Is Kombucha Halal?


Kombucha Drink
Photo Courtesy: Akuppa John Wigham

Drinking Kombucha is considered halal. Small non-intoxicating amounts of alcohol is present as a by-product during the fermentation process. But it is too low to intoxicate anyone, therefore it is considered permissible and halal to consume.

Skip to “How much alcohol is in Kombucha

Table of Contents

1. What is Kombucha?
2. How is Kombucha Made?
3. Does The Alcohol in Kombucha Tea Make It Haram / Not Halal?
4. Difference Between Fermenting Kombucha Tea & Alcoholic Drinks?
5. How Much Alcohol is in Komobucha?

What is Kombucha ?

Kombucha is a fizzy drink, sometimes sweet or sour depending on the mix, that is made with Tea. All over the internet, there are claims of it being an extremely healthy drink. Many unbacked sources claim that it helps prevent Hair loss (alopecia), cancer, and more.

Nevertheless, it is a drink that has been gaining popularity in North America. As with many foods and drinks covered here at Halal Guidance, we pulled up our sleeves and got right to work to find out if drinking Kombucha is Halal.

The first step to doing so was to look into the ingredients used to make this popular drink.

How Is Kombucha Made?

We found millions of recipes for Kombucha, since there are so many, we looked at a standard recipe on thekitchn (source) to find out how a typical Kombucha drink is made. Here’s the ingredients list we found:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • black tea
  • Store bought kombucha ( Live Kombucha cultures, cane sugar, black tea, grean tea, organic ingredients)
  • Chopped Fruit
  • Fruit Juice
  • Flavoured tea
  • Honey
  • Herbs or Spices

Looking at the ingredients list, there was nothing right off the bat that stood out to us as alarming. A big part of making kombucha involves leaving the ingredients to ferment. Kombucha drinks come when SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) which is introduced into the brew. (source). In this recipe specifically, the fermentation process lasts 7 – 10 days.

During the fermentation process, acetic acid (also found in vinegar) and several other acidic compounds are produced (source). During this process, a small amount of alcohol is produced along with gasses that carbonate the drink.

So now that we know there is a presence of alcohol in Kombucha, we must dig a little deeper to find out if it is halal and permissible to be consumed.

Speaking of fermentation, check out our recent post to learn more about whether fermented kimchi is halal or not.

Does The Alcohol in Kombucha Tea Make It Haram / Not Halal?

Similar to vanilla extract, Kombucha contains tiny traces of alcohol. The general concusses among ahadith state that consuming foods containing very low amounts of alcohol (especially when produced as a by-product of fermentation) that does not lead to intoxication is not haram (source).

Here are some Ahadith to support the above statement.

Everything that is called water is pure and a means of purification, whether some impurity has fallen into it or not, if it is known that it has dissolved into it and disappeared. As for that in which traces of impurity are apparent, it is haraam to use it, because it comes under the heading of using something haraam.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah

Here’s another fatwa by Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa

Allah has forbidden impure things (khabaa’ith), namely blood, dead meat, pork and so on. If any of these things fall into water etc and disappear, so there is no blood, dead meat or pork left at all, similar to the case where alcohol disappears in a liquid, then the one who drinks it is not drinking khamr.

Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa

So the way we interpret all this is that since the alcohol is a by-product during the fermentation process, the alcohol levels are too little to cause any intoxication. No intoxication means it is halal.

How Much Alcohol Is In Kombucha?

According to healthline (source), commercially bought kombucha helps to limit the amount alcohol and some of them are considered alcohol-free. This is because homemade kombucha can sometimes contain up to 3% alcohol. With that said, always check the ingredients list.

According to Fementaholics, Alcohol percentages found in Kombucha can range between 0.25% – 1.00% (sometimes higher). Store bought Kombucha in the United States must be 0.5% A.B.V or lower, this is required by federal law to be considered “non-alcoholic” (source).

Here’s a solid store bought Kombucha SCOBY that we recommend to ensure your drink is non-alcoholic and has a very limited amount of alcohol.

Check out Fermentaholics ORGANIC Kombucha on Amazon (link to Amazon)

Did You Know Everyday Foods Contain Alcohol?

During our research, we came across some common everyday foods that contain alcohol. Everyday very halal foods. We’re including the following list to ease your mind as we understand the struggle of constantly questioning whether this food or that is halal.

Everyday Halal Food Containing Small Traces of Alcohol

As you go through this list, remember that Kombucha (homemade) can contain anywhere between 0.25% A.B.V to 3%+ A.B.V of alcohol (source):

  1. Burger Rolls – up to 1.28g per 100g (1.28% ABV)
  2. Rye bread – up to 0.18g per 100g (0.18% ABV)
  3. Banana (ripe) – up to 0.2g per 100g (0.2% ABV)
  4. Banana (very ripe with dark bits) – up to 0.4g per 100g (0.4% ABV)
  5. Pear (ripe) – up to 0.04g per 100g (0.04% ABV)
  6. Cherry yoghurt – up to 0.02g per 100g (0.02% ABV)

Keep in mind that alcohol levels in Kombucha are not far off from the list above.

Final Thoughts

Having done the research on our end, we can confidently say that Kombucha is halal. As we previously stated, if the alcohol levels are too low for anyone to get intoxicated from, then it is halal and permissible to consume.

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