Why Does Kombucha Make Me Feel Drunk?

Kombucha, a popular fermented beverage made from tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), has gained considerable attention in recent years. Its touted health benefits range from improved digestion to a stronger immune system.

However, some individuals have reported feeling tipsy or drunk after consuming kombucha. Why? Kombucha may make you feel drunk due to its low alcohol content, which results from the fermentation process. Individual factors like alcohol tolerance, sensitivity to fermented foods, or consuming it on an empty stomach can also contribute to feeling tipsy or intoxicated.

Kombucha bottles

The Fermentation Process and Alcohol Content

Understanding Fermentation

To understand why kombucha might make you feel drunk, it’s essential to learn about its fermentation process. Fermentation involves the conversion of sugar into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and organic acids by yeast and bacteria. In kombucha, this process begins when the SCOBY is added to the sweetened tea mixture. The yeast present in the SCOBY breaks down the sugar, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Alcohol Content in Kombucha

Kombucha’s alcohol content is usually low, ranging from 0.5% to 2%, depending on factors like fermentation time and temperature. This is considerably less than the alcohol content in most beers and wines, which typically range between 4% and 14%. However, kombucha can still make some individuals feel tipsy or intoxicated due to individual alcohol tolerance, sensitivity, or other factors.

Factors Contributing to Kombucha’s Intoxicating Effects

Individual Alcohol Tolerance

One of the primary reasons kombucha might make you feel drunk is your individual alcohol tolerance. People have different alcohol tolerance levels based on their body size, metabolism, and genetics, among other factors. If you have a lower tolerance for alcohol, even a small amount of alcohol in kombucha could potentially cause you to feel tipsy or intoxicated.

Kombucha on an Empty Stomach

Consuming kombucha on an empty stomach can also contribute to the feeling of intoxication. When there’s no food in the stomach to slow down the absorption of alcohol, it enters the bloodstream more quickly. This can cause you to feel the effects of the alcohol more rapidly and intensely, even if the alcohol content is relatively low.

Sensitivity to Fermented Foods

Some people are more sensitive to fermented foods, which can cause them to feel intoxicated or experience other symptoms. This sensitivity might be due to an imbalance in gut bacteria, a deficiency in certain enzymes, or other factors. If you feel drunk after consuming kombucha, it might be due to a heightened sensitivity to fermented foods and beverages.

Can Kombucha Get You Drunk?

Kombucha contains a small amount of alcohol due to the fermentation process. Its alcohol content usually ranges from 0.5% to 2%, which is significantly lower than most alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine. For most people, this low alcohol content is not enough to cause drunkenness.

How to Avoid Feeling Drunk from Kombucha

Choose Low-Alcohol Kombucha

To reduce the likelihood of feeling drunk from kombucha, opt for a brand with a lower alcohol content. Commercially produced kombucha typically has a lower alcohol content than homemade versions, as it must be below 0.5% to be classified as a non-alcoholic beverage. If you make your own kombucha, consider shortening the fermentation time or using a lower sugar content to decrease the alcohol level.

Consume Kombucha with Food

Having kombucha with a meal or snack can help to slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream. This can reduce the intensity of the alcohol’s effects and minimize the chances of feeling intoxicated.

Know Your Limits

As with any alcoholic beverage, it’s important to know your limits and consume kombucha in moderation. Pay attention to your body’s response to the beverage and adjust your consumption accordingly. If you notice that kombucha consistently makes you feel intoxicated, consider reducing your intake or avoiding it altogether.


While the alcohol content in kombucha is generally low, some individuals might still feel tipsy or intoxicated after consuming it. Factors such as individual alcohol tolerance, consuming kombucha on an empty stomach, and sensitivity to fermented foods can contribute to this phenomenon.

To avoid feeling drunk from kombucha, consider choosing a low-alcohol option, consuming it with food, and being mindful of your personal limits. Kombucha can be a delicious and healthful beverage for many, but it’s essential to understand how it can affect you and make informed choices about its consumption.

Remember, if you have concerns about how kombucha is affecting you or if you experience persistent or severe symptoms, consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

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