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Can You Add Juice To Kombucha? [Secondary Fermentation]

can you add juice to kombucha

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 for starter tea, but you may be wondering how to flavor your kombucha and when in the process to do it.

So, Can you add Juice to Kombucha?

You can add juice to your kombucha before the second fermentation in order to sweeten it, add carbonation, and to give it flavor.

It is best to use fresh juice.

If fresh juice is not available, using natural, unsweetened juice is the next best option.

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.

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?

what is secondary fermentation

When you are doing the first fermentation for homemade kombucha, 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 brewing 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 2nd fermentation.

For the secondary fermentation, this is when we will be adding flavor as well as building level of carbonation.

For this step, you will bottle your fizzy kombucha in sterilized glass, kombucha bottles, or plastic bottles with non-metal lids, and close them.

This will allow carbonation to build during the fermentation time.

However, in order to build enough carbonation, the kombucha will need some additional white 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 after the carbonation process for 1-2 days.

It is important to put your kombucha in the fridge inside the airtight bottle as soon as it is done, as the flip-top bottles or glass bottles will explode if you do not.

Refrigeration stops the fermentation process of homemade kombucha, which is why when you buy 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 for a batch of kombucha 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.

To give you some ideas to get started, here are some of our favorite juice blends to add to our kombucha before the secondary fermentation process:

  • Blackberry and Mint
  • Ginger and Peach
  • Rhubarb and Lemon
  • Cranberry and Orange
  • Strawberry and Basil
  • Cucumber and Lime
  • Beet and Blueberry
  • Apple and Kale
  • Cantelope and Celery

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.

In a farmer’s market, the people selling your products are also cooking with them 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.

Another idea is to go to your local ice cream and gelato store that makes it on-site with local ingredients.

They are likely to have interesting flavor combinations made from in-season produce that you can then recreate as a kombucha flavor of your very own.

If you don’t have one of these near you, just peruse the frozen section of your local grocery store. You never know where inspiration may strike!

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 glass 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.

This can help you have many health benefits like better mood, managing your weight, and feeling more alive.

The Mayo Clinic has warned that drinking kombucha can lead to stomach problems, but these problems are generally linked to kombucha that has not been properly made, or when someone drinks too much Kombucha.

You should limit yourself to one standard 16-ounce bottle of Kombucha a day. You should also make sure that you are following all appropriate safety measures if you are homebrewing your kombucha.

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.