This is the best part about brewing booch at home: bottling and flavoring! YOU have all the control. You can choose to use diced fruit, herbs, veggies, or you can use purees or juice to create your kombucha concoctions. I’ve even made kombufee–yes, that’s kombucha coffee (it’s not for everyone, but I like it)! The options are endless. Experiment. Have fun with this part of the process. And luckily, you can bottle and flavor in just 4 simple steps, which means it’s simple enough to become a family activity, if you want it to be. As you can see, I recruited my oldest to help me bottle, and he loved being a part of this bubbly “science experiment,” as it appeared to be from his eyes. It’s that simple. I’m going to give you the basics, and then I’ll also include a few specific recipes you can give a go, too!
Once you’ve followed my 10-step recipe for making kombucha at home; you’ve tasted your brew; and it’s to your liking, you’re ready for the second fermentation that takes place when you bottle and flavor your booch. Here’s what you need and how to get it done.
Ingredients + Tools
Glass drinking bottles with tight-sealing caps*
Flavoring agent (fruit, herbs, juice, veggies, etc.)
Small funnel (optional)
- Add your flavoring agent to your bottle first. Portions depend on what you’re using. If it’s juice or puree, I generally recommend using 2 tablespoons for a 16 ounce bottle. Keep in mind, this is different for different fruits/veggies. If you’re using citrus fruit, I’d scale back. If you’re using diced, it can be anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. This is where trial and error comes in. Plus, there are so many specific recipes out there. I’ll share a basic one below for more specific portions, but check out The Big Book of Kombucha for a whole massive chapter on recipes!
- Pour the fermented kombucha from your vessel into your bottle. *TIP: If you don’t buy your own bottles, save your old bottles from when you buy booch at the store–GT’s, for example, works great. You may want to use a funnel for the pouring part if you have a narrow-mouthed bottle. Fill the bottle close to the top to ensure you preserve the fizz, and close the cap nice and tight. Do this for as many bottles as you’d like until you’ve nearly drained your brewing vessel, but be sure to leave at least 1-2 cups in the vessel if you plan to have a continuous brew going.
- Leave the bottles at room temperature for 1-4 days, or longer, to build up that carbonation and create that flavor.* You can move them to the fridge after that time period, or if you decide to sneak a sip and know you have achieved the perfect level of flavor and fizz, it’s time to refrigerate (unless you like room temp booch). *TIP: If you’re using GT bottles or similar, it’s probably ready if you have a convex cap (aka it looks like it my burst). DON’T SHAKE THEM! But even so, I always open my bottles over the sink because I like them fizzzzzzzy.
- Enjoy! Oh, also, if you’re weird about the “stuff”–yeast or culture or leftover flavorings–floating around in your bottle, you CAN strain it out if you really want. I personally recommend keeping the yeast strands and other good stuff, but I do sometimes take out any clumps of fruit with a little strainer or spoon and then return it to the bottle.
That’s it! It definitely takes some experimenting to find the flavors and portions you love, even when you “go by the book.” If you want to get more specific and try out some specific recipes before you get more ambitious or creative, here are a couple fun favorites of mine.
Strawberries, chopped or pureed – 2 tablespoons / 16 oz bottle
Beet Red Booch
GoodFoods Beet Red juice – 2 tablespoons
Bennett’s Grape Goodness
100% Concord Grape Juice – 2 tablespoons-1/4 cup
Brewed coffee – 1/8 cup
Raw cacao powder – 1/4 teaspoon
This is just a fraction of the amount of recipes you can create with kombucha. You can make them sweet, you can make them savory, you can even make them into/with superfoods, medicinals, and alcohol. I haven’t jumped into herbal or medicinal concoctions yet, but I plan to. At some point, I plan to dive into cocktails too because why not? And trust me: practice makes perfect. Once you get the hang of it and perfect your kombucha craft, you won’t ever go back to store-bought. Homebrew is that good, and way more fun. I hope you enjoy your booch.
Be sure to share your flavoring favorites with me in the comments!