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Part One - Kombucha FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


[Part 2 of 2 - 6.51 - 6.96]

© Copyright  1995 - 2000 Colleen M. Allen







Miscellaneous (part 1 of 2 -  6.1 - 6.50 )

Miscellaneous (part 2 of 2 -  6.51 - 6.96)

Kombucha Colony



Kombucha FAQ Home Page

MISCELLANEOUS (part 2 of 2 - 6.51 - 6.96)

6.51 Can drinking Kombucha Tea change the acidity of the blood?

Kombucha is acidic (about pH 3, from organic acids ) but the acid/base chemistry in your body is most influenced by CO2 in your blood, with its associated buffering forms (HCO3--H2CO3) --etc. This is a dynamic system that is working constantly with every breath since it involves CO2 transfer in the lungs. Your body doesn't really need help in regulating body pH, it's hard to see how ingestion of a relatively small amount of liquid with organic acids, going into an even more acidic stomach, would influence body pH much anyway.

6.52 Is there a simple test I can do to check the pH of my k-tea?

Yes, use litmus paper. These papers are used to check the pH in liquids and can be purchased in a chemical supply house. However, a more accurate device would be a pH meter.

6.53 Can I use fruit juice to make Kombucha Tea?

Some people add clear fruit juices when making Kombucha Tea (cranberry, apple etc.). However, it is generally not recommended. If you do use fruit juice you should boil the juice along with your water before adding it to the fermenting container. Most people recommend that if you want to add juice it's best if you add it after the fermentation cycle is complete, and after the colony and ferment--which are to be used in the next batch-- have been safely removed to prevent any contamination of your colony.

6.54 What is the formula difference between gluconic acid and glucuronic acid?

Gluconic Acid: - C6H12O7, molecular weight = 196.16. May be prepared from glucose by electrolytic oxidation in alkaline medium; may also be prepped by the fermentative oxidation of the aldehyde group in glucose from corn by Aspergillus niger, A. fumaricus, Acetobacter aceti, Penicillium chrysogenum and other Penicillium, has a faint odor of vinegar, and a mild acid taste

Glucuronic Acid: - C6H10O7, molecular weight = 194.14. In combination with phenols, alcohol, etc. they form in the liver to detoxify poisonous hydroxyly-containing substances.

D-Glucuronic acid is widely distributed in the plant and animal kingdoms. It usually occurs in "paired" form i.e., as a glycosidic combination with phenols, alcohol, etc. Such glycuronides form in the liver to detoxify poisonous hydroxyl-containing substances. When certain poisons are ingested, the glucuronides form compounds with the poisons and the derivatives appear in the urine. This is information from a Merck Index.

6.55 Is there any glucuronic acid in Kombucha Tea?

The latest Kombucha research completed in 1996 by Michael Roussin and his Kombucha Research team have ascertained there is no glucuronic acid in Kombucha Tea.
(See http://www.geocities.com/mikeroussin/) "Mythology" page.

6.56 Does cooling the fermented tea reduce the carbonation?

According to Carl Mueller, the fizz is lost because the CO2 (carbon dioxide) is being held in solution by the lower temperature. If you don't let the tea dry out too much, more CO2 will be produced by the yeast. Simply seal the container and allow it to remain at room temperature for 12 hours, then refrigerate it. Just remember pressure may build up. Keep it refrigerated after it is carbonated. An alternative method is to allow it to dry. Bottle, add 1/4 teaspoon white sugar, mix and allow to stand at room temperature for 12 hours. There will be a small amount of yeast in the bottom of the container (good source of vitamin B), and lots of CO2. Again, be sure and refrigerate after 12 to 18 hours.

6.57 Does the acid in Kombucha Tea cause mouth ulcers?

No. Mouth sores are caused by an opportunistic virus that invades the mucous membranes of the mouth. In some people mouth ulcers appear to be irritated by strongly acidic food and drink, while in others, Kombucha Tea helps prevents "mouth ulcers" or "cold sores."

6.58 Should I drink extra water when drinking larger amounts of k-tea?

If one is drinking large amounts of Kombucha Tea, it is very important to drink at least 2 quarts (8 -8 ounce glasses) of plain water in addition to other liquids daily. Drinking lots of water will help the body flush out toxins.

6.59 What is the pH level of acidity that is needed to support the growth of C. botulism?

A pH value of 4.6 or higher can support the growth of C. botulism in almost any type of food. Since Kombucha Tea is normally consumed in the pH range of 2.5-3.5, it will not support the growth of C. botulism.

