may want to exercise caution.
If you think it could be a potential trigger
For some, the taste and smell of kombucha can remind them of alcoholic drinks, potentially triggering cravings. If you are concerned about this, you must be aware of your triggers and reactions.
If it’s a homemade brew
Be cautious when consuming homemade kombucha, as the alcohol content can vary widely depending on the brewing process. Commercially produced kombucha is more reliable in terms of alcohol content.
For religious reasons
In certain religious traditions, like Islam or Buddhism, consuming fermented beverages, even those with an alcohol content as low as kombucha, is discouraged or prohibited.
Written by Mia Barnes
Mia is a freelance writer and researcher with a passion for women’s health and wellness. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the healthy living online publication, Body+Mind Magazine.