There are many different ways to flavor Kombucha, changing the type of tea is one way but doing a second ferment is another.
The first thing I would say about kombucha is, EVERYONE will tell you something different. Brewing kombucha is just like making any other dish. There are hundreds of variations and recipes out there, each one somebody’s favorite. Everyone will swear doing this or that particular thing will make the beverage more healthful for you — and often the advice is contradictory. My point of view? Relax. Just do it. Enjoy it. Experiment and see what works for you, what you like and don't like. If it doesn't work, chalk it down to experience and try again.
The great thing about flavoring your kombucha with a second ferment is that as you have already removed the scoby you are not risking it by flavoring your Kombucha this way. If you do not like the kombucha that you make you can throw it away and other than being a bit short of Kombucha for a while until your next brew is ready, there is no harm done.
The next advantage is that you can make many different flavors with the same batch or you can make them all the same the choice is yours. I would recommend keeping a journal of your experiments so when you hit the jackpot and make a kombucha that literally blows you away, you have a record of how you did it. Too many times, I have put a bit of this in and then a bit off that, left it and then tasted it a couple of days later to find that I have created a wonder juice only to find that I cannot recreate the wonder juice as I forgot to write down what I put in it and can’t remember afterwards!!
How to Second Ferment Kombucha:
- Brew your Kombucha as normal
- when your brew is ready to how you normally bottle it pour off your drink as normal (remembering to leave a little for the scoby to sit in and to start the next brew)
- In the bottles you would normally bottle with, add around 1/3 fruit juice to the bottom of the bottle (I like organic fruit juice but that's a personal preference, avoid cloudy fruit juices as they can add stringy bits to your drink! you can also use fresh fruit if you wish, slices of lemon and ginger are a nice addition).
- Top up your bottle as normal, seal them with a cap or stopper and store in your usual fermenting place.
- Leave for at least 48 hours depending on temperature*
- Start your next Kombucha brew in the normal way.
- When your flavored kombucha is ready**, chill in the fridge (chilled Kombucha tastes better), drink and enjoy. It is normal for a little baby Scoby to grow on top of your brew when flavoring. Simply remove and discard.
Your kombucha mother Scoby is likely to turn brown as time goes by, or bubbly, or do all sorts of strange things. None of these are problems. The only thing you want to really look out for is mould, and if it moulds it will look like the mold on bread – fuzz and all (if this happens, throw your scoby and your brew away and sterilize everything before you start again!)
* The temperature that you brew at determines how long your brew takes and the same is so for a second ferment. If you are storing your fermenting bottles somewhere warm (around 22c) then they will likely be ready in around 48 hours. If the area is cooler it will take longer. It can take around a week for a second ferment depending on the temperature.
**How do I know when it’s ready... This comes down to personal preference again, but as a rule it should taste mildly sweet but mostly tart in flavor.