Kombucha bottle fill levels

How To Properly Fill Kombucha Bottles

Homebrewers, take note.

It is VERY important to fill bottles of kombucha correctly.

Kombucha bottle fill levels

The perfect fill level is illustrated in the photo above, marked by the purple notes that look like the number 7. I instruct homebrewers to use recycled Grolsch bottles

Another tip: right below the lip 😘

Fill your bottles nearly to the top, into the neck of any bottle. Ensure there’s no more than an inch of headspace.

Why does it matter?

Trust me on this, the level you fill your bottle matters. When given too much space, your brew will produce excessive levels of carbonation. If not given enough, the kombucha may turn out flat.

Early in my brewing days, I was finishing a flavoring process. I didn’t have enough brew to fill one of my bottles all the way – only about half-full. 

So, I continued my process and left the half-full bottle with my others for the full cycle. I remember the flavor was my FAVORITE: raspberry ginger. 

When it was ready, I excitedly grabbed the half-bottle from my fridge first. I opened it over my sink, like any other. It was a good thing I wasn’t looking down because as soon as I started to flip the hinge, the top BLEW off with the force of a heavy-duty pressure washer. Like, one I’d have to rent! 🤯

There’s still raspberry on my ceiling if you don’t believe me. The biggest thing, though: if I would have been looking at the bottle directly when I opened it, I know it would have injured my eye. Bless my husband for our conversation 💓

If I have the guts to re-create this scenario in the future, I’ll post a video.

Tl;dr If you don’t fill your bottles correctly, you risk potentially harmful explosions.

Here’s a poor fill-level example, from free stock footage if you’d believe it! There is way too much room in these bottles.

kombucha benefits

Three Kombucha Health Benefits

So… what ARE the real health benefits of kombucha? Many kombucha devotees like me give personal claims to the drink’s health benefits. Today, we discuss three vital benefits of regular consumption.

But, before you read on, it is important for me to be crystal clear: 

I am the Booch Witch, not the Booch Doctor.

I do not provide medical advice. Please speak to your doctor about the possible benefits or side effects of adding kombucha to your diet, especially if you plan to drink it a couple of times a week.

1. Improves Gut Health 

What is “gut health”? Gut health is the balance of bacteria in parts of your gastrointestinal tract. This area includes our intestines, which are vital for us to digest food with comfort. Basically, better gut health promotes better digestion.

Furthermore, according to gut health experts like OmniBiotic, the benefits of ingesting foods with probiotics contributes to better gut health and digestion. First signs of this positive effect can include:

  • a reduction in bloating and gas
  • more regular bowel movements

Kombucha is full of probiotics because it contains lactic acid bacteria. With healthy kombucha brews, come the healthy bacterias needed to keep that optimal gut bacteria balance in check.

2. Full of Antioxidants

When made at home, kombucha can be full of antioxidants. One of the reasons I suggest, and teach, using green tea in kombucha is for the antioxidants found in plain, organic green tea. 

This tea is full of polyphenols, also known as antioxidants. Polyphenols are micronutrients we can benefit from by ingestion from certain plant-based foods. It’s thought, and it is my personal experience, that polyphenols help treat digestion and weight management issues.

Fruits in the flavoring process add a multitude of nutrients, as well. Being thoughtful about the natural fruits you use in flavoring can play a fun and healthy role in antioxidant consumption. 

3. Promotes better mental health

When you make kombucha for yourself, you begin a new ritual. This new practice is a powerful example of self-care. By investing in the energy of the new hobby, you not only reap the financial reward, but you also have a deliciously fulfilling creative outlet.

