2 gallon brewing jars with kombucha and SCOBY
Kombucha - Recipes - Wellness

How to Bottle and Flavor Homemade Kombucha

What’s Next: What to Do with Your Brew. Tips on Bottling Your Homemade Kombucha and Recipes for Flavoring.

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2 gallon jugs of kombucha: how to bottle and flavor kombucha
2 gallons of kombucha in brewing jars with SCOBY

If you haven’t read about brewing kombucha, be sure to check out that post first before reading about bottling and flavoring your kombucha.

Once the first part of the brewing process is down pat to make your own homemade kombucha, it’s pretty straightforward and smooth sailing from here. Before proceeding, make sure your SCOBY looks good to go. You may notice that the SCOBY got larger and thicker than when you initially put it in the jar. Check to make sure there is no mold growing. For examples of what to look for check here. Remember, cold equals mold, so if the temperatures where you had the jar stored were not warm enough, it can lead to mold growing. If all looks good, congratulations! You’ve completed the first ferment.

Now onto the best part – personalizing your kombucha and putting your own spin on its flavor. After 7 to 21 days, your kombucha should be all set for the next stage of the process, or the second ferment. The amount of days your kombucha will sit in the brewing jar during the first ferment is highly dependent upon the temperatures where it is stored. The second ferment is when kombucha will develop its carbonation and flavoring.

Flip top bottle with flavored kombucha sitting on a counter
A bottle of flavored kombucha

The Step-by-Step Process to Flavoring Kombucha

Here are step-by-step types to transfer the brew from the brewing jars to the glass bottles and different flavorings to try. Depending on the temperature of your home, it could take as little as 2 to 4 days for the second ferment to be completed. It may take longer and also depend on the amount of carbonation you prefer.

Tools

  • Brewing jar with first ferment
  • jar or bowl
  • Glass bottles
  • funnel
  • Fruit and/or herb of your choice
  • Blender (optional)
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • measuring cup (preferably 1 cup)

How to Bottle Kombucha

Instructions:

  1. Prior to bottling, sanitize the bottles to which the kombucha is being transferred. Remember, don’t use anti-bacterial soap to sanitize since it’ll kill the bacteria that you need for brewing and bottling.
  2. Remove the cover from the brewing jar.
  3. Place the bowl or jar next to the brewing jar. With clean hands, remove SCOBY from the brew jar and place it in the bowl or jar. Take the measuring cup and remove 1 cup of the brewed tea. A cup of the brewed tea will be needed for your next brew. Cover the bowl or jar with the SCOBY to prevent any contamination.
  4. Place the funnel in the spout of the bottle. Slowly pour the kombucha from the brewing jar into the funnel, leaving enough space for gas/carbonation build up.
  5. Repeat step 4 until all of the bottles are filled with the brew.
Hand full of raspberries

How to Flavor Your Brew

For the next step, you can either cut the fruit into small enough pieces to fit through the neck of the bottle, or blend the fruit and then pour into the bottles.

It’s all about preference. In my personal opinion, blending the fruit tends to provide the best carbonation results. It seems that by blending the fruit, it allows the bacteria and yeast to eat the sugar easily in comparison to chunks of fruit.

Spoon rest on counter full of strawberries

Kombucha Flavor Ideas

Here’s a list of tasty kombucha flavor ideas to try that mix fruit and herbs, Don’t be afraid to experiment with the flavors! This is your own home brewed beverage so it’s totally up to you how you want to flavor it.

  • Mango and ginger
  • Strawberry and basil
  • Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
  • strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
  • Peach and plum
  • Apricot, peach, and nectarine
  • Pineapple Kombucha | Cooking Light
  • Apples and pears
  • Fruit punch (apple, orange, strawberries, and blueberries)
  • Pumpkin pie (pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg)
  • Lemon, lavender, honey

What fruit recipe are you looking to try, or if you already brew your own kombucha, what’s your favorite flavor?

Recipes coming soon!

FAQ: Troubleshooting and Common Questions

  1. Who shouldn’t drink kombucha?

Kombucha is generally safe to consume. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid drinking it. For more information on potential side effects of kombucha, check out Healthline’s article, 5 Side Effects of Too Much Kombucha.

  1. What does kombucha taste like?

What kombucha tastes like partially depends on how it’s flavored. There are so many combinations of flavors you can choose from. Overall regardless of what flavoring you choose, each kombucha has a tart and somewhat sour taste. How bubbly it is depends on how long you do the second fermentation and the conditions of where it’s stored. Warmer conditions allow quicker and more carbonation.

  1. Why does my kombucha taste like vinegar?

Kombucha may have a slight vinegar smell and taste to it. The vinegar taste comes from a natural occurring chemical called acetic acid. Kombucha’s acidity is about 1% whereas  vinegar is between 4 to 7%. It should not have an overpowering taste of vinegar. If the taste is overpowering, it could be the result of using the wrong sugar, it brewed for too long, there was too much heat, or there are too many SCOBY in the brew jar.

  1. Does kombucha need to be refrigerated?

During the brewing and flavoring process, it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. After the fermentation process, it needs to be refrigerated. Leaving your tasty beverage without refrigeration causes a change in flavor, carbonation, alcohol content, and other characteristics of the brew.

  1. Does kombucha have to be shaken?

No, it’s not advised to shake kombucha. Kombucha is carbonated so shaking it will cause a lot of built up pressure. Treat it like soda! We don’t shake soda because of the carbonation.

For more FAQs, check out my post on Home Brewed Kombucha: How to Make Kombucha!

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