What is Kombucha?
Kombucha was first concocted in China around 2,000 years ago. This is a sweet and tangy fermented beverage made with tea, yeast, and sugar. This beverage became popular in the world due to its immense health benefits. The drink is believed to be an antibody against diseases like cancer, and AIDS. Kombucha also provides health benefits like:
- Boosting body immunity
- Improving digestion
- Fighting toxicity from the body
- Cutting down fat
- Ward off heart disease
- Prevents hypertension
The benefits of drinking Kombucha are massive. But you will be considered a superhuman if you can drink a whole glass without trying to puke! Honestly, Kombucha tastes horrid and can make you feel nauseated for an entire day! So, you might want to know how to flavor Kombucha.
Why Does Kombucha Taste So Bad?
It’s disappointing to see how a beneficial beverage like Kombucha can taste like tasteless vinegar. This is because the drink is fermented. After mixing up all the ingredients, Kombucha is kept aside for a whole week to undergo fermentation. When the Kombucha is waiting, bacteria are feeding on their sugar.
The carbonating process continues, and the sugar content decreases. As there’s nothing left for the bacteria to feed on, they turn to a whole bunch of cranky colonies. The cantankerous effect can clearly be seen in the nasty taste of Kombucha.
However, adding a few magic ingredients in the fermented Kombucha can drive the sourness away. Your health drink will not taste like the foul apple cider vinegar anymore!
What Can I Use to Flavor Kombucha?
First of all, Kombucha doesn’t come with a set of flavoring recipes. You have to trust your instincts while flavoring Kombucha. On the bright side, Kombucha flavor enhances with pretty much all the ingredients from your home. Lemon, ginger, fruits, etc. work pretty well in driving away from the unpleasant taste of this beverage.
How Do I influence the Flavors?
If you don’t have any extra ingredients to enhance the Kombucha flavor, you can begin playing with the basic ingredients!
1. Choosing a Different Tea
Some people actually believe that Kombucha has to be prepared with black tea. According to experts, there’s no instruction like this in the “Kombucha Rule Book.” You are allowed to play and experiment with different tea flavors for a better taste. However, do not use flavored teas in the primary fermentation as they won’t provide enough nutrients for the bacteria.
2. Amending the Fermentation Time
The acidity and sweetness of a Kombucha vary with its fermenting time. The more Kombucha ferments, the less sweet and extra acidic it becomes. Experts recommend minimum 7-days fermentation of a Kombucha batch. If the sweetness and acidity are not enough for you, ferment longer. However, Kombucha shouldn’t be fermented for more than 30-days.
3. Adding Flavors
Be it fruits or spice, Kombucha absorbs all flavors!
Here are a few ingredients to make Kombucha a delightful experience:
Fresh Fruit Puree
If you want your Kombucha to burst with fruity flavors, go for fresh fruit puree. Just blend the fruit and have the refreshing puree molecules. In this way, the Kombucha never turns out flat. The fizz you craved fro will be in your Kombucha! Fruit puree can turn the Kombucha into a soothing carbonated drink.
Frozen Fruit Chunks
Want a delicate fruit taste in your Kombucha? Go for frozen fruit chunks! The Kombucha gets really smooth in this way. Then again, the yeast doesn’t get sufficient sugar in this process and so the Kombucha doesn’t get much bubbly. For extra fizz, add one tablespoon sugar during fermentation.
Jams or Fruit Preserves
This method is widely followed by brewers all around the world with luscious jam flavors. The sugar content is a lot, so the drink gets all fizzy and bubbly. Don’t pour a whole jam bottle as the fruit flavor is pretty concentrated here.
In the second fermentation stage, add flavored tea. Green tea will make the Kombucha light and subtle, whereas Jasmine tea is going to make the Kombucha funkier! Don’t forget to add sugar to simulate carbonation while adding tea. Most of the teas we see are not sweetened.
Flavor Extracts and Essential Oil
Yes, you can use essences like vanilla, raspberry, etc. and depend on edible essential oils and extracts. Our only advice will be to use them in a small amount as these come with anti-microbial properties. A little is what you need to enhance a whole jar of Kombucha.
Other Flavoring Combination Ideas
You can use ingredients like:
- Cinnamon and blueberries
- Basil and strawberries
- Ginger and fresh lemon juice
- Coconut extract
- Almond and cherries
- Apples with cinnamons
- Lemon with mint and thyme
Kombucha Flavoring Ratios
For fresh, dried, or frozen fruits
70-90% Kombucha with 10-30% fruits
For puree or juice
80-90% Kombucha with 10-20% juice
According to the strength of the herbs and taste
¼ teaspoon for a cup of Kombucha
Which is the Best Stage for Kombucha Flavoring?
To understand how to flavor Kombucha, you should know that there are two stages of Kombucha fermentation- the Primary Fermentation and the Secondary Fermentation. Many of the homebrewers don’t keep their Kombucha up for second fermentation and settle for a tangy Kombucha.
What you guys should know is the Kombucha gets the best taste after the second fermentation. This is the time where the Kombucha is absorbing the flavors directly. Flavoring in the primary fermentation stage can kill all the bacteria that can give molds and a weakened Kombucha. The second fermentation stage should be totally dedicated to exotic flavoring!
The Kombucha must be stored properly for the intact taste and carbonation. Any glass container with a lid can retain the flavors, but the fizz and bubble will be lost. Go for airtight bottles and secure the lids tightly. In this way, flavor and fizz will remain unharmed.
Apart from all these flavors, go wild with ingredients, and create your own Kombucha flavor! Happy Kombucha Flavoring!