As a kombucha home brewer, I’m always looking for new flavors and recipes of kombucha to try. So when I heard from a friend about how easy it is to make ginger kombucha, I knew I had to give it a shot. So how do you make ginger kombucha?
Ginger kombucha can be made by flavoring kombucha during its second fermentation with slices or chunks of ginger root, or ginger juice. Ginger gives kombucha a spicy flavor and adds health benefits like reduced inflammation, nausea, period pains, and lowered cholesterol.
If you’re still not quite sure whether or not you want to make ginger kombucha, I’m gonna give you a few reasons why you should below. And then I’ll walk you through my simple 5 step recipe that you can use to make healthy and great tasting ginger kombucha at home. Let’s get started!
Why You Should Make Ginger Kombucha
So why make ginger flavored kombucha as opposed to other flavors? I think there are two main reasons why ginger makes a great kombucha flavor:
Its Health Benefits
The Health Benefits of Ginger
According to Healthline.com, ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the planet. Below are a few ways that ginger may be able to improve your health:
Ginger Contains Gingerol
Gingerol is one of the main compounds in ginger and is an anti inflammatory and antioxidant.
The gingerol in ginger helps protect your body from germs, bacteria, and viruses such as E Coli and those that cause periodontal disease in the mouth.
Ginger can Reduce Nausea
Eating ginger has been found to reduce chemotherapy nausea, nausea post surgery, and pregnancy related nausea AKA morning sickness.
Ginger May Lower Cholesterol
Multiple studies have found that taking a daily dose of ginger may significantly lower levels of LDL cholesterol in the body. This is important because high levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, the #1 cause of death in the United States.
Ginger May Reduce Period Pains
Numerous studies have concluded that ginger is effective at reducing menstrual pain, in fact in some research ginger was just as effective at period pain relief as nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
Gingers Tastes Great in Kombucha
Addding ginger to your kombucha is not only a great idea because of the health benefits it provides, but also because of how good it tastes!
There's a reason that whenever you go to the kombucha section at the grocery store you’re almost guaranteed to find a few different ginger flavored kombuchas. The 2 just fit so well together.
Kombucha already has an aggressive, bitter, and vinegary taste to it that ginger's spiciness complements really well.
Now if you have more of a sweet tooth and are a bigger fan of fruiter flavors of booch, you may not like the spicy, bitter taste of ginger kombucha. So if you’ve never tried it before, I encourage you to buy a bottle of ginger kombucha at the store to see if you like it before you make an entire gallon of the stuff.
Speaking of making the stuff, let’s get into how you can actually make ginger kombucha.
What You Need to Make Ginger Kombucha
Let’s quickly cover what equipment and ingredients you’ll need to get before you can begin to home brew ginger kombucha.
This is the container that the 1-2 week long 1st fermentation will take place in to transform sweet tea into kombucha.
A funnel will be useful for transferring the finished 1st fermentation of kombucha from its big jar into the small necked brewing bottles for the 2nd fermentation.
Fermenting bottles are long necked glass bottles that are built to seal airtight and create carbonation. It’s in the fermenting bottles that our kombucha will get its ginger flavor and become carbonated.
1 Gallon of Water
To make a gallon of kombucha you need to make a gallon of tea. And since tea is made from water, you’ll need a gallon of water to make ginger kombucha.
SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) is a living culture of bacteria and yeast that ferments the sugar and tea that kombucha starts as into bitter and tasty kombucha.
The SCOBY, as a probiotic, is also what gives kombucha much of its health benefits like:
You can find the SCOBY that I started with for only $13 on Amazon here.
Tea not only provides flavor to the kombucha, but has important nutrients in it like caffeine that the SCOBY needs to enact fermentation and make kombucha.
Either green or black tea will work. Green tea is great for kombucha because it has lots of healthy antioxidants in it, while black tea is great because of its strong flavor and high amount of caffeine.
1 Cup of Sugar
Sugar is a necessary ingredient that the SCOBY will eat and use as food for fermentation. Although a cup seems like a lot, the finished kombucha will have much less in it since a lot of the sugar will be eaten by the SCOBY during fermentation.
2 Cups of Starter Tea
Starter tea is kombucha saved from a previous brew that will be added at the beginning of a new brew to give it acidity to fight off mold growth. If you haven’t brewed kombucha before and bought your SCOBY it will come packaged in starter tea, otherwise you can use a bottle of unflavored kombucha from the store or some distilled white vinegar.
Ginger Root or Ginger Juice
And finally, the ginger. When I make ginger booch I always just buy ginger root from the store and slice it up in small pieces, but you could also use ginger juice if that's more convenient for you.