The flavor process of kombucha is fun and never gets old. Seasonal brew flavors help any home-brewer welcome in the change of season. When we take the time for ourselves, we promote a more positive and spacious mindset. And that can lead to things that make us happy 🥰

There’s also evidence surfacing in medical news journals (Fermented foods, the gut and mental health: a mechanistic overview with implications for depression and anxiety) surrounding kombucha’s positive association with depression, thanks to a link with probiotics. 

moldy kombucha scoby

Brewers Beware of Mold

Oh no. It is something every kombucha home-brewer fears: Mold 😲

Scobys can get moldy for several reasons. This post discusses how your kombucha scoby can get infested with mold, what to do if you see mold, and how to avoid mold in the first place 👍

Mold is Rare, Really

In my years of brewing kombucha at home, I have encountered two instances of mold on my scoby.

First: Kombucha fermentation area too close to dog food bag.

Second: Left my brew untended for months without a tight lid, which is appropriate for longer breaks.

Both instances were completely my fault and totally avoidable. When a healthy brewing routine is kept and the fermentation area clean is clean, kombucha brewers shouldn’t experience mold.

Help? Is this mold?

A kombucha scoby can turn different colors depending on the tea you feed it. Brewers will notice yeasty tentacles when a healthy scoby has been established.

Beautiful scoby
Look at these yeasty tentacles!

*New brewers, take note. When your scoby is establishing, it may look strange. Please send a picture to me before throwing anything out that you may consider mold. I’m happy to do my best to e-verify scoby growth for customers.

Examples of mold forming on top of a scoby:

mold forming on kombucha

Mold can grow on the top of a scoby for various reasons, most of them involving a lack of specific cleanliness in the fermentation area.

Sometimes, mold can happen if a brewing space gets too chilly. Other causes for mold include cross-pollination from house plants or other ferments (like kimchi), cigarette smoke, excessive humidity, cold temperatures (this is why it is key to keep starter scobys room temperature until use).

Are you sure this isn’t mold?

Sometimes, especially if brewing with loose-leaf, our tea leaves will end up in the fermented tea. Sometimes, these tea leaves make their way to the top of our scoby. This is normal, and oftentimes can be confused with mold.

If you have a tea leaf on your scoby, take a clean stainless steel utensil (spoon, tongs…) and slosh the scoby around in your fermenting tea brew to dislodge the leaf. 

It is Mold! What do I do?

If you see anything like the above, throw your scoby and entire batch out. Sanitize all of the instruments you use to make kombucha. Time to get another scoby set and start over. Heartbreaking, I know 💔

It is important to throw out moldy, contaminated kombucha products. This type of mold is typically what we find on decaying bread or fruits. When mold is introduced to fermented tea, the kombucha will be dangerous to consume. 

Let’s Avoid Mold in the First Place

If you’ve taken one of my classes, you’ve heard me state several times the importance of a clean, undisturbed area. 

#1 Ensure your Space is Clean. Ensure your brewing, fermentation, and prep areas are always clean. Use a tight filter (coffee filters, two-ply) during the fermentation process – avoid muslin fabrics.

#2 Do Not Disturb. Make sure the brewing area is left alone, undisturbed, and free of occasional air debris (like opening up a dog/cat food bag regularly). 

#3 Too Cold? If your area runs cold, or experiences drafts, use extra carpet squares and towels to warm up the area’s walls and floor.

Best tea for kombucha

The Best Tea for Kombucha

Sticking to plain green and black teas is the best to brew kombucha. While delicious and tasty, flavored and herbal teas are better for sipping, not booching.  

It sounds so plain and boring, but it’s true! And, this is good news for your pocketbook.

Kombucha is made with four simple, yet key ingredients:

  • A healthy scoby set (including plenty of starter liquid)
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Tea 

Why is plain, organic green or black tea best?

In order to keep your scoby as healthy as possible, kombucha needs simple, plain, unflavored tea for the proper brewing process. Soooo picky, huh? 😉

Real, true tea comes from the camellia sinesis plant, which when processed makes either black, green, white, oolong, and pu-erh tea from it’s dried leaves.

When steeped, these leaves produce compounds. The yeasts and bacteria included in our scoby set and sweet tea love to feast on these compounds during the brewing process. 

Why flavored teas don’t work in kombucha.

Flavored teas and herbs contain oils that are harmful to your scoby and brewing process. When oils enter your sweet tea and fermentation cycle, they choke off your scoby’s life by blocking vital nutrients for the brewing culture and cycle.

This can result in mold growing on top of your scoby and in your brew.

Plain organic green tea is the only tea pictured above acceptable for kombucha brewing.

So, this is why I recommend loose-leaf organic green or black tea from home-brew kombucha. Clean and pure plant leaves give your brew the nutrients needed to survive and no oily residue to damage your brew.

Always Room for Exceptions!

Kombucha can be cautiously made with jasmine tea, hibiscus tea, and unflavored white teas.

I rotate a few jasmine balls into my normal green tea mixture a few times a year. Admittedly, I have a bag of white tea ready to try; I just haven’t gotten to it yet  😀

My hibiscus experiments have ended up too sour for my taste. Some brewers have also had success with chamomile, rooibos, rosehip teas for producing kombucha. 

However, for the strongest and healthiest home-brew, I only recommend black or green tea.

Want to Experiment?

If you are regularly producing strong and regularly fizzy brews, and are looking for something on the side 😉, you could be ready to experiment with some of the exceptions listed above.

Make sure you have back-up scobys if things go south (i.e. moldy).

You will also be wise to ensure you start fresh with a healthy scoby in a separate and clean jar, covered with plenty of filters to mitigate pesky fruit flies. 

Don’t feel like jumping in head-first? Try an experimental blend with an added bag of black tea. 

And as always, keep me posted 😀

The integrity of kombucha and why reading labels matters

Why reading the label matters

Your favorite kombucha brands may be watered down.

Kombucha Brewers International released a Code of Practice. The code distinguishes between the following categories:
Traditional Kombucha Tea: This is a fermented tea, made with a scoby and sugar. The way I make my brew at home would be considered a Traditional Kombucha Tea.
Kombucha: Same as the Traditional listed above, but made with coffee, yerba mate, and other plants instead of straight fermented tea.
Jun Kombucha, Hard Kombucha, Herbal Kombucha: Jun kombucha is made with green tea and honey. Hard kombucha is kombucha with alcoholic content (follow me on social media to keep an eye on my attempts). Herbal kombucha can sometimes be made with other herbs instead of tea (i.e. dried hibiscus petals, chamomile, and lemon balm).
Processed Kombucha: Defined as a “type of kombucha to which a process has been applied to the product outside the traditional manufacturing process.” This includes de-alcoholization, pasteurization, filtration, etc… which may be necessary for commercial sale.
For more information, see this comprehensive article by Elaine Watson: “What is an ‘authentic’ kombucha? KBI publishes a long-awaited code of practice, proposes industry seal.” 

Why does it matter to hobby booch-brewers? 

I brew kombucha at home for many reasons, for example, it allows me to be in control of what I put in my body. Personal control.
To maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure, I look for as little added sugars as possible. 
When I took a break from brewing booch this summer, was left kombucha-less for about two weeks until my continuous brew was back to normal production.
Left to buy kombucha at one of my local grocery stores to get my “fix,” I compared three of my favorite retail brews’ ingredients:
Three brands of kombucha

Brand one: Kevita, Ginger Turmeric 

First, I need to be honest: I really like to re-use Kevita bottles. They hold up well, seal tightly, and have a cute little heart on the bottom of each bottle ❤
I like ginger and turmeric for their health benefits and taste, and this concoction is a tasty and refreshing combination.
However, according to the new Code of Practice, brands like Kevita may not be approved as “authentic” kombucha. Take a look at the first ingredient: Sparkling Water. And added sugars? 15 grams, 30% of your daily suggested intake. 

Brand two: GT’s, Gingerade

My longtime-favorite retail brew is GT’s Gingerade. This brand holds true to its mission with a focus on clean and minimal ingredients. A closer look at the label shows zero added sugars and a short, pure ingredient list. 
When I buy retail, I definitely look at brands like GT’s who maintain the integrity of kombucha. As a homebrewer who is interested in the drink’s nutritional benefits, you should too. 

