Sabrina8

Kombucha without added sugar

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GT's brand is the only brand I can find without added sugar to the second ferment.

 

You are looking for Kombucha with less than 5g of sugar on the nutritional information chart.

 

Kombucha does need sugar to start the fermenting process.  But then the SCOBY eats all the sugar and there should be little to no sugar left.  This is what happens during the first ferment.  The second ferment is where flavouring is added.  A lot of brands will add sugar to this as well.  This sugar does not get "eaten up" like the first fermentation.

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The process of making kombucha uses sugar. There's a first ferment, where you have a kombucha scoby, tea, and sugar -- that sugar feeds the bacteria in the fermenting process. After that, the kombucha is bottled, usually with some kind of flavoring -- this is the second ferment, and this is where sugar would be not allowed on Whole30 because this ferment doesn't last as long. 

 

For store bought kombucha, you're looking for ingredient lists that say: Kombucha, fruit juice (or puree). Or they might say something like: Kombucha (tea, water, sugar, kombucha scoby), fruit juice (or puree). (Or they might list herbs, spices, or vegetables instead of fruit juice, depending on flavor.)

 

There is a brand that I've seen that uses stevia in their second ferment to sweeten/flavor -- that is not Whole30 compliant. Their ingredient list looks like this: Organic Raw Kombucha (Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Tea, Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Evaporated Cane Juice, and Organic Kombucha Culture fermented in purified water), Natural Flavors, Organic Stevia Extract (Natural Sweetener).

Everything about that would have been okay, until they threw in the stevia. 

 

 

 

 

Don't those kombuchas have alcohol in them?

Any fermented food could have alcohol in it. GT's brand makes two lines of kombucha -- one that you have to be over 21 to buy, and one that you don't. The ones with the black labels you have to be over 21 to buy. Even then, all that means is that they contain more than .5% alcohol, which is the legal cutoff for something to be considered alcoholic by the FDA. For comparison, beer tends to be between 3% and 5% alcohol, wines can be a bit more, up to around 20% for some of the highest alcohol content (like port), and vodka would be around 40%. 

 

Recovering alcoholics or people who are very sensitive to alcohol should obviously consider this information before deciding whether to partake, but your average person will usually not notice much effect, although every now and then I get a bottle that leaves me feeling a bit flushed, the way a drink might.

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What about Deane's Kombucha?

 

The ingredients are listed on the website as:

 

"kombucha culture, organic gunpowder green tea, organic cane sugar, and organic whole fruits/ herbs for individual flavors"

 

BUT when I emailed the company, they said: 

 

"We add no sugar after fermentation, all the sugars are used during the fermentation. Our average sugar content for the bottled and kegged kombucha is 6 grams per 16 ounces, so not much. Some of that is residuals from the fermentation, and some from the whole organic fruits added mid-stream (which still ferment for 7 days)."
 
A 16 oz. bottle of GT's Multi-Green has 4g of sugar, so is 6g per bottle alright as long as I limit my use and pay attention to my Sugar Dragon?
 
This is important because they have Deane's on-tap at my health food store and a 16oz. bottle is $1.69 instead of $3.69 for GT's.  :o

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What about Deane's Kombucha?

 

The ingredients are listed on the website as:

 

"kombucha culture, organic gunpowder green tea, organic cane sugar, and organic whole fruits/ herbs for individual flavors"

 

BUT when I emailed the company, they said: 

 

"We add no sugar after fermentation, all the sugars are used during the fermentation. Our average sugar content for the bottled and kegged kombucha is 6 grams per 16 ounces, so not much. Some of that is residuals from the fermentation, and some from the whole organic fruits added mid-stream (which still ferment for 7 days)."
 
A 16 oz. bottle of GT's Multi-Green has 4g of sugar, so is 6g per bottle alright as long as I limit my use and pay attention to my Sugar Dragon?
 
This is important because they have Deane's on-tap at my health food store and a 16oz. bottle is $1.69 instead of $3.69 for GT's.  :o

 

 

As long as they're not adding sugar after the fermentation, this should be fine. 

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What about Deane's Kombucha?

