If you haven’t discovered the joys of brewing your own kombucha, you are missing out! One of the most wonderful parts of brewing your own kombucha is you can customize. After the first brew, the second brew is when you flavor and bottle. Here are some of my favorite flavorings.
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Brewing Your Own
Just briefly, we will cover brewing your own kombucha. Its pretty easy to get started. All you need is filtered water, a large glass container, unflavored tea, sugar, a SCOBY and a pot to boil. The steps are pretty simple and can brew even large amounts pretty quickly depending on the relative heat and humidity of your home.
After about a week, this batch should be brewed to your desired levels of tanginess, sweetness and bubbly, you are ready for the second brew. The second brew does not require a free flow of air for the container and it does not need a SCOBY. Simply, all you need is something with a kind of sugar (fruit, extra sugars, etc.) and bottles. Here are some great ones.
Great Kombucha Flavorings
I simply use ground cinnamon from the store and chopped up apples without the peel. Give it a small shake to mix in the cinnamon. Very tasty!
Seriously, any combination of berries, frozen or non, blended or whole, just pop them in and the kombucha takes on a lovely flavor and often cool dark purple color.
I almost always blend the mango with a little sugar but chopped up is just as good.
The chia seeds will expand but they make a fun texture similar to bubble tea.
The Second Brew
This is best part of brewing. The second brew is where all the action is for kombucha. While you can drink your own first brew whenever its ready, the fun part of brewing and the additional carbonation comes from the second brew.
In general, I pull most of the brewed 1st batch off of the SCOBY, leaving a little for another batch. At this point I add all the flavorings into a large bottle, such as half gallon or gallon bottle. In an effort to reduce waste, I will reuse bottles from the store such as large glass bottles that held wine or apple cider. To sanitize, I boil water and pour it into the bottle and cover the cap, after a run the in the dishwasher.
I will add the flavorings but have mixed it up on how I put them in. For the most part, I blend the ingredients with a little filtered water and sugar. This helps kick start the fermentation and carbonation of the second brew. Sometimes, I just wash the fruit and chop it up if needed and throw it in the new container. Either way the kombucha will continue to brew with the fructose from the fruit.
I cap it and can start drinking pretty much immediately but usually I wait 2 to 7 days before I start drinking. I also tend to put it in the fridge at this point so that its nice and cool, but it does tend to lose some bubbles. In the refrigerator, it will brew at a much slower rate. If you do tighten down the caps, be prepared for the build up of carbonation. You may want to open it daily
The truly great part of flavoring is you really cannot go wrong. Try any varieties of fruits and seasonings and see what you like! You can even try extracts such as vanilla and almond. Many people mix the kombucha with wine, sodas and other fun beverages to give them a little kick.
Be sure to taste your brew daily. Be careful to not let it get too sour. Put in the refrigerator when at the desired sour and sweet level. Play around with the ratio of fruit or flavors to base kombucha. It can vary and you may be getting better results in terms of carbonation if you add more or less of your desired goodies.
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