If you haven’t already, check out the following posts to get up to speed on what the heck kombucha is, what the benefits of drinking it are and how to make it yourself.
So you’ve mastered the art of making kombucha (if you can call, brewing tea and throwing in a ugly SCOBY an art) but now you want to get creative. I have also started brewing Jun which is brewed in a similar way to kombucha but using honey and green tea and has a milder, less sour/vinegary flavour. You can flavour Jun (for the second ferment) in place of kombucha if that’s more your cup of tea (get it haha).
Yes I use old glass spirit, wine, cordial and juice bottles to bottle my Kombucha and Jun. The flavours pictured from left are Strawberry Kombucha, Strawberry Jun, Peach and Forest Fruit (flavoured tea bags) Kombucha and Forest Fruit Kombucha.
Here is a list of various kombucha flavour that I have tried and tested myself or are on my list of flavours to try. Don’t forget to flavour your kombucha after you bottle it to keep your SCOBY alive and healthy. Once you have a few spares feel free to mix it up by adding a spare SCOBY and starter liquid to fruit juice or flavoured fruit and herbal teas. To flavour your kombucha, bottle it as per the instructions, add your flavour to the bottle, leave at room temperature for about 2 days so that the kombucha feeds of the remaining sugar and creates a nice fizz, then move to the fridge to slow down the fermentation process and prevent it going sour. I’ll often leave my kombucha to second ferment in the pantry for longer than 2 days (up to a month) but the result can be quite sour (vinegary) so its not for everyone. If you leave the bottles to second ferment for longer than 2 days, burp your kombucha (open the lid a little to release air) and open with care to prevent a kombucha volcano from exploding in your pantry. Seriously… I’ve had to wipe kombucha off the ceiling in the past.
Alright, alright here are the flavours :-). Some are not for everyone so pick and choose what sounds good and don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t like it you can always give it away (someone else might like it), or ditch and try again.
Fresh, dried or frozen fruit or juice
- A few berries either whole or pureed. Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries work well
- Citrus. Add a few slices of lemon, orange, grapefruit or lime or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh juice.
- Sliced or pureed kiwi fruit
- Throw a few fresh or frozen cherries in
- Watermelon juice and a couple of slices of lime for a refreshing summer drink
- Fresh pineapple or pineapple juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Passion fruit pulp
- Fresh apple or apple juice
- Fresh peach or peach juice
- Dried sultanas, dates, apricots or figs
Spices: go sparingly, a little goes a long way. Start with half a teaspoon for a 750ml bottle
- Ground cinnamon or a whole cinnamon stick
- All spice
- Chilli flakes, powder or a whole dried chilli for a bit of bite
- Fresh or ground ginger
- Fresh or ground turmeric
- Pumpkin pie spice
Herbs. Add a few leaves or sprigs of one or more of the following
- Chocolate mint
- Mint or spearmint
- Lemon balm
Flowers. Add a few dried flowers, about 1 teaspoon
- Rose petals
- Cacao powder
- Vanilla essence, bean or powder: tastes a bit like creaming soda
- Rosewater essence
- Strongly brewed herbal or fruit flavoured tea with a little sugar for extra carbonation
- Chai: either use organic chai tea when you make your initial brew or once you have bottled the kombucha add half a cup of strongly brewed chai tea with a little sugar or honey if desired
- Coconut milk, water, flakes or extract
- Ginger wine
- Vegetable juice
- Brewed coffee: a favourite with many but not for me. You can add it to a second ferment it or alternatively brew 1L of coffee and half a cup of sugar and use a spare SCOBY to ferment it for about 7 days. You won’t need starter liquid because the coffee is acidic enough. Only try this with a spare SCOBY and do not reuse this SCOBY.
Or a combination of any of the above. Some suggestions are
- Basil leaves and pineapple juice
- Blueberries and rosemary
- Strawberries and thyme
- Strawberries and mint
- Berries and vanilla
- Apple pie: Apple slices/juice and cinnamon or chai spice
- Strawberry lemonade: Strawberries and slices of lemon
- Pine colada: pineapple juice, fresh pineapple and coconut
- Watermelon juice, slices of line and a couple of mint leaves
- Pineapple and pomegrate
- Rooibos tea and vanilla
- Rooibos and chai tea
- Spirulina or chlorella
- Ginger and lemon
- Ginger and any berries
Cheers (that’s Jun in my wine glass),