Making kombucha at home is a rewarding experience that can save you a ton of money compared to buying store-bought kombucha.
One of the best parts of this process is being able to choose your own flavors, but you may be wondering how to flavor your kombucha and when in the process to do it.
If you need more information about how to properly add juice to your homebrewed kombucha before the second fermentation, keep on reading.
We’re going to tell you all you need to know about how to add juice to your kombucha so that you can create the kombucha flavor of your dreams.
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How To Add Juice To Kombucha
After your kombucha has gone through its first fermentation process with the SCOBY in your large open glass container, it is time to bottle it for the second fermentation.
In order to create the carbonation, you must add some more sugar to your kombucha, which will allow for more fermentation to occur inside the bottle, and thus allow carbonation to form.
One of the best ways to add more sugar to your kombucha is to use a natural fruit juice, which will be filled with natural sugars. Not only will this help you build carbonation in your kombucha, but it will also give you a nice flavor.
You can use a singular juice or mix different juices together to create your own flavor. The best juice is fresh-squeezed or cold-pressed, but you can use any natural unsweetened juice.
You will want to add 1 to 2 ounces of juice to every 16-ounce (pint) bottle of Kombucha.
What Is The Secondary Fermentation?
When you are doing the first fermentation, your kombucha will be in a large glass jar with muslin or layered cheesecloth over the top to keep any dirt or dust from getting inside.
You should taste your kombucha regularly during this process to get to the correct balance of sweet and tart that suits your tastes.
Once you get to the correct balance of tart and sweet, it is time for the second fermentation. For the second fermentation, this is when we will be adding flavor as well as building carbonation.
For this step, you will bottle your kombucha in sterilized glass or plastic bottles with non-metal lids, and close them.
This will allow carbonation to build during the fermentation process. However, in order to build enough carbonation, the kombucha will need some additional sugar in order to continue to ferment.
This is when your juice comes in.
While you could use just some type of natural sugar, most people like to sweeten their kombucha with some natural fruit juice at this second stage in order to create their own custom flavors.
Once your kombucha is bottled and sweetened, you will allow it to build carbonation for 1-2 days.
It is important to put your kombucha in the fridge as soon as it is done, as the bottles will explode if you do not.
Refrigeration stops the fermentation process, which is why when you by bottled kombucha from a store, it is always in the refrigerated section.
The Best Juice To Add To Kombucha
You can add any juice you would like before the second fermentation stage when making your kombucha.
We personally like to create custom flavors based on what natural and local produce are available during that season, but you can even use frozen fruit if you have to.
We like to use a juicer at our home, but you could even get a pre-made cold-pressed blend from your favorite local juice shop and use that instead.
When you are making your own kombucha, the best thing to do is to look at the flavors you like the most and choose those juices. You can also blend juices with syrups.
Here is a Great Video On Kombucha Flavoring
We particularly like using floral syrups such as hibiscus, rose, lavender, and elderflower to mix with fruit juices to make complex and interesting flavors.
If you need more ideas when choosing what juice to flavor your kombucha with, let nature be your guide. We suggest going to your local farmer’s market and choosing the fresh produce that speaks to you.
If you are having trouble creating flavor pairings, then talk to the people who are selling the product to you.
At farmer’s markets, the people selling your produce are also cooking with it and making their own creations on a regular basis.
They may have some wonderful flavor combinations they used in a smoothie or fruit tarte that you can adapt to your kombucha flavorings.
Considerations When Making Your Own Kombucha
When you are making your own kombucha, it is important to ensure that you sterilize everything with hot water and soap and to rinse thoroughly before every step.
You will need to sterilize the large glass container right before the first fermentation process.
Then, before the second fermentation stage, you will need to make sure that you are sterilizing all the bottles and bottle tops before you are bottling the kombucha and the juice of your choice.
Make sure that you are sterilizing your equipment right before you use it.
You want to do this to ensure that you are not growing any bacteria that can be harmful to you, and only growing the healthy probiotics that will help you have a healthier and more diverse microbiome, which can help you have a better mood, manage your weight, and feel more alive.
If you are not going to be able to sterilize your equipment properly, then you should be buying kombucha from a local kombucha supplier or your grocery store.
There, you will be able to find plenty of different flavors to choose from and can feel safe knowing that the kombucha you are buying is made in a sterilized environment that follows FDA regulations for cleanliness.