Kombucha Mushroom Tea Library & Research

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Kombucha Questions and Safe Brewing Tips

Analysis  of the Kombucha Ferment

Kombucha Mushroom Tea is a World Famous Health Elixir. Very easy, simple and safe to make right at home. A simple combination of Sugar, tea and the kombucha symbiosis. Visit our Complete Brewing Guide to see how easy it can be. Kombucha is very safe and surprisingly healthy.  Despite a few negative comments of the web about kombucha - it is safe. The American FDA and CDC has investigated all reports of health concerns and has found kombucha tea to be safe.

The kombucha SCOBY is a living complex.

a probiotic of life's energy.

pro = in favor of, biotic = life

antibiotic; anti = against:

antibiotic literally means against life.

Kombucha  = Serendipitous Collective adventure Of Bacteria and Yeasts:

typical composition

may [not always]  include:


Bacterium gluconicum

Bacterium xylinum

Acetobacter xylinum

Acetobacter xylinoides

Acetobacter Ketogenum

Saccharomycodes ludwigii

Saccharomycodes apiculatus

Schizosaccharomyces pombe


Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Acetic acid

Acetoacetic acid

Benzoic acid

propenyl ester


Butanoic acid


Citric acid


Decanoic acid

Ethyl Acetate


d-Gluconic acid


Hexanoic acid

Itaconic acid

2-Keto-gluconic acid

5-Keto-gluconic acid

2-Keto-3-deoxy-gluconic Lactic acid


Nicotinic acid

Pantothenic acid

Phenethyl Alcohol

Phenol, 4-ethyl

6-Phospho gluconate

Propionic acid

Octanoic acid

Oxalic acid


d-Saccharic acid

(Glucaric acid)

Succinic acid


plus 40 other acid esters in trace amount.

Acetobacter aerobic

produces acetic acid  & gluconic acid

and mushrooms (pellicle/cellulose)

always found in kombucha

Saccharomyces boulardi

 aerobic or anaerobic

produces alcohol

most common yeasts found in kombucha

Brettanomyces aerobic or anaerobic

produces alcohol or acetic acid

often found in kombucha

Lactobacilus  aerobic

produces Lactic Acid

produces slime

not always found in kombucha

Pediococcus anaerobic

produces Lactic Acid

produces slime

not always found in kombucha

two strains unique to Kombucha Mushroom Tea have recently been identified


Gluconacetobacter kombuchae feeds on nitrogen (tea) produces acetic acid & gluconic acid and the mushroom


Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis  new ascosporogenous yeast from Kombucha tea produces alcohol and carbonation.


Note:  This represents the widest possible range found in numerous kombucha ferments. Do not expect to find all of the possible ingredients in any one ferment.  Nor should any one ingredient be thought of as a high source of that ingredient.

When one considers the yeasts and bacteria element one is mainly considered with the dominant strain of bacteria and strain of yeasts that dominate and create the specific ferment.

What has been determined to be universally common to all strains of Kombucha Mushroom Tea is

gluconic acid,

acetic acid and

fructose in a refreshing semi-sweet elixir.

There are other similar looking, similar tasting beneficial ferments like Apple-Cider Vinegar (an acetic acid ferment), and Lactobacilus ferments (LAB)   like Ginger Beer, and Grainfields Australia fermented probiotics. The difference is the lack of either the acetic acid and/or the gluconic acid. The fermenting method is also different. Kombucha is uniquely fermented simultaneously with yeasts and bacteria and in a aerobic (with oxygen) ferment. 


Average Analysis of the Kombucha;

some ferments have more, less or none of them. results do vary.

Much of this depends upon 1).  brewing time & temperature, 2).  sugar and 3). tea .

An average 4 ounce (120 ml) daily dose may average NO Sodium, NO Protein, and 8 grams of sugar (as fructose) and 8 grams carbohydrates. Alcohol content depends upon length of brewing and averages (8 days) less than 1/2 of 1% (about the same as fresh squeezed orange juice). A longer brew time (14 days) reduces the sugar content and alcohol content considerably although the taste moves from sweet to semi-sweet to sour to vinegar. Michael Roussin suggested an 8 day ferment at 80F (26-27C) and Cornell University Food Study indicated 9 days at 79F (26C) for the optimum blend of taste and health. Len Pozio, long time kombucha enthusiast, likes his at 14 days and 74F (23.5C). I have found it best to keep the temperature between 74 F (23.5C) and 84F (29C). The warmer temperature produces a faster more consistent ferment while the lower temperatures produce a less harsh more mellow taste though more inconsistent and with a greater susceptibility to molds and pathogens forming. Kombucha brewing seems to work better in the summer than in the winter months. Some people make a kombucha cabinet with a light bulb or other heat source that helps maintain a perfect brew.

