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Kombucha 102

Earlier I posted about how to make your own kombucha, all about the first ferment and how to brew using a continuous brewing system from GetKombucha, I also discussed the health benefits of kombucha. You can see the first post here: What Does Your SCOBY Do? Health Benefits of Kombucha.

So I brewed my Kombucha in the continuous brew system, since it is winter and my kitchen is colder (65 degrees) it took about 7 days from the day I added the sugar and SCOBY to the day it tasted right to bottle.

Thank you to Get Kombucha for sponsoring this post. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of the Green Moms Network, and the content and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

How do you know when kombucha is ready?

The best way to tell if kombucha is ready to bottle is to taste it. Everyone likes their kombucha to taste differently. Some like it sweeter and ferment it for less time, some like it to have a bitter apple cider vinegar like taste and let it ferment longer. I taste the kombucha after it has brewed for about five days, every day, until it is the right flavor for me. In the summer that happens sooner than it does in the winter since it ferments faster when it is warmer than it does when it is cooler.

Once your kombucha tastes good to you it is time to bottle it for the second ferment.

What is the second ferment?

The second ferment is not necessary to enjoy kombucha. You can just bottle it, throw it in your refrigerator and enjoy it as is. The second ferment is when you can add flavors, herbs, and other good things to your kombucha brew to get added health benefits, flavors, textures, and make it fit your specific tastes. It increases the carbonation in your brew and leaves a delicious tingling fizz which makes it a wonderful soda replacement.

First things first, you need to decant your kombucha from your brewing container to your bottles. Be sure the bottles you use are made to withstand high carbonation. I like flip top bottles made for beer brewing. Kombucha can get highly pressured in the bottle during the second ferment so this can cause containers not made to withstand a lot of pressure explode – yes, this happens. Learn from my mistake and use something like these flip top bottles that I now use to contain your high pressure brew with piece of mind.

kombucha pour

Now let me just say when I decanted from the gallon container I used before I had to remove the SCOBY with about 2 cups of Kombucha and set it aside in a different bowl until I was done with this process. I used a funnel to get the kombucha into my bottles and it was… well… messy and kind of a pain. With GetKombucha’s continuous brewer I just pour the kombucha right into the bottle using the nozzle on the brewer. No muss, no fuss, and no mess! I have to say I am very spoiled now and don’t see my self going back to the gallon jar.

You can now just close your flip bottles and leave them out for two more days to get extra carbonation or you can flavor them and make them special just for you. I love to add health enhancing herbs to my kombucha to help with my health issues I am working on, and to enhance the kombucha’s naturally delicious flavor.

How to Flavor Kombucha

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Ok so you have kombucha in your bottles. I fill my bottles about 3/4 with kombucha, leaving plenty of room for my flavoring agents. Why do I leave so much space? Three reasons. 1. Dried herbs and chia seeds expand 2. If I add juice I need room for it in the bottle 3. I always leave space at the top to reduce the chance of kombucha going everywhere when I open an overly fermented bottle that might spew everywhere (like champagne, only less expected).

Some of my favorite flavor combinations are:

  • Elderberry, fresh ginger, powdered cinnamon – this warming and immune enhancing combination is wonderful to help the body defend its self during cold and flu season. The ginger and cinnamon aid digestion and help ease indigestion too, which make them alone another great flavor combination. I use fresh ginger because it is less “hot” and it always creates the best fizz. I don’t know why but my kombucha always has the best carbonation when I use fresh ginger.
  • Apple, cinnamon, ginger (apple juice is optional) – I like to slice up apples when they are overly sweet and about to go bad (you know, those apples that just start to develop brown spots because they got lost in the back of the fruit basket). Thinly slice the apple so it can get in and out of the bottle easily, add powdered cinnamon or half a cinnamon stick, and fresh ginger thinly sliced and cap it. You can add a few tablespoons of apple juice too. Its like a tasty apple cider!
  • Gogi berries are a delicious adaptogen which helps the body deal with stress and supports adrenal health. They are delicous when ground in a coffee grinder to the texture and size of chia seeds. Add about 1 tsp goji berry powder and 1 tsp chia seeds, maybe with 2 tbsp of apple juice and you will have a delicious drink. Remember – chia expands so make sure you have plenty of head space for it to expand without causing any messes.
  • I use a blend of schizandra berries, chaste tree – vitex berries, apple juice and honey as a hormone balancing adaptogenic blend to help support healthy hormone function. schizandra is an interesting flavor, it is called the five flavor berry because it has all five flavors, sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and pungent. It tastes not awesome by its self, but when combined with a sweeter kombucha, juice and honey, it is a delicious addition to this health enhancing brew.
  • GetKombucha has a great video on 3 more ways to flavor kombucha. Check it out here.
  • You can go HERE to access to 21 FREE kombucha training videos that will answer all your kombucha brewing questions.

There are many other flavor combinations. I encourage you to play with how much of each herb to add, and different flavor combinations to help support and enhance your own health. Kombucha is a delicious way to incorporate healthy herbal additions into your life.

Enjoy!

kombucha in a mug watermarked

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kombucha 2 collage

 

About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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One Response to Kombucha 2nd Ferment – How to flavor kombucha

  1. Callie Martin says:

    Thanks for this great post! Going to try it!! 🙂

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