Hello, I’m back! I had to take some time off of writing for family reasons (all good stuff :)) but I am back and ready to start at it again.
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So, as promised, I’ll tell you how to flavour your finished kombucha. Now your kombucha will have been fermenting for anywhere from 5 to 30+ days, this all depends on your taste. The longer you let it ferment the more of a vinegar taste it will have. Personally, I like to leave it about 6-7 days during summer months and about 2 weeks in winter. The warmer the temperature the faster it will ferment.
You’ll want to make sure your hands are clean and free of any soap residue. Reach inside the vessel and grab the pellicle and place it in a clean bowl with about 1 1/2 cup of the liquid and cover with a cloth. This will be the starter for your next batch.
You’ll need some good quality flip-top bottles or any kind of glass bottle that is rated for pressure. Kombucha can get very fizzy and create a lot of pressure!
For flavour, you can use almost anything. Fruit juice, herbal tea, fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, the list can go on. Basically, if you think it would be good, try it. The worst that can happen is that it tastes horrible and you’ll learn a lesson haha. Don’t use raw honey as the antibacterial properties and enzymes in it fight the good bacteria in the kombucha. I have never tried it but I have heard that you can use pasteurized honey.
I, personally, like fruit juice. It’s easy, quick, and I like it. Perhaps when I get tired of the flavouring and want to experiment more I’ll branch out. For now, I’m happy with fruit juice.
You can add anywhere from a tablespoon to a cup. This depends on your tastes and the size of the bottle you’re using. I suggest trial and error because everyone’s different 🙂 To give you an idea, in a 750 ml bottle I use a half cup of juice and that’s perfect for me. Some like a more subtle flavour and only use a tablespoon.
Measure out the juice (or whatever you’re using) and pour it in the bottle using a funnel. Add the kombucha until there’s about an inch of headspace. If you have too much headspace you’ll get too much pressure and likely an explosion, If you have too little headspace you don’t get any pressure and your drink won’t be fizzy. Once full, seal the bottles and place them on the counter for a day or two. This is called ferment two or F2.
During F2 you’ll want to “burp” the bottle to release the pressure. If you don’t do this there will most likely be an explosion! The way I know it’s finished with F2 is if I open the bottle to burp and the fizz comes straight to the surface or if it bubbles over then it’s done and can go into the fridge. Once in the fridge, it slows the F2 down and you won’t have to burp them. You have to be really fast when you burp the bottle because it can bubble over quickly and you can lose a lot!
Once in the fridge, kombucha will last for months and months. You can either start a new batch with the pellicle and starter or you can place them in a small amount of sweet tea and start another batch when you’re almost finished the kombucha that’s in the fridge. Whichever you choose just remember to never place your pellicle in the fridge! It will most likely die. Just leave it on the counter and every few weeks give it a little sweet tea until you’re ready to brew again.
That’s really all there is to it! Once you have to basics then it’s really about experimenting and finding what you like. Have fun with it!