Last week I talked about the first fementation stage of kombucha and some of the health benefits it has been associated with. The second ferment, which we will be talking about today, is the fun part! This is where you get to add creative flavors and completely customize the drink to your liking.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- KOMBUCHA that has been through a first ferment.
- AIRTIGHT BOTTLES. We use glass flip top bottles that we found at Ikea (they are 33 3/4 oz, and we use almost of them to bottle a gallon of booch). They are also available at Target or on Amazon.
- FRUIT, FRUIT JUICE, and/or SPICES/HERBS. This is where you get to be creative and experiment to customize your flavor. The add-ins you choose will affect the taste and carbonation (generally with the more sugary an ingredient is, the more carbonation it will naturally build). When using juices or fresh fruit, we tend to put around 1/2 cup worth in each bottle. When using herbs, 1/8-1/4 cup would be more than enough to add flavor.
- Materials: FUNNEL, PITCHER, and extra CONTAINER to reserve SCOBY & starter liquid.
- Fresh ginger and apple
- Spiced orange
- Melon & basil
- Carrots and ginger
- Mango & lime
You can also find amazing flavoring ideas on the Kombucha Kamp website. Add-ins will alter the flavor of your kombucha, and any natural sugars found in them will also accelerate further fermentation and carbonation.
PREP LIQUID. The first thing you need to do is remove the SCOBY from your kombucha and put it aside. We like to store ours on a clean plate. (Note: on the video I show how large our SCOBY has become and how the mother has “birthed” new SCOBYs that we could share with others.) You will also need to set aside 1/2 – 1 cup of the kombucha to be your starter liquid for your next batch.
PREP BOTTLES. The next step will involve grating or chopping any herbs or fruit you want to add in for the bottling stage, and then putting them into the bottles. Grating is especially helpful as it releases more liquid and flavor into your brew. We never measure out our add-ins, we just put them in the bottle by sight, but it works out to be around 1/2 cup total of fruit per 33oz bottle, or about 1-2 Tbsp of dried herbs. Ultimately, the more natural sugar your add-ins contain, the more quickly it will continue to ferment and build carbonation, so a little bit of creative liberty is important here to manipulate your preferred end result.
FILL THE BOTTLES. Using a pitcher and funnel, pour the kombucha into the bottles. Be sure to seal them tightly! Place them in a warm place in your kitchen (we put them on a shelf). Keep the bottles at this warm room temperature for 3-7 days, to taste, and then refrigerate. You will want to “burp” them every couple of days (open the lid to release some air) so that it doesn’t get too bubbly and explode on you when you are ready to drink it! Once your bottles are moved to the fridge the fermentation process will pretty much come to a halt, so they can just hang out there until you are ready to sip away.
RETURN THE SCOBY & STARTER LIQUID TO THE VAT AND RESTART THE PROCESS. In our house, kombucha is like the song that never ends; it is continually being brewed and cycled through the fermentation stages. We try to drink a glass a day for gut and immunity benefits, and it is so much cheaper and healthier (and delicious, in my opinion) than commercial sodas or sparkling drinks!
THE VIDEO TUTORIAL
What flavors of kombucha have you created during the bottling stage? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was shared on Simply Natural Saturdays.