Sugar is one of the staples in Kombucha brewing. It is the food of the yeast; the fuel that helps the yeast in fermenting your tea. For people who are cutting down their sugar consumption, do not worry. The sugar in Kombucha tea is not added sugar that is only added to make the tea tastier. The yeast and bacteria need it to procreate. Simply put, you can’t make Kombucha without the sugar. If this is not a problem to you, which I don’t think should be, you should head on to finding the right sugar for brewing Kombucha.
What type of sugar should I use in Kombucha brewing?
Organic Cane Sugar
Kombucha brewers from other countries usually suggest using organic cane sugar, which is what I also suggested to newbie Filipino brewers who asked me before. Cultures for Health tags it as the best option for Kombucha brewing because it didn’t go through a lot of processes and the cane used to make it was not fertilized. However, it is difficult to find organic white sugar in the Philippines and if you could find some, it is expensive. If budget is not an issue, by all means use organic cane sugar.
White cane sugar can be found easily in supermarkets and even in wet markets around the Philippines. It is also not as expensive as organic cane sugar. Therefore, this is what I use now for brewing Kombucha tea. White cane sugar also do not have a strong scent compared to other types of sugar, so it is ideal for me. It doesn’t overpower the scent of the teas and flavors I use.
Brown Sugar & Muscovado Sugar
Brown cane sugar can also be easily found anywhere in the Philippines. It is also cheap. I have used this in brewing some batches, but I did not observe how it affected the SCOBY and/or if made the tea more bubbly. It made the tea darker though. I will try using brown sugar again and observe what it does to my kombucha tea. I’ve read that it shortens the life span of SCOBYs though, so if you’re a newbie brewer and don’t have a spare SCOBY, do not use brown cane sugar just yet.
Agave, Maple Sugar, Coconut Sugar, Palm Sugar Syrups
I have honestly never tried using any of these types of sugar except for Coconut Sugar. I know some people who have used these types of sugar and had no problems. However, many seasoned kombucha brewers don’t suggest using any of these, as the oil and other properties of these types of sugar could be detrimental to the health of the SCOBY.
As for coconut sugar, I have tried using it and liked it. What I didn’t like about it is its odor and the fact that it’s more expensive than regular white sugar. Also, I noticed that SCOBY formation is slow when I used coconut sugar.
Honey is great. The only problem is that honey, especially raw honey, has chemical properties that does not allow microorganisms to grow. Natural yeasts and bacteria from your environment that you need in brewing kombucha tea may not grow if you use honey. If you really want to use honey in your kombucha tea, it’s best to use it during second fermentation.
Do you have other questions about brewing kombucha tea? Leave it in the comment section below. Click here to find kombucha starter kits and start brewing kombucha tea now!
Note: All photos not mine. Credits to owners.