Attention all kombucha fans. After a 4 month wait, fans of GTs Kombucha and other kombucha brands can heave a sigh of relief as the product is slowly finding its way back on the shelves of healthfood stores across the country. It is still raw and unpasteurized as before (with a few changes – see below). I was delighted to see it back on the shelf at one of my local healthfood stores only yesterday!
If you remember, GTs Kombucha was pulled from Whole Foods and eventually all healthfood stores early last summer because of concerns that if the product was not properly refrigerated once it left the manufacturing facility that the alcohol content would rise slightly above .5%. At that point, a warning label is required and only people over the age of 21 could buy it. In addition, the product could only be produced in approved facilities.
To control the level of alcohol in the product, Dave of GTs Kombucha altered the original formula so that the amount of alcohol producing probiotics was reduced. Correspondingly, the amount of non-alcohol producing probiotics was increased to compensate. Each bottle contains the same number of probiotics, just in a different ratio than before.
The result? The reformulation has a smoother taste and a shorter shelf life.
I tried my first bottle of the reformulated GTs Kombucha yesterday and it definitely tastes lighter than before. It also tastes lighter than home brewed kombucha. There still is plenty of zing to it, but only time will tell if it produces the same feeling of digestive well being as before!
Dave of GTs has indicated that he plans to bring back the original formula at some point, but it would only be available for purchase by individuals over the age of 21.
Age of Kombucha Culture Affects Alcoholic Content
One interesting thing I discovered while researching for this article is that older kombucha cultures produce less alcohol in the final brew than younger cultures. A kombucha culture, if you recall, is a symbiotic balance of both friendly bacteria and beneficial yeasts that contribute greatly to the overall health and function of the gut.
A kombucha culture that is over 20 days old has less yeast and more bacteria. The bacteria are non-alcohol producing and the yeasts are alcohol producing. So, using a kombucha culture that is more than 20 days old will alter the ratio between the two in favor of the bacteria.
Starting with less sugar is also beneficial in altering the probiotic ratio. For example, a 3 quart batch of home brewed kombucha uses between 1 and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Using only 1 cup as well as an older culture will reduce the alcoholic content of the final brew – even though the alcoholic content is negligible if proper refrigeration after fermentation is observed at home.
Interesting! For those of you who are interested in making your own, these kombucha videos demonstrate the process and provide a basic written recipe.
While I’ve been making my own kombucha at home for almost 10 years now, I find it extremely helpful to have GTs Kombucha at the store to help bridge the occasional gap between batches and for when traveling!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Source: Kombucha Tea Producer Reworks Formula to Alter Alcohol Content
I am really loving the taste of the kambucha i make but it’s really feel very alcoholic for me as I am very sensitive to alchole drinks and I am really effected by even a small cup. last week I even bought a bottle from the health shop to see if its feel different but again I got the same reaction. is there is any way possible to eliminate alcohol in my home brew kambucha
I would love to start brewing my own Kombucha, but I’m not sure how to get a hold of the Kombucha for my starter. Can I use a store bought Kombucha like Synergy for my starter?
I recently tried a bottle of the GT Kombucha and I loved it! My question is that many of them are formulated with fruit juices. Would the fruit juices feed candida or is there enough beneficial bacteria and yeasts in the kombucha that I don’t need to worry about this? Thanks!
I just started a batch of kombucha with a scoby I started myself. Would you please tell me what should I do with the liquid from making the scoby? Thanks.
You know I tried Kombucha once as I’ve tried many other probiotic pills/drinks/etc., and I always end up with the same effect…..constipation! I don’t understand it. If this is supposed to help your gut and make it better, why the sudden clog up?
My Kombucha babies each time are quite thin, so I’ve been leaving them attached to my original culture for the time being (mine always float so the new one is attached to the old one). I am interested to see the difference, perhaps for my next brew I’ll pull the old one off and see if there’s any taste difference. LOVE Kombucha!!!! And also found your advanced video series very interesting. I now make about 6-7 litres at a time, in 2 separate vessels.
Hi Guys, wonder if you can help. I used to suffer terribly with eczema or psoriasis on my legs. Had Chinese herbal remedy and went for about ten years to come back voraciously recently. I am trying to work out what i introduced to my life at the time and one major thing was Kombucha. It seems that this should cure rather than cause this but i can’t think of anything else i have been having. Could this be causing it by flushing my system or something. Presume it CAN’T be causing it? thanks in advance for any help/advice.
Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
Alex, of course you can share whatever you like! Can't wait to see you at the Conference, by the way!
Kerri, the way I interpreted the article was the kombucha culture itself was older than 20 days old, not the brew. So, folks that use the new baby everytime for the next batch might want to rethink and use the mother which would be an older culture. Once the fermentation is complete, if you leave it unrefrigerated, yes the alcohol content would rise but still be only around .5% which is still so very small even if it exceeds the federal law. Just refrigerate right after its done and you will be fine. I sometimes leave mine for 15 days or so. The original GTs brewed for 30 days, so I think you'd have to go quite long to get to the upper limit on the alcohol.
Funny, Hal and I had our first one of these yesterday. I usually don't buy these drinks because they usually got junk in them and are really pricey… but this label looked promising, it was $3.39 (less than a beer, lol) and we were thirsty. It was GREAT! We have not made kombucha yet, but looking forward to it. Have made kefir a lot, and getting good at separating the whey. Soaking our grains and flour for bread… it's a whole new world!