Kombucha is tasty and unique on its own, but especially once you get a few batches under you belt, it is natural to want to start experimenting with different flavors and ingredients. One of the easiest ways to do this is in a process called Secondary Fermentation. This takes place immediately after your primary fermentation (7-10 days) is complete, using a new jar or container. The brewed kombucha will be poured off from the SCOBY into a new jar (make sure to leave enough starter liquid behind to cover your SCOBY and kick off your next batch). In the new jar, various fruits, herbs and spices can be added to bring out a whole host of other flavors and health benefits.
Once the kombucha and additives have been combined, the jar can be sealed to allow the beverage to carbonate naturally. It is extremely important to closely monitor any kombucha batch during secondary fermentation, especially when you are adding fruit or other sources of sugar. Check your jar every day and allow it to vent any excess pressure that is building up.
The kombucha is then allowed to ferment for 2-5 days, naturally carbonating and taking on new flavors. It can then be strained and served immediately, or stored in the fridge until you are ready to drink.
We have included three tasty recipes for you to try in secondary fermentation. All of these can be made with herbs you can grow directly in your garden! If homegrown herbs are not available, we always recommend using the freshest ingredients possible. Each recipe is provided for a 1 quart (4 cup) batch, but can always be scaled up or down based on your batch size.
Ginger Lemongrass Turmeric Kombucha
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, diced
- 1” piece of fresh ginger root, grated (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1” piece of fresh turmeric root, grated (or 1 tsp dried)
- Pinch of Black Pepper
- 4 cups brewed kombucha tea (recommended tea: black)
This unique-tasting recipe harnesses the anti-inflammatory properties of both ginger and turmeric roots, and has an addictive spicy flavor.
Brew your kombucha for 7-10 days. Black tea works complements the spicy nature of this recipe best, although any true tea can be used. After 7-10 days, wash and dice your lemongrass, and grate your fresh turmeric and ginger (dried can be substituted, but fresh is always best!). Combine these three ingredients in a new quart jar, and add a pinch of black pepper – a little goes a long way!
Pour your kombucha over top of the mix (do not add the SCOBY), and then cap with a lid. Allow your secondary fermentation to take place for 2-5 days, then strain and enjoy!
Strawberry Basil Kombucha
- ¼ cup fresh strawberries, diced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
- 4 cups brewed kombucha tea (recommended tea: jasmine)
Strawberry-Basil sounds like an odd flavor combination, but it is one of our favorite recipes here at Thea and is packed full of antioxidants.
For your basil, you do not need to chop or dry it. It can be added directly to your secondary batch after washing.
Brew your kombucha for 7-10 days. We find that jasmine tea complements the flavor profiles for this recipe well, although any true tea can be used. After 7-10 days, dice or cube your fresh strawberries, and combine them with the fresh basil in a new quart jar. Pour your kombucha over top of the mix (do not add the SCOBY), and then cap with a lid. Allow your secondary fermentation to take place for 2-5 days, then strain and enjoy!
Blackberry Lavender Kombucha
- ½ cup fresh blackberries, mashed or pureed
- 2 tbsp lavender buds, dried
- 4 cups brewed kombucha tea (recommended tea: green or white)
Lavender has been used for thousands of years for its calming effects, and when paired with some fresh brewed kombucha, makes for a tasty and healthy drink!
For this recipe, you will need about 1-2 tbsp of dried lavender buds per quart. If you are using fresh-grown lavender, simply cut the flowers off at the stem, bundle them together with a rubber band, and let them dry in a cool, dark place for about a week. This will help them retain their strong aroma and vibrant color. Once dried, the buds can easily be removed from the stems.
Brew your kombucha for 7-10 days. For this recipe, we recommend green or white tea to really accentuate the floral notes. After 7-10 days, mash or puree your blackberries, and combine them with the lavender buds in a new quart jar. Pour your kombucha over top of the mix (do not add the SCOBY), and then cap with a lid. Allow your secondary fermentation to take place for 2-5 days, then strain and enjoy!
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