Today’s class is dedicated just to bottling kombucha and the kombucha bottling process. We will also discuss other ways to serve your home brewed bottled kombucha tea. It is amazing that so many people miss this step after they invested the time to brew their kombucha.
I also included a cool bonus article on how to flavor kombucha to make it nice and fizzy!
What Is Bottling Kombucha?
First off the kombucha bottling process is defined as first removing your newly
fermented kombucha tea from the SCOBY, (aka kombucha mushroom culture) and then placing it in a bottle THAT IS CAPPED!.
- Separating the tea from the SCOBY will stop the majority of the fermentation process. (Remember, if you leave your tea in with the SCOBY too long it will turn very vinegary).
- By capping the bottle you put your tea into (rather than having a cloth over it as when we were brewing), it will result in a pleasant natural effervescence.
Bottle Kombucha: Bottle Types
Any bottle will do (with exception to any metal products) However, it should be noted if you are using plastic bottles to bottle kambucha tea, you may notice the actual bottle begging to appear “swollen”. THIS IS GOOD (from a safety and knowing when it’s ready perspective)!
The swollen bottles means that your yeast is actively converting the remaining sugar into natural carbon and since the gas can not escape, it is literally pushing out your bottle.
Flavoring Kambucha Tea With A Glass Bottle
By using glass bottles you will not have this “swollen” appearance as the structure of glass is stronger and will keep the pressure This produces a higher carbonation, but there is always a caution when pressure builds up in glass, that the pressure will be so great that the glass will eventually crack.
Haven’t we all put a room temperature glass bottle in the freezer and forgotten about it, only to find a mess a few days later? Anyone? No? Really? I’m the only person that has ever done this?… multiple times? 🙂
Here’s a Quick “How To Flavor Kambucha Tea Glass Bottling” Tip: If you are going to use glass bottles, only leave your bottled tea resting in room temperature for 4 days and then refrigerate. As refrigerating your kombucha will slow down the carbonation pressure tremendously. (side note: how great is the word “tremendously”?).
When To Flavor Kombucha
Though by know you are probably very excited to enjoy your fresh brewed kombucha tea, it is best to practice a little patience to achieve the optimum taste and benefits. Try this method your first time and then adjust according ling to your individual taste.
- Taste your kombucha after day five.
- You want to bottle 1 to 2 days after you begin tasting the kombucha brew turn slightly a bit sour (if you are testing the ph, it should be around 2.8 to 3.8)
- Slightly means one day before you would normally feel the tea is ready.
- This is because the tea will continue to ferment slightly
even when capped, and bottling when your kombucha tea is still
sweet will guarantee that the active yeasts will have something to
convert into effervescence (normally this would produce a gas that
would escape, but since the bottle is capped, BINGO.. you got
- This is because the tea will continue to ferment slightly
- Once you bottle and cap, leave untouched in a dark room at room temp for an additional 3 to 7 days.
- A cabinet works great, whatever you do, do not refrigerate, as this will slow down the effervescent process.
- After a resting period (or in fancy terms: Secondary Fermentation), refrigerate your kombucha flavors and enjoy!
How To Add Fruit To Kombacha
Flavoring your kombucha tea can be fun and creative. Th possibilities are endless. Many people think that flavoring your kombucha begins when you go to bottle, but in my opinion this could not be furthest from the truth!
Your kombucha begins the flavor process the minute you choose on the type of water, sugar, tea and culture you use! Flavoring also occurs throughout the entire fermentation process. For example if you brewed the same kombucha with the same ingredients but one at a lower temp for 10 days and one at a higher temp for 5 days they will both have unique flavors to them.
However, for this class we will just talk about how to flavour kambucha tea when it is ready for bottling. I do agree, that it is the easiest and safest way to add flavor to your kombucha.
Here are the steps:
- Let your tea properly ferment with the kombucha culture in it for 7 to 10 days.
- Set the kombucha culture aside and transfer your now newl fermented kombucha tea into another container, pitcher or bottle individually.
- Add your favorite juice, dried fruit, and/or tea to the bottle kombucha tea. Making sure that these additional ingredients, never come in contact with the kombucha culture.
Stay Tuned We will soon be featuring a “Best Of”, recipe section and even host a contest within for the best submitted creations!
Till then here are my personal favorites:
- Cut a small piece of ginger root and place into each bottle
- Drop a few raisins (actually craisins are even better in my oinion) and drop into each bottle.
- Squeeze a table spoon of fresh lemon juice into each bottle. Just the juice and not the actual peel.
- Combine all of the 3 above!
