Kombucha: How to Do a 2nd Ferment for Flavor and Fizz
I've been making fermented sweet tea, popularly known as "kombucha," for about a year or so now. But I've only JUST begun to learn about second ferments. If you are familiar with commercial kombucha, like GT Dave's and others, then you know there are all kinds of flavors and healthy additives (like spirulina, one of my favorites).
But I wasn't sure how to do that for my own kombuchas. All of my kombucha, up until recently, have been first ferments! That's fine, but I wanted to experiment with some fruity and spicy flavors and add some fizz too!
**This post is edited from its original back in the early months of my blog!
My Mom recently went to the Mother Earth News Fair in Oregon, and watched Hannah Crum give a talk about kombucha. Hannah Krum is probably THE Goddess of Kombucha fermentation. My mom bought her book for me, and I'm so very glad she did!
This is the BEST book completely dedicated to kombucha I have seen. There are multitudes of recipes and uses for kombucha and SCOBYs clearly laid out in this book. Although I've been making my own kombucha for quite awhile, THIS book is what caused me to feel confident enough to try a second ferment and not mess up my SCOBY or end up with a moldy mess.
Why You Should Consider a Second Ferment:
When you ferment your kombucha on the first round, it's great! Depending on the kind of tea you use, the type of sugar, and the origination of the SCOBY, you can create some very interesting variations! There's also the length of the first ferment: do you like your kombucha on the sweet side, or like me, do you prefer a more tart taste?
On a Second Ferment, though, you can really get into some pretty exciting tastes! By adding some fruit, spices, or herbs to your finished first ferment, you can add some really great tastes, in addition to even more health benefits from the additions. The sugars from any fruits you add can also create more fizz! Fizz equals BUBBLES! :-)
How to Do a Second Kombucha Ferment
1. Your fermented tea is done! You have taste tested it, and it is not too sweet and not too tart! You can now save your SCOBY, strain out the extra yeast strands, and save the glorious health liquid in the refrigerator and drink at will!
But WAIT! You want a bit of fruity flavor and maybe a little more fizz!???
2. Here is where you just add a handful of crushed fruit like strawberries or blueberries or apples and/or some herbs for extra healthy benefits...you get the picture. So how do you do this without creating a moldy mess? (That was my big fear.)
3. After removing the SCOBY to its hotel or into a new ferment, just add your slightly crushed fruit and herbs. They may rises to the surface. That's ok. Cover your kombucha with cheesecloth or cotton again, and just let it sit on the counter for a few more days (1 - 3 days is good---longer than that may get you into the danger zone with mold).
4. Taste test it (use a straw so you don't get fungus or bad bacteria in it) after about 2 days. Then let it sit longer for more fizz and fruit OR
5. Strain out the fruit and if there is a new "baby" forming at the top (it will look like a light colored layer of, well....baby SCOBY), then strain that out too. You can see it surrounding the fruit/leaves in the picture above! You can compost all of this---fruits/leaves/baby SCOBY.
6. Enjoy your fizzy, fruity wonder drink!
NOTE: You do need to watch it carefully, in my opinion. I still worry about mold forming. So far, though, I haven't had any problems at all! :-)
This book is AWESOME!!! Not only are there countless recipes for second ferments of kombucha tea, but there are also recipes and ideas for things to do with the SCOBYs...because they sure can reproduce! It's the BEST book around for the beginning and intermediate kombucha fermenter I have found!
**There are affiliate links in this post. If you click on them and choose to make a purchase I will receive a very small commission, and it will cost you nothing.