You have a fresh batch of Kombucha, now what? Once your Kombucha has finished fermenting and you have removed the SCOBY. Your kombucha can be enjoy unflavored or you can flavor it many different ways in a secondary fermentation stage.
One of the things we really enjoy about brewing Kombucha is creating and experimenting with new flavors to infuse our Kombucha with. You can use a variety and mix of fruits, juices,teas, herbs and spices to create blends that make your kombucha fruity, sweet or spicy that you and your family will enjoy. The sky is the limit here.
Many people flavor and add the mix straight to the bottle, this really works well if you are using juices or flavored teas. You can also add fruit to the bottles and allow the second fermentation to take place with in the bottles. When we use fruits or herbs, since we are usually storing our bottles for longer than a week we always add these agents to our vessel for a second fermentation, strain then bottle. This is the method that works best for us, and the method we will be discussing below.
Using fruits is a great starting point when learning to flavor your Kombucha, and readily available. When using fruit you can use fresh cut, frozen or pureed. Experiment with the amount of fruit you add, and the combination amounts. Use more of 1 or more flavors for a stronger flavor, or less for a hint of a flavor.
To use fresh fruits; peel if needed, and cut in to small pieces. For firmer fruits e.g. apples and pears we usually give these a light smash to help extract more flavor.
Frozen fruits are a great option when a fruit you are wanting to use is out of season. I have ran in to this problem with peaches a few times.
Ratio of Fresh Fruit or Frozen Fruit: 1-2 cups per gallon of Kombucha.
Puree is a stronger concentration of fruit flavors. When using a puree starting with less is better.
Ratio of Fruit Puree: 1/2 cups per gallon of Kombucha.
Herbs & Spices:
Herbs and Spices can bring many interesting flavors to Kombucha, and even heat things up a bit. Herbs & spices have many varieties and strengths. A small amount can go a long ways. Start with small amounts. Let them infuse for a day, taste and add more to reach your desired flavor. Many herb can be added as tisanes, a similar process to steeping teas. Find some herbs here or here to start experimenting.
Using fruit juices is an the easiest process when flavoring your Kombucha either fresh squeezed or bottled organic juice.
Ratio of Fruit Juice: 1 cups per gallon of Kombucha.
You can also flavor kombucha with flavored teas as well.
Ratio of Tea: 1-2 bags or teaspoon for loose leaf tea steeped in 1 cup of water for 5-10 mins. Let cool, then add the tea to your Kombucha batch. Find some great teas here to infuse with your Kombucha.
Once you have your new batch of Kombucha, remove your SCOBY and 1 cup of starter liquid to continue your next batch. Next add your fruits,herbs, and/or a combination of both. Recover your vessel with a cloth and secure with a rubber band or string. Let this sit for 1-2 days, giving your fruits and/or herbs a chance to infuse into your Kombucha. Taste the brew after the end of 1 day with a straw to test if the flavors are to your liking. Once you your Kombucha is infused with our flavor agents see our post on bottling Kombucha.
Straight to bottling:
When using juices or teas with out additions of fruit or herbs you can skip ahead to our section on bottling your Kombucha, since the process of infusing is not needed. If you plan to use a combination of Fresh Fruit, we recommend adding your juice and/or teas first and continuing with the steps below. See our post on bottling.
Remember to take down notes on your ingredients and length of time you let your flavors infuse, that way you can make adjustments if needed in your next batch. The key to flavoring Kombucha is experimenting until you find a flavor and combination you are happy with. There have been several batches I was not happy with, but some small tweaks and adjustments made the next time I tried that recipe much more enjoyable.
Find some flavor ideas here to get you started!
For the next step continue to our post on bottling.