It’s that time of year again. Every commercial coffee shop in the US and abroad has lines around the building for that one-of-a-kind flavor. Oh ya – we’re talking pumpkin spice. Nothing says fall more than sipping on a beloved pumpkin spice beverage while watching the leaves turn colors. Believe it or not, the famous and beloved “PSL” – aka Pumpkin Spice Latte – was not mankind’s discovery of the wonderful flavor: pumpkin spice has been around for about 3,500 years, since traders traveled to the Spice Islands (Banda Islands) and harvested nutmeg. Obviously, these traders were on to something because now Pumpkin Spice is a fall staple – what would the season be without it? And now we combine it with sweet and tangy kombucha to give you – you guessed it, Pumpkin Spice Kombucha.
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.
- Pumpkin Spice: The Fall favorite.
- Cinnamon Sticks: The perfect rich and spicy twist.
- Candied Ginger: An indulgently perfect treat OR secret weapon ingredient for kombucha secondary fermentation. Since candied ginger brings its own sugar to the party, you can rest assured that your kombucha will be fizzy and packed with delicious gingery goodness. You can order our fantastic candied ginger here or pick some up at your local grocery store.
- Clove: Adds plenty of warmth and flavor to your booch.
- Allspice Berry: Boosts the cinnamon, ginger, and clove flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: This is what gives that extra layer of smooth sweetness to the drink. A high-quality vanilla extract yields a fresher end product but feel free to use what you have on hand to experiment.
SECONDARY FERMENTATION PREPARATION
This recipe makes one 16 fluid ounce bottle. For a 1-gallon batch, make 7 16 ounce bottles of kombucha or times the ingredients by 7 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.