One of the greatest benefits of making your own kombucha at home is the ability to influence the flavor of your finished kombucha, plus find new flavor blends that you and your family will enjoy.
In our tutorial below, we'll explain more about each of these methods and provide some of our favorite flavoring ideas for inspiration!
Ways to Influence Kombucha Flavor
1. Choose A Different Tea
The type of tea you use 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.
2. 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.
3. Add Flavoring
Once the initial fermentation period is complete and the scoby has been removed, you can consume your kombucha as is or choose to add additional flavoring.
If you decide to flavor your kombucha, you can either enjoy it immediately or ferment further, for a more developed taste in the final product.
From fruit and juices to herbs and spices there are a wide variety of flavored drinks you can create.
Ratios for Flavoring Kombucha Tea
- 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 1/4 teaspoon extract per cup of kombucha and adjust to taste. Remember the flavor will continue to develop during the second fermentation period.
Kombucha Flavor Ideas
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.
Make Kombucha Fizzy Through a Second Fermentation and Bottling
Why Second Ferment Kombucha?
There are quite a few advantages to bottling the finished kombucha and fermenting it 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.
Choosing Bottles for Storing 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 are wonderful for storing finished kombucha, since they are not truly airtight, carbon dioxide can leak from them and reduce the fizziness of your kombucha.
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 every day or so during the second fermentation to release excess pressure.
How Long Should You Second Ferment Kombucha?
There's no hard and fast rule for the length of a second fermentation. In general, we advise letting your bottled kombucha ferment for 2 to 14 days.
The length of time you allow your kombucha to ferment for a second time depends on your personal taste preferences, the temperature of your fermentation area, and the types of flavors you've added.
- Warmer temperatures speed up the fermentation process, so if you're fermentation area is on the warmer side you'll want to aim for a shorter second fermentation.
- Similarly, if you pair your finished kombucha with juices that have a high sugar content this provides the bacteria in your kombucha more to feed on and will speed up fermentation as well.
Burping Bottles and Taste Testing
The best way to check if your kombucha is done with its second ferment is to taste it to test its flavor and fizziness. Tasting your kombucha every day or so is also a good way to remember to release some of the pressure built up in the bottles - this is especially important if you don't want to end up with a messy explosion!
Instructions for Bottling Kombucha 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 leaving a few inches of head space.
- 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.
Storing Bottled Kombucha
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. It's a good idea to burp the bottles occasionally during the second fermentation to release excess pressure.
Use Caution When Opening Bottles
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.