“The classics are a classic for a reason.” We’ve probably all heard this phrase at one point or another, and we probably all have something that immediately pops in our head as proof of it: Classic Coca-Cola, a Plain Cheeseburger in all of its glorious simplicity, or even just a classy bowl of yogurt and granola. One new addition that should be on all our lists, especially us homebrewers, is the classic, plain Kombucha.
Now don’t get the word “plain” misconstrued – this beautifully balanced beverage is anything but with its diverse flavor profile, natural body-boosting nutrients, and positively propitious probiotics. Simply put, classic, plain Kombucha has been around for thousands of years for a reason, so now it’s time for you to brew a batch and see why!
The key and really only additional ingredient here is Real Sugar. Now you may be asking yourself, “as opposed to what?” Well, real sugar is going to be any fermentable sugar, which includes cane sugar, honey, Fermentaholics invert sugar, or even maple syrup. This Real Sugar is what carbonates the Kombucha during secondary fermentation. For a full list of Real Sugars you can use, check out our article best sugar for kombucha brewing.
So we’ve got our simply superb ingredients ready, but how much? This really depends on your preference, but anywhere from ½ – 1 tsp for each 16 fl oz bottle will work. Just measure your Real Sugar and, using a funnel, add it right to a clean 16 fl oz bottle.
After you’ve added your Real Sugar, it’s time to fill the bottles with kombucha. Fill each bottle up, leaving about 2″ of headspace. Cap the bottles tightly, label your bottles and place them in a warm location for 2-3 days for the secondary fermentation. When you’re happy with the flavor, place the bottles in the refrigerator to halt the fermentation
PRIMARY VS SECONDARY FERMENTATION
It’s important to note that brewing homemade kombucha is almost always a two-step fermentation process. Brewing kombucha is only a one-step process for those who prefer an unflavored flat kombucha. Otherwise, the steps consist of a primary fermentation and secondary fermentation.
- Primary Fermentation: The primary fermentation is the first step of the kombucha brewing process. This is where your SCOBY transforms regular sweet tea into the tart and slightly sweet kombucha we love. At the end of this stage, you will have finished kombucha, but it will be flat and unflavored. Have you skipped this step? Then check out our guide on making kombucha at home or our guide on making jun kombucha at home. Traditional kombucha is going to yield a bolder brew, while jun kombucha is milder and a bit more tart.
- Secondary Fermentation: The secondary fermentation is the step where you bottle, carbonate, and flavor your kombucha by the addition of sugar and flavors. This step is essentially adding a bit of sugar/flavor to each airtight bottle and letting it ferment a little longer, allowing the yeast to carbonate the beverage in an airtight environment naturally. How exactly does this happen? See our post on kombucha secondary fermentation here.
Since this recipe is for the secondary fermentation, to make this recipe, you’ll need to have kombucha that has finished the primary fermentation and ready to bottle.