How to Bottle and Flavor Kombucha
Now, for our favorite part: bottling and flavoring the kombucha! Bottling is an important part of the overall process and impacts the final taste of the brew. Here at Joshua Tree Kombucha, some of our favorite additions to our home brewed kombucha are passionfruit, lavender and dragon fruit. This next phase allows you to infuse your own creativity and favorite flavors into your kombucha.
How do I bottle kombucha?
Step 1. Remove and store your scoby
Remove the scoby from the 1 gallon jar and place in a clean container. Pour out ~1 to 1.5 cups of kombucha and into the container with the scoby and cover with fermenting cloth. This will serve as your starter tea and culture for your next batch.
Step 2. Flavoring kombucha
If you are choosing to flavor your kombucha, add now. You can use your favorite combination of fruits (raw or frozen), herbs or juice. Always be sure any flavoring is 100% natural with no additives. You can create any blend you wish!
Visit https://joshuatreekombucha.com/blogs/recipes to try some of our favorite recipes!
Step 3. Pour kombucha into airtight bottle or jar
Using a funnel (strainer optional), pour your fermented kombucha into any airtight bottle or jar. Make sure to leave 1.5 inches of head space to avoid pressure build up.
Step 4. Seal and store bottles
Seal your bottles and leave at rom temperature for 1-4 days to add carbonation to your kombucha.
Step 5. Check on your brew
Carefully open the tops of each bottle to allow C02 to escape every day(aka "burp" your bottle). This will ease the pressure in the bottles and ensure the kombucha isn’t a fizzy mess when you are ready to drink it.
Have a teaspoon of the kombucha to see if the flavors have settled. If not strong enough, try again in a day.
Step 6. Refrigerate
Once optimal level of flavor and carbonation are reached, place bottles in the refrigerator to stop further fermentation.
Step 7. Enjoy your creation!
Drink up and share with friends! Don't forget to tag us on Instagram @joshuatreekombucha with all of your amazing creations.
Which bottles or jars should I use?
The first main step in bottling kombucha is deciding what kind of bottle or jar to use. Here are various options:
EZ Cap Glass Bottles:
If you like your kombucha extra fizzy and carbonated, this type of bottle is ideal. With airtight bottles, less CO2 escapes and thus increases carbonation in the drink. The only time you loosen the cap a bit is when you are making your bottle or jar burp (more on that later).
Old Wine Bottles:
This classy take on bottling can handle the pressure of storing kombucha. Enthusiasts often times go with recycling old liquor bottles with a secure cork to seal them. So in case that it “explodes”, instead of busting the bottle itself, the cork just pops out. Be prepared to clean up the mess though.
Glass Bottles with Screw-On Caps:
As long as the glass bottle is thick and the cap is made of strong steel, then this method will work. Avoid using aluminum or plastic caps. The built up carbonation and level of acidity will deform these caps and can potentially cause them to pop off.
How long do I leave the kombucha out during the bottling period (second fermentation)?
At room temperature (about 65-72°F), the kombucha should be out for at least 24 hours and no more than 4 days. After a day, have a teaspoon of the kombucha to see if the flavors have settled. If the flavors are not strong enough, try again in a day or so. Note: Don’t shake the bottle.This can lead to a fizzy mess.
What flavors should I use?
Fresh fruits and herbs are recommended especially when they are in season. If you want a healthy version of kombucha, lemon and honey are 2 of the first ingredients that come to mind.
For a 16 oz. bottle, a good estimate is half a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice and half a teaspoon of raw honey. Adjust flavoring based on preference. Your taste buds will guide you to a good tasting brew of kombucha made right in your home.
For more recipes, check out the link here.
How much kombucha do I funnel into the bottle?
Funnel the kombucha into the bottle with a maximum 1.5 inches o headspace. The less space you have, the more carbonation will form. Be sure to burp your bottle!
How can you make your bottles “burp”?
Simply loosen the cap for a couple of seconds, let the air out and tighten the cap again. It lessens chances of getting your bottle popped. To be safe, have the bottles or jars stored in a cupboard or some other place where nobody gets hurt if any of these bottles pop. Mistakes happen along the way, so preventative methods are valuable.
How long does a kombucha brew last before it goes bad?
The longer the kombucha brews, the more acidic it will become. Good news. It does not “go bad”. It just affects the taste of the kombucha brew as the fermentation process continues. You only have to worry once it strays from the flavor that you had in mind.
How can the kombucha brew get more carbonated when bottled?
It comes from the difference in procedure. During the first stage of fermentation, you used a cloth to cover the jar that fermented the kombucha. During the second stage of fermentation, you bottled the kombucha with a tightly sealed cap. The cap, as opposed to the cloth, traps the carbon dioxide found in the kombucha brew. This leads to the delightful fizziness!
How do I stop the second fermentation?
Simply place the bottle in the refrigerator. The cold will slow the fermentation and prevent significant CO2 buildup.