How To Make Fizzy Kombucha
Yes, Kombucha can be Fizzy! Here’s a video of Terry (my mom and the KombuchaHome.com site co-founder) opening a bottle of super fizzy Kombucha!
We’re going to give you a few easy tips in this article to build up explosive levels (but not as explosive as on the video, I hope!) of Kombucha carbonation!
Most Kombucha Has *Some* Fizz
Most fresh kombucha tea has a very slight “fizz” to it from the carbon dioxide dissolved in the tea liquid, even if you only do a first ferment (but not a second ferment).
This CO2 comes from the action of the yeasts in the SCOBY, the Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast that does the work of fermenting the kombucha tea and creating the probiotics and organic acids that add to the many health benefits of kombucha.
The easiest way to make your kombucha even fizzier is to bottle your kombucha. After you remove the SCOBY from the brewing container, there will still be yeast in the liquid. Some of them you’ll be able to see because they’ll form clumps or small colonies that will be floating in the liquid, generally towards the bottom. However, most of them you won’t see at all, because the individual microorganisms are too small to be seen with the naked eye.
Don’t worry, though – they’re still there, and if you give them a chance, they’ll produce even more CO2 to give you the fizz you fancy.
This will happen naturally once you seal fresh kombucha tea in a container, especially if the seal is airtight.
1. Bottle Your Brew & Second Ferment
As stated above, to increase fizz, you need to build more carbonation into your kombucha. There’s only a certain amount of CO2 that remains dissolved in the liquid kombucha tea in an open container.
Most of it evaporates out into the air. However, when you take away the SCOBY and cover the brewing container, that CO2 will start to build up.
You can simply pour the fermented kombucha tea into the bottles or jars you want to use to store it, seal the containers tightly with screw-top or flip-top lids, and let the CO2 content rise. You can also add additional ingredients that will help the yeast produce even more carbonation.
If You Don’t Second Ferment…
You can bottle your kombucha brew, adding in some flavoring, and put it straight into the refrigerator, but you won’t get as much carbonation buildup, even if you’ve added extra sugars (though both pineapple and ginger will produce natural carbonation without the yeast action, so be careful about CO2 buildup if you’re using these ingredients).
Second Ferment = Fizzy Kombucha
To improve fizz, you’ll need to second ferment, and that means leaving the final brew + flavorings (make sure you’ve taken the SCOBY out first though and starter liquid for the next batch) in a sealed bottle at room temperature.
To take advantage of the action of the yeast and get the most fizz, leave your sealed bottles at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, at least overnight. Most people find that 1 to 3 days at room temperature gives a good level of carbonation, and depending on the temperature you might be able to extend this time to up to a week.
Be sure you’re monitoring the carbonation while it’s at room temperature! For more info, read our article about how temperature affects brewing flavor.
Read some of our guides on how to second ferment:
The Type of Bottle Makes a Difference in Fizz Levels
To avoid losing CO2 from a faulty seal, and to avoid accidents like explosions that can result if excess pressure is not released safely, you’ll need to pick the right equipment for bottling kombucha. You can create this natural CO2 buildup using:
- recycled clean containers from store-bought kombucha tea
- recycled clean plastic soda or water bottles
- clean glass jars with plastic screw-top lids
- narrow, beer/wine shaped bottles with flip-top lids (the best)
Some people use glass bottles with screw-top lids, like clean recycled wine bottles, but these may not have perfectly tight seals. Using corks to close wine bottles will only work well if the carbonation is not building up too quickly.
You can also use a piece of specialized kombucha brewing equipment called an “airlock” that seals a container while allowing excess CO2 to escape in a controlled fashion.
For your regular bottle for fizzy kombucha, we recommend you just use these EZ Cap Bottles to second ferment kombucha with. Doing a second ferment in one of those bottles will probably be the single most effective way to make your kombucha fizzy.
2. Add Yeast-Boosting Ingredients to Primary Ferment
No matter how much yeast is left in the kombucha tea, you won’t get any extra fizz unless the yeast have something to eat.
You can do this by just adding more sugar when you bottle the kombucha tea. You can use the same sugar that you used when you brewed up your sweetened tea solution, or you can experiment with some of the different types of sugar for kombucha brewing. The type of sugar and the sugar ratio used in the primary ferment may provide better fuel and result in more active yeast (hint: more yeast means more potential carbonation, especially when the second ferment happens).
Using sugar with a lot of flavor, like molasses or maple syrup, will add even more flavor to your finished drink. Start out by adding a teaspoon of sugar for each 16 ounces of kombucha tea, and see what happens. Remember, every batch of kombucha is slightly different, and factors like temperature and fermentation time affect the final results.
3. Second Ferment Your Kombucha When It’s Still Sweet
Sweeter kombucha means there’s more sugar to process for the yeast. In anaerobic environment (i.e. when you seal the kombucha in a bottle), the the yeast will eat the sugars and release CO2 — which to you will be the FIZZ.
