Find out how to flavour your homemade kombucha with all kinds of ingredients!
Making your own kombucha is easy: just add a kombucha scoby to sweet tea and leave it for a few days. The result is plain kombucha, whose tangy taste with a hint of bitterness has seduced many people!
While we sometimes like to enjoy plain kombucha on ice, we also love to flavour it with our favourite aromas.
Your fridge and pantry probably already have everything you need to develop all sorts of customized kombuchas.
This article will teach you how and when to flavour your kombucha. Then, it will help you master juices, fruits, spices, and more, so you can make your next favourite summer drink yourself!
Looking for full recipes? Check out our collection of homemade kombucha recipes.
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When to Flavour Kombucha?
We recommend flavouring kombucha just before bottling.
- Make plain kombucha (tea + sugar + scoby; 10 to 15 days of fermentation)
- Remove and retrieve the scoby for the next recipe
It is technically possible to flavour your kombucha in step 1, but this has two disadvantages:
- Flavouring ingredients can damage the health of the kombucha scoby.
- The flavours weaken or disappear during the first fermentation.
Therefore, for a higher quality of fermentation and more prominent flavours, it is recommended to add the flavours in a plain kombucha, that is, after the first stage of fermentation.
The addition of ingredients and bottling is called the second fermentation (F2). F2 allows for the development of flavour and fizz.
What Are the Techniques for Flavouring Kombucha?
There are four main techniques for adding flavour to kombucha:
Adding Ingredients Directly
This technique involves adding an ingredient with concentrated flavour to your kombucha to give it instant flavour.
For example, juice, extract, or syrup are quick and easy options for flavouring your kombucha.
Depending on the concentration of the ingredient used, between a few drops and ½ cup (125ml) is added to flavour a 750ml bottle of plain kombucha.
Maceration consists of adding ingredients to plain kombucha and letting it sit for 6 to 48 hours in a cool place. This allows the flavours of the ingredients to diffuse in the kombucha.
As it involves cold maceration, the subtle flavours are preserved. It works well with fruits, flowers, and herbs such as mint and basil.
It also allows the flavours to be extracted from the peel, as in our Clementine Kombucha Recipe.
Infusion consists of covering ingredients with hot water to extract the flavours in greater depth.
The hot water will bring out flavours that a cold maceration would not have captured. Once the mixture has cooled, the ingredients are removed, and the infusion obtained is added to the kombucha.
This is ideal for flavouring kombucha with your favourite herbal tea or tea.
However, since the infusions are then diluted in the kombucha, they should be made 2 to 4 times stronger than usual.
A decoction is like an enhanced version of an infusion. Instead of pouring hot water over the ingredients, they are simmered in boiling water for 10 minutes to 1 hour.
Decoction allows more aromatic compounds to be extracted from the ingredients. This is ideal for tougher plants, such as roots, mushrooms, or certain spices.
For example, root beer is a mixture of several roots from which the flavours are extracted through lengthy decoction.
We also use heat to extract savors from hops, in our 100% local hop kombucha!
Flavouring Kombucha With Fruit Juice
Technique: adding directly
Simply add juice to your kombucha to give it some flavour!
Our favourite juices to flavour a bottle (750ml) of kombucha are:
- 45ml (3 tbsp.) lime juice
- 60ml (¼ cup) cranberry juice
- 60ml (¼ cup) pineapple juice
- 125ml (½ cup) blueberry juice
- 125ml (½ cup) coconut water
Flavouring Kombucha With Syrup
Technique: adding directly
There are more and more flavoured syrups on the market. Cocktail syrups, in particular, allow you to concoct alcohol-free drinks with your homemade kombucha. Much cheaper than having a drink on a terrace!
Otherwise, have you heard of shrubs? They are raw syrups made from vinegar, berries, and sugar. They are ideal for flavouring kombucha.
Depending on the syrup and its concentration, the amount to be added can vary. Try it and adjust to your taste!
Our favourite syrups for flavouring a bottle (750ml) of kombucha are:
Flavouring Kombucha With Extracts and Essential Oils
Technique: adding directly
Extracts (vanilla, almond, etc.) are not only used to flavour our cakes but they can also add a “dessert” twist to our fermented drinks!
However, we do not recommend using essential oils in your kombucha. They do not dilute well and are often not suitable for ingestion.
However, hydrosols such as rose water or orange blossom water can be used to flavour your kombucha.
For all extracts, always start with very small amounts! Try it, then adjust to your taste.
Our favourite extracts for flavouring a bottle (750ml) of kombucha are:
- 5ml (1 tsp.) vanilla extract
- 5ml (1 tsp.) almond extract
- 5ml (1 tsp.) orange blossom water
- A few drops of rose hydrosol
Flavouring Kombucha With Fruit
Fruit is a good flavouring option. However, for the same volume, they will give less flavour than juice. Therefore, they should be macerated.
You can use fruit in any form: whole, cut, pureed, fresh, frozen, etc.
Our favourite fruit to flavour a bottle (750ml) of kombucha are:
Flavouring Kombucha With Spices
Technique: adding directly, maceration, infusion, decoction (depending on the spice)
Ground spices can be simply added to plain kombucha, while whole spices are best used in maceration or infusion.
Some spices, such as fenugreek can be used in a decoction to extract as much flavour as possible.
Our favourite spices to flavour a bottle (750ml) of kombucha are:
Flavouring Kombucha With Tea or Herbal Tea
Wondering what to do with your old teas and herbal teas? Use them to flavour your kombucha!
Although the first fermentation should be done with plain tea, aromatic teas can be used to add flavour during the second fermentation.
Our favourite herbal teas for flavouring a bottle (750ml) of kombucha are:
Flavour Various Plant Parts (Bark, Roots, Leaves, Etc.)
Techniques: maceration, infusion, decoction
Wild plants can be used to flavour kombucha, but they require a bit more work to extract the flavours! Maceration and decoction are therefore preferred to extract the aromatic compounds.
If you are harvesting plants yourself, make sure you use plants that you are familiar with, and that you pick them responsibly.
For more information, see our article on How to flavour your fermented beverages with wild plants from Quebec.
Our favourite plants for flavouring a bottle (750ml) of kombucha are:
Achieving the Best Kombucha Flavours: Mixing Ingredients
Don’t stop at just one type of ingredient! Feel free to explore unusual combinations.
Some of our favourite combinations are: