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carsick 01-27-2013 09:33 AM

white sugar alternatives
i want my kombucha to be the healthyist possible , and white sugar isnt the best . honey , brown sugar. advice , comments , dose :tank:

Turdhammer 01-27-2013 12:30 PM

Here is a blatant cut and paste, it answers your question rather well:


Q I am very health-conscious do I have to use white sugar?

A Many health-conscious people are surprised to be told to use refined white sugar in making Kombucha tea and ask whether there is an alternative.


Just as we need various sugars in order to survive, the Kombucha culture requires sugar and energy, in addition to the minerals and nitrogen it gets from tea, in order for the process of metabolism to take place. The culture cannot provide its own, therefore you have to provide sugar for it. Sugar is used in assimilation and respiration for most of the fermentation, and during its course is broken down and transformed into acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and carbon dioxide. Sugar is also involved in the propagation of the Kombucha culture. At the end of the fermentation period, if done correctly, the sugar will have been virtually all converted and will therefore have been rendered harmless.

Various sugars need to be looked at in order to establish which is better to use for the Kombucha fermentation:

Household Sugar (granulated) is refined white sugar and is called sucrose.

Brown Sugar most brown sugars, generally considered a more healthy choice than white, are only refined white sugar which has got its colour from a small amount of caramel or molasses added to it.

Unrefined Brown Sugar this is raw sugar and has a very strong flavour.

Raw Cane Sugar is made mostly into refined white sugar with the remainder steam-heated and sold as pure cane sugar.

Pure Cane Sugar is a healthier alternative to granulated white sugar and contains vitamins, minerals and trace elements etc.

In tests using both unrefined brown sugar and raw cane sugar in the Kombucha fermentation the following results were found:
The solution was dark and cloudy
The taste was quite unpleasant
A poorly-formed culture had formed
There was more yeast sediment
It contained fewer health-giving organic acids

We decided from this, and from other research and information, that unrefined or raw brown sugar was not suitable for the Kombucha fermentation. Refined white sugar either granulated or pure cane sugar is preferable because:

It is transformed during the fermentation process
It provides a good nutrient solution for the metabolism of the Kombucha tea
A healthy culture forms on which to propagate further
It produces a beverage high in organic acids
It makes a good and palatable drink

carsick 01-27-2013 02:05 PM

think ill skip the brown sugar experiment then ha stick to cane sugar . and try a honey experiment

cowan322 01-27-2013 03:31 PM

From what I have read, you can safely use honey to brew Kombucha. However, you may want to avoid raw honey as it does contain its own colony of bacteria that could adversely affect the culture. To use honey, substitute 7/8 of a cup of honey for every 1 cup of sugar. It may result in longer fermentation time, so keep that in mind.

jambafish 01-28-2013 01:36 AM

Different sugars affect not only the taste but the types of acids produced by the culture. In sucrose you have fructose and glucose combined and this combination needs to be broken down before the sugars can be turned into the acids you want from your culture. Fructose and sucrose both contain other ingredients that can cause issues in your tea, such as awakening inactive colonies in the yeast itself and creating sulfur smell and taste. So it's not simply a matter of the sugar being consumed and transformed, ta-da!, into kombucha tea--it's finding the right sugar in the right amount for the particular colony you are raising. The tea plays a part in this, the water plays a part in this, the amount of sugar plays a role, the time when you add the sugar and how warm you keep your culture all play a part in the final product. Keep playing, researching and asking yourself what your final goal is in making KT: flavor, alcohol, beneficial acids... Good luck. It's an amazing journey.

carsick 02-02-2013 12:40 PM

im in it for the acids and b vitimins! im just getting on with milk kiffer also , not tried any yet. im brewing big batches kombucha , my last was 10 liters , next will be more , my method is to only boil a 4 liter mix but with say 10 liters worth of sugar and tea , then add the other 6 liters after , this will be ok wont it? or will this be weak and tea sugar should be diffused into the entire batch , the thought of boiling 10 liters is ridiculous though and i suspect everyone does it this way

jambafish 02-03-2013 06:49 AM

Most who brew large batches do it the way you are describing.

As regards the sugar question, keep in mind that while you might not wildly consume pure sugar it is the source of the acids and vitamins you are looking to generate. Play around with sugars, but know that what seems like healthy sugar you might want to consume personally--like honey or agave etc.--is not what is best for yeast production. In the human body some sugars are carried into the cells via insulin, but in yeast production once the sugars are broken down they don't need a carrier, they are simply processed and the bacteria consume the by-products to generate the beneficial acids. This means pure glucose is immediately consumed by the yeast and can produce a batch of kombucha in less time, and with much less residual sweetness, than, say, glucose which needs to be broken down into its constituent sugars and goes through a sugar arc. But you'll find that glucose doesn't add the body necessary to a good batch so then sucrose, a combination of sugars added at different times throughout the brew, or fruit in secondary fermentation becomes an almost necessary requirement for making a batch with the quality of a store bought KT. As regards brown sugar--it's just sugar with molasses, which is itself the by-product of sugar refining and contains a host of things that could cause unstable reactions in your KT.

carsick 02-03-2013 01:22 PM

jambafish droppin science bombs! secondary fermentation? you mean after the initial 2 week brewing period , then letting it sit with fruit in? ive been doing that , last load i left it to sit with orange and Cinnamon while it was waiting to be consumed . please expand

jambafish 02-04-2013 02:36 PM

LOL. Learning as I go. Yeah, that sort of secondary fermentation. Sounds like you've got it under control.

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