Kombucha: The Second Brew

I have been making kombucha for a year or so now, and have really enjoyed it. I have replaced the soda that I adored so much in my past life with this lovely, sweet, tangy, fizzy stuff and I’ll never go back!


Getting ready for the second brew

There are many recipes for brewing kombucha out there on the internet, and in books. I use the recipe from Nourishing Traditions, and I was able to find it on this blog so I won’t waste the space posting it again.

If you have never tried brewing kombucha, you may want to start with just the first brew and see if it’s a good fit for you. Kombucha isn’t for everyone—my family actually doesn’t like it at all (ha ha–more for me!)—so I only need to brew enough to last me for two weeks (a week in summer). A double batch brews up to  about twelve 16 oz bottles, which if I were to buy that many at the store, it would cost me between $36-48. Brewing at home saves me at least $30 every time I brew, even if I use expensive fruit juices, like Pom. If I only do a single brew, the cost is pennies, really….maybe a dollar if I use organic evaporated cane juice.


Pouring my cooled tea into my glass jar for the first brew with me, looking lovely, as usual.

I’d like to talk about the second brew of kombucha, or the double fermentation method. Double fermentation isn’t necessary if you like the flavor of the first ferment, but for those of us who love a variation of flavors now and then, a second brew is desirable. Fermenting/brewing a second time can sweeten a batch of kombucha and increase the fizz-factor, which is most desirable for me.

I do my second brews with store bought 100% juice, or with fruit syrups made at home. My favorite flavors are pomegranate, strawberry, and lately, marionberry, but my plans are to try something new each batch. I would even like to try a second brew with pieces of fruit this year. Summer will yield plenty of new fruits to try, like peaches, nectarines, kiwi, pineapple, plus more!

My Second Brew Method

2 oz fruit juice OR 1 oz fruit syrup to 14 oz of brewed kombucha. Screw cap on to bottle and leave on counter for another 2-3 days (if it is warm in your home, 2 days ought to be sufficient). Refrigerate and enjoy!

Fruit juices that can be used are really up to you. I’ve never used anything but 100% juice, so I’m not sure if it would work with, say, a 10% juice drink.

Fruit syrups can be made easily at home, and they are oh, so yummy. I feel that these actually make the end result more fizzy and delicious.

To make a fruit syrup:

Macerate overnight a half gallon of whole fruit or a gallon of fruit scraps with the juice and peels of two fresh lemons and 2 cups of sugar. (The only fruit scraps I have actually used are strawberry tops, so try other scraps at your own discretion.) The next day, remove all the lemon peels (don’t forget to compost them!) and blend up in your blender. Let the blended mixture strain over a bowl (you may have to help it strain through a sieve if you are using berries because there are lots of seeds). Once completely strained, store your syrup in the fridge and throw the ‘leftovers’ in the compost pile.

A note about making organic kombucha: You may notice that the first brew recipe I linked to calls for organic ingredients. If you have organic tea, sugar and fruits on hand, then it’s always a great idea to get used to making your kombucha with organic ingredients. However, don’t be afraid to try it even if you don’t. I started making my kombucha with regular 99-cent a box black tea, and actually continue to do that to this day. It’s just always worked well for me! I sometimes use organic fruit, but the juice I use isn’t usually organic. My point is that it might be best if you are just starting out to use what is on hand in your cupboard to perfect your skills, then switch to organic later if you’d like. Home-brewed kombucha is good for you, much better that soda, even if it’s not organic, so don’t shy away—just give it a try!

For more useful information on kombucha, click here.

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Comments

  1. Jane says

    I do the same thing! I looooooove kombucha, and I love that the second brew makes it so fizzy! I’ve been loving on grape and cranberry juices. My husband loves kombucha too! My only problem is sometimes I let it ferment too long and it gets superly fizzy – almost explosive! hahah, but we love it that way! :)

  2. debfroggie says

    Kristi -

    Found your blog a couple of months ago and have truly enjoyed reading your writings :) Thanks so much for sharing with the rest of us out here!

    Question for you – when you brew your kombucha for the 2nd time with the fruit juice do you leave the scoby in with the brew or is it taken out before adding the fruit juice? (Just trying to make sense of this – as I would think if you left the scoby in that it would pick up the fruit juice flavor – but I could be wrong . . . )

    I usually have a minimum of 3 – 4 half gallon jars of kombucha brewing on the counter on a regular basis. Never heard of the second brew idea – am thrilled to try this one out ! !

    Also – since you like the fizzy of the kombucha – have you tried water kefir grains and then do a second brew on them with the fruit juice? These are fun to do also :)

    Thanks so very much ! ! ! Deb

  3. Kristi says

    Hey Deb! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Nope—when you do the second brew, remove your scoby–you don’t need her anymore until next time you do a fresh first brew—and pour about 14 oz into a mason jar/bottle/leftover water container/whatever and your syrup or juice in the proportions that I mentioned in the post. (In actuality, new baby scobies grow in the second brew, but I don’t keep them. It’s ok to drink them, but they are kind of slimy. But this is all beside the point.) Seal all of your bottles tightly and allow it to brew on your counter. Once 2-3 days have passed, put all of your bottles/containers into the fridge to chill your flavored kombucha. :)

    You know–I have tried water kefir before, but I failed miserably at it. I would love to try it again, I hear it’s wonderful!

  4. Lil' Suburban Homestead says

    Kristi I am so glad you shared about the second fermentation as me and my hunny are new to all this and I want to make sure I collect as much knowledge as I can on this subject I am hoping to have plenty of kombucha soon!

  5. Kristi says

    You’re going to love it, Karen Lynn! It’s so good, and a wonderful replacement for soda. I was a soda drinker for years, then for some reason my body couldn’t handle it in the volume I used to drink it. When I found kombucha, it fulfilled that craving for fizz for me….AND it tastes better than diet coke by far! The best thing is that it’s almost free for me these days!

  6. IllinoisLori says

    I love kombucha, but haven’t known how to flavor it…I’ve bought flavored in the Whole Foods store, my favorite has lavendar essence…it is just the most heavenly beverage! I’ll have to figure out how they did that…
    Thanks for sharing your technique!

    Blessings,
    Lori

  7. Kristi says

    Lori, I am not sure whether there is such a thing out there, but if there is a caffeinated version of lavender tea, that could work for the first brew. Another thing I’m thinking could work is if you infuse the water you use for your first brew with lavender, THEN brew it with some sort of caffeinated tea, that could give it the lavender flavor you are looking for. Then, do a second brew to flavor it with some fruity flavor. :)

    Hope that helps and thanks for visiting! :D

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