6.60 Why is it important for the pH to be acidic?

The purpose of adding the fermented Kombucha Tea or distilled vinegar is to lower the pH of the tea solution right at the start of the fermentation process. Moulds and C. botulism will not grow in an acidic medium with a pH of - 4 .

6.61 What kind of vinegar should I add in lieu of 10% ready fermented Kombucha Tea?

Add 3 tablespoons of pure white distilled vinegar. Do not use unpasteurized vinegar, as the bacteria could interfere with the biological components in the Kombucha Tea colony. The distilled vinegar is added to lower the pH and make the solution acidic to help prevent mould growth in your fermenting k-tea.

6.62 Are the enzymes in fermented Kombucha Tea killed by freezing?

No. Although most enzyme activity is slowed by low temperatures, some activity will continue at temperatures as low as -100 °F (-34° C).

6.63 What is the URL for Bob Williams' Kombucha Center?

The URL for Bob Williams'  Kombucha Center Home Page is:


The URL for the Kombucha FAQ Home Page is:


6.64 What is the pronunciation of Kombucha?

The word Kombucha is Japanese. It would be divided up into three syllables -kom-bu-cha- of roughly level stress. Accent the second syllable with a slight raising in pitch; as in Kom-bu-cha (com boo cha)

6.65 Can I do a fast by just drinking Kombucha Tea and nothing else?

Do not do a Kombucha Tea fast without also drinking lots of water or you may dehydrate your body.

6.66 Is it normal for KT to be cloudy and have little particles in it?

Yes, there is a wide variation in the appearance of the liquid and the colony. A lot depends on the age of the colony and the amount of dead yeast on the material floating in the liquid or hanging from the mother colony. This yeast looks like brown strings.

6.67 Does lactic acid in Kombucha have an impact on muscle strength?

Build-up of lactic acid in the muscles does cause deterioration. However, there are two kinds of lactic acid: d-lactic acid and l-lactic acid. These are isomers of each other, in scientific language. One is the mirror image of the other. In other words, when one holds something up to a mirror, the reflection is identical except what is on the right, is on the left in the mirror, hence a "mirror image". The lactic acid in Kombucha Tea is the mirror image of the one generated in the body that causes a deterioration of muscle performance. The lactic acid generated by muscle action is bad and needs to be expelled from the body. So, the lactic acid in Kombucha doesn't decrease muscle performance, rather it should enhance it.

6.68 How can I prevent the Kombucha colony from flipping up and disturbing the new Kombucha colony?

Put a large glass or marble weight on the "mother" colony to keep it on the bottom, then you won't have a problem and the new colony will not be disturbed.

6.69 I am allergic to mushrooms can I drink Kombucha Tea?

Since Kombucha is not a mushroom, I see no reason to avoid drinking Kombucha Tea. But, if you are prone to food allergies, be sure to start out with just a very small amount for a few days to see if you have an allergic reaction to it.

6.70 What is a fungus?

The Latin word for mushroom is fungus (plural fungi) and the study of fungi is called mycology. The Mycota or "fungi" are plant like organisms which lack chlorophyll and are devoid of such organized plant structure as stems, roots and leaves. They include yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews, moulds and mushrooms, among others. Fungi are essential in the making of beer, wines and some types of cheese. They are also used in the production of a number of organic acids, enzymes, (biological catalysts) and vitamins; and are the sources of a number of antibiotics besides penicillin. Fungi such as some mushrooms, are also used as food. The "fungi" in Kombucha Tea is the yeast.

6.71 My cat has an allergy to fleas. Will Kombucha help her?

Put a little Kombucha Tea on a cotton ball and dab it on the affected area. Others who have tried this have reported that the sores went away and did not return. Some people even put a small amount of Kombucha Tea into their pets water dishes hoping it will benefit their animals health wise. While some people put small amounts of Kombucha Tea into their pets water dishes, hoping it will benefit their animals health, I advise against giving Kombucha Tea to cats.

Lab analyses of Kombucha--by the Kombucha Consumers Research Group ™--has identified a component of acetaminophen --4-Acetamidophenol-- as one of the chemical compounds found in Kombucha ferment. I don't know how much. However, scientific research confirms the fact that acetaminophen is poisonous to cats. You should consider the following information very carefully before feeding KT to your cats. If you still want to give it to them after reading this, at least you will have been warned about the dangerous and serious adverse reactions cats have to acetaminophen. Acetaminophen by the way, is a common ingredient in analgesic's for humans.

The following are excerpts from abstracts available on Medline on the World Wide Web. Found during a search for (acetaminophen toxicity cats)

Comparative Toxicology Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506-5606, USA. Unique Identifier : 97316844. ISSN : 0006-2952. http://www.infotrieve.com/freemedline/

"Acetaminophen is widely used in human beings for analgesic purposes, but is one of the most frequent causes of poisoning in cats. Acetaminophen-poisoned cats develop methemoglobinemia and sometimes hepatic failure.. . ."

Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA. Unique Identifier : 97376436. ISSN : 0022-3573 http://www.infotrieve.com/freemedline/

"Cats are highly susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity because of deficient glucuronidation of this drug in vivo. The enzyme kinetic basis for this defect is unknown. . . ."

6.72 How can I get Kombucha stains out of my clothing?

The use of lemon juice was suggested by Günther Frank.

6.73 Has anyone ever given Kombucha Tea to a pet? I have a pooch with eczema and chronic bladder infections.

There is a person in Steward Alaska who used Kombucha on a growth on her dogs back. When she applied Kombucha to this area, it turned into a type of boil, split, drained and went away. The dog is very old. Her vet said it could not be the tea. Under questioning by the owner, he also said that such a thing could only occur 1 in a 100 times, but he had never seen nor heard of it before.

I've been doing some research on the Web for OTC medications to give dogs and cats if they're not feeling well (home-care treatment). I've found a web page that lists items to put in your animals "emergency first-aid kit." A warning in the information on the first item stood out like a sore thumb, and jumped right off the page at me. ". . .[Note - acetaminophen is poisonous to most animals]" http://www.afn.org/~afn26752/firstaidkit.html

Some of you may or may not know that one of the chemical compounds which had been found in Kombucha by the Kombucha Consumers Research Group ™, during their research in 1996, and which is listed in Michael Roussin's "Analysis of Kombucha Ferments-Report on Growers" is 4-acetamidophenol--which is a component of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is a common component of many analgesics.

While I imagine the amount of the acetaminophen component found in Kombucha Tea may be very minimal, (in trace amounts) however, it may be a good idea not to give your animals too much KT. Results have been posted over the Kombucha mailing list stating KT has proven beneficial to animals. However the amounts given were minimal. Something to consider in any case.

6.74 How can I carry Kombucha Tea on an aircraft without having it leak because of air pressure?

To avoid leakage from a vessel during decompression, use a container that can shrink with the external pressure and expand with the internal pressure. A plastic bottle, such as a ginger ale bottle will work just fine as long as you fill it right up to the top and not leave any air-space. While liquid is incompressible and does not change volume with external pressure changes; air space in the bottle will react to changes in external pressure. A completely full bottle will not react to the changes in altitude.

6.75 I have a dog who has been suffering from "Valley Fever." Will Kombucha Tea help him?

My dog is just recovering from a year-long bout with Valley Fever which can be deadly. Since I have been giving him the K-tea, he seems to be himself again for the first time in over a year. He has lots of energy and his eyes look very clear. Also, he hasn't had any reoccurrence of huge lesions that he used to get all over his body. Prior to giving my dogs K-tea (I have 3), they were all doing a lot of scratching. I believe the scratching was due to the dry winter weather. None of them are scratching now. Also, I have had one of my dogs for only two months. He was a stray and had some serious skin problems. As soon as a started giving him the K-tea, he stopped scratching, his skin condition cleared up within about ten days, and his hair has grown back beautifully.

6.76 Has anyone run any tests that show how much alcohol is in seven day Kombucha Tea?

Dave, a subscriber to the Kombucha list replied, " The percentage of alcohol we found at our lab for 7-day Kombucha was .45%. This may vary depending upon initial sugar concentration and fermentation time. Eventually the ethanol produced by the yeast will be nearly completely converted into acetic acid."

6.77 Can drinking Kombucha cause the gums to recede?


6.78 What types of vinegar can I use in lieu of starter ferment?

Use pure distilled vinegar. Vinegar which hasn't been pasteurized is not suitable for use.

6.79 Are there any homeopathic practitioners prescribing Kombucha Tea?

Yes, there are several homeopathic practitioners who prescribe Kombucha Tea in Canada, USA and Belgium .

6.80 Does anyone know how many calories are in 4 ounces of Kombucha Tea?

John M. Novar of Kombucha Power said: " Our Lab test show that after 8 days - 4 ounces contain 8g Sugar or 40 calories."

6.81 Can I use a gold filter to strain my Kombucha Tea?

The question was raised about using a gold filter since it is not a reactive metal. There is one line of thought that the k-tea acts in a fashion similar to chelation in the body. A molecule of the gluconic acid latches onto a heavy metal or toxin molecule and makes the resulting molecule water soluble due to the water soluble nature of the gluconic acid. Gluconic plus a metal makes a metal gluconate. If the spot on the gluconic acid molecule where a metal would attach is already occupied by a metal ion that was obtained from a metal filter or metal fermentation pot, that is one less gluconic acid molecule that will take something out of the body. The reaction may be chemical and gold may not bother the gluconic acid, or the reaction may be physical and the gold may attach to the gluconic acid or some other material in the tea and cause it to work less effectively. This is speculation on some people's part and may or may not be true or may be partly true. In any event, it is better not to use any metal filter on a routine basis.

