While many of us started drinking non-alcoholic kombucha for its probiotic health benefits, we’re now blessed with hard, alcoholic versions of our favorite fermented beverage. But we know that not all hard kombuchas are created equal.
As we strive to make more mindful decisions, we tend to reach for things low in calories, carbs, or sugar. So it begs the question: is hard kombucha sugar-free?
The Humble Beginnings of Kombucha
We know you didn’t show up for a science lesson, but we have to chat a bit about fermentation to understand where the sugar in kombucha comes from.
Kombucha is made by fermenting sugar, tea, and yeast. This process allows for small amounts of alcohol, bacteria, and acids to develop. That bacteria and acid create a “SCOBY,” (AKA a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.) Our brewers have developed a SCOBY that’s unique to us, creating the most refreshing, aromatic, and complex flavors possible. The SCOBY is what lays the groundwork for the rest of our ingredients—from juicy citrus fruits to zesty spices to herbal botanicals.
Watch Out for Other Hard Kombucha Brands
You’ve probably heard that kombucha is better for you than other beverages, but that comes with a disclaimer. When it comes to the hard kombuchas you choose, make sure they’re made with organic, premium ingredients, and sans the additives and preservatives.
Using only real and refreshing ingredients like superfruits, adaptogens, and whole plant botanicals means that we at Flying Embers can create tastier hard kombuchas without the added nasties. We brew our magical, sparkling hard teas without adding unnecessary artificial colorings, acids, flavorings, and sugar bombs. Be aware of other brands that might try to trap you with low-quality ingredients like added sugar and corn syrup-laden fruit juices. The horror.
Since we know that sugar is important to the fermentation process, how could anyone claim kombucha is sugar-free? Allow us to geek out on the science of it all.
The Sugar Process
If kombucha is brewed with sugar, the finished product must contain sugar, right? Not necessarily.
Our hard kombuchas start with steeping premium black tea with an adaptogen root blend of ginger, turmeric, and ginseng, not unlike the way beer brewers steep grain. You could say we’re applying a modern twist to old-school booze-making ways.
Once we’ve assembled our base, we add organic cane sugar to get this dry fermentation party started. Other brewers may use honey instead of cane sugar, but our brews are for everyone — vegans included. Organic cane sugar is the cleanest source for fermentation, and we like our booch spotless.
Next, we add our authentic kombucha SCOBY to the mix. That SCOBY actually snacks on all of that sugar. By the time we finish our second round of fermentation—this time with champagne yeast—all of the residual sugar has been gobbled up, leaving only naturally occurring alcohol and a satisfying botanical buzz.
There’s no need to add more sugar when our beloved booch already tastes great. Our inspired flavor combinations come from delicious plant botanical extracts, not artificial ingredients and sugar. So we’re not just claiming that our kombucha is sugar-free—we’re the real deal.
Why reach for a booch full of added sugars when you can get a keto-friendly, antioxidant-rich, shelf-stable option like Flying Embers?
Sugar-Free and More
We’re pretty proud of our low-ABV line of hard kombuchas. Although all of our hard kombucha products are sugar-free, this collection gives us even more to rave about considering they’re only 85 calories apiece. The next time you’re looking for something to sip on, check out these sparkling hard teas:
Savor a single flavor or taste through them all in a variety pack—other people not required.
Say No Thanks to Additives
With more kombucha brands on the market these days, you’ll unfortunately find some poorly made products. We’re sticklers for what actually constitutes good hard kombucha, so watch out for companies adding things like sugar, juice, acid, and “natural” flavorings.
And because we’re overachievers, we use plant botanicals and extracts to create our cocktail-inspired flavor combos. The cherry on top? They’re delicious straight from the can or enjoyed in your favorite mixed drink.
Higher Alcohol Content
Flying Embers has a range of products with higher ABVs. Are they still sugar-free?
The higher alcohol content has nothing to do with the sugar added during our fermentation process and everything to do with the length of time we let things process. The longer kombucha is fermented, the higher the alcohol content will be.
We're so committed to our handcrafted lil' beauties that they go through a second round of fermentation using champagne yeast (fancy, we know.) This is what gives it that higher-alcohol kick, while allowing us to brew fully dry—hence, 0 sugar. Voila.
Our high-ABV kombuchas are all made with a modern function, and complete with a botanical buzz. Check out some tangy and slightly tart options like:
- Pineapple Chili, coming in hot with 6.8% ABV
- Prickly Pear Blue Agave, packing 6.9% ABV
- Ginger, spicing things up at 7% ABV
- Black Cherry, our resident B.A. with 7.2% ABV
What Did We Learn?
Kombucha may be 2,000 years old, but it’s just recently hitting its popularity peak. Kombucha doesn’t need all those extra sugars and additives, because it brings an A-game all on its own.
To sum it all up, whether you fancy a kick of citrus or crave something spicy, you can get more out of happy hour with our sugar-free options.
Kombucha - Ingredients, Health Benefits, and Risks | WebMD
5 Side Effects of Too Much Kombucha | Healthline