If you can make your own fermented tea at home, then you have the added advantage of enjoying personalized flavors and different blends for every family member. There are many ways of changing the flavor, for example, through second fermentation of Kombucha tea, choosing a different tea, or simply adding a new flavor. This guide provides flavoring ideas and some inspirations on bottling.
How to influence the flavor
Increase fermentation time
If fermented for long, the tea becomes more acidic and sour; but healthier. It is advisable to have it fermenting for at least one week but not more than 4 weeks. Start checking the taste of the brown tea after 7 days. This should be done with a non-metallic object like a straw. After you get the right sweetness and sourness, pour the tea into a bottle for flavoring.
Why you should opt for Kombucha second fermentation
There are several benefits that come with further fermentation. First of all, the process melds the flavor so that it becomes more complex and deeper. In addition, carbonation remains when the tea is bottled and contained airtight, adding a fizzy sensation.
Use a different form of tea
The taste of the finished liquid can be a factor of what type of tea you are using. A different beverage should taste different even before you add other flavors. There are many varieties in the market ranging from white to black teas.
After the first fermentation, remove the scoby and add your favorite flavor. Then you can consume the beverage immediately or proceed to second fermentation for a more complex tea. When it comes to flavoring, there are countless options from herbs, spices, fruits, and juices. Use the following guidelines.
i. Use 10% to 30% dried, fresh or frozen fruit and 70% to 90% of the tea
ii. For juice flavors, use 10% to 20% juice and 80% to 90% of the tea
iii. When using herbs or spices, experiment the different strengths and varieties to achieve the desired combos
iv. With vanilla and almond, use a quarter of a teaspoon for one cup of the tea. Adjust the flavor and let it continue during the second fermentation stage
The most popular Kombucha flavors are Chocolate raspberry, pumpkin spice, strawberry, grapefruit, clean green, citrus, apple cinnamon, lemon and ginger, lavender and chamomile, elderberry, chia seed, and coffee flavor. Cinnamon is compatible with other flavors such as apple juice and blueberries; while almond extract can be combined with cherries and pears.
* Just when the sweet taste balanced with sourness, bottle the tea to make sure that that the drink is not sugary. When the two aspects are balanced, carbonation builds up easily in a period of one or two weeks. Note the differences brought by the type of tea you choose and this will help you enhance your brewing skills.
* Fill in the glass bottles and the plastic ones at the same time. It will help you see when sufficient carbonation occurs depending on the quality and ambiance employed. The plastic bottles respond quickly to carbonation if their cork is tightened. Therefore, you will also know that the glass bottles have similar amounts of carbon at the same time. The idea is to avoid wastage of carbonation when opening every single bottle to check the fizzy effect.
*Use quality bottles. Find the strongest containers, UV-resistant, and with great seals. Flip-top bottle are also great options for home-brews and they can withstand high pressure. However, glass is always better than plastic.
* Be cautious when opening the bottles. During the second fermentation of Kombucha tea, carbon dioxide continues to build up, causing the bottle to remain under pressure. So, it should be opened slowly. A good tip is to cover up the bottle with a clean fabric material when opening to prevent the fizzling drink from sprinkling all over your kitchen. This should be done over the kitchen sink while burping the bottle to release pressure.
Keep in mind that Kombucha health benefits increase during second fermentation. Hopefully, the named technique will enhance your home brews.