The 18 Best Seasonal Homemade Kombucha Flavors for Second Ferment
Do you brew kombucha? Are you looking for a splash of inspiration and some tasty new kombucha flavors to try for your second fermentation? Then look no further! Here is a round-up of our favorite seasonal homemade kombucha flavors. Most of the ideas on this list are various combinations of fresh fruit, but a few are a little different too! For example, using spices, vegetables, or creating simple flavored syrups infused with herbs or flowers.
Over the last five years of brewing regularly, we have bottled a lot of kombucha! While we have experimented with dozens of flavor combos, there are a few extra special ones that come to mind, along with a handful of go-to recipes that we always come back to. If you need instructions on the basics of making kombucha, check out this article – and then head back here!
Before we dive into what our favorite picks are, we need to cover a couple important points first: the condition of the fruit you are adding, and how you are adding it. These factors can either make or break your kombucha flavoring efforts!
Choose Ripe Fruit
I have a little secret to let you in on… No matter how appetizing a fruit or flavor may sound, your kombucha is only going to be as good as the raw ingredients you put into it! That means that if you use underripe, out-of-season, lackluster fruit, your finished kombucha flavor is going to be… well, lackluster too!
Furthermore, flavoring kombucha is a great way to utilize overripe or damaged fruit instead of composting it! Bruised apples, overly soft peaches, or fruit in otherwise less-than-ideal condition for eating are perfect for kombucha! As long as they aren’t moldy and rotten, that is. Overripe fruit can be the sweetest! #wastenotwantnot
Drink In Season
When we are preparing to bottle kombucha, deciding on the flavor of the week, we ask ourselves a few questions. One of those questions is NOT “What fruit makes the best tasting kombucha ever?” Instead, we think about what is in season, and what is readily available locally – either at the farmer’s market, grocery store, or from our garden.
Eating (and drinking) with the seasons is the most sustainable option, and also the best tasting! Nothing is worse than hard, white, flavorless strawberries, am I right? For optimum sweetness, flavor, and the highest nutritional value, choose produce that is in season now. If possible, local and organic is even better!
Keep in mind that just because something is currently stocked at the grocery store, doesn’t mean it is in season! Check produce stickers to see the origin of the fruit or vegetable. Chances are, if it isn’t coming from the U.S., it isn’t in season here. Use you local farmer’s market for ideas and inspiration! Go explore, and pick up what they’re offering. You may find some delicious favorite flavors of your own – completely different from what we have locally here!
What Fruit is “In Season”?
Below is a general guide to when common fruits are in season in the U.S. To narrow down your search by state and month, check out this awesome Seasonal Food Guide!
- Spring: some Citrus, beginning of Strawberries & Blueberries
- Summer: Cherries, Stone Fruit, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Melon, Grapes
- Fall: Apples, Pear, Passionfruit, Grapes
- Winter: Apples, Persimmon, Citrus, Kiwi, Pear, Passionfruit
- Year-round: Beets and Carrots… not fruit, but great in booch!
How You Add Flavor or Fruit to Your Kombucha
In addition to what you add, how you go about flavoring your kombucha will also make a huge difference in the final beverage! If you read our “Kombucha Carbonation Tips: How to Bottle, Flavor & Second Ferment” article, you will already be familiar with some of this. If you haven’t checked that out yet, I highly suggest doing so! It sets the foundation for how to go about adding the flavors that you’ll see below.
Whole Fruit Vs Blended or Juiced
In general, the best way to truly infuse your homemade kombucha with maximum flavor is to add pureed (blended) fruit, or fruit juice. That way, the fruit becomes one with the booch! On the other hand, when chunks of whole fruit are steeped in a kombucha brew, far less flavor transfers from the fruit into the beverage.
We have also found that adding puree or juice leads to better carbonation than steeping. If you find that the fruit you are using isn’t naturally as sweet as you’d like it, you can always add a sprinkle of sugar or dollop of honey into the blender along with it.
I guess I should state now that I am not going to include exact amounts or detailed instructions for every flavor on this list – but of course I will provide some tips. As you read through the following flavor ideas, let them serve as a guide – but feel free to experiment! Amounts will vary depending on how much kombucha you are bottling. Also take into account what kind of method or machine you’re using, and keep in mind that you may need to make a few modifications.
For example, we use a Vitamix to blend our raw fruit and veggies, mixed with just a few ounces of plain finished kombucha to help it blend into a smooth, pourable puree. Then we add a couple ounces of that puree into each swing-top bottle of plain kombucha. The Vitamix is a beast, and can easily blend raw whole beets, knobby chunks of unpeeled ginger root, tough carrots, or whatever else we throw in there! It turns everything silky smooth. If you are using a different blender, you may find the need to do a little more prep beforehand. For example, lightly steam raw beets before they’re blended, or remove the tough skin from a persimmon.
