I have been reading conflicting statements that there is a risk of botulism when using honey for the first fermentation of kombucha. Some are saying that the acidity of kombucha is too high for botulism to survive. Others are saying to never use it because the risk exists.

This Cornell University study (PDF warning) suggests that botulinum spores were killed when inoculated into tea drinks, but suggests that it might have been the effect of the green tea. I'm wondering if this also applies to black tea.

Is there a definitive answer that will tell me whether it is safe to use honey for the first fermentation of black tea kombucha?

  • It's easy to pasteurize honey. Just heat it to about 150 F for 30 minutes. (You don't want to heat it to more than about 170 F because it will lose its flavor.)
    – user37472
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


It is absolutely safe to use honey as your sugar source when fermenting kombucha, as long as you allow the kombucha to reach a pH of 4.6 or lower. If that's too strong for your tastes, you can dilute the finished kombucha with water, tea, or other flavoring ingredients and then refrigerate.

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