Here is what I learnt about adding flavorsOnce the initial fermentation period is complete and the scoby removed, you can consume the kombucha as is or choose to add additional flavorings.
Common options for additional flavorings include fruits, juices, herbs, and spices. Flavor extracts such as vanilla, almond, coconut, etc. can also be used. Flavoring agents can be added to the kombucha either just prior to drinking or they can be added to the kombucha and then the mixture can be stored in an airtight bottle for a second round of fermentation (see below). As a general rule of thumb:
- If flavoring with fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, we recommend starting with 10% to 30% fruit and 70% to 90% Kombucha. Keep in mind that dried fruit often yields less flavor than fresh or frozen fruit.
- If flavoring with juice, we recommend starting with 10-20% juice and 80-90% Kombucha.
- If flavoring with herbs, the variety and strength of herbs varies so greatly we recommend just experimenting to come up with the best ratios and combinations for your taste preferences.
- For flavor extracts such as almond extract or vanilla extract, start with 1/4 teaspoon extract per cup of kombucha and adjust to taste. Remember the flavor will develop during the second fermentation period.
- Blueberries and raspberries
- Blueberries and cinnamon
- Blueberries and fresh or candied ginger
- Strawberries and fresh or candied ginger
- Strawberries and raspberries
- Cherries and almond extract
- Fresh peaches
- Fresh pears
- Pears and almond extract
- Goji berries
- Cranberry juice
- Pear juice
- Pomegranate-blueberry juice
- Apple juice and cinnamon
- Grape juice
- Lemon juice and fresh or candied ginger
- Lime juice and fresh or candied ginger
- Pineapple juice, coconut water, and coconut extract
- Vanilla beans (split open) or vanilla extract
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Fresh or candied ginger
- Coconut extract
Second Fermentation and BottlingThere are advantages to taking the time to allow the now-flavored Kombucha a second round of fermentation. A second fermentation period allows the flavors to meld and achieve a deeper and more complex flavor profile. Further, if bottled in an airtight container (see below), the live yeast and bacteria in the kombucha will continue to consume the tea and sugar that remained after the primary fermentation process was completed and the scoby was removed, along with any sugar from juice or fruit added for flavor. A byproduct of fermentation is that the sugar is turned into carbon dioxide 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 (see below)
- Allow the kombucha to remain bottled for 2 to 14 days at room temperature.
- Once the secondary fermentation process is complete, the kombucha can be strained of the fruit or herbs if desired. The liquid can then be rebottled and stored on the counter or in the refrigerator. We recommend storing kombucha at room temperature for no longer than 14 days, as carbonation can build up. The more sugar that is in the flavoring, the faster the carbonation will build.
- The kombucha may need to be strained again prior to consumption as the active yeast and bacteria in the kombucha will continue to ferment the beverage (even in the refrigerator) at a slower rate and can produce small immature scobys (looks like small blobs of gel) or stringy brown yeast particles. While neither is harmful if consumed, both have an unpleasant texture.
"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis