Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Make Flavored Kombucha Tea

We've been brewing our own kombucha tea for several years now.  We brew multiple gallons of kombucha at a time, and over the last year or so we've experimented quite a bit with making different flavors. Making flavored kombucha tea is really quite simple to do, but there are some subtle differences to making each flavor the best it can be.

Start with Some Finished Kombucha

To make flavored kombucha, you need to start with some plain kombucha. You can see my recipe for making kombucha tea here. We pour the finished kombucha into 2-cup jars and flavor each jar individually. We like to save bottles from the GT's kombucha sold in stores for this purpose, and we also use mason jars.  If you want your kombucha to be extra fizzy, Fido jars work well.  I wouldn't recommend using bottles with very small openings with this method, as it will be particularly difficult to clean them out and make sure that all the flavoring bits are removed.

Our Favorite Flavors

These are the flavors we keep making time and time again. With all of these flavors, a short fermenting time on the counter helps develop the flavors and create a bit of fizz.  The ideal fermenting time varies a bit with each flavor, so read below for specific details.  All of the amounts listed below correspond to a 2-cup (16-ounce) jar of plain kombucha.
  • Raspberry - Raspberry kombucha is slightly sweet and delicious.  This is a great flavor to use for people who haven't learned to love the tanginess of kombucha quite yet.
    • I find that frozen raspberries have the best flavor and the least chance of any mold contamination. The berries you use must be absolutely mold-free, else the kombucha will be nasty.
    • Add ~6 raspberries to each jar. 
    • Leave the jar to ferment on the counter for 2 days and then transfer to the refrigerator.
    • When pouring the raspberry kombucha from each jar, a fork can be used to keep the berries from falling into each drink.  Our backyard chickens absolutely love to eat these kombucha-flavored berries, but they would also be a great addition to the compost heap.

  • Fresh Ginger - Fresh ginger added to kombucha makes an amazingly refreshing drink.
    • Use either a garlic press or a juicer to prepare the ginger. I do not recommend chopping/mincing the ginger for use in kombucha because it is rather fibrous.  Using a garlic press or juicer will remove most of the fibrous material, and the kombucha is much better without it. I slice the ginger into roughly 1/4-inch pieces before pressing it in my garlic press. 
    • Add the pressed/juiced ginger to each jar of kombucha.  Even a small amount (< 1/8 tsp) of ginger per jar is delicious, but for the best flavor I like to use a larger amount (~1/4 tsp).
    • Leave the jar to ferment on the counter for 1-2 days and then transfer to the refrigerator.
    • We drink this kombucha and the ginger bits without straining it.
  • Lemon - Lemon kombucha is superb!  Such a simple, fresh flavor.
    • Use a reamer to juice some lemons. Don't be tempted to just squeeze the lemons, as you will get MUCH more juice using a reamer. It is fine if there is pulp along with the juice, but be sure to remove any lemon seeds.
    • Add 1-3 tsp lemon juice per jar. Using 3 tsp will give you a nicely tart drink, whereas 1 tsp of lemon juice adds a more mild flavor.
    • Only allow lemon kombucha to sit on the counter for 12-15 hours. If it sits out longer, it will grow lots of little SCOBY bits that aren't desirable for drinking.
    • We drink lemon kombucha without straining out the pulp.
  • Lemon Ginger - Lemon and ginger combine to make a very tasty drink.
    • Prepare the ginger and lemon juice using the same methods described for the lemon and ginger kombuchas.
    • Add 1/4 tsp ginger and 2 tsp lemon juice to each jar.
    • Only allow ginger lemon kombucha to sit on the counter for 12-15 hours. If it sits out longer, it will grow lots of little SCOBY bits that aren't desirable for drinking.
  • Lemon Raspberry - Lemon raspberry kombucha is reminiscent of raspberry lemonade, but with a delicious tanginess.
    • Prepare the lemon juice using the same method described for the lemon kombucha.
    • Add 6 raspberries and 2 tsp lemon juice to each jar.
    • Only allow lemon raspberry kombucha to sit on the counter for 12-15 hours. If it sits out longer, it will grow lots of little SCOBY bits that aren't desirable for drinking.
  • Triple Tasty! Ginger, Lemon, and Raspberry - For an extra flavor punch, try combining all three flavorings.
    • Prepare the ginger and lemon juice using the same methods described for the lemon and ginger kombuchas.
    • Add 4 raspberries, 1/4 tsp ginger, and 2 tsp lemon juice to each jar.
    • Only allow triple kombucha to sit on the counter for 12-15 hours. If it sits out longer, it will grow lots of little SCOBY bits that aren't desirable for drinking.

Some Flavors We Haven't Enjoyed

There are a few flavors of kombucha we have tried that did not turn out so well: strawberry, orange, blueberry, and blackberry.  They are still drinkable, but nearly as tasty as our favorite flavors.

Do you brew your own kombucha?  Do you enjoy it plain, or flavored?  What is your favorite flavor?

This post is part of Fat Tuesday! 

13 comments:

The Entwife said...

Your pin button doesn't work for me to pin it. I was going to do this.
Jennifer

Sarah Smith said...

Thanks for letting me know. I think it is fixed now!

Anonymous said...

Ginger is our favorite, blackberry our 2nd favorite. We like strawberry a lot, in the summer in particular. We do, however, strain any flavor before we drink. You might inspire me to step out of my little girl boots, tho. ;) Need to try your your recipes here. Have wanted to try lemon/raspberry and now I have a recipe, thanks!

We are not fans of blueberry, orange, apple or pear. I'd love to know if anyone has a secret for doing a good pear one.

Thanks for this post! ~Lynda

Pru said...

I love ginger in anything and quite often put ginger and turmeric together. I also use a tea from where I work called Berry Blend to which I add cinnamon quills and fresh berries for the secondary fermentation process.....so SO delicious....I am very keen to try the raspberry and raspberry and lemon flavours...thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about kids and kombucha. i was drinking this everyday, but have reduced because the first time i drank an entire bottle it made me feel sick that evening. i reduced to half a bottle and didn't feel bad. my kids love it but i have been worried about giving them to much, it is a strong detoxifier and can be hard on your system if your compromised.

Sarah Smith said...

Yes, it is a strong detoxifier. This just means you need to start slowly and gradually increase how much you drink overtime. We have done this, and now everyone in our family can drink as much as we like with no issues.

mygapsmusings said...

I just made the raspberry lemon kombucha and it's amazing!! The color is incredible and the taste is so cleanly raspberry (didn't taste much lemon - I might try some zest). I'm going to try and ginger soon (it's one of my favorite flavors). Thanks for inspiring me to get back to kombucha again!! I went to a WAPF meeting last week and the topic was fermented drinks. I couldn't wait to get back home and try your recipe.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried flavoring with pears or plums??

Susie Foster said...

I cut up red, seedless grapes and add them to a bottled of finished kombucha. I left it out on the counter for 2 days. It was delish. I also like to use craisins.

Lisa said...

I love the raspberry, but fresh peach is great too. I process the peach into a fine pulp then add to the kombucha jar, let sit 2-3 days and drink pulp and all.

Cyprodite said...

My absolute favourite is pineapple. You can just use the peels and then strain. I also love mango.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they are both good. I put 1/2 plum per bottle (Kombucha bottle from store) and a slice of pear (what ever size you like). Let sit 2-3 days. I have a small plastic strainer that I use to catch any fruit or SCOBY's etc. and yes, chickens love the fermented fruit! Some I have even added to my greek yogurt ...depends on the fruit.

Billy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! I love seeing recipes on how to make kombucha; all the different types of recipes and flavorings you can do is so great!