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How to Flavour Kombucha
Plain kombucha is delicious, but you will probably like to give it more taste and flavour. You can add herbal tea, flavoured tea, fruit juice, vegetable juice, frozen fruit, honey, or other ingredients to your taste.
When to Flavour?
We recommend that you flavour your kombucha just before bottling. Before adding ingredients to your kombucha, remember to remove the scoby and part of her liquid and set them aside. In doing so, you will always have plain kombucha to start your next batch.
However, it is also possible to brew kombucha with a flavoured tea from the first fermentation (instead of plain tea).
However, this may weaken your scoby (it dislikes the essential oils of certain plants).
In addition, most of the flavours will disappear during this primary fermentation. It is better to add the flavours just before bottling.
How Much Ingredients Should I Use?
To add flavour, the proportion to follow is 10 to 20% of ingredients to 80-90% of kombucha.
So, if you have just finished producing 3 litres of kombucha (recipe above), then you can add between 300 and 600ml of herbal tea or juice.
These percentages are just an estimate. You will have to do your own tests. Some ingredients require much less than 10% (like ginger juice, for example).
Can I Add Sugar?
If your kombucha is too low in sugar for your taste, you can add it at this stage. However, watch out for the pressure! The addition of sugar will also have the effect of promoting the development of carbon dioxide in your bottles.
Pineapple Kombucha Recipe
3 litres of plain kombucha, freshly prepared (recipe above)
400 ml pineapple juice
Mix the kombucha and pineapple juice.
Taste, then add more pineapple juice as needed.
Bottle the kombucha (as described in How to Bottle My Kombucha, above).
For a shelf life of a few weeks, keep your kombucha scoby in your fermentation jar, with 500ml of kombucha from your last recipe.
The kombucha will become very vinegary and will be perfect as a new culture (starter) for your next recipes.
Longer Storing (> 2 months)
Option 1 (at room temperature):
Follow the same instructions as the short shelf life method, and feed your scoby once a month with a sweet tea.
To do this, just remove and replace some of your culture with the same amount of sweet tea. If you don’t have tea, just add sugar.
Option 2 (refrigerator):
If option 1 is not suitable for you, you can keep your kombucha scoby and its liquid culture and its liquid culture in a cool place (refrigerator) in an airtight container. Your culture will “fall asleep” and will not need to be fed.
This option can be used to keep your kombucha scoby for many months. However, there is a risk that eventually it will lose its vitality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Tea for Kombucha?
Kombucha likes plain tea. The tea used must come from the Camellia sinensis plant, because the kombucha culture feeds on its tannins. You can use black tea, Oolong tea or green tea.
You need 60 to 80g of sugar per litre of kombucha (white or brown). You can try with less if you wish; however, about 80% of this sugar will be consumed by yeast and bacteria. Sugar is essential for the fermentation of kombucha!
Other types of sweeteners (stevia, honey, maple syrup, etc.) can only be added during the second fermentation to add flavour.
If you want to use honey, we recommend trying jun, or honey kombucha. A jun scoby will be useful for this purpose!
Which Type of Water Should I Use?
Water should be as chlorine-free as possible. If you don’t have a filter, you can let the tap water sit for two hours in a jar. The chlorine will evaporate.
How Much Starter Should I Use?
You should use at least 10% liquid starter (plain kombucha) per recipe, and ideally 15-20%.
So to make 3 litres of kombucha, you need to add at least 300ml of liquid culture + your kombucha scoby, ideally 500ml. If you don’t have enough liquid, top it off with store-bought kombucha.
What is a First and Second Fermentation (F1 and F2)?
The first fermentation (also called F1) is the stage during which tea is transformed into kombucha.
Second fermentation (also called F2) is the stage during which kombucha ferments in bottles at room temperature.
It is at this stage that carbon dioxide accumulates in the bottles. The second fermentation is stopped (or rather very slowed down) when the bottles are placed in the fridge.
How to Make My Kombucha Fizzier?
The kombucha becomes sparkling during the second fermentation (F2). To have bubbles, you must place the kombucha in airtight and pressure-resistant bottles and let it ferment for a few days.
For more information, see the article on how to make a sparkling kombucha.
If your kombucha is too bubbly or if you want fewer bubbles, see the article on how to have fewer bubbles in your kombucha.