Brand three: Kevita, Blueberry Basil

I like retail flavors that mimic what I make at home. I always have frozen blueberries on hand for quick kombucha flavors. And June-September, I have fresh basil on hand, too.
It is fun to do an at-home taste test to see how you size up against the professionals.
Again, I encourage another look at the nutrition facts for Brand Three: Sparkling Water and Added Sugar.  While very tasty, this doesn’t align with the REAL REASON I started drinking kombucha in the first place. 

Choose For YOU!

Keep this information in your back pocket when you buy kombucha, and as you develop your inspired home-brewed flavors.
With the exception of hard kombucha, I do not advise adding extra sugar to your flavoring process. Don’t forget fruit is naturally sweet enough as is 🎀
 
Use what you have at home for kombucha

How to Flavor Kombucha

What’s the secret ingredient to my most delicious kombucha brews?

Ripe fruit flavors and inspired combinations! Selecting the best fruits, fruit mixtures, and flattering herbs and spices is a creative part of the brewing process.

Throughout my years of experience, I’ve had clear flavor winners as well as duds. Read on for guidance on selecting the best fruit to flavor your kombucha at home.

Rules

How much fruit should be added to kombucha? Exact measurements vary among fruit. Consider how a super juicy peach would fare in fermentation versus an apple. The best rule of thumb is to use your judgment and past experiences but stick to no more two (2) tablespoons per bottle. If you like it lighter, try one tablespoon next time, and make sure you keep notes so you can make adjustments to your personal tastes. 

Mastering the art of kombucha flavoring comes with experience… the more variations you try, the better your kombucha will taste.

A fair warning: Do not add much more than two tablespoons per bottle. Too much fruit in your bottle versus your kombucha tea could offset your pressure and cause bottle explosions. Check out my thoughts and flavor inspirations, and be sure to follow me on social media, where I regularly share personal recipes!

Recipes

There are many excellent recipe books on the market which provide recipes to follow. However, you don’t need to buy a book to learn how to get the flavors you desire. Just ask yourself a few questions to start guiding your personalized flavoring process.

What flavors have I bought that I like?

Do you like a particular store brand? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! When I started brewing kombucha, I sought out my favorite store brands for inspiration. At the top of the list was GT’s Gingerade, with its ingredient label, including GT’s own kombucha (made with a mix of black and green tea, and kiwi juice) and fresh-pressed ginger juice. 

I tried a few thinly-sliced pieces of fresh ginger and a squirt of honey in place of pressing juice for cost efficiency. This resulted in a ginger-spicy brew, which was good but evened out better with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice on the next attempt. I settled on the following for my go-to version in honor of one of my favorite store brands:

GT’s Gingerade Booch Witch Copycat Recipe, per 12 ounce bottle

  • Two tablespoons of fresh ginger, cut into match-stick pieces
  • One teaspoon local honey
  • One teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Another favorite retail brew is Health-Ade’s Pink Lady Apple, which adds organic juice from Pink Lady apples into the second fermentation.  

When I started messing around at home with this one, I used some very thinly sliced Ida Reds from Beloit, Wisconsin’s Apple Hut. Slices of apples are regularly found in my brews, so this simple recipe is perfect whenever I’m short on time or inspiration. I add hibiscus to balance the flavor and help lower blood pressure.

Health-Ade’s Pink Lady Apple Booch Witch Copycat Recipe, per 12 ounce bottle

  • Two tablespoons of fresh apple, sliced very thin
  • 1-3 dried hibiscus petals
Lots of pomegranates!
I found a good deal on pomegranates!

Suggestions to Get Rid of Stuff!

