glasses with kombucha

Kombucha is a popular fermented drink known for its distinct tart taste. But is kombucha acidic, and why does acidity matter? This article aims to answer these questions and explore the link between kombucha acidity and its health effects.

What is Acidity, and How is It Measured?

Acidity refers to the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in a solution. When a substance is dissolved in water, it can either donate or accept hydrogen ions, which affects the acidity of the solution. Acids are substances that donate hydrogen ions, while bases are substances that accept hydrogen ions.

The pH scale is a numerical scale that ranges from 0 to 14 and is used to measure the acidity or alkalinity (basicity) of a solution. A solution with a pH of 7 is considered neutral, meaning it has an equal balance of acidic and basic properties. Solutions with a pH below 7 are considered acidic, while solutions with a pH above 7 are considered basic (alkaline).

Here are the approximate pH values of some common substances:


pH Value 

Lemon juice


Distilled vinegar 


Orange juice 


Black coffee 




Pure water 




Sea water 


Baking soda


Note that pH values can vary depending on factors such as concentration and temperature, so these values are approximate and may not be exact in all cases.

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Is Kombucha Acidic?

Yes, kombucha can actually get quite acidic, depending on how long it ferments. Kombucha is a fermented beverage made from sweetened tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). The acidity in kombucha comes from the fermentation process, during which the bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY consume the sugar in the tea and produce various organic acids. The longer these microorganisms have to convert the sugars, the more acid they produce, and the more acidic the final product.

The pH of kombucha typically ranges from about 2.5 to 3.5. The primary acid in kombucha is acetic acid, which is also found in vinegar. Other organic acids that may be present in kombucha include lactic acid, gluconic acid, and malic acid, among others.

The level of acidity in kombucha can vary depending on several factors—not just the brewing time, but also the kombucha brewing temperature and the type of tea used. These variables play a crucial role in shaping the flavor profile and overall characteristics of the kombucha brew.

The Importance of Kombucha’s Low pH

ph strip

The acidity in kombucha is important for several reasons:

The Role of Acidity in Creating a Balanced Environment for Healthy Bacteria and Yeast

Acidity plays a crucial role in creating a balanced environment for healthy bacteria and yeast to thrive. Bacteria and yeast are living organisms that require specific conditions to survive and grow, and the acidity of their environment is one of those conditions.

In general, healthy bacteria and yeast thrive in slightly acidic environments, with a pH below 5.5. This acidity helps to create an environment that’s unfavorable for harmful bacteria and other microorganisms, while allowing healthy ones to flourish.

The environment's acidity also affects the growth rate and metabolism of bacteria and yeast. When the pH is too low or too high, it can slow down or completely inhibit the growth and reproduction of these microorganisms, which can lead to an imbalance in the microbial community.

How Does the Kombucha pH Protect It from Harmful Microorganisms?

The organic acids produced during the fermentation process act as natural preservatives, helping to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in the kombucha. This allows the beverage to be stored for longer periods of time without spoiling.

The acidity in kombucha helps create an environment inhospitable to harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which can cause foodborne illness. This makes kombucha a safer beverage to consume.

The Link Between Acidity in Kombucha and Health Benefits

Some research suggests that the organic acids and lower pH in kombucha, particularly acetic acid, may have health benefits such as promoting digestion, reducing inflammation, and supporting the immune system. One of the most notable benefits is promoting digestion. Acetic acid may help to break down food and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can improve digestive function. 

Additionally, kombucha may also have anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing inflammation throughout the body. This could be especially beneficial for individuals with chronic inflammation-related conditions, such as arthritis. 

Finally, kombucha may support the immune system, thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and immune-boosting properties. While more research is needed to fully understand the health benefits of kombucha, these potential benefits make it an intriguing addition to a healthy lifestyle.

See Related: Is Kombucha Good for Acid Reflux?

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Tracking and Adjusting the pH of Kombucha

By monitoring and adjusting the pH of kombucha, you can ensure successful fermentation and a safe, delicious drink.

How to Measure the pH of Homemade Kombucha?

Measuring the pH of homemade kombucha is a simple process that can be done using a digital pH meter or pH strips. Here are the steps:

  • Clean and sanitize your pH meter or pH strips according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Use a clean utensil to draw a sample of kombucha from your batch. It's important to avoid touching the utensil to the SCOBY or the sides of the fermentation vessel, as this can introduce bacteria and affect the pH measurement.

  • Dip the pH meter probe into the kombucha sample, or dip a pH strip into the sample and wait for it to change color.

  • Record the pH reading. For digital pH meters, the reading will appear on the screen. For pH strips, compare the color of the strip to the color chart that came with the strips to determine the pH value.

  • Rinse the pH meter probe or pH strip with clean water and sanitize it again before storing.


Ways to Lower the pH Level of Over-Fermented Kombucha

Over-fermented kombucha can result in a very acidic and sour taste, which may make it unpalatable to some people. Other people love to use this heavily fermented kombucha as a vinegar in things like salad dressing. However, if you find yourself in this situation and want to raise the pH of your kombucha, there are several methods you can use:

dilute kombucha with water
  • Dilute with water – One way to lower the pH of over-fermented kombucha is to dilute it with water. Start by adding small amounts of water at a time until you reach the desired pH level. Keep in mind that this will also dilute the flavor of the kombucha, so you may need to experiment with the ratio of water to kombucha to find the right balance. 

  • Add fresh sweet tea – Another way to lower the pH of your over-fermented kombucha is to add fresh sweet tea. The sugars in the sweet tea will help to counteract the acidity of the kombucha. Start by adding a small amount of sweet tea to your over-fermented kombucha and taste it until you reach the desired level of sweetness versus acidity.

  • Stop the fermentation process – If your kombucha is over-fermented, it may be necessary to stop the fermentation process to prevent it from becoming too acidic. This can be done by transferring the kombucha to a new container and adding fresh sweet tea to it. This will lower the pH and create a new batch of kombucha that is less acidic. You can store the transferred kombucha in a new kombucha jar.

  • Use a pH meter – If you have a pH meter, you can use it to monitor the level of your kombucha pH. If the pH is too low, you can add water or sweet tea as needed until you reach the desired level.

  • Start a new batch – If all else fails, you may need to start a new batch of kombucha. This can be done by using a new SCOBY and fresh sweet tea. Make sure to monitor the fermentation process closely to ensure that the pH level does not become too low again. By creating a SCOBY hotel, you can ensure that your extra SCOBYs stay healthy and active, ready to use whenever you are ready to brew another batch of kombucha. 

Why a Certain pH Level Is Crucial for Safe, Nutritious Kombucha

Maintaining a safe pH level is essential in making safe and healthy kombucha for several reasons:

  • Prevents growth of harmful bacteria

  • Controls yeast growth

  • Ensures consistency

  • Safety concerns

Conclusion: Kombucha Acidity & pH

Acidity is an important element in kombucha that gives the drink its distinct taste and helps support a healthy microbiome. Understanding the role of acidity in kombucha and how to manage and use it for your benefit are great steps in getting even more utility out of this probiotic powerhouse.