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Flavoring and Bottling Kombucha Tea

 

One of the greatest benefits of making your own kombucha at home is the ability to influence the flavor of the finished product and find new blends that you and your family will enjoy. Kombucha flavor can be influenced a number of ways.

Ways to Influence Kombucha Flavor

Choose A Different Tea

The type of tea used to brew kombucha can change the flavor of the finished kombucha, even before flavoring agents are added. From black to white teas, each variety lends a different flavor to the finished beverage.

Compare the flavor of different varieties of tea for making kombucha.


Adjust Fermentation Time

The longer a batch of kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more acidic the resulting liquid will be. We recommend fermenting the kombucha for at least 7 days, and up to 30 days. 

Tip: After 7 days, begin tasting the brewing kombucha. Use a straw or non-metal spoon to remove some liquid from the jar. Once the flavor reaches the desired sweetness or acidity, halt the process by pouring the finished kombucha into bottles or containers for flavoring or drinking plain.

Add Flavoring

Once the initial fermentation period is complete and the scoby has been removed, consume the kombucha as is or choose to add additional flavoring.

Flavored kombucha can be enjoyed immediately or fermented further, for a more developed taste in the final product. Choose your favorite fruit, juice, herbs or spices to make a variety of flavored drinks.

  • If flavoring with fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, start with 10-30% fruit and 70-90% Kombucha.
  • If flavoring with juice, start with 10-20% juice and 80-90% Kombucha.  
  • If flavoring with herbs, the variety and strength of herbs varies greatly. Experiment to come up with the best ratios and combinations for your taste preferences.  
  • For flavor extracts such as almond or vanilla extract, start with ¼ teaspoon extract per cup of kombucha and adjust to taste. Remember the flavor will continue to develop during the second fermentation period.


 

Other Flavoring Ideas and Combinations

  • Blueberries and cinnamon
  • Berries and fresh or candied ginger
  • Strawberries and basil
  • Cherries and almond extract
  • Pears and almond extract
  • Apple juice and cinnamon
  • Lemon or lime juice and fresh ginger
  • Pineapple juice, coconut water, and coconut extract
  • Vanilla beans (split open) or vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Fresh or candied ginger
  • Coconut extract
  • Lavender and chamomile
  • Chai Spice Blend
  • Lemon balm and rose hips
  • Combine 50% lemonade water kefir and 50% kombucha for a Probiotic Palmer.

 

Second Fermentation and Bottling

There are advantages to bottling the finished kombucha and fermenting further. A second fermentation period allows the flavors to meld and achieve a deeper and more complex flavor profile. Additionally, if bottled in an airtight container, the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation will remain, giving the kombucha the fizzy texture it is often known for. 

Instructions for a Second Fermentation

  • Remove the scoby from the finished kombucha.
  • Add the desired flavoring and mix to combine.
  • Bottle the flavored kombucha in airtight bottles.
  • Leave the bottled kombucha to ferment for 2-14 days at room temperature.  
  • Once the second fermentation process is complete, strain out any solids, if desired, rebottle and store on the counter or in the refrigerator. We recommend storing bottled kombucha at room temperature for no longer than 14 days, as carbonation can build up. The more sugar in the flavoring, the faster the carbonation will build.

 

Choosing Bottles for Kombucha

While essentially any glass container with a lid can be used to store kombucha, to obtain the best carbonation level, it is important to bottle kombucha in truly airtight bottles. While canning jars make wonderful storage vessels for finished kombucha, they are not truly airtight, and carbon dioxide will leak from them. A better option is a Grolsch-style flip-top bottle, which will adequately contain the fermentation gases and keep the kombucha better carbonated.

Before using, check the bottles carefully for cracks or imperfections, which can weaken the integrity of the bottle and lead to explosions. We also recommend "burping" the bottles occasionally during the second fermentation to release excess pressure.

Use caution when opening the bottle. Creation of carbon dioxide during the secondary fermentation period means the contents of the bottle will be under pressure, and caution should be used when opening the bottle. We recommend covering the bottle with a cloth to catch any spraying liquid and opening the bottle slowly over the sink while applying downward pressure.

 

       
 SMJ  

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