Do i need to do a second fermentation?
Absolutely nope! If you are using a good quality tea, you will already have on your hands an aromatic sweet and sour kombucha. While second ferment is not necessary, it's a good way to switch things around or have a variety of flavored kombucha for different occasion. Sparkling Lemonade Kombucha is a good pick me up on a busy warm afternoon. Lavender Kombucha to relax and chill over the weekend. There's a misconception second ferment is all about the fizz, carbonation, it cannot be further from the truth. Drink what you like and that's the beauty of making kombucha at home.
What is second fermentation.
Kombucha in the first ferment is flat or lightly fizzy. Second ferment is when we introduce a flavor + a small amount of sugar (typically from sweet fruits. If flavoring with botanicals, you may need to add some form of sugar) + seal for 3 to 7 days, to create a carbonated, delicious beverage, reminiscent of soft drinks, but healthier.! If you are wondering why additional sugar is necessary - Yeast in the finished water eats up the newly added sugar and converts them into carbon dioxide (aka fizz) which the sealed bottle will force trap in the liquid - Liquid gold!
If you are watching your sugar intake, in the second ferment use fruits that's lower in sugar content (Eg. blueberries, raspberries, lemon, etc), or botanicals (Eg. Herbs and spices) it will still be be a delightful probiotic rich beverage. Get creative! There is no right way to do it.
STEP 1: Add desired second ferment ingredients - crushed fruits, juices, etc into your choice glass bottle.
Suggestions (for 1L);
Fruit juice: 150ml
Chunks of Fruits: 1/2 cup
Herbs and spices: 1 - 2 teaspoon
STEP 2: Pour kombucha into glass bottle. Leave 1 inch head space at the top of the bottle. Seal and allow to second ferment 3 to 7 days.
STEP 3: When you feel your kombucha is sufficiently flavored, strain out the added second ferment ingredients, refrigerate and enjoy.
Q: Help! There is a baby scoby growing, is it okay?
Yup! completely normal. Its indicative of a healthy and robust first kombucha brew. Just strain out before drinking.
Q: Why do i need to "burp" the bottle?
Good question. As the yeast eats the sugar in your kombucha or water kefir during second ferment, gas is produced and pressure within the bottle can build to dangerous level if left for too long, especially if you are using fruits high in sugar content. We do encourage to burp daily (hold bottle cap down firmly and slowly open cap to release some pressure and re-seal.)
Q: Can you recommend a good second ferment bottle?
Avoid square shaped, decorative flip top glass bottle, like IKEA.
Good to use;
- Round Flip top bottles
- Recycled store bought kombucha / water kefir bottles