BREWING YOUR OWN KOMBUCHA: SECOND FERMENTATION

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Submitted Date 04/21/2020
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The second fermentation of brewing your own kombucha is optional, however I highly recommend trying it out, and many people say it is quite an essential step to kombucha brewing. Trying it at least once to see what you like does not hurt so that you can better find out how you like your kombucha to be prepared and made. I personally can do without a second fermentation, but I do prefer it. I like the bubbliness of store bought kombuchas and I enjoy messing around with different flavors. In my opinion, the greatest thing about being able to brew your own kombucha is making your own flavors! You have your own unique bubbly kombucha flavor personally catered to your own palette. Although I do know some people who think the best part of brewing your own kombucha is being able to control the bubbliness – and keep it to a minimum. So, do as you wish, but feel free to experiment and follow along this second fermentation for some bubbly flavors. I have to admit, I do have a bit of a problem with patience, and I have skipped this step many times to drink my brew, but the wait is totally worth it.

When you bottle your kombucha for your secondary fermentation, you are forcing carbonation to happen and the flavor that you add will continue to develop. To do this, you start by removing the scoby from your kombucha.

Once you've taken the scoby out, add it to a clean glass bottle/fermentation jar and transfer two cups of the other tea to this bottle with the scoby. Now, you have the remaining kombucha in the bottle that needs to be filtered through. Filter this through, I recommend using a cheesecloth. If you don't mind the little floating bits, then it's fine, they don't hurt to consume, just preference.

Time to funnel! Once your tea is nice and filtered through, you are going to add this to your little kombucha bottles. Make sure to NOT fill the bottles all the way to the top. When you do this, your bottle is more likely to burst. Remember, you are carbonating the tea, so it needs some room to breathe. I usually leave one or two inches at the top for it to breathe.

This is where you can optionally add flavor and the options are wide open! I will list some ideas at the end of this article to help get the ball rolling.

Now back to the waiting game: you're going to let these babies sit for a while so they can carbonate. They will be sitting at room temperature just like you would when fermenting your kombucha. Make sure to keep it away from the sunlight and keep it in a nice dark place, like the closet.

You can check up on your kombucha, and it is encouraged. Maybe reserve one or two bottles for 'testing'. When I first started carbonating, trust me, I was kind of afraid all my bottles were ticking time bombs ready to set off. I was afraid of glass breaking and all the horror stories, but it turned out fine. I put two bottles to the side so I knew which ones to taste from and waited five days to try one bottle. When you open it, you'll hear the normal fizzy sound when you open kombucha or a bottle of soda. Try this bottle and make a note of how it tastes and how carbonated it is at day five. Let the others continue to sit. I've read it's recommended to leave these for ten days, though I'm sure you could go farther. I like how mine taste around day seven. In general, the second fermenting time depends on the climate of your house or room and what ingredients have been added to the tea for flavor.

Note: don't feel weird if you see a growing scoby in your bottles or normal floating strands. Remember, you are fermenting this again, so you are bound to get some more growth going on in this. I usually do not, but this is why I recommended straining with a cheesecloth first, so that if you do have additional growth, there isn't a bunch.

So once the fizziness is to your favor, you pop the bottles into the fridge to chill. You can strain again if you would like, but it's not necessary, you can also wait to do this until you open the bottle to consume.

Make note: putting these into the fridge don't stop the fermentation process. I think this is why I like to pop them in there well before ten days, since they will slowly get fizzier, and I don't usually drink all my kombucha that fast. Drink your bottles within a few months, if you leave them sitting for longer, they will most likely get sourer.

So (as promised) flavors!

Have you seen all the options for flavored kombucha in stores? There's so many different things you could do. I personally am someone that enjoys fruity flavors in my kombucha, I'm not too much of a fan of having ginger, cayenne, and all those spicy flavors in my drink, so I'm not too experienced in flavoring kombucha when it comes to those ingredients. If you love that stuff, then go for it! I would say for spices such as cayenne, if you can find a reusable tea bag that would be nice to use to add ground up spices or dried tea leaves, but it's up to you!

Make sure to account for bottle space and leaving that extra room at the top.

Here's some other ideas:

- Fresh or frozen fruit. Pop in some pineapple, raspberries, or any kind of berry.

- Juice! Add your favorite juice, about one to two ounces for every 16 ounces of booch. Some ideas are orange juice, apple cider/juice, pineapple, or pomegranate. You can also do fruit concentrate if you feel like splurging a bit, cherry juice concentrate is really good

- Hard spices like cardamom or cinnamon sticks. Try to add small cinnamon sticks or cut up ones

There are lots of other options and ideas to try out, the internet is a lovely thing with some great recipes!

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