Learn everything you need to know about flavoring kombucha. Create your own mix or try one of the popular kombucha flavors!
Straight out of the bottle, kombucha tends to taste like fizzy apple cider vinegar. It can be quite sour, depending on how long it fermented. However, it is simple to turn brewed kombucha into a delicious sparkling beverage.
How to add flavor to kombucha
A kombucha SCOBY needs sugar and tea to thrive. While it is possible to brew sugar-free and caffeine-free kombucha, that really isn’t the best way to add flavor.
The best way to flavor kombucha is when bottling it. Then it will go through another round of fermentation, referred to as the second fermentation, and come out as a sparkling probiotic soda pop!
Here are a few different ways to add flavor to kombucha:
Mix 1/2 cup of juice into 2 1/2 cups of brewed kombucha. See the photo below of kombucha flavored with a wild berries juice mix.
Mix 1/2 cup of brewed tea (herbal, green, or black) with 2 1/2 cups of brewed kombucha. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of sugar (to taste) to help prime the carbonation. See the photo of mint tea brewed kombucha below.
Whole fruit or citrus zest is perfect for adding a bit of flavor. However, they can be tricky to clean out of a bottle, so I recommend cleaning the bottle right after drinking. The strawberry kombucha in the photo below was flavored with 1/2 cup of chopped fresh strawberries.
4. Herbs and spices
Whole herbs and spices can be directly added to kombucha. Again, I recommend cleaning the bottle right after drinking to make sure you don’t end up with any flavor residue.
5. Flavor extracts
Store-bought or homemade flavor extracts are perfect for adding flavor and a bit of sugar to your kombucha. I recommend adding about 3/4 tsp of flavor to 2 1/2 cups of brewed kombucha.
Here’s some general advice for bottling kombucha and adding flavor:
- If the kombucha is really sour, you can dilute it with up to 50/50 brewed tea or fruit juice. Just be sure to add more sugar when using tea, or the kombucha won’t carbonate.
- When adding fresh or dried fruit, chia seeds, or herbs and spices, use fido jar instead of a bottle. It will still carbonate and it’s easier to clean!
- Kombucha will continue to carbonate, even if it is stored in the fridge. So use a bottle specifically designed to handle the pressure of carbonation (like a plastic pop bottle or flip-top beer bottle) and keep a close eye on the carbonation. You don’t want your bottle to explode!
- To stop the huge volcanic eruption that can occur with over-carbonated kombucha, pop your bottles open in the sink with a tea towel draped over top. It will save you from cleaning kombucha off your ceiling!
Popular kombucha flavors:
Not sure what flavors to try? Here are some delicious and popular kombucha flavors.
The flavor proportions are based on the 3-cup batch in the recipe below. If the proportions are not specified, then use the proportions described in the section above.
- Tutti Fruit: Use fresh fruit and juice for a fruity kombucha.
- Citrus-aid: Wash the skins of a lemon, orange, and lime. Zest the fruit, then squeeze the juice out of the fruit. Add both the zest and the juice to the kombucha. (I don’t recommend using bottled orange juice or lemon juice, but a bit of fresh juice with the zest is delicious!)
- Apple Cinnamon: Add apple juice and a cinnamon stick to your kombucha.
- Vanilla cream soda: Add vanilla syrup or vanilla beans along with a few raisins. This is a huge favorite with my family. (See the photo above).
- Ginger-aid: Add 2 Tbsp of finely grated fresh ginger.
- Berry-mint: Mix in fresh berries with some mint syrup.
- Antioxidant boost: Add some antioxidants with green tea, fresh grated turmeric, or a few sprigs of rosemary.
- Veggielicious: Certain vegetable juices, like carrot juice, mixed greens, or beets are perfect for flavoring kombucha. Avoid tomato-based juices which don’t ferment as nicely.
- Sparkling Bubble tea: Add 1 Tbsp chia seeds per cup of liquid. Mix well and allow to gel for at least 2 days before serving. I recommend giving the bottle a shake after 1 hour to prevent the chia seeds from clumping together.
- Soda pop flavors: Any cane sugar-sweetened flavor syrups will help to carbonate kombucha. It’s the easiest way to make root beer or cola-flavored kombucha.
Flavoring Kombucha When Bottling
The best way to flavor kombucha is when bottling. This is called the second ferment. This post covers a number of different ways to flavor kombucha for simple and delicious soda pop!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
- Category: Beverages
- Cuisine: Probiotic
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 1/2 cups brewed kombucha tea (ready for bottling)
- 1/2 cup of flavor (juice, tea, fruit)
- 1 1/2 tsp to 2 Tbsp sugar (optional, to prime carbonation)
- The best way to flavor kombucha is when bottling. Make sure to use a plastic pop bottle or a swing-top beer bottle that can handle the buildup of carbonation. Here’s how to bottle and flavor your kombucha.
- Add the flavors directly to the bottle. If using tea or tart fruit, then add a bit of extra sugar to prime the carbonation.
- Fill the bottle with the brewed kombucha.
- Cap with an air-tight lid and leave the kombucha to ferment at room temperature for 1 to 4 more days. The kombucha is ready when it is carbonated. The exact length of time will depend on how warm it is in your home.
- Pop the finished kombucha in the fridge and enjoy it within 1 month.
- There are a number of ways to add flavor to kombucha. See the sections above for flavoring with tea, juice, fresh fruit, and other options.
- This recipe is designed for a 750 mL (3 cups) bottle. However, if you don’t drink a lot of kombuchas, I recommend using single-serving-sized bottles so that the kombucha doesn’t lose all its carbonation from being popped open multiple times.
Keywords: flavor syrups, soda stream, vanilla, orange, lemon, vegan, gluten free, summer, spring, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, mango, pear
I make popsicles out of this for my kids!
Wish I could try vanilla one day, since it’s hard to find vanilla syrup where I live. It’s definetly on my list now!
Can you find vanilla beans? You could flavour with the beans instead.