You should also work with fruits and produce your household regularly has on hand. To begin, and to keep your costs low, start by asking yourself versions of the following questions below. Then consider my suggested recipe responses 😀

  • Does someone always in your household like to have bananas around? 
    • Try Strawberry Blonde:
      • Two teaspoons, thawed frozen strawberries
      • Two teaspoons, sliced fresh banana 
  • Do you eat lots of apples, like me? 
    • Try Apple Refresher:
      • One tablespoon crisp apple, sliced thin
      • Three leaves fresh mint
      • One squirt of local honey
  • Do your kids eat a lot of oranges? 
    • Try Vitamin C Booch:
      • Two tablespoons, fresh orange; Segments sliced
      • One teaspoon pineapple juice
      • One sprig, fresh cilantro
  • Do you have a bunch of strawberries frozen from a local market? 
    • You might like Summertime in a Bottle:
      • One tablespoon, strawberries
      • One sprig, lemon verbena
  • Do you have extra watermelon from a picnic? 
    • Try this brew inspired by Watermelon Wonder
      • One tablespoon, diced watermelon 
      • One squished cherry, or thawed frozen cherry
      • Juice of one half of a kiwi
  • Spot a good sale on frozen mango at the store? 
    • Give Fruit Punch a shot:
      • Two tablespoons, thawed frozen mango
      • One teaspoon, pineapple juice or fruit
      • One teaspoon, fresh orange; sliced

As you get more confident with your brews, your chutzpah may grow, and you’ll want to try something unique to you. My advice? Do it.

My most cherished personal brews have been experimental. Be sure to visit my related blog, which discusses herbs and more complex recipes that might inspire you, too.

Best wishes in your brews, friends!

Can I Take a Break from Brewing Kombucha?

If you’ve been brewing for a while, you can easily take time off

Have an upcoming vacation? Or, do you just want a little break from home-brew kombucha? No sweat!

As home-brewers, we often grow to care for our scobys. You will want to ensure your hard work together will survive any time apart. Two important items to consider are the length of time you’ll be away from the brew, and how to prepare your scoby for the break.

Take a Week to a Monthlong Break

Home-brewed kombucha is really easy to store while away. If you will be gone for a week to a month, read on for detailed steps.

Kombucha brewing vessel
A double coffee filter is best for shorter breaks.

Step 1: Make Strong Sweet Tea

Make about half to one-third of the amount of tea you typically would. Since your brew will be left unattended, it will get vinegary. We will dispose of it in Step 4, so why waste your products?

Follow your usual tea recipe, but DOUBLE the sugar. This extra sugar will give your scoby plenty to consume to retain its health. Let the tea come to room temperature and pour into your brewing vessel with your scoby and plenty of reserved starter liquid.

Step 2: Cover it up

Ensure your vessel’s exterior is extra clean, and the lid is dry. Cover with two coffee filters layered and a tight rubber band, as shown above. Place your brew where you typically do, ensuring that space is not a temptation for fruit flies or ants.

If possible, store it somewhere cooler than usual, around 60-65°F, which helps slow the fermentation. I put mine in the basement.

Step 3: Enjoy your Break

😀

Step 4: Come Back

Uncover your vessel, pour out the liquid and dispose of, making sure to reserve plenty of starter liquid as you typically would. The liquid will smell and taste vinegary.

Brew your typical amount and strength of tea, and return to your ritual.

Take a Break of Several Months

Plan to be away for a few months? That’s okay! You can store your scoby in strong starter liquid safely; follow the four steps below.

Two vessels of kombucha with solid screwtop lids
A screw-top lid is best for long-term breaks.

Step 1: Make Strong Sweet Tea

Make about half to one-third of the amount of tea you typically would. Again, your brew will be left unattended and will turn to vinegar. Follow your usual tea recipe, but again DOUBLE the sugar.

Let the tea come to room temperature and pour into your brewing vessel with your scoby and plenty of reserved starter liquid.

Step 2: Cover it up

Ensure your vessel is extra clean. Cover with a solid screw-top lid, as shown above. Place your brew where you typically do, ensuring it is out of sunlight.

Store it somewhere cooler than usual, if possible, for this longer break.