A live raw kombucha ferment is a true serendipitous adventure. It is never static. New acids and nutrients are constantly created and combined, into ever-changing - though predictable zymurgy. The best method to achieve the widest possible range while maintaining the fine semi-sweet elixir is the Continuous Brewing Method.  

Changes in major components of tea fungus metabolites during prolonged fermentation.
Chen C, Liu BY J Appl Microbiol Nov 2000 (Vol. 89, Issue 5, Pages 834-9)


Test results for various strains can be read at: http://users.argolink.net/purfarms/komchem/teacaff.htm 


The yeasts and bacteria commonly identified as Acetobacter xylinum (bacteria) and Saccharomyces yeast have been considered the key players in our SCOBY. However as research into kombucha continues and as recently as Feb 2007 specific strains of both bacteria and yeasts have been identified.


Gluconacetobacter kombuchae sp. nov., isolated from Kombucha tea.
Dutta D, Gachhui R
Int J Syst Evol Microbiol Feb 2007 (Vol. 57, Issue Pt 2, Pages 353-7)



Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis,

a new ascosporogenous yeast from Kombucha tea'.
Kurtzman CP, Robnett CJ, Basehoar-Powers E
FEMS Yeast Res  Jul 2001 (Vol. 1, Issue 2, Pages 133-8)


Yeast ecology of Kombucha fermentation.
Teoh AL, Heard G, Cox J
Int J Food Microbiol  Sep 2004 (Vol. 95, Issue 2, Pages 119-26)


The yeast spectrum of the 'tea fungus Kombucha'.
Mayser P, Fromme S, Leitzmann C, Gründer K
Mycoses (Vol. 38, Issue 7-8, Pages 289-95)


In Michael Roussin's "Analyses of Kombucha Ferments," he reports most ferments contain an analgesic, an anti-arthritic compound, an anti-spasmodic compound, hematinic and counteractions for hepatotoxins, some anti-fungal, and several anti-microbial / anti-bacterial compounds. They also contain enzyme inhibitors of glucuronidase, heparinase, hyaluronidase, and monoamine oxidase. But what is in a ferment is not universal - except for gluconic acid, fructose, and acetic acid.

research article available online:  www.kombuca-ressearch.com 


Both Michael Roussin's "Analyses of Kombucha Ferments,"  and the Cornell Study (below) and a study published in the International Journal of Food Science & Technology, Volume 35, Issue 2, Page 201-205, Mar 2000, doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2621.2000.00342.x titled Mineral and water soluble vitamin content in the Kombucha drink of the Biologically active substances (water soluble vitamins and minerals)  in 'Kombucha' did not show significant or major amounts that could be defined as a major source of supplement. Vitamins and minerals did include  B1(thiamine) B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5  (Pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine ), B15 (pangamic acid),  Biotin (Folic Acid), Choline,  Inositol,  PABA (para-amino benzoic acid) ,  RNA (ribonucleic acid). Acetamidophenol, Acetic acid, Acetoacetic, acid, Benzoic acid, 2-amino-, 3-phenyl-2-propenyl ester Benzonitrile, 4-hydroxy-2(4H)-Benzofuranone, 5,6,7,7 a-tetrahydro-4,4,7 a-trimethyl-2,6-Bis(t-butyl) -4-(dimethylbenzyl) phenol Butanoic acid, 3-methyl 1-Butanol, 3-methyl- 2-t-Butyl-4-(dimethylbenzyl) phenol, Caffeine, Citric acid, Cyanocobalamin (B-12), Decanoic acid, D-Ribo-hexos, 2,6-dideoxy-3-0-methyl-, 2,3-Dihydro-1-methylindene, 2,5 Diketo-gluconic acid, thyl Acetate Fructose, d-Gluconic acid, Glucose, Hexanoic acid, (1H)Imidazo[2,1-f]purine-2,4(3H,8H)-dione, 8-ethyl-1-methyl-7-phenyl-  Itaconic acid,  2-Keto-gluconic acid, 5-Keto-gluconic acid, 2-Keto -3-deoxy-gluconic acid, Lactic acid, 5-Methoxy-1- (3-methoxy-4-methylphenyl) -1,3,3,6- tetramethylindan, Malic Acid,  Niacinamide, 



Kombucha  Antimicrobial Activity

Determination and characterization of the anti-microbial activity of the fermented tea Kombucha. by C.J. Greenwalt, R.A. Ledford, and K.H. Steinkraus. Ithaca, New York 14853 Department of Food Science Cornell University


The anti-microbial activity observed in the fermented samples containing 33 g/L total acid (7 g/L acetic acid) was significant against the tested gram positive and gram negative pathogenic organisms. Candida albicans was not inhibited by Kombucha. Tea, at drinkable levels, demonstrated no anti-microbial properties. The contribution of tea itself to the anti-microbial activity of Kombucha proved to be insignificant in the tested organisms, even at the highest levels tested. As a result, the anti-microbial activity of Kombucha was from the acetic acid composition.

