Sugar is one of the most important ingredients in fermentation, and choosing the right sugar is just as important (along with choosing the right tea and water).
All of us these days are hyper-aware of sugar and consider it to be “villain.”
However, to clarify-
The sugar in Kombucha is clearly not for You or Me but rather it is a fuel source for the SCOBY. There is a beautiful transformation that occurs wherein the Kombucha culture transforms sugar, which is toxic to the human organism in large quantities, and coverts it into healthy acids.
So do not be scared (Our RTB Can has 1.9 gm per serving)
TYPES OF SUGAR and their effects on brewing
•Organic cane sugar: This is the best option for brewing kombucha. It is easily broken down by the yeast and bacteria with consistent results.
•Beet Sugar: Beet is highly processed, includes microbial inhibitors, and is made from GMOs.
•Molasses: Molasses is made during the production of cane sugar. It is a by-product of sugarcane processing. Adding molasses takes longer for the SCOBY to break down, it increases brewing time
•Honey: Honey contains a high percentage of sugar. However, you may want to avoid raw honey as it does contain its own colony of bacteria that could adversely affect the culture.
•Agave Nectar : Agave is extracted nectar from the agave plant and is the source of sugar. Agave is primarily a fructose based sweetener and as such lacks the glucose that stimulates the bacteria to produces the “g” acids such as gluconic & glucuronic acid which aid in the detoxification process.
When sugar is more complex, it is less available for microbial consumption, introducing extra variables that can affect brewing duration, flavor, and overall success.
Types Of Sugar Must Be Avoided When Brewing Kombucha?
•Raw Honey – The naturally occurring bacteria will battle the SCOBY for dominance. It sounds bad because it is.
•Stevia – Stevia is a plant sugar and will not ferment.
•Xylitol (and it is precursor Xylose) – What makes Xylitol great for chewing gum and teeth is that it’s “non-fermentable,” Not recommended for brewing.
•Any Artificial Sweetener – Do not use: Erythritol, Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin.
There are lots of other types of sweeteners not listed here that can be used in brewing Kombucha.
If you have experience in brewing with any of these types of sugar, please share your experience with us.