how much of it should I drink?
how do I open it?
how should I store it?
is it safe for children and pregnant women?
why sometimes it is fizzy and sometimes it is flat?
are the lumpy / wooly bits safe to drink?
The base for kombucha is black tea, and some people have concerns about its caffeine content. The amount of caffeine in kombucha varies quite a bit based on the type of tea used and the steep time. In general, it is considered to have less caffeine than soda or coffee. Caffeine content also decreases during fermentation, so the longer the ferment, the less caffeine typically left in the brew.
If caffeine is a concern, there are several ways to reduce the caffeine content:
Use a mixture of teas with as little as 20% black tea and lower caffeine teas like green or white to make up the difference.
Try herbal teas along with 20% black tea since herbal teas are caffeine free.
Dump the first steep of the tea and use the second for kombucha. In other words, steep the tea bags or leaves you will use for kombucha in a cup of boiling water for about two minutes. Then, pour this liquid out and then add the tea to the liquid you plan to use to make kombucha. Since the majority of the caffeine is removed during the initial steep, this greatly reduces the caffeine content of the finished product
It is generally not recommended to use decaffeinated tea for kombucha as the caffeine is often removed through a chemical process and the residue may kill the kombucha SCOBY.
Sugar is used in making kombucha, and for this reason many people are concerned about the sugar content in the finished tea. Fortunately, the majority of the sugar ferments out during the fermentation process. Because the sugar is the food for the bacteria, it is not possible to make without any sugar at all. For this reason, sugar substitutes like stevia and xylitol do not work either.
Kombucha does contain a very small amount of alcohol, which has been a source of much controversy in recent years. Sources estimate that store bought brews contain 0.5% to 1.0% alcohol. To put this in perspective, a person would have to drink a six pack of kombucha to approach the alcohol in a single 12oz beer. In fact, a bottle of kombucha would have a comparable alcohol content to an over-ripe banana.
Store bought brew containing over 0.5% alcohol must be labeled as such and often an ID is required to purchase it. Homemade kombucha also typically contains more alcohol than store bought, though still not much.