Kombucha may be a healthful beverage in view of its anti-microbial activity against a range of pathogenic bacteria. This may promote immunity and general well being. It is recommended that Kombucha be consumed at 33 g/L total acid, 7 g/L acetic acid, to obtain these beneficial attributes.

Other studies;  Guttapadu Sreeramulu, Yang Zhu,* and Wieger Knol although they recognized the antimicrobial effects of acetic acid suggests the presence of antimicrobial compounds other than acetic acid and large proteins in Kombucha that may be responsible for Kombucha's antimicrobial activity.  Another study  ruled out lactic acid, ethanol, or tannins (such as those found in tea) as contributing to Kombucha's antimicrobial activity. Besides drinking kombucha tea,  the anti-inflammatory property of the kombucha mushroom (SCOBY) itself has been studied and is often used in folk medicine applied directly to cuts, burns or abrasions.


Note on Candida: ferment your KT as long as possible so that there is relatively little sugar remaining. Also consume it on an empty stomach as your digestion will absorb the glucose quicker than the Candida can make use of it.

The nutrients needed and generally the discussion revolves around what type of tea (Camellia Sinensis./ Black, Green or Oolong. Purists hold the argument that kombucha must be brewed using only Black (Russian) tea. Others more recently opted to use green teas especially when viewed in light of cancer research and the individuals looming concerns. Another driving force has been the concern over caffeine content. 
Both black or green tea provide all the components for kombucha growth albeit in different amounts. The taste sensation is as typical as the difference in seeping a green or black tea. There is a notable difference in the growth of the SCOBY and the effervescing of the Kombucha. Green tea producing a thinner clearer mushroom yet with a faster growth rate and a more bubbly tea. Neither which has been identified with any specific health benefits. Black tea generally contains more purine. Günther Frank (1994) considers the purines an important contributor to kombucha mushroom tea.

What happens to the actual caffeine during the fermentation cycle is another debate. Many claiming that it (as well as the sugar) are eliminated during this process. However that is very largely dependent upon several factors. The beginning caffeine level of the tea, the total amount of nutrients available for the kombucha, the time and temperature of the ferment, being just the main concerns. 

According to standards (and those may vary greatly with your individual tea)
Total nitrogen in black tea represents 4.5% of the dry weight:[ 0.92% is found in soluble proteins, 2.51% is insoluble and 1.07% is contained in caffeine (for a tea containing 3.71% caffeine) and theophylline]. 

Kombucha may break down caffeine when it is otherwise starved.
an analysis by David Chappuis. reported a reduction of caffeine by 25% during the first two weeks of fermentation. Extrapolated out higher percentages should be expected over a 30 day period but seem to level off.


0 Day

7 Day

14 Day

21 Day

Caffeine mg/l











While another research of actual fermented kombucha by home brewers by Zepher found no reduction in caffeine. Also noted higher levels of caffeine in White Tea (a green tea category) Again much more depends upon the brewer. 

Kombucha - Organic Acids and Caffeine



Acetic Acid

Glycolic Acid

Formic Acid

Oxalic Acid



Loose Leaf Pu-Erh (TC)







Pu-Erh #135 (TC)







Clipper Chinese Green (CC)







Kombucha Manna (BF)







Tibetan Mushroom (Z)







Pu-Erh #135 (Z)














Twinings Earl Grey (CA)







K Zoo


14200 71 25 06 n/a 2.8
Concentration units are milligrams per liter. Grower's initials are in parenthesis.


Caffeine content of other drinks from the book "The Green Tea Book" 

note:  that all coffee's just like all teas are not equal.

Caffeine in 4 ounces of liquid:

Coffee (brewed) 60-160 mg

Coffee (decaf) 1-5 mg

Soft drinks 40-70 mg

Black Tea 20-90mg

Oolong Tea 10-45 mg

Green Tea 6-30 mg

Tea (instant or iced) 10-45 mg

Chocolate (per ounce) 1-15 mg

Hot Chocolate 2-20 mg

According to the American FDA for teas to be labeled decaffeinated, the caffeine content may not exceed 0.4% by dry weight, which is equivalent to approximately 4 mg of caffeine per 170 ml serving. Regular tea has average 28–44 mg caffeine Coffee 100 mg per cup. (FDA 1980)
Typically  kombucha tea is made with 5-7 t-bags per 3 quarts of water. Therefore Kombucha Tea = about 1/3 of the typical caffeine of a cup of tea.
The presence of caffeine in tea does not produce unhealthy results due to its combination with tea polyphenols.