Got pulp? Personally, we don’t mind slightly pulpy kombucha. Yet if you want a more clean beverage, you may want to use a juicer instead of a blender. Or, strain your blended puree before adding it to the bottle – especially for seedy berries! Finally, you could also pour the final product through a funnel strainer after second fermentation, just before consuming it.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the Homestead and Chill…
18 BEST SEASONAL KOMBUCHA FLAVORS
1) Anything Ginger
That’s right. Ginger everything! Fresh ginger root is an amazing, zingy addition to kombucha. It also helps increase carbonation! As you continue reading, pretty much all of the kombucha flavors on this list go wonderfully with ginger! To do so, we simply add a little chunk of raw ginger to the Vitamix when we are blending the fruit. Instead of blending, you can also grate or cut small chunks of ginger and toss them in the bottle during second ferment. Steeping ginger infuses its flavor far better than steeping fruit chunks!
2) Beet & Friends
Like ginger, red beets pair well with a wide variety of other fruit friends! We especially love strawberry-beet, beet blended with fresh orange juice, and beet-ginger. The addition of beets in kombucha second ferment also lead to some serious carbonation – so watch out for “beet bombs”! With their frisky fizz and intense (staining) color, they can be particularly messy. Don’t let that dissuade you from making beet flavors though! Just keep an eye on them and don’t let them over-ferment.
Again, we simply throw raw beet chunks in the Vitamix and blend them with a few ounces of plain kombucha (or orange/lemon juice) until smooth. Before we had a Vitamix, I peeled and steamed them on the stovetop until tender to the fork, and then blended them up. Get ready for some eye-popping, vibrant colored kombucha!
3) Strawberry Lemonade
I mean, who doesn’t love strawberry lemonade? Strawberry kombucha is a divine thing of its own too! This flavor arose out of our “need” to find more ways to use our backyard Meyer lemons. Instead of adding the usual few ounces of plain kombucha to the ripe strawberries in the blender, we substitute with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. That sweet-and-sour combo is awesome. We also found that by adding citrus, the kombucha gets a tad less carbonated – which can be a good thing, since strawberry can get overly fizzy on its own sometimes.
4) Apple Cinnamon
This is one of our go-to kombucha flavors, especially when our backyard apple tree is dumping fruit, or when the local farms ramp up in the fall! By blending together fresh apples and a few dashes of cinnamon powder, the finished kombucha tastes like a winning combination of spiced apple juice and apple cider vinegar.
Truth be told, we usually have organic bottled apple juice in the house too. It is what I drink when my blood sugar gets low – Type 1 diabetic here! So if we ever are running low on fresh fruit on kombucha bottling day, we use bottled apple juice and cinnamon as an easy and tasty solution. Cinnamon also helps reduce blood sugar spikes!
5) Mango Lime
A legitimate tropical party in a bottle. If you haven’t yet discovered this trick, know this: both ripe mango and papaya are absolutely to-die-for when eaten with fresh lime juice drizzled on top! So we implemented that same notion with some California mangoes in our kombucha a few times, and it did not disappoint. Simply blend chunks of skinned, ripe mango with fresh-squeezed lime juice, and add it to your finished kombucha in second ferment.
6) Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
I am not sure why, but we don’t eat many oranges usually. Too messy? I don’t know. But when Aaron’s parents unloaded a huge box of their homegrown, super-sweet Valencia oranges on us, we had to put them to good use! And let me tell you… now we buy oranges when they’re in season, just to add them to kombucha! It couldn’t get more simple, or delicious. Squeeze your own fresh oranges, and add said juice to your booch. Boom. Sunshine in a bottle! Like the apple juice hack, a couple ounces of bottled organic orange juice is also an excellent addition to kombucha in a pinch.
7) Stone Fruit
Peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, pluots – you name it! Any and all stone fruit create stellar kombucha flavors. Since they’re also so delicious to eat, and we don’t grow these ourselves, I often am hesitant to do a full batch of kombucha using just one type or precious stone fruit. Thus, we do a lot of fun mixing with these! Plum and melon, peach and strawberry, or even many types of stone fruit mixed together.
8) Blackberry Lavender
Oooh, lavender huh? I’m sure you can figure out how to include blackberries in kombucha, but how about lavender, or other aromatic herbs and flowers? It is very easy to create a simple flower-infused “syrup” to add to your kombucha! I use the term “syrup” loosely because I am not interested in creating a super-sweet, thick syrup. What we do is more like making a cup of tea!
Using a loose-leaf tea infuser, cheesecloth, or other tightly-woven but breathable material, steep a handful of fresh or dry lavender blooms in a cup of hot water. Add a few tablespoons of sugar to make a mildly sweet syrup. Then pour this alongside your blackberries (and plain kombucha, if needed) in the blender. It should go without saying, this type of lavender syrup could be added directly to plain kombucha – or mixed with other fruit as well! I made a honeydew lavender flavored kombucha once that was pretty amazing.
