OK; so carbonated kombucha! Yea!
It’s actually pretty easy to do a second fermentation. Just like in beer brewing or whatever, you just add some more sugar and seal so that the carbon dioxide is forced into solution so that when you open it, boom, a it’s a nice tangy soda.
Now, I got a continuous batch going, I just re-set it and put some pints on for carbonation every 3 weeks or so. I use big (24oz) flip top bottles and put them up in my pantry for at least a week. They end up under pressure, so I proceed with caution. Depending on how warm it is, it’s usually sufficiently carbonated after a week or so - I’ve never had one last more than 2 weeks because once I know it’s ready I drink it all up in a few days. But I imagine the maximum carbonation is reached at some point. Placing them in the fridge should also slow or stop the carbonation. The SCOBY likes it pretty warm, high 70s being the ideal.
I did a bit of research to figure out a for method and found a guy on the YouTube that did them in washed out G.T.’s jars which are 16oz. He adds 4 oz of fruit juice - using a natural sugar cranberry juice - and filled the bottles. I think that is about the same sweetness as the tea at the beginning or a typical drinking juice. I decided to use Odwalla Limeade and S liked it so much, I convinced her to take care of the next batch while I’m on tour.
Since I use 24oz jars I scaled up to 6oz of juice. Worked perfectly, but I had to try another tack, and that was where it got weird.
The next batch I decide to use natural juice, so I put some apple and grapes I think and some ginger in the Nutrabullet blender. I did a little less than the 6oz, because I figured it was a little sweeter than the limeade.
Well it sure carbonated! But I think the serious error was leaving in all the sediment. I should have strained the apple grit out. As it fermented it all was floating, so when I opened it, well it basically exploded - shooting straight up and blasting my kitchen ceiling with sticky fermented apple foam. I expected that it may have a lot of pressure so I was being careful, but when I opened it the whole Mentos-in-the-Coke-Bottle thing took me by surprise.
I lost the majority of the first bottle, but the next two I opened over a bucket in the yard, which I can’t say was ideal — S thought it was gross because the dog drinks out of that bucket, but you know, I rinsed it out first!
It was pretty good anyhow, what I could keep from spraying around the yard. I like the apple vibe, because it reminds me of slightly hard cider, which as I mentioned before is something I dig about Komucha.
I want to experiment with some herbs and what not. The next batch I experiment with I might try to knock off the Dr. Brew ‘clarity’ flavor with sage and stuff. S did a batch with acai juice which should be ready soon. Be careful opening it!
Salt Lake City, brilliant sun; trying not to be homesick.
Photo - nicely carbonated lemon ginger kombucha