 

The ingredients are listed on the website as:

 

"kombucha culture, organic gunpowder green tea, organic cane sugar, and organic whole fruits/ herbs for individual flavors"

 

BUT when I emailed the company, they said: 

 

"We add no sugar after fermentation, all the sugars are used during the fermentation. Our average sugar content for the bottled and kegged kombucha is 6 grams per 16 ounces, so not much. Some of that is residuals from the fermentation, and some from the whole organic fruits added mid-stream (which still ferment for 7 days)."
 
A 16 oz. bottle of GT's Multi-Green has 4g of sugar, so is 6g per bottle alright as long as I limit my use and pay attention to my Sugar Dragon?
 
This is important because they have Deane's on-tap at my health food store and a 16oz. bottle is $1.69 instead of $3.69 for GT's.  :o

 

GT's is 4 bucks a pop here.  It's very pricey, especially when you want one every day.  That adds up by the month. Let us know how it tastes. Tell all.  I'll look for it.  :) 

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GT's is 4 bucks a pop here.  It's very pricey, especially when you want one every day.  That adds up by the month. Let us know how it tastes. Tell all.  I'll look for it.  :) 

Unfortunately, I think Deane's is based in Minneapolis and only sells in Minnesota! But from their website it looks like they're planning to sell in North Dakota, so eventually they might be available more widely! And hopefully cheap kombucha on tap will be a trend everywhere soon.

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Unfortunately, I think Deane's is based in Minneapolis and only sells in Minnesota! But from their website it looks like they're planning to sell in North Dakota, so eventually they might be available more widely! And hopefully cheap kombucha on tap will be a trend everywhere soon.

:D  I'll probably have to wait for years to see that.  I need to brew my own.

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You can always look at local boocheries (I made that word up. I is smart). There are several in my area that have the sugar only listed in the kombucha part (as in pre fermentation) and then have other things added (the one I have in my fridge is lemon ginger. I can't wait to drink it ;) )

I'm not on my W30 yet (prepping myself though!) but I'm still mindful of added sugar due to my autoimmune disease.

Also, thanks for answering the question before I asked it :)

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Silly question...is GT the actual brand name or is that an abbreviation?

Also, where is it usually found in the store?

 

GT's is the brand but it's usually written pretty small on the label. This is what the bottles look like:

kombucha.jpg

It has to be refrigerated. I usually find it near the pre-cut fruit and veggies or store-made fruit juices (that's where it's been at Walmart. At Whole Foods it gets its own case!)

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We're seeing Kombucha on tap rolling out in Australia :) Not sure if our tap one is compliant or not

Doesn't hurt to ask! I know a local boochery has a few flavors that aren't sweetened after fermentation (I think it's lavender/lemongrass? Whatever. It's my favorite)

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I just started making my own and it's easy and saves a ton of $$$. I just second ferment with fresh fruit slices or berries. Tastes awesome and I can make a gallon for a fraction of the price of store bought.

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The kombucha brand that's sold at Target (Synergy?) has some bottles that say "enlightened" and others that don't.  I assumed these had some sort of sugar added.  Is this not correct?

The reason that they have two different kinds is because they have different instances of potential fermentation alcohol... if you read the labels of the ones that are in the dark glass that say 'over 21' on them, you'll see that these are different than the enlightened ones but they're all okay for Whole30.

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4 minutes ago, LaurenLoWo said:

Brew Dr Kombucha (the little dark brown bottles out of Portland, Oregon) doesn't add anything after fermentation. They use organic cane sugar in the brewing process, but all Kombucha needs sugar to ferment. 

IMG_6750.JPG

The problem with this is, the guidance Melissa lays out in this article, which is the official word on which kombucha is compliant and which isn't, specifically says if there is sugar on the label, it's not compliant.  We're not going to come to your house and check out the bottles of kombucha you're using on your Whole30, but these are the rules. Melissa acknowledges that this results in an unfair situation where some brands that probably would be made in a compliant way are actually not allowed on Whole30, but in order to make the rules clear and easy to follow, if the label says sugar, it's not allowed.

As a moderator, I also acknowledge that prior to publication of this article, some of the advice that I and other mods gave about kombucha was incorrect and does not meet the standards laid out in the article. I certainly apologize for any confusion this causes, and can only say I was giving advice based on what I knew at the time. 

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"If you make kombucha at home and don’t add sugar after the fermentation process, is that Whole30-compliant? Yes."

 

What's the difference if they make it or I do? It literally is the same. I make my own Kombucha but also know this brand makes it the same way I do. 

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