Is Kombucha Vegan? The Quick Guide
by Susan Grey on October 08, 2019
Yes, almost all kombucha drinks can be considered vegan. As kombucha has not been made from animal products, nor did it use animals in the production of kombucha, it can be considered vegan.
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What Are Vegan and Kombucha?
“Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.” Source: Wikipedia. In simple terms, vegans would not eat anything that contains animal products. Vegans also wouldn’t use anything that was produced by animals, for example, leather bags or fur coats.
“Kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink commonly intended as a functional beverage for its supposed health benefits.” Source: Packaging Of The World. Most commonly consumed from bottles found in the grocery store, it has become a trendy fermented tea drink.
Here’s Why Kombucha Is Vegan
We’re going to breakdown the two criteria that define whether or not something is vegan: the ingredients to make kombucha and whether or not the “the philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals” have been broken.
Ingredients In Kombucha
As shown in the list below, none of the ingredients are animal products. As one of the two pillars of the vegan definition is “practice of abstaining from the use of animal products,” the ingredient list of kombucha indeed shows that it is vegan.
List Of Ingredients Used Make Kombucha:
Is A SCOBY vegan?
The one ingredient that you may have questions or reservations about is the SCOBY. SCOBYs are a big clump of bacteria and yeast. The yeast and bacteria coagulate together to form the round gummy bear-like substance. Yeast and bacteria are single-cell organisms, so are therefore vegan. So SCOBYs are 100% vegan.
How Is Kombucha Made?
Kombucha is made by steeping tea in boiling water, followed by dissolving sugar in the tea, placing the contents in a jar with some added water, a SCOBY is then added and left to ferment. After allowing your tea to ferment for 10-14 days, you can bottle and start to drink.
As the production has been completed in the following way, you can see that it matches the criteria of not using or treating animals as a "commodity status” meaning that how kombucha is produced satisfies the “philosophy of veganism.”
Vegetarians And Kombucha
The main difference between vegans and vegetarians is that vegetarians consume animal byproducts, such as cheese, milk, and eggs. Philosophically speaking there is some debate even in the vegetarian community around wearing leather, buying hydes or fur coats.
When it comes to kombucha tea, one thing is for certain: it is 100% vegetarian.
Raw Vegans And Kombucha
A raw vegan diet definition: “It excludes all food and products of animal origin, any food that is processed or altered from its natural state, and food cooked at high temperatures.” As it states, “food cooked at high temperatures” would cause the food not to be raw vegan, the process in which kombucha is made would mean it’s not raw vegan. Another concern to raw vegans would be sugar production; the sugar process may also raise the temperature too high.
On a strict raw vegan diet, we would say it is doubtful to be considered “raw vegan” and therefore not suitable to consume on this diet.
Are All Brands Vegan?
Kombucha is 100% vegan, but just like all products, before buying you should check to be sure. There are a few ways to check if a product is vegan or not.
Packaging. Brands that create vegan products are often proud of what they have produced, so display a vegan certified sign or vegan on the packaging. You could also check the ingredient list on the packaging to see if anything isn’t vegan. Another way is to ring the helpline on the packaging and ask the company’s customer support rep to verify if it’s vegan or not.
Website. In the digital age, almost every company has a website. Go on to the brand’s website and see if you can find more information. If that fails, check their contact information for an email address or phone number. Contact them to find out the information.
Here Are A Few Vegan Kombucha Brands
GT’s Kombucha. Probably one of the largest commercial producers of kombucha, GT’s Kombucha is 100% Vegan. It would also be considered kosher and organic too!
Humm Kombucha. Another trendy brand of kombucha known for its great taste, it’s also 100% vegan. Also containing very little alcohol too, less than 0.5%, meaning it’s also sold as a non-alcoholic beverage too.
Dr. Kombucha. This famous brew is 100% vegan!
5 Reasons Why Vegans Should Drink Kombucha
1. Kombucha contains a plethora of B vitamins, including the much talked about B12 vitamin. When switching to a vegan diet, many worry whether they’ll get enough B12. In-plant products B12 is a lot harder to find than in fortified products or meat-based diets. B12 is an often-cited criticism of why many resist eating a vegan diet.
2. Probiotics Contents. Fermented foods contain yeast, bacteria, and many different types of probiotics too. During the fermentation process, the food and drinks begin to breakdown and change when fermenting. Leaving probiotic goodness in the finished product. Probiotics are reported to help help with disease prevention.
To ensure the full effects of the probiotics, you’ll need to make sure you buy unpasteurized kombucha. During the pasteurization process bacteria and living, probiotics are killed. This is to increase shelf life and safety. Another alternative is to homebrew your batch.
3. Enhanced Immune Systems. Although there is much debate around vegans and immunity, an improved immune system will help fight off infections and increase overall health. It is thought that the bacteria in kombucha can help strengthen your immune system.
4. Antioxidants From Tea. Kombucha has been steeped in different types of teas, such as black, green, or blends of tea. As many of these teas claim to have antioxidant benefits once the tea has been fermented and you begin to drink, then you could get these benefits too. They’re lot limited to antioxidant benefits!
5. Glucosamine. Once consumed, the body converts an acid found in the fermented tea into glucosamine. Glucosamine is an aide in the production of cartilage and an essential micronutrient for a healthy body.
Ensuring Your Home Brew Kombucha Is Vegan
It’s easier to ensure that your home-brewed kombucha is vegan. As you’re the one making the drink, you control all of the ingredients that get added. Start by picking a recipe that you would like to try and then get brewing!
3 Vegan Kombucha Guides
Here’s a list of a few vegan kombucha recipes, to help home-brewers. Allowing for you to brew with confidence and share with your vegan friends too!
Can You Buy Or Brew Non-Vegan Kombucha?
Yes, you can. Jun kombucha for example is not vegan. Jun tea contains honey which is from a bee. Many vegans would consider honey to not be vegan, and therefore Jun Tea or Jun Kombucha not to be vegan too.
Be rest assured that your favourite drink is not only packed full of goodness it’s 100% vegan too. Making it an ideal drink for its health benefits and impact on the planet.
If you're looking to get started with brewing kombucha check out all of our reviewed and recommended products here: Kombucha Recommended Products.
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