Jack Barclay

6.82 Should I drink Kombucha Tea on an empty stomach?

Concerning when to take the first drink of Kombucha. It is recommended that the first Kombucha be taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The purpose is for the Kombucha Tea to move into the body quickly with out the hindrance of food and digestive juices. However, not everybody's stomach is the same. Some people insist that the acidic Kombucha Tea upsets their stomach when consumed on an empty tummy. It is suggested that they eat something first or take their Kombucha Tea with food. That is better than not taking it at all. If one takes the tea during the day under a variety of situations then they may get different effects and benefits when the tea hits the stomach with varying kinds and amounts of food in the stomach. I have always drunk my k-tea first thing in the morning so that it moves into the blood stream quickly and unhindered. It also passes quickly in the liver and kidneys and probably is more efficient then when competing with a lot of other waste products. Also, if one wants to use k-tea as an appetite suppressant then it should be taken around 30 minutes before a meal. This allows it to pass through the stomach and exert it effects on the appetite.

I try not to take the Kombucha Tea and vitamins or supplements at the same time because I want to get maximum benefit of both. I don't want the Kombucha Tea possibly tying up beneficial parts of the supplements or vitamins and minerals. Jack Barclay

6.83 Why does the Kombucha Tea fermented for 14 days taste like vinegar?

Michael R. Roussin, Director of the Kombucha Consumers Research Group ™ replied: "The initial stage of the fermentation is to put glucose and fructose into solution. This is accomplished by splitting the sucrose. The glucose is quickly oxidized into a variety of acids and the fructose into a variety of alcohols. The residual fructose level, along with the balance of the gluconic acid over the acidic acid level gives the Kombucha its flavor. If you let it ferment until the acetic acid level is in excess of the gluconic acid level it will taste like vinegar. One the other hand, while the gluconic acid level exceeds the lactic acid level, the flavor of the fructose is predominant, and tastes like apple cider."

6.84 Where do the yeasts which ferment the sugars in Kombucha come from?

Michael R. Roussin, Director of the Kombucha Consumers Research ™, says: "They come from the Kombucha culture. It is a yeast and mucopolysaccharide complex which contains its own bacteria for fermenting the sugar and tea."

6.85 What is Nata?

In his research paper entitled, "Characterization of the Tea Fungus Metabolites"(1996), Dr. Philippe J. Blanc includes the following: "A similar cellulose network floating at the surface of various fruit juices (namely coconut and pineapple) fermented by a symbiotic culture composed of Acetobacter xylinum and yeasts and named 'nata' is consumed in the Philippines as a delicacy (Lapuz et al., 1967; Dolendo and Maniquis, 1967)."

6.86 What are the brown stringy fibers found in Kombucha Tea?

They are expended yeast cells which have completed their life cycle.

6.87 Is it safe to use an ozone generator in the home to kill bacteria and moulds?

For asthmatics who have severe reactive airways disease and multiple chemical sensitivities, using an ozone generator in the home will cause their health conditions to worsen. During a recent study, the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) has concluded that ozone's status as a health and air pollutant makes it unsuitable for use as an air-purification agent.

6.88 What is Kombucha Tea?

In his book, "Kombucha, Manchurian Tea Mushroom, The Essential Guide," Christopher Hobbs defines Kombucha Tea as follows: "Kombucha Tea is a traditional fermented food, and its health effects are perhaps best understood in that context. "cultured" foods are foods that have some kind of bacteria, fungus, or other organism growing on or in them which enhance the food's flavor, digestibility, or nutritional value, as well as acting as a preservative. Examples of cultured foods, (and drinks), traditionally eaten in Europe, the Mediterranean area, and/or the Middle East include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, olives, pickles, and of course beer, wine, vinegar, cheese, cottage cheese, and buttermilk. Cultured foods traditionally eaten in certain parts of Asia include various soy sauces, shoyu or tamari, tempeh, mochi, amasake, and kimchee, as well as beers and wines."

6.89 What are some other names for Kombucha?

6.90 How can I keep my Kombucha warmer in the cool months?

6.91 What are some other uses for Kombucha?

6.92 How can I keep ants away from my fermenting Kombucha Tea?

Yeast, boraxo, powdered sugar-William L. a subscriber to the Kombucha list says, " he heard that equal parts of active dry yeast, boraxo, and powdered sugar works good on ants. One thing they do is carry food to the queen, and if you kill the queen, they move on--or something."

