Is Kombucha Carbonated? How To Get The Perfect Fizz
Some kombucha brands are carbonated, effervescent and fizzy, and other brands are completely flat, it depends. The degree of carbonation depends on the brand that produced the drink, the brewing process and the individual’s own taste preference.
We’ll explore the different factors that contribute to how carbonated your brew is, how big name brands carbonate their brews, our favourite second ferment recipes, troubleshooting your flat brew with actionable advice and all common questions will be answered.
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How Does Kombucha Become Carbonated?
There are two main ways kombucha can become carbonated. The first is by performing a second ferment, and the second by adding gas. Outlined are our favourite ways to make carbonated ‘bucha at home as well as a review of how to add gas too.
Overview - For homebrewers, performing a second ferment is the most cost effective way to achieve that fizzy taste. A second ferment is where you bottle your fermented tea with other ingredients before sealing it in an airtight container, allowing for it to ferment and infuse for a second time.
After being left for a few days in an airtight environment CO2 gas will be released into the brew and trapped - ready to be opened and the fizz to be released. After the second ferment it’s suggested you store your kombucha in the fridge until you’re ready to drink. If you leave it fermenting for too long you will risk the brew going bad.
How To Do - There are hundreds of possibilities for infusing your brew using popular ingredients, they include: blueberries, goji berries, sugar, herbs and other fruit too.
For our full second ferment article that is packed with many Recipes, FAQ’s, Common Problems and Brewing Advise check out: Kombucha Second Ferment Guide.
For the added carbonation we would recommend that you add ½ tsp of cane sugar per 16oz bottle of ‘bucha. This will allow the live culture to feed on the sugar, causing more CO2 production and a fizzier brew.
A Zingy Ginger Recipe
This article excerpt comes from our Second Fermentation Guide.
Inspired by Fermentation Recipes, for more information, check out their website: Fermentation Recipes!
1 teaspoon Freshly cut ginger
¼ tsp turmeric powder
16 oz raw kombucha
Use a funnel to pour the raw kombucha into a glass bottle
Add the turmeric powder and freshly cut ginger and give the bottle a gentle shake
Seal the bottle and move to the fermentation area. Allow the brew to ferment for 3 to 5 days
Apple Cinnamon Kombucha
This article excerpt comes from our Second Fermentation Guide.
Inspired by Live Eat Learn, this recipe is great and we would recommend checking them out for more information: Live Eat Learn.
½ gallon raw kombucha
1 apple, finely diced
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix the raw kombucha, finely diced apple, and cinnamon in a glass bowl using a wooden spoon to stir gently
Pour mixture into the fermentation bottles leaving a 2-inch headspace in each
Seal the bottles and transfer them to a dark area within room temperature.
Allow the brew to ferment for the next 3 to 10 days or until it attains the required carbonation level
Adding Gas -
Overview - For commercial brewers it’s becoming more commonplace to add gas during the bottling process, using the same process as other carbonated pop drinks. So often we drink a fizzy beverage without understanding or even being aware of the process. It’s the most cost effective solution, they get a consistent product everytime and don’t have to worry about testing every second ferment.
Many that drink kombucha for it’s purported health benefits don’t drink commercial kombucha. They say as it’s not raw and as the process has been industrialized the purported health benefits no longer exist.
How To Do - As machines that can perform pressurized carbonation are very expensive it’s not advised to do at home. It’s only worthwhile if you’re a brand that sells thousands of bottles.
A brief overview of the process to carbonate a drink:
“Carbonated drinks or fizzy drinks are beverages that contain dissolved carbon dioxide. The dissolution of CO2 in a liquid, gives rise to fizz or effervescence. The process usually involves carbon dioxide under high pressure. When the pressure is removed, the carbon dioxide is released from the solution as small bubbles, which causes the solution to become effervescent, or fizzy. “ Source: Wikipedia.
What’s The Difference Between A Flat And Fizzy Batch?
Other than the obvious being taste, the difference between a fizzy and a flat batch comes down to the process of production and specific steps during the production.
Taste - The taste is the most obvious factor being different when drinking kombucha. The fizzy taste changes the taste to be smoother and more palatable with that extra dimension. Some who prefer flat kombucha, will mix it into a mocktail or cocktail.
Process - The kombucha is likely to have gone through different processes to be flat or fizzy. Raw kombucha can be drank straight away after the first ferment, whereas fizzy kombucha will have had a second ferment or CO2 gas added.
Troubleshooting A Flat Batch
If you’re looking to make fizzy kombucha, it can be very frustrating to produce a batch and for it to be flat. There are many factors that influence how carbonated a batch will be included are time of ferment, ingredients added, brewing vessel, and temperature.
Length Of Time - It’s essential to leave your batch for 3-5 days to ferment. If you don’t leave it for long enough then it won’t be fizzy and if you leave it for too long then it will become sour. Often we’ll start to sample on days 3, 4 and 5 - but make sure you have a big batch and many bottles.
Ingredients Added - You’ll need to review your ingredient list, if there is no sweet ingredient or source of sugar then it may not become fizzy. The live culture needs to feed on the sugars which produce the gas and makes it fizzy. If in the first ferment the batch doesn’t have much sugar, and you don’t add any you’ll have a flat batch.
Tip: Add ½ tsp per 16oz, stir in gently before leaving to ferment.
Brewing Location - Picking the right location for your bottles is extremely important. They can’t be within direct sunlight - UV rays can interfere and destroy your culture. If left in a dark cupboard or in a cool environment it will be very slow to ferment. Just like in the first ferment it’s recommended to keep in a room with airflow but out of direct sunlight.
Temperature - During the second ferment the bottles need to be kept at room temperature (68-78º F / 20-25º C). This will allow the batch to ferment and infuse.
If it’s too hot you will risk denaturing the bacteria and yeast which cause the fermentation. Conversely if it’s too cold the fermentation will be very slow or non-existent. It’s essential to keep within the critical range.
Brewing Vessel - If your batch is flat, one of the first things to check is the second ferment vessel. If you’re looking for a fizzy batch, the bottles need to be airtight and sealed. The most popular variety is the hinge top glass 16oz bottle. The airtight seal ensures that when the batch is fermenting the CO2 is trapped increasing the effervescence.
For more information for picking your kombucha check our Complete Guide To Kombucha Bottles.
Other Common Kombucha Carbonation Questions
Is Kombucha Supposed To Be Carbonated?
It depends how you enjoy it. Kombucha can be consumed raw and non carbonated or carbonated alike. Both are safe and delicious too!
Is Kombucha Naturally Carbonated?
Yes and no. You can add certain ingredients that will make kombucha more fizzy in a natural way. A lot of commercial brewers will add CO2 to the bottle under pressure which is also tasty. Although many kombucha ‘purists’ will say that it’s not ‘natural’.
Why Is Kombucha Carbonated?
Kombucha is carbonated for the increased taste and enjoyment of drinking. Kombucha becomes carbonated from the build of CO2 that is produced when the batch ferments. The culture fees on the sugar and in turn released the gas causing the batch to become carbonated.
Can You Drink Flat Kombucha?
Yes! Most homebrewed kombucha is consumed flat. Second ferments can be a little more technical, meaning a lot of homebrewers will enjoy flat kombucha. You can also perform a second ferment with other flavoring ingredients without the final batch being fizzy too. There are an endless number of possibilities!