How to Flavor Kombucha Tea
I’m very excited to be bringing you an all new video quick tip on how to flavor Kombucha! I have perfected my Kombucha flavor recipes over my many years of brewing and have made it simple and easy for everyone. These Kombucha flavor recipes can be used by new and experienced Kombucha brewers alike.
As you know, Kombucha is an incredibly versatile beverage that can be combined successfully with many different flavors. However, I hear from many new brewers who just aren’t sure what to do when it comes to flavoring Kombucha. Just the same, many long-term brewers tell me they eventually get stuck in a flavor rut.
We all need inspiration sometimes. Variety is the spice, and all that. Why should your Booch be any different?
And keep in mind, these ideas and tips for how to flavor Kombucha work for water kefir, milk kefir, and JUN Tea too!
If you’re already a flavor guru, I hope a couple of my ideas might spark your fancy or tickle your mind. Send us an email with your ideas to inspire fellow readers (and me! I need new ideas too!) with your favorite creations.
Flavoring Kombucha Basics
Kombucha can be flavored with fresh or dried fruit, jams and jellies, dried herbs and flowers, barks, spices, syrups or literally just about anything that sparks your imagination! And there are no real rules, because you have removed the SCOBY and starter liquid for the next batch. So as long as you like the end result, any flavoring will work with Kombucha.
If using a Kombucha Flavoring Packet from KKamp (works with kefir or JUN as well), you will find a suggested amount per 16 oz bottle listed on the label. The amount is small, usually a teaspoon or less. This is because Kombucha is so effective at extracting flavor from whatever you put in the bottle, that not much is needed.
You can combine multiple flavors in the bottle, and then pour the Kombucha on top. Seal the bottle and allow carbonation to build during the second fermentation. This process may take 1-3 days, or longer depending on your brewing environment. As long as you leave it at room temperature, the Kombucha will continue to ferment in the bottle.
Flavoring Kombucha in the Bottle
In this video, I demonstrate and explain:
- how to flavor your Kombucha
- ideas to spark your flavor imagination
- a secret for increased carbonation
- safety tips to prevent bottle explosions
- blending other beverages with your Continuous Brewed Kombucha
- mixing kombucha into drinks for hangover prevention
Kombucha Flavoring & Bottling Safety
If not paying attention, small explosions can occur with the bottles. This is more likely if there is too much flavoring used or it is very hot, such as in Summer. To prevent explosions, burp the bottles by opening the caps slightly during the flavoring process (aka “second fermentation”) and allowing carbonation to escape. For more tips, visit this post: Bottling Kombucha Tea, Jun, Water Kefir and Milk Kefir Safely
How to Make Your Own Kombucha Flavor Recipe
Perhaps my favorite Kombucha flavorings recipe was inspired by ginger ale: a little bit of dried ginger can be added to the Kombucha for an extra kick. Ginger also increases carbonation in the Kombucha. Lemons and berries are also great additions to Kombucha. Elderberries and Goji berries are two of my favorite berry flavorings for Kombucha. Add frozen berries during cooler months. Some other seasonal Kombucha flavorings you should consider trying are:
- Spring – Elderberries, lemon, and rose petals
- Summer – Wine spritzer
- Fall – Ginger, lavender
- Winter – Frozen berries
One of the most delicious ways I’ve discovered to flavor Kombucha is with champagne or wine for a fun spritzer during hot summer months.
How to Flavor Kombucha in Batches:
Large Vessel Second Fermentation
(& then Third Fermentation in the Bottle)
For most people, the convenient way to flavor Kombucha is in the bottle. This is because you may only have a few bottles to flavor at a time. Also flavoring in each bottle allows you to create more variety, which many home brewers prefer. But there is another way to flavor Kombucha that might be the right fit for some people, and that’s flavoring in the brewing vessel or another vessel such as a gallon jar.
True Confession: This is our preferred way to flavor and bottle. We like flavor a large vessel, then strain the flavorings and then leave the brew in the bottle for 1-2 weeks until the carbonation has built up and the flavor is dry. So delicious!
However, we NEVER recommend adding flavorings to the brew with the SCOBY. That is not how to flavor Kombucha successfully! Instead, this process is done AFTER the SCOBY and starter liquid have been removed for the next batch. By taking out the SCOBYs and placing them in a Hotel or other vessel, and then taking starter liquid from the top of the brew, we have protected the ingredients for the next batch. Then you can then add whatever you want to the remaining Kombucha in the vessel.
Then either cover with the cloth again or use a hard lid if you have one. Give the brew another 1-3 days in the vessel to extract the flavor and then bottle. After bottling, the brewing vessel will need a cleaning with soap and water to remove any flavoring residue. Rinse very clean!
Note: If you are doing Kombucha Continuous Brew (vs Batch Brew), simply use the spigot to fill up a gallon jar or other vessel. Add the flavors and strain after 1-3 days.
Third Fermentation – Straining Kombucha Flavorings to Extend Shelf Life
Another advantage of this method is that you can strain the flavors from the Kombucha as you bottle. This is not a requirement because the low pH of the Kombucha will not allow any mold or other contamination to occur with the fruit/flower pieces. That said, removing the flavorings will maintain the flavor of the Kombucha in the bottle longer than leaving them in as eventually they will degrade and mix into the bottle, potentially causing off flavors. Normally we strain ours out to extend the life but it is more work.
Then the process of building that carbonation in the bottle, usually for about 1-3 days without flavors, we call Third Fermentation.
Kombucha is fun to brew, fun to drink and fun to flavor. Get creative!
How To Flavor Kombucha mini-FAQ
Can I flavor the second ferment with tisanes or fruity teas?
Yes you can flavor with literally anything that creates a beverage you enjoy. If you like it, try it!
Can I eat the flavorings after they have been in the Kombucha?
Yes! They may or may not taste good, the Kombucha takes a lot of the nutrients out, but give them a try!
How much flavoring should I add to Kombucha?
A little goes a long way. Start with a teaspoon or so per 16oz bottle and see if more or less creates the best flavor for you.
How long should I second ferment the Kombucha?
1-3 days is the average but you might let it go longer depending on carbonation and flavor.
How long will the Kombucha stay good in the bottle?
Kombucha never “spoils” but it may get too sour to enjoy. Also flavorings left in the bottle for a long time can negatively influence the flavor. But as long as you enjoy the taste and no mold appears, Kombucha can be stored at room temperature indefinitely.