Step 3: Enjoy the Break

🙏

Step 4: Come Back

When you return, it is essential to know there may be some pressure built up in your brewing vessel. Open the screw-top lid very carefully, discard most of the liquid. It will stink!

Brew your typical amount and strength of tea, and return to your ritual. 

Practice Patience

Remember that starting the kombucha process takes time for success. Understand it may take a few brewing cycles for your scoby to get back into the habit of making you delicious kombucha again.

The first few batches may be tangy and lack fizz, especially the longer the break. 

Splitting your scoby

Is it Time to Split your Scoby?

Everything you need to know about dividing your scoby

Has your scoby grown thick enough to show layers? Does the top of your scoby look fresher, paler in color while your original is darkening beneath? It may be time to split.

As you brew successive batches of kombucha at home, you will notice your scoby continues to grow thicker. When you first start with a starter scoby set your pellicle grows to cover the surface of the vessel, and also grows thicker while developing yeast strands and good bacteria.

Many people call the first starter scoby the Mother. When your Mother scoby is happy and healthy, it will form layers of little scoby Children. As you brew successive batches, it will be important to peel off older Mothers to ensure your kombucha’s highest quality. This type of growth and scoby duplication is a sign you are doing things right!

Which One Is The Mother?

Mother scoby and child
  • The Mother is on the bottom
  • New scoby growth will be thin and typically very light in color.
  • This color difference is more dramatic if using black tea in your brew. 

If your scoby gets more than one inch thick in a typical one-gallon brew, it’s time to consider separation. How do you know when the time is right?

Signs your scoby’s prime brewing days are over

  • Lack of carbonation
  • Flat-tangy taste
  • Visible layers as shown in the above photo

How to Split your Scoby

A scoby may look delicate floating in your sweet tea, however, it has a surprisingly tough and rubbery texture which can take a good amount of abuse. Don’t worry if you rip a Child during this process.

What you need: 

  • 2 stainless steel food-grade tongs
  • A clean plate

Step-by-step

  1. Wash your hands and clean area surfaces to avoid contamination issues.
  2. Use one tong to grab your scoby out of the brewing vessel.
  3. Place on a clean plate.
  4. With tongs in both hands, find scoby seam between the Mother and Child.
  5. Grab ahold of the Mother with one tong and the Child layer with the other tong.
  6. Gently pull to peel the Mother (bottom) from the Child (top)
  7. Retain top Child scoby.

A Common Question …

My scoby looks shredded after the split. Will it survive?

Remember your scoby is a tough cookie and will continue to grow. Make sure you have more than enough reserved liquid from your last batch when you introduce sweet tea in the next cycle.

Your scoby should develop another child layer after a rough separation, but it may take a couple of weeks. Brew fizziness may temporarily be affected, so be patient!

Watch me split a scoby in under 3 minutes! 

I typically throw my old Mother scoby on our garden. If you are new to brewing, I recommend keeping an old mother in a separate jar as an emergency back-up should things turn moldy.

Many people also utilize old Mother scobys in other ways like facial masks, dog food, and jerky. Have you done something interesting with your scoby? Tell me all about it!

Herb garden

Using herbs to flavor kombucha

Let’s talk about herbs in kombucha flavors

Imagine a sunny July weekend. You are prepping kombucha bottles for flavoring, and you seek inspiration. You have fresh fruit on hand thanks to the season, but want to experiment. Walk out to your garden or container pots, and help yourself to a true homemade kombucha experience.

Nothing amps up the complexity of a kombucha fruit flavor like a fresh herb. Look to delicious and popular retail brewers with flavors like Blood Orange Mint and Lavender Chamomile for inspiration.

Just snipping a few leaves in each bottle’s F2 stage will produce an extra kick you’ll love. Plus, the reward of growing your own plants is a unique benefit of becoming more self-sufficient.

As you plan your summer garden, consider investing in seeds and well-draining pot containers to enjoy easy access to herbs for months, even years!

I live in Zone 5, therefore the guidance listed below is specific to my area.

