A deliciously tart hibiscus tea puts the perfect twist on classic kombucha
Hibiscus tea has a tart, fruity, and delightful flavor profile when comparing it to traditional kombucha. Add in honey to balance the tart flavor- or experiment with other fruits and sweeteners to change the flavor to better fit your tastebuds. Hibiscus tea has a vibrant red color to it and is usually enjoyed either hot or cold.
Hibiscus tea can either be the main tea ingredient when brewing kombucha, or it can be added during the secondary fermentation process as the main flavor for this brew. For this recipe, we will be using the tea in the secondary fermentation process.
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.
- Kombucha: You need kombucha that has completed primary fermentation and is ready to bottle and flavor.
- Hibiscus Tea: We recommend using our Hibiscus tea.
- Honey: The more honey you add the sweeter your tea will turn out.
SECONDARY FERMENTATION PREPARATION
This recipe makes one16 fluid ounce bottle. For a 1-gallon batch, make 7 16 ounce bottles of kombucha or times the ingredients by 2 and save any excess ingredients for future batches (trust us, you’ll be coming back for more of this one). Before beginning this recipe, you will want to:
- Reserve 12 – 16 fluid ounces of kombucha and your pellicle from your completed primary fermentation and set aside. It’s best to pour from the top of the brew jar as the bottom will have a much higher yeast concentration. You will use this as your starter for your next gallon batch of kombucha.
- With your kombucha starter tea and SCOBY placed aside, you will now have enough kombucha left to make seven 16 oz bottles. These bottles are the most popular as they are considered the best bottles for kombucha secondary fermentation, but any other airtight bottles made for carbonation will work.