I have to admit that until my fourth batch of kombucha, I wasn't sure I was going to stick with it.
To flavor kombucha and hopefully produce some carbonation, you can ferment it a second time. It sounded very confusing to me at first but eventually it did start to make sense: the first ferment uses the scoby to ferment the sweet tea, then you remove the scoby and add flavorings for the second ferment.
My second attempt used chopped peaches and ginger. It sounded good in theory, but I'm not a fan of the taste, and I still wasn't getting it fizzy enough.
The third batch I didn't even do a second ferment and thought I'd just drink it unflavored. I just put the jar in the refrigerator. I didn't like it much that way either. I considered giving up.
I had a glass with dinner, it had good flavor and it fizzed like sparkling cider. Oh yes, this was perfect. I was a fan again! Hubby tried a sip and made a face; he said the previous batch was better and this was too vinegar-y, but I thought it was wonderful. Me, who had a terrible sweet tooth not that long ago.
Just like with my morning smoothie, I try to use fresh, organic fruit if possible. If it's homegrown, all the better; I can and freeze a lot of homegrown fruit for use in my smoothies and will use some of it to flavor kombucha too. When I have to buy frozen or canned fruit or a bottle of juice, I look for 100% juice, or fruit canned in 100% juice with no sugar added. I'm drinking these for the health benefits as much as for the taste, so I want to keep it as healthy as possible; this isn't the place for a sugary substitute that's full of preservatives and other things I can't pronounce.
Every person's taste is different, and the temperature and brewing environment in each kitchen are unique. Everything has come together here, I think, and I've finally figured out how to make kombucha that I like. I've finally learned how much fruit and ginger to use to get the flavor and carbonation I want, and how long that second ferment should take. I'm happy.
If you brew your own kombucha, how do you flavor it? I hope you'll share in the comments.
Adventures in Kombucha
The Kombucha Adventure Begins
Flavoring Kombucha, the Second Brew
How I Make Kombucha
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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