Cilantro

Growing cilantro from seed in pots, or in a garden, is quick and easy. Make sure you have a sunny location with healthy drainage. Sown seeds should germinate in about 10 days.

To save even more, let a few plants go to seed in the fall, and use the dried seeds – aka coriander – as a seasoning whenever called for in recipes, like enchilada sauce. With just a little more extra effort, you can also keep some dried seeds in ventilated jars to plant next year.

Ground coriander

Fresh-ground coriander is an aromatic experience!

Cilantro contains vitamin C and has antioxidant health benefits, in addition to being a super addition to fresh salsa. Cilantro also gives kombucha a fun, summery kick. I like it best with a fresh cherry tomato from my garden. It also pairs well with pineapple, cucumber, or ginger.

Refreshing Cilantro Ginger Lime Recipe

Add the ingredients per bottle at the F2 stage.

  • A squirt of local honey (~1 tsp)
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves (~2tbsp)
  • A couple chunks of fresh ginger (~2 tbsp)
  • A healthy lime squeeze (~ ⅛ tsp fresh juice)
  • Throw in some hibiscus petals if you want to be extra sassy!

Basil

Basil, historically thought to protect people from evil spirits, is easily grown in pots or garden. There are numerous variations of seeds to experiment with including purple and variegated leaf basils. I think the big ‘ol green, traditional basil is best to cook with and utilize, but I always plant a couple of purple plants for fun. Basil is good for digestion and also has antioxidant benefits. Newly-picked basil leaves pair best with pineapple or fresh strawberries in my experience.

Strawberry Basil Recipe

Add the ingredients per bottle at the F2 stage.

  • 3 healthy basil leaves
  • ~1/4 cup strawberries, chopped
    • Fresh berries are best, but frozen come in a close second

Mint

I enjoy a patch of peppermint and spearmint that come back every year on the sunny side of the house. Visit your favorite nursery for established mint plants, or ask a friend for a cutting to root.

To use mint in your kombucha, snip a couple shoots with clean garden shears. Rinse the mint with water, and tie the bunch with a rubber band or cotton string, hanging upside down to air-dry.

Add fresh, or dried leaves to any fruity recipe. Juicy peaches, raspberries, blueberries, and melons are well-accompanied by mint.

Melon Mint Recipe

Add the ingredients per bottle at the F2 stage.

  • Fresh mint leaves, removed from stem (~1 tbsp)
  • ~1/4 cup melon, chopped
    • Try any variety: honeydew, cantaloupe
  • A squirt of honey (optional)
  • A tiiiiny dash of pink Himalayan salt (optional)

Rosemary

A sprig of fresh, or dried, rosemary hits well with fresh orange and cranberry syrup. Rosemary is also known to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.

Rosemary Orange Recipe

Add the ingredients per bottle at the F2 stage.

  • A squirt of local honey (~1 tsp)
  • 1 small sprig rosemary
    • Keep the stem intact
  • 2 sections of fresh navel orange, chopped

Chamomile

Pluck the tiny white flowers each morning and dry in a basket throughout the summer. Add a few dried flowers to the flavoring process for a deep, almost-vanilla-like taste and sedative effect.

Good companions to dried chamomile flowers in kombucha are lavender, cherry, honey, and rosemary. Chamomile will often reseed itself, so new plants may come up again in your garden at no cost to you. Thanks, Mother Nature!

Sleepytime Kombucha Recipe

Add the ingredients per bottle at the F2 stage.

  • 2 squirts of local honey (~2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 tsp dried lavender flowers
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Dried chamomile

Dry chamomile flowers in an airy basket

Conclusion

Of course, there are many more herbs out there waiting for you to try. This summer, I look forward to experimenting with calendula.

If you have the space and proper environment, consider planting your own fruit, herbs, and vegetables, too. Fresh raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries can be enjoyed in season, as well as frozen for future use.

Tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and cucumbers are all good flavor additions to try in your kombucha, as well, so don’t be shy — you’ll have fun!