Alright folks. This is where the magic happens. The first ferment is pretty cool too though. After the first ferment, technically you have kombucha! If you missed out on how to get to this point, and why you should be drinking kombucha, check out Easy Kombucha Making Part 1: The First Ferment. Your kombucha at this point, however, is unflavored and non-carbonated. The second ferment is where you add in whatever flavor you like and make the kombucha fizzy like soda!
The flavor combinations you can come up with here are endless! You can use pretty much any fruit or combination of fruit juices that you like. This is your chance to get creative and personalize your kombucha to your liking! Here are a few of my favorite flavors:
- Lemon Lime
- Cherry Cranberry
- Orange Ginger
- Mango Pineapple
You can also add chia seeds to turn your everyday kombucha into a filling protein and energy boosting drink! Chia seeds are also a great source of essential fatty acids (essential means your body doesn’t make them so you have to get them via your diet!). I like to use this kind of chia seeds. The addition of chia seeds would be done after the second ferment is finished though, not during. You will want to rehydrate your chia seeds before you add them to your kombucha or else they will just clump up and sink to the bottom in a yucky gelatinous mess. To do this, just add a tablespoon or so of chia seeds to about 1/2 cup of filtered water and plop it in the fridge for a couple of hours. The chia seeds will absorb the water and get nice and plump. When you’re ready to add them to your kombucha, just strain the water off and add the seeds!
So how do you know when your first ferment is done? Well, I go by SCOBY thickness. I start checking after about a week. Just lift up the tea towel and see how thick your SCOBY is. The thicker it is, the tangier it will be! This part takes some experimentation and taste testing. Just figure out what you like. Sometimes I let mine go for a week. Sometimes I let it go for a month, but generally I like the taste of my kombucha when my SCOBY is around 1/4 inch thick. It depends highly on the humidity in your home. It may be a matter of trial and error, but to be honest, I have NEVER had a batch NOT turn out.
Alright folks, this is where I get real scientific. Okay I’m kidding. If you know Happy Healthnut well, you know that I’m more of a dash-of-this and pinch-of-that girl. Not so exact, but it works for me. Perhaps that’s why my baking doesn’t usually turn out all that well.
So what do you need?
- Your batch of kombucha that has gone through the first ferment
- 1 cup of fruit juice per 1 gallon of kombucha—-ISH
- airtight bottles. I like to use these ones. But sometimes I also just use my old kombucha bottles.
- a funnel like this is helpful, but not necessary. I don’t have one and I get along just fine (with a little extra mess). I just use my glass measuring cup that has a pour spout.
To get your second ferment started…
- Distribute the juice evenly among your bottles
- Just to give you an idea, I usually do about a quarter cup of juice for a 1 liter bottle.
- Remove your SCOBYs from your batch of first fermented kombucha. Notice I said SCOBYs plural. You will now have two of those bad boys! A mother and a baby. You will want to store those in a GLASS container with enough kombucha to cover them. Keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to make another batch. Each time you brew, you will gain another SCOBY, so if you really enjoy this process and love your homemade booch, you will soon have quite the collection of SCOBYs. You can give them away to your friends so that they can brew their own booch, or you can balance the pH of your garden with them. To find out how to do that, check out this post from Real Food RN on Using SCOBYs to Balance Garden pH.
- Distribute the kombucha into your glass bottles, filling to within 1 inch of the top. Don’t fill it it to top, as it will need a bit of wiggle room to expand as it carbonates.
- Now leave your bottles to do their magic. The same place you left your first ferment to go to work is perfect. So we’re talking a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
- Let them ferment for anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. It really depends on how fizzy you like it! For me, it’s about a week. You might notice some floaty-type things going on in there. That’s completely normal. It looks gross, but it’s just yeast. Get over it. Some people even like to drink it. I tend not to, but do what you like.
- When you reach your desired fizzinness, store your yummy flavored fizzy kombucha in the fridge and enjoy! Don’t forget to save a cup or so for your next batch!
*A note on juices. You can use pasteurized juice if you like. It will still work. All you really need from it is the sugar. However, I like to use fresh. You can juice your own fruits, or you can blend them up in a high speed blender and strain it. Either way, the outcome will be the same.
Have you ever made your own kombucha? I’d love for you to share all of your tips and tricks for the kombucha-brewing newbies out there!
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