Can Mormons Drink Kombucha? The Comprehensive Guide
by Susan Grey on November 27, 2019
Many enjoy kombucha for the the delicious taste, and purported health benefits but are confused about what it is, and whether consumption is compatible with their religion. We’ve reviewed religious text, researched Mormon leaders and authorities to come up with the definitive answer that, in most cases, Mormons can not drink kombucha. Although there are recipes that avoid caffeine and alcohol, almost all commercial brands are brewed using green or black tea and, therefore, can not be consumed by Mormons.
What Are Mormons?
A Mormon is a follower of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, or otherwise known as LDS. LDS is a religion that believes it is a restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ.
Mormons And Banned Consumption
To understand whether or not Mormons can drink kombucha, we must first find out what they can and can’t consume. Followers of the religion adhere to strict fundamental rules that prohibit any drug use. Drugs would include all illegal substances, as well as caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
The Church’s View And Reasoning For Banned Substances:
“In the Word of Wisdom, the Lord commands Latter-day Saints to abstain from harmful substances. Latter-day Saints are taught not to drink any alcohol (see D&C 89:5–7). Latter-day Saints are also taught not to drink “hot drinks,” meaning coffee or any tea other than herbal tea (see D&C 89:9), and not to use tobacco (see D&C 89:8). Latter-day prophets have also taught that Latter-day Saints should abstain from using illegal drugs and abusing legal drugs (see For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 26).” Source: LDS.org.uk
Contents Of Kombucha And Mormon Consumption
Below is a list with an explanation of each ingredient used to make kombucha and also chemicals that may be found in kombucha. We’ll break them all down to understand if they’re suitable for Mormons to consume.
Tea - Mormon’s can not consume tea, as referenced in the Word Of Wisdom. Tea is an essential ingredient in kombucha, for kombucha is fermented tea.
Sugar - Yes, sugar consumption is permitted for the followers of Latter-day Saints. Sugar feeds the growth of the SCOBY during fermentation, leaving a sweet tea taste behind.
Water - Used to steep the tea in before fermenting and makes up most of the kombucha by ingredient type - and of course, water is permitted to drink my Mormons.
SCOBY - A SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria And Yeast) reacts with sugar to ferment the tea leaving the distinct fermented beverage taste. There are no references to not consuming and specific bacteria and yeast, so it’s suitable for consumption.
Chemicals Produced After Brewing
Caffeine - Tea is used in the brewing process, to give kombucha the distinct and flavorful taste, tea produces small amounts of caffeine in the brew. Caffeine is considered not to be suitable for Mormons to consume.
Alcohol - Homebrewed kombucha tends to have between 1.5% - 3% ABV. Whereas commercially produced kombucha tends to have less than 0.5% ABV. Typically commercial kombucha has been brewed using strains of yeast that produce lower ABV during production.
Can Mormons Drink Kombucha?
It’s been noted from analyzing the ingredients and chemicals produced, that homebrewed kombucha is unlikely to be suitable for LDS followers to consume. Tea is the ingredient that is a sticking point for most followers, as it’s possible to remove both caffeine and alcohol from your brew. Therefore for strict followers, kombucha and fermented tea can not be drunk by Mormons.
How To Brew Kombucha For Less Strict Followers
Assuming that you’re a selective follower and member of the LDS Church, we can brew kombucha with herbal tea without the containment of caffeine or alcohol, which according to some followers, would be suitable.
Use Herbal And Decaffeinated Tea - Tea refers specifically to the Camellia Sinensis plant, therefore if you select an herbal tea that isn’t from the tea plant family, that doesn’t contain caffeine you can brew with. For more comprehensive research of suitable herbal teas, check out kombucharesearch.org to see their carefully selected options.
Remove Alcohol - We’ve come up with a shortlist for ways to reduce the ABV of your beverage.
Change The SCOBY - Source a low ABV producing SCOBY that releases less alcohol during production.
Lower The Temperature - The bacteria that form alcohol is activated at a higher temperature, keep to the lower end of the temperature range to discourage excessive alcohol production.
For a full list of over 10 methods, check out, reducing the alcohol content by kombuchome.com.
By following the methods for reducing prohibited chemicals and changing the tea, less fundamental followers of Mormonism can consume. Be aware that when experimenting with different ingredients and brewing methods, it can taste not as lovely or very different. Much experimenting may be required!
What Does The Church Say?
After reviewing a lot of LDS Church publications, it seems that there is no clear answer that they advise or suggest. Many responses on Q&A sites such as Quora and Reddit suggest that stringent fundamentalist followers would not consume. Still, many less strict followers would brew their compatible variation or consume commercial brands.
To conclude, the interpretation is often down to the individual follower as there is no transparent black and white advice published by the church. For further reading, check the following articles out, you may find more information out that would help you make an informed decision.