You have successfully brewed your kombucha, now what?
First Please take your SCOBY out and about 2 cups of the kombucha as starter tea. Set it aside (I like to use my 2nd brewing jar for this) and make sure to cover it up! As mentioned earlier if there is a fruit fly in your zip code, it WILL find your kombucha, so make sure and keep it covered up! If your sweet tea is ready to go and cool enough, you can go ahead and add your starter tea and SCOBY to it right away. (for directions on brewing you can click here)
If you want to flavor your kombucha here are your next steps:
Adding Flavors to your kombucha:You have a few options here, you could add flavoring to each bottle separately (this works great if you want to try different flavors) or you can add flavoring/juice/syrup to the whole batch of kombucha, like in the photo above (make sure you take out your reserve starter tea and scoby’s first!) I will be showing how to make prickly pear kombucha by adding it to the whole batch and then bottling it. Here I have added 1/2 cup of that delicious Prickly Pear Syrup to the whole batch at once and then move onto bottling.
With your remaining tea flavored or left plain its time to bottle it up! I usually have about 80 oz. of kombucha to bottle which fills two of the big 32 oz. swing top bottles and one small 16 oz. bottle. (You can use all small bottles or what ever container you would like) If you are going to move onto secondary fermentation, the swing top bottles really do work the best. If you are going to drink you Buchi right away, you could just refrigerate it as is, in the brewing jar, and pour off what you want to drink. As a side note, refrigeration is very important when your kombucha is finished brewing, as it will stop the fermentation process (well it doesn’t completely stop the fermentation completely process but it slows it down dramatically).
Ok so this is how I set up my bottling apparatus, I have my bottles ready and super clean, I like to filter my kombucha with this nylon strainer and plastic funnel. remember no metal! If you like a nice clear kombucha you could use a paper filter to get a really clean brew, But I just like to get the big strands of yeast out. Ok now pour into your bottles and leave a little head room- explained below:
Make sure to leave some head room, that way the gas has a little room in the bottle, or you might have some burst bottle tops (this has actually happend to me, my bottles were hissing, I had left them to second ferment too long without enough head room in the and there was so much pressure in the bottles that it was pushing the swing tops up enough for gas to escape from the gasket, I heard them hissing and went to open the bottles and they literally exploded!) lesson learned, I’m sure there are lots of interesting stories here and you can feel free to leave a comment if you have a story!
Label your bottles with the date and any other information now, as its easy to forget how long your bottles have been sitting out if you don’t write it down somewhere. I just like to put it directly on the bottle, along with the flavor and a few notes.
Secondary Fermentation: Waiting for the magic to happen
So you want the Fizzy Bubula? You will have to wait about 5 to 7 more days after bottling, This stage happens when your tea continues to ferment (at room temperature or maybe a little warmer) under an-aerobic respiration environment meaning, your tea cannot be exposed to oxygen for an-areobic fermentation to happen so you need to have an air tight seal for this step. This is when your EZ swing top bottles come in handy as they really do work well. I was first trying to put my kombucha in mason jars and seal them with the plastic lids (remember no metal) but they must have leaked ever so slightly because I could not get the bubbles I wanted so desperately. Pretty simple really. You can crack a bottle open after about 5 days and if it gasses out a bit, you can re-seal it if it is ready (or if its not) refrigerate it if its ready, and if its not bubby enough, then keep it at room temperature another two days and try again. If you are having a hard time making those bubbles you might need to add more sugar to your tea next batch or just before bottling and see if that helps! (it always seems to amp up the fizz for me)
Okay it’s all buttoned up and ready to go! I will add a picture of the nice fizz in a glass when I crack this baby open! Cheers and God bless!
If you haven’t read my post Get Brewing! it shares about that cryptic looking label I have on my bottle and shares the basics on getting started.
Also check out these books, I really liked when I was first getting started! There are a ton out there but the Kombucha Revolution book is super good… the author has great detailed photos of each step as well as some flavoring ideas, and True Brews tells you how to make soda’s and other yummy fizzy drinks.