A: Some people swear that brewing with honey works, while others say that brewing with honey doesn't work because of honey's anti-bacterial properties.
Everyone pretty much agrees that brewing with cane sugar works. However, health benefits of other sweeteners often come up as an issue. In addition, taste is another aspect you may want to consider.
Although I have never personally brewed with honey, something to remember is that if you introduce something foreign to the kombucha culture, even if you don't see any immediate short-term effects on the culture, there may be unforeseen long-term effects.
For example, the SCOBY will not survive in the long-term if you brew kombucha using only herbal teas, such as rooibos. However, if you brew kombucha with an herbal tea for only one or two weeks, the culture will most likely survive. Thus, some individuals alternate brewing herbal and non-herbal brews, or brew with a combination of herbal and non-herbal teas. (Read more on brewing with herbal teas at The Different Teas for Your Kombucha Brew).
If you're interested in brewing with honey, I would recommend having a back-up mushroom, such as by storing a spare SCOBY in kombucha made with cane sugar in the fridge.
More on Kombucha and Honey:
- From Gunther Frank: Kombucha Tea: What's All the Hoopla? (around two-thirds down the page, "Can honey be used instead of sugar?")
- Steve Dickman, the co-founder of High Country Kombucha, states that brewing kombucha with honey works in this video (he begins talking about kombucha and honey at time 7:18)
- It's possible according to Happy Herbalist