How To Make Kombucha Fizzy
One of the most common kambucha tea questions homebrewers have is how to get more carbonation (i.e. fun bubbles) in their Kombucha.
When CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) dissolves into a liquid and is kept under some pressure, carbonation results. When that pressure is released, so are the tiney bubbles..
There are basically two kinds of carbonation. Forced carbonation involves mechanically adding Carbon Dioxide while a liquid is under pressure and Natural carbonation requires only the magic of fermentation and a closed container (like old school beer).
But wait! Kombucha is fermented in an open container, uses a clot cover and requires air circulation. How can CO2 build up? The answer (young Jedi) is your kombucha SCOBY. As it grows on top, it will make an airtight seal to the sides of the brewing vessel trapping the newly created gasses inside. Have you noticed your SCOBY developing a lot of holes or bumps? If so, that is the CO2 (and other gasses) trying to escape. Gross? Yes. Totally normal? Yes.
3 Easy Tips For Fizzy Kombucha
- Fill Your Bottles Completely – Like all the way to the top, leaving just a centimeter or two of space. By reducing th amount of oxygen present in the bottle, more Carbon Dioxide is dissolved into the Kombucha. This stage is also known as the anaerobic
fermentation stage, meaning “without air.” In your Continuous Brew o Batch Brew, the fermentation was aerobic (although, under the SCOBY there’s a bit of anaerobic happening also, but I digress). Now we are starving the liquid of oxygen, which induces a different type of action among the yeast and bacteria, which then produces more bubbles, among other things.
- Add A Little Sugar – What? Sugar? Yes! Sugar is what sparks yeast the most, and the yeast are responsible for the bubbles. You can use a 1/2 teaspoon of plain white sugar per 12oz bottle, and that’s what many beers do to create carbonation, but Kombucha mixes much more symbiotically with pieces of or pureed fruit and juice or other natural sugar sources, and the resulting bubbles can
be quite explosive. Frozen, fresh or dried fruit all work equally well and spark both the flavor and fizz of many of my favorite
- Leave Them Out of the Fridge – Once you’ve got that Kombucha all bottled up tight with very little air (flavoring optional), it’s time to sock it away somewhere dark and warm if possible. We are no longer concerned with airflow. In fact, the less the better, so in a cupboard or any other enclosed space is just fine avoid sunlight. How long you leave them out is up to you. The more flavorings you have added, the more closely you need to monitor yourbottles, potentially burping them to prevent an accident. Give them at
least 2-3 days, then you can move them to cold storage if you like.
The common requirement for all of these tip is: You must have a tight cap for your bottles. We talked before about the type of bottle, but let’s talk about what type of cap, as it is just as important (if. not. more.) –
- Reusable bottles are GREAT, but often the caps do not hold bubbles in well. If you are still unable to get the fizz you want after trying these techniques, try better bottles. You can look for Italian made locking swing top bottles or buy a few Grolsch, enjoy the beer and then reuse those.My personal favorite is empty wine bottles, as the are glass, tapered, light resistant, and have a cork to ensure a tight closure YET will give a little when there is too much pressure. Plus they are so elegant to serve kombucha from… oh yeah, and you get to drink the wine first. 🙂
Natural Kombucha Fizz vs Carbonation
Unlike sodas, that are pumped with Carbon Dioxide throug artificial means, bottled kombucha tea will release a natura effervescence through the active yeasts that continue to “eat” the remaining sugar that is still present in you batch. The method most resembles the same way in which artisan beer is prepared.Pumping carbonation from a CO2 tank isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact sine I began kegging my own kombucha about a year ago, it is a nice way to both ensure a fizzy kombucha AND preserve/stop the fermentation. Also, too much fizz could mean that your yeast/bacteria ratio is out of balance (too much fizz usually means there is too much yeast compared to bacteria, and the bacteria is half the reason why kombucha is so beneficial)… and finally too much natural fizz can be hazardous especially if you are bottling kombucha in glass. All this is advanced stuff which we will discuss in an advanced class… so stay tuned.
A bottle needs to be capped to achieve this desired result (note: you don’t need to drink kombucha in this method, but most people agree that a bottle of fizzy kombucha is tastier (but who cares what people think, most people don’t paint their car like a cow… yet the day my sister decided to paint black spots and pink udders on her Nissan Stanza, her Miles Davis factor rose by 300%, so go with whatever tastes right for Moo… um, I mean You!).
Congrats, you just earned your yellow belt in Kombucha Karate. How do you feel? Next class we will discuss the top 3 mistakes beginners make, as well as go over the most common problems continuous brewers have (even the experienced ones). Stay tuned, and till then have a tremendous (there’s that word again), day.