Homemade Kombucha - Second Fermentation

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When brewing kombucha, fermented tea, you have the option of brewing the kombucha tea right up until the first fermentation and then enjoying it immediately with all the health benefits of probiotics or you can proceed with a second fermentation, which is optional but highly recommended. The second fermentation is an opportunity to add flavor and effervescence to your kombucha tea. Most kombuchas sold in stores are flavored kombuchas that have undergone a second fermentation.
We've found that adding extra flavor really enhances the flavor of kombucha. Particularly enjoyable is the delicious fizz that can be produced thanks to the carbonation created by further fermentation. A healthy homemade sparkling fruit flavored drink, what more could you ask for?!
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To get to kombucha, the second fermentation phase, it is necessary to have fermented the sweetened black tea until kombucha, the first phase of fermentation completion (see photo above).

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You will also need fruit or herbs for flavoring. So far we have only tried fruit and the results have been truly fabulous. We believe that the best results, both in terms of flavor and fizziness, are obtained if you use pureed fresh fruit. The photo above shows finely chopped mango, but we actually recommend pureeing the fruit. Pureeing the fruit allows the yeast in the kombucha easier access to the fruit sugar and therefore better carbonation is possible. The mouthfeel of kombucha is also better with puree.

We also tried using bottled fruit juice for flavor. It didn't work that well, especially when it came to fizz. I suspect there are probably preservatives in bottled fruit juice that interfere with carbonation. One thing I read about recently is adding jam to kombucha as a flavoring. It sounds exciting and easy and is definitely worth a try.

So far we have flavored our homemade kombucha with fresh mango puree, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh persimmon puree, and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. Our favorite so far is by far the mango flavored kombucha, which is always deliciously fizzy and super delicious!

The fruit used should be quite sweet as the sugar is needed to fuel the carbonation. If you think your fruit isn't sweet enough, add a little sugar to the mix.

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Now you have fruit juice or puree and kombucha tea, the first fermentation is at hand. It's time for kombucha, for the second fermentation! First add your fruit puree into a plastic bottle (we recycled a bottle of mineral water), then add the kombucha tea, first brewing, leaving an inch and a half of empty space on the lid of the bottle for gas. Screw the top part on tightly and shake it well to mix everything together. Your kombucha is ready for the second fermentation.

Why do we use plastic bottles? Plastic bottles make it easier to control the carbonation state of kombucha. The plastic bottle will fill with carbon dioxide until it feels as hard as rock. When it is rock hard, fermentation is finished.

Some use glass jars for this second fermentation but I've read that if you're not careful, the carbonation can sometimes cause explosions that make a real mess. So we continue to use only plastic bottles.

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Your second kombucha brew is now flavored, blended, and ready to ferment. It's time to stand in a dark area and wait. Fermentation time will vary depending on the blend, temperature, etc. Inside the bottle the fruit sugar will react with the yeast in the kombucha and form carbon dioxide, the fizz. You feel the plastic bottle every day. Once the bottle is rock hard, the kombucha is carbonated. For us it's usually about three days.

The flavored and now fizzy kombucha goes into the fridge. Cold stops fermentation and keeps kombucha fresh and bubbly for up to a month. See the bubbles coming out of our mango flavored kombucha in the photo above? Is not she Lovely?

I've found that getting kombucha carbonated can be tricky. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. So far using fresh fruit puree seems to work best. Also apparently it is best to mix the kombucha tea thoroughly, before fermentation, before adding it to the fruit puree. The yeast, which fuels the carbonation, settles to the bottom of the kombucha jar, and stirring will distribute the yeast evenly before it is poured into plastic bottles for the second fermentation.

Last but not least let me tell you how delicious this stuff is! The first fermentation of kombucha is nice and refreshing, but the second fermentation of homemade kombucha, flavored with delicious fresh fruit and enhanced by an incredibly invigorating effervescence, is out of this world! A shot of second fermented kombucha seems to go straight to the brain and wake you up in the best way possible!

Homemade Kombucha – Second Fermentation Recipe

(1 litre) Preparation time: 5 minutes Fermentation time: minimum 3 days



Wash, peel and pit (if necessary) fruit. Coarsely chop the fruit. Blend the fruit with the blender or pass it through a sieve. Use a funnel to pour the fruit puree into a clean one-liter plastic bottle. Add sugar if the fruit is not sweet enough.

To prepare kombucha, the second fermentation, begin by pouring all the tea from the first fermentation into a completely dry bowl, keeping the scoby in the fermentation jar. Stir the tea well to evenly distribute the yeast.

Note: At this point you can start another batch of first fermentation kombucha. Pour 1 1/2 cups of brewed tea into the brewing jar (the one with the scoby in it) to use as 'tea starter' for the next batch of kombucha, first fermentation. Then follow the steps in our post on kombucha, first fermentation to prepare the next batch.

Use a funnel to pour the mixed, first-brewed kombucha tea into the plastic jar with the fruit puree and sugar (optional). Screw the cap on tightly and shake to distribute the fruit. Allow to sit in a dark area for 3 days or more, checking the hardness of the plastic bottle daily. When the bottle is rock hard, carbonation is finished.

Store in the refrigerator immediately. Leave to cool overnight before tasting. Slowly open the bottle of second brew kombucha, letting the gas out a little at a time. Keep in mind that if you have carbonated too much, overflow may occur when the jar is opened. So it's probably best to open a large, clean bowl to catch any overflow. Sometimes the overflow can be noticeable, but by collecting it in a bowl it is easy to clean it up and pour it back into the bottle.

The overflow, if it happens, will only happen the first time you open that bottle. The fizz will remain in the kombucha but should be under control from this point on. Kombucha can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. Enjoy the delicious boost to your palate and health! Here's to FIZZ!

Fabulous fermentation at Hong Kong cuisine:

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