9) Herb-Infused Flavors
In addition to creating a light lavender syrup (described in #7 above), many other herbs can be used and infused in the same manner! For example, steeping sprigs of rosemary to create a rosemary and citrus kombucha. Another delicious option is using mint with strawberry and lime – mojito style! Mint is tender enough that it could easily be blended with fruit rather than steeped if you prefer. However, because rosemary and lavender are so woody, I would stick with infusing them.
Here is a more savory option for you! Though, carrots can be pretty sweet themselves! During our homegrown carrot season, we love to blend raw carrots to flavor kombucha. A juicer would really be ideal for this one. For an added nutritional boost and pop of flavor, try blending or grating a small piece of fresh turmeric root with the carrots! If that sounds too savory and vegetal for you, carrots also pair perfectly with orange juice, ginger, or apple.
You’re right. I feel a bit guilty having passionfruit on this list, because it is not the easiest to obtain for most people. Plus, you do need a good deal of it to make a modest amount of juice. But if you are magically blessed with an abundance of passionfruit in your life as we are, you have to try it! Passionfruit, also known as lilikoi, is one of the best kombucha flavors around.
To juice the passionfruit, we scoop out their guts into a fine-mesh strainer, perched over a larger bowl. Then using a rubber spatula, I mash and stir the pulpy seeds over and over until the juice has separated and drained below. Add the sweet, tart golden juice to the bottle of plain kombucha.
Did someone order fall in a bottle? Persimmon kombucha is like the equivalent of a pumpkin spice latte for me. If you embark on this journey, be sure to get ripe Fuyu persimmons – the squatty ones that look reminiscent of a mini pumpkin – not hachiya persimmons! Fuyu are excellent to eat fresh like an apple, while hachiya are bitter and leave a furry feeling in your mouth unless they’re gooey-ripe or baked. Definitely feel free to add cinnamon or ginger to this one as well!
13) Blueberry Ginger
It’s just good. Nuff said? One tip I recently heard was to create a blueberry sauce by simmering blueberries, a little sugar, and optional grated ginger on the stovetop before adding it to the kombucha. Yum! (Allow it to cool before mixing!)
14) Lemon Zinger
Lemon ginger, that is! When you want a break from something sweeter kombucha flavors, this is a great option. We are fortunate to have sweet Meyer lemons to juice, so if you’re using standard lemons, you may want to add just a tiny sprinkle of sugar or dab of honey to the bottle too. In addition to using lemon and ginger as a flavor on their own, they’re stellar in conjunction with most of the other flavors on this list too!
Oh melon, you are tasty. Super juicy sweet watermelon makes especially fantastic kombucha flavors! Because of its natural high water content, it will need little to no additional kombucha for blending. Other melons are worthy as well… like cantaloupe, and honeydew too! Because melon can have a fairly subtle flavor, it is especially important to use really ripe ones for the best kombucha second ferment. I frequently mix melon with other seasonal fruits during the summer months.
16) Strawberry Basil
I have to admit that blending basil and strawberries doesn’t always make for the prettiest of kombucha, as the colors may get a little muddled. But do it anyways, because it tastes wonderful! Simply blend a few fresh tender basil leaves with ripe strawberries and a splash of plain kombucha. Then, add a couple ounces of that puree in the bottle with your finished kombucha to second ferment.
17) Raspberry Lime
You’ve got the hang of this by now, right? Sweet, ripe raspberries = good. Plus fresh-squeezed lime juice? Even better! To avoid a seedy kombucha, you may want to make a stovetop sauce with this one, and/or strain it before bottling. Or like us, simply embrace the seeds!
Guess what is always in season? Plain ole’ booch! Sometimes it is nice to let the kombucha shine on its own – especially if you are using tasty, high-quality teas in your brew! Not to mention, this option is the least fuss.
Feeling thirsty yet?
There you have it! Those are our top picks for seasonal kombucha flavors. What do you think? Did you see a few new combos that you can’t wait to try? Be sure to report back with how you liked them! Did I forget any of the tastiest kombucha flavors that you love to make at home? Let us all know in the comments.
Thank you for tuning in! Please feel free to ask questions, and spread the booch love by sharing this article. Cheers!
Can you flavor khmobucha with alcohol-infused fruit? I have some brandied cherries from last summer that I would love to try, but can’t find any information online about adding alcohol to kombucha in the second ferment.
Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)
Hi Emma, I think it is worth an experiment although it likely won’t carbonate as much in second ferment as when using fresh fruit or fruit juice but I don’t see any reason not to give it a try. Hope that helps and have fun brewing!