I was recently asked how we make our kombucha as bubbly and tasty as the bottles you can buy in the store. Stewart absolutely loves this stuff. This from the man who stood in our 600 square foot apartment and looked skeptically at me five years ago when I held up a bottle of fizzy, tangy witchamacallit and asked “You wanna’ try it?”
“Uh, no.” He said, with that look he gets when I’m trying to convince him of something new and weird (and usually fermented).
It’s the exact same look he gave me when I first waxed poetic about the health benefits of butter six years ago. It’s the exact same look I got when I tried to talk him into milk kefir using the phrase milk champagne. And it’s a little kinder than the look he gave me when I said “Honey, there’s beef heart in those hamburgers.”
A little advice, ladies – don’t mess with a man’s hamburger. (Stewart now doesn’t mind things mixed in… too much.)
Anyway, he loves fizzy kombucha, especially of the grape variety. I wondered about the sustainability of buying a bottle of juice every time I got ready to bottle a new batch, though. So now I like using fresh or dried fruit as the flavoring.
The batch in the photos was made by simply adding a slice of the only fruit we had in the house- an orange – to each bottle. So if you’re thinking it’s a lot of work and super complicated, then don’t.
Because you know that if it was either of those two things I probably would have quit making kombucha regularly a long time ago.
Fizzy Kombucha: The Second Fermentation
- Perform an initial fermentation on your kombucha in an open-air vessel covered with a towel. “Harvest” this kombucha when it is still just a bit sweet, even if you like it really tangy like we do.
- Pour into a bottle that will remain airtight once capped, leaving some room for an ounce or two of juice or fruit. We use kombucha bottles that we bought from the store and saved or quart jars.
- Add juice, a tablespoon or two of dried fruit, or a segment of fresh fruit to your bottle. Grape juice*, pears, apples, oranges, grapefruit, and berries are all delicious candidates. If you aren’t adding much fruit but still want more carbonation you can add a bit of sugar or honey. The culture will feed off of the sugar in the sugar, honey, or fruit, and produce the gas necessary to create carbonation.
- Seal the bottle tightly and place in a warm spot to ferment a few more days and up to a week, depending on your temperature.
- Kombucha is ready when it is good and carbonated upon opening. Do be careful not to let it go too long because it can get dangerous, depending on what type of vessel you are using. Exploding kombucha can get messy.
- Once carbonated you can drink it right away or put it into some type of cold storage. The cooler temperatures slow down the culture which slow down the carbonation.
* Emphasis Added – My name is Stewart and I approve of grape juice flavored Kombucha as perhaps the best fizzy drink known to man.
Need extra advice on Kombucha? Check out the Kombucha Expert Advice Articles on the main Cultures for Health site.