Masking Tape-Also, if you see a trail of ants, and pick some up with masking tape, they will stop using that trail, because they don't like to go where their friends have been mysteriously disappearing!

A Mote-One man builds a "mote" around his fermenting jars by setting his jars into a pan with a few inches of water surrounding them. The ants don't like to get into the water, so they can't get to his fermenting Kombucha.

Other Natural Remedies-A lady in Georgia puts cucumber peels down to deter sugar ants. Bay leaves and Pennyroyal work well too.

6.93 What can I use to strain my fermented Kombucha Tea?

6.94 What is a "Mother of Vinegar" colony?

Mother. A film or membrane which is developed on the surface of fermented alcoholic liquids, such as vinegar, wine etc., and acts as a means of conveying the oxygen of the air to the alcohol and other combustible principles of the liquid, thus leading to their oxidation. (see glossary "mother of vinegar.")

6.95 What causes the "rotten-egg" sulphur- smell that sometimes occurs?

Such smells do not arise of their own accord. Yeast is the main culprit and bad handling the common fault. Under normal conditions few sulphur compounds may be produced but given a change in environment, processing, or ingredients, metabolism may alter leading to sulphur being excreted in a variety of ways.

6.96 What microorganisms have been isolated in Kombucha ferment?

According to Michael Roussin, director of  The Kombucha Consumers Research Group ™:
"The typical isolations of microorganisms found in the Kombucha samples we examined are: Acetobacter xylinum, Acetobacter xylinoides, Acetobacter Ketogenum, saccharomycodes ludwigii, Saccharomycodes apiculatus, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Zygosaccharomyes (still considered by some to be a subgenus of Saccharomyces), and Saccharomyces cerevisiae."

6.97 How do I ferment using the "continuous fermentation" method?

Continuous Fermentation Method for fermenting Kombucha Tea
by Bev Ferguson
Kombucha Manna International

Continuous Fermentation is the easiest way I have found to make K-tea and I  suspect that it is probably the most common way K-tea has been made for ages, all around the world.  For Continuous Fermentation you need a jar with a spigot, I prefer to use glass "sun-tea" jars but some people use plastic food grade containers that are available in home brew stores.

You make the original batch according to the usual directions. However, when your tea is ready to drink you can take it by the glass full, or bottle full, from the spigot replacing it with fresh tea, sugar, water, mixture. The K-tea remaining in the container is your "starter". Since there is usually more "starter" by this method, the fermentation happens faster and essentially you could just keep taking out K-tea and pouring in new tea, sugar, water, mixture every time. You don't have to lift the jar and clean it out each time and the K-colony stays in the jar. Just be sure your tea, sugar, water, mixture is cool enough when you pour it in.

Every once in awhile it is probably a good idea to empty the whole thing out, clean it well, and start again. Also, it takes awhile to get the timing down so that your tea ferments the right amount for the taste you prefer. Once you experiment with it for awhile it gets quite easy to do.

The one drawback to continuous fermentation may be that you sometimes get some sugar that has not been in the fermentation process for as long as by the regular method of brewing. Therefore,  it may not have undergone the conversion from sucrose to fructose and glucose. For this reason, I prefer to let mine go a few days after adding the tea, sugar, water, mixture; before taking any to drink.

I guess you could say I use a method in between the regular brewing method and continuous fermentation. I also have several jars brewing by the conventional method. You will find what works best for you. Enjoy:-))


This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is based, in part, on the personal experiences of the members of the Kombucha mailing list. It should not be regarded as a complete or definitive manual on Kombucha but rather as a collection of practical everyday answers to questions that come up when starting to make Kombucha Tea. This article is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, the authors/contributors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

This FAQ may be posted to any USENET newsgroup, or BBS as long as it is posted in its entirety and includes this copyright statement, obligatory disclaimer, and authors name. This FAQ may not be distributed for financial gain. This FAQ may not be included in any commercial collections or compilations or posted on any commercial or non-commercial websites. However, you may put in a link to the Kombucha FAQ Home Page Website


 Permission is granted to freely copy this document in electronic form, or in print if the publication is distributed without charge, provided it is copied in its entirety without modification and appropriate credits are included. On the WWW, however, you must link here rather than copy it. Any other use requires explicit permission by the author.

Designed Colleen M. Allen

Copyright 1996 - 2000 Colleen M. Allen  

Maintained by: Bob Williams [E-MAIL]
UpDt: 12/18/2000