That’s why it’s better to bottle your kombucha while the fermented tea is still sweet, instead of sweet-sour or completely sour.
Once the yeast have processed the rest of the sugars that are still dissolved in the kombucha tea, they’ll stop working. To keep them going, and producing CO2, you need to add more sugar.
One way NOT to get a fizzy kombucha is to use aged kombucha that’s more sour than sweet. Even if you try to second ferment the sour kombucha, there’s less ‘sugar’ there for the yeast to process. Additionally, the yeasts may be more dormant in older, sour kombucha than sweeter kombucha.
4. Add Extra Fizz-Producing Flavorings
Instead of – or along with the added sugar — you could add something else that contains sugar to the second ferment, like fruit.
The microorganisms in the kombucha tea will use the sugars in fruit for food, and the fruit will also contribute a lot of flavor. You can use any kind of fruit, but citrus fruits like strawberries and pineapple will generally give you the most carbonation. Stone fruits like peaches and apricots also create good results, as do very sugary fruit juices like apple and grape.
Another way to add extra fizz is by using fresh ginger, either grated or sliced thinly.
I find Kombucha seems particularly fizzy with ginger — much more than with some of the fruits even. Using sliced lemons also gives a fizzy kombucha.
Of course, you can make some wonderful flavor ‘kombinations’ by combining these ingredients with other fruits or spices.
Here are some of my favorites that produce serious fizz:
- Ginger- cinnamon Kombucha.
- Ginger-lavender kombucha.
- Lemon-mint kombucha!
Dried fruits of any kind will usually produce extra carbonation as well — perhaps because there is more sugar in a cup of dried fruit than in a cup of fresh fruit, due to the dehydration and higher density.
When you find a combination you like, make a note of your own flavor recipes for kombucha so that you know what ingredients to use the next time to get the best flavor and the most carbonation. You can, of course, also check out our Kombucha recipe section for some of our favorite recipes, given in full detail.
5. Add in Extra Sugar During Second Ferment
If you opt for a second ferment, you’ll want to have an extra source of sugar added. As a basic starter, opt for fresh fruit which contains sugar AND a source of flavoring as per a normal second ferment.
But you can also put in, in addition, another pure sugar source which the culture does not need to ‘break down’ and extract the glucose/fructose from.
This source can come from anything with either sucrose, glucose, or fructose such as maple syrup, molasses, date sugar, raw sugar cane juice etc. Different types of sugars will often provide different levels of carbonation…and slightly different flavors. You’ll have to experiment.
Of course, you can add your regular fruit (as per a normal second ferment), you can add in some extra sugar as well (raw sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc) and see if this boosts the carbonation (it might!).
For experimental purposes to see if you can produce explosive levels of fizz over a regular second ferment, add in the extra sugar from a sugar source as recommended.
6. Second Ferment For Longer Periods
The longer you second ferment your kombucha, especially if you leave the bottle sealed, the more C02 buildup you’ll get. Do it long enough and you’ll have explosive levels of Kombucha fizz, as per my mom’s video at the top of the article.
However, the longer you second ferment (especially if you don’t burb the bottles), the higher the chance of a Kombucha bottle explosion. You can still ‘burp’ the bottles every day or two to prevent this explosion, but if you do, you will drain some of the fizz.
There are advantages to longer second ferments, such as deeper, more complex flavors. Second fermenting for say a week or two vs one or two days WILL impact the flavor, and usually resulting in better, richer flavors. However, you’ll have to continually burp your bottles to prevent explosions.
How to Build Explosive Levels of Fizz for Long Ferments Without Burping
IF the temperature is cooler (say 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit) and you are using high quality glass bottles, it is possible to second ferment your bottles without opening them for a week or two. Doing so will build a tremendous amount of fizz up when you open up the bottle and…later when you drink it. You’ll literally have fizz coming out of your mouth. The trick though is to do long ferments without opening the bottle and without having a bottle explosion during the process. This is only possible in cooler weather. But it’s risky, so do this with caution and ONLY in cooler weather. If you try it, I recommend putting your bottles into a box — if an explosion happens, the explosion is contained and you won’t get glass flying everywhere.
For those who want max fizz levels though, then it’s worth a try.
7. Adjust Primary Brewing Process for More Yeast
You can also get more carbonation by adjusting the ratio of yeasts to bacteria when you’re doing the first fermentation with the SCOBY, by adding more yeast to the starter liquid. An easy way to do this is to choose a scoby that contains more yeast (typically a more yellow scoby). You might also want to uses a more powerful, more concentrated starter kombucha liquid when you begin your brew, taken from an aged scoby hotel (this will contain more yeast).
However, when you increase kombucha tea carbonation while the SCOBY is involved, you may change the quality and health of the colony as a whole, so this is something you generally shouldn’t try until you have a good supply of backup SCOBYs in your SCOBY hotel.
If you have any tips you’ve found effective for producing more fizzy kombucha, post them in the comments for the other readers!