Mineral and water soluble vitamin content in the Kombucha drink

Biologically active substances (water soluble vitamins and minerals)
identified via thin layer chromatography (TLC)

water soluble vitamins

vitamin B1

0.74 mg ml1

vitamin B6

0.52 mg ml1

vitamin B12

0.84 mg ml1

vitamin C

1.51 mg ml1.


minerals. essential elements:
identified by atomic absorption chromatography (AAS).



some toxic elements showed that lead and chromium were present in very small amounts, whereas cadmium was not found.

source: International Journal of Food Science & Technology


Glucuronic Acid. A lot of interest in this acid. Here is a link to Michael Roussin's research.

We routinely have our mushrooms tested (San Rafael Chemical Services, Inc). Especially for three key markers. 1. Acetic acid, Gluconic acid and 2-keto-Gluconic acid - which what appears to be what most other kombucha researchers have been referring to as "Glucuronic acid".  see Analysis Report of the HappyHerbalist's  kombucha mushroom.

While all our strains show consistent high marks we are proud that our White Kombucha has the highest marks. (for example 15.3 g/L acetic acetic, 29.6 g/L gluconic acid, and 2.37 g/L 2-keto-Gluconic acid. The higher the values the greater concentration of beneficial acids. These ratios are also critical. The higher the value of gluconic acid compared to acetic acid the smoother the taste (less sharpness). Compared to the typical kombucha ferment in the Cornel Study our White kombucha has almost twice the beneficial acids while maintaining a pleasant taste.  We achieve even higher ratios, almost doubled of our White Kombucha with our Concentrated Kombucha Tea Extract (example 35.4 g/L acetic acetic, 53.0 g/L gluconic acid, and 2.97 g/L 2-keto-Gluconic acid). Our Concentrated Kombucha Tea Extract has about 25 times that of the typical kombucha brewed tea. However, there is a stronger vinegar taste although still some sweetness to it. Concentrated Kombucha Tea Extract does not contain live probiotics (bacteria and yeasts) as does the fresh brewed kombucha tea, nor does it contain or need any chemical preservatives. 

Kombucha Mushroom Tea is really great. With a little effort you can make it taste just as you like it and unlike other elixirs you can direct its health benefits to your specific concerns. Really Amazing for something that cost so little and so easy to make. see Kombucha Cautions and Safe Brewing tips.

links to our other articles

SUGAR and which sugar you use to ferment your kombucha also play a role

Different TEAS an how they affect your kombucha ferment

Adding HERBS to your kombucha ferment

Second Stage Fermenting; Making kombucha Wine, Beer and Vinegar

The importance of Time and Temperature in Kombucha Ferment


a fermenting kombucha mushroom at the www.HappyHerbalist.com natural pharmacy

see pictures of the stages of fermentation



Although the mushroom can be eaten it is tough and fibrous. During wartime European used to make shoes. Today quite a few people have used it for leather craft. The mushroom is pressed extracted and the liquid is used as a health tonic.  Most people simply filter (or not) and  drink as a tea. 


Pure Pressed Kombucha Drops - Tea - Extracts - Capsules



Continuous Brewing Kombucha

Taste & Benefit -

The Optimum Kombucha Brew

Lean how to make your own Kombucha Tea

Cheers !

To Your Health and Longevity


Ed Kasper  LAc, and family

the Happy Herbalist,

California Licensed Acupuncturist & Medicinal Herbalist. Creating people friendly botanicals.


Medicinal herbal teas are medicine. 

If you have a disease it is very important to have a correct diagnosis. Medicinal herbs may overwrite symptoms. For example if blood in the stool is treated with oak bark, (a western herb) or San Qi (a Chinese herb) bleeding may stop but a possible cancer growth may continue to develop and early detection (when looking for the cause of the bleeding) may be delayed.  www.HappyHerbalist.com  offers a Free Online Pre-Diagnosis   This is a A Confidential TCM pre-diagnosis  by Ed Kasper L.Ac., acupuncturist and herbalist.  A California licensed primary health care provider. TCM Diagnosis follows established protocols established under California law.  Our office is located at 417 Laurent St. Santa Cruz, CA. 95060 and appointments are available via email  eddy@HappyHerbalist.com


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Ed Kasper L.Ac, Acupuncturist & Herbalist

417 Laurent St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

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