A Guide to Flavoring Your Kombucha
Taking your 'booch to the next level
Since I started fermenting my own kombucha at home, it’s become a topic I often discuss with others. I got my brother a homemade brewing kit for Christmas, and now find myself dispensing advice about it every now and then. Which brings me to the important second step of preparing this beverage yourself: a second fermentation.
When you buy it at the store, most kombucha has juice or other flavors added to it. This is what helps make it so fizzy, and it also adds a little more dimension to the original flavor. Once your brew has fermented to the point you are happy with, start a new brew like you normally would. Then take your fermented tea and try out some new flavor experiments!
Making your kombucha fizzier
Adding these components will increase the sugar in the beverage a little, but not as much as you may be inclined to think! The bacteria from your SCOBY are still present after you pour off the delightfully fermented tea, and they will continue to develop and eat away at the sugar in the juice you add. That’s what causes the intense fizziness in a second fermentation.
You won’t get that fizziness if all the air is escaping through the cap. We buy drinks from the natural section at Kroger when they’re on manager’s special and then reuse the bottles. This makes the perfect air-tight container, and they’re a great size to carry around with us throughout our day. Once we add the new ingredients to the kombucha, we usually let them sit at room temperature for 2-5 days and then move the bottles to the fridge.
Once You Add the New Flavors, It Needs to Ferment Again
Once we add the new ingredients to the kombucha, we usually let them sit at room temperature for 2-5 days and then move the bottles to the fridge (as opposed to drinking it straight away).
My favorite recipes
These are some of my favorite recipes right now:
- lemon & ginger
- matcha green tea
- mango juice
- lime juice
They’re super simple and will leave you with a variety of refreshing ways to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Just be sure to add the flavor to the bottle first, and then pour the kombucha over the top of it. Otherwise you might end up with your creations all over the counter. Once you combine the ingredients you can let them ferment for up to a week, but you’ll want to untwist the cap and “burp” them every few days to keep the pressure from building up.
Lemon & ginger
This is probably my favorite twist on this drink. I’m actually drinking one right now as I write this article! Simply slice a lemon in half, and then cut it into thin wedges. When you get to the end of the lemon, leave yourself a slightly thicker chunk. Squeeze the juice from that piece into the bottle, and then put in the other wedges. Cut a few think slices of ginger and add them as well.
This tea gets so fizzy and is intensely refreshing. If you don’t try any other flavors, go for this one.
- fresh lemons
Matcha green tea
I found this tea on sale at our local Big Lots and instantly wanted to try mixing it at home. I usually make a bottle ¼ matcha tea, ¾ kombucha. The green tea will settle at the bottom of the bottle, but gently turning it upside down and then right side up before you drink it will re-combine everything without shaking up your drink.
I have seen some pretty intense baby SCOBYs build up in this, and that can be a nasty surprise, so I usually strain them before I drink them.
- iced matcha green tea
Pulpy fruit juices
This should work for any flavor of juice, but I love this mango flavored one. I usually only make the mixture about 1/5 juice and fill the rest with kombucha. I have found this one develops some swirly bits too, so I would recommend straining it.
- mango juice
Lime or lemon juice
If you just have those little bottles of lime or lemon juice in your fridge, those can work too! Just add a few drops, and you’ll be surprised at how much they impact the flavor. When I add lime juice the finished product reminds me of Sprite. With these juices it can be hard to tell the bottles apart from plain kombucha, so I always put them in my bottles with colored caps so they don’t get mixed up.
- lime juice
A second ferment takes it to the next level
I hope these recipes are helpful for you! There are so many possible combinations for a second fermentation, so if you’re feeling adventurous take a leap and try something new. If it doesn’t turn out well you can always go a different direction with your next batch.