Ginger Kombucha Recipe (1 Gallon)
Step 1: Brew Sweet Tea
Bring a few cups of water to just under a boil. Then remove the water from the heat and mix in 1 cup of sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, steep 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea or 8 tea bags for 30 minutes.
Set aside the sweet tea to cool.
Grab 2 cup of starter tea from a previous kombucha brew. As I said earlier, starter tea is just unflavored kombucha from a previous brew that will help create an acidic environment in the tea early to prevent mold growth.
If you bought a SCOBY online it will come packaged in starter tea. If you've brewed kombucha before and didn't save any starter tea from a previous batch you can use a store bought bottle of unflavored kombucha or a splash of distilled white vinegar to give the brew its initial acidity.
If this is your first time making kombucha the starter tea will come in the package with the SCOBY.
If you’re making a gallon of ginger kombucha, just use the instructions above.
If you want to make 2 gallons of kombucha, just multiply the amount of sugar, tea, and starter tea by two.
If you’re using an irregularly shaped container, or don’t want to brew your kombucha to the gallon, you can use the numbers below.
To make 1 cup of kombucha you need:
0.0625 Cups of Sugar
0.5 Tea Bags or 0.375 Teaspoons of Loose Leaf Tea
0.125 Cups of Starter Tea
Just multiply these numbers by the # of cups of kombucha you want to make and you'll have the right amount of each ingredient.
Although a cup of sugar per gallon of kombucha seems like a lot, remember that this sugar is food for our SCOBY. In the end, most of it will be eaten and converted into acids and gases, and the finished kombucha will only have 2-6g of sugar per 8 ounces.
Step 2: Add SCOBY and Starter Tea
Next we are going to add the sweet tea to our brewing vessel, and fill up whatever space remains with water. You can use cold water to help the tea cool down faster.
Once the sweet tea has cooled down to room temperature, add in the SCOBY and starter tea.
It’s important to wait until the sweet tea has cooled down to room temp to add the SCOBY because liquid that’s too hot or too cold can shock the bacteria culture.
Step 3: 1st Fermentation
After the sweet tea, SCOBY, starter tea, and water have all been combined in the brewing vessel, cover the top of the container with cloth or an old tea shirt and secure it with a rubber band. This will keep fruit flies and other bugs out.
Do not seal the jar with a lid or anything airtight, since we need oxygenated air to be able to flow in and out of the container to keep the SCOBY alive and functioning.
Wait 7-10 days for the SCOBY to ferment the sugar and nutrients in the tea into alcohol and healthy acids. Remember that the longer the brew ferments, the more sugar will be eaten and the more bitter it will taste.
Taste test the brew every day with the goal of reaching that perfect spot between sweet and sour. Once it has reached a bitter enough taste for your liking, the first fermentation is complete.
Step 4: Ginger Time (2nd Fermentation)
We technically now have kombucha, but it’s not yet carbonated or flavored with ginger. To change that you’re going to first partially fill fermenting bottles with slices/chunks of ginger or ginger juice.
Figuring out how much ginger to use will take some trial and error. I will say that it doesn’t take much to add flavor, so maybe start with just covering the bottom of the fermenting bottle with slices and adjust from there in future brews.
If you’d like to add some more health benefits to your booch, turmeric is a great anti inflammatory that goes really well with ginger. I recommend you give it a try.
Once the bottles have the ginger in them, transfer the kombucha, probably via funnel, from the large container into all the bottles.
Also save 2 cups of it for starter tea for your next brew.
The bottles with kombucha and ginger in them will now sit at room temperature for 4-6 days. During this time you can make some more sweet tea and start a new brew of kombucha if you want. Then ideally, by the time you’re done drinking the brew your making right now, the next batch will be just finishing.
Step 5 Refrigerate and Drink Up
After the 4-6 days have passed, refrigerate the unopened bottles of ginger kombucha. The cold air in the refrigerator will slow down the fermentation process and calm the carbonation, decreasing the likelihood of an explosion when you open them.
After the bottles have been chilled, it's time to drink up!
Ginger isn’t a super sugary flavoring, so sometimes the SCOBY can have a hard time creating good carbonation with it. So if when you open the bottles there isn't enough carbonation, you can place them back at room temperature for a few days and they’ll resume the fermentation process and develop more carbonation.
It will take you a few brews to adjust the length of 1st fermentation and amount of ginger to the levels you like, but once you figure it out, you’ll be pumping out gallons of ginger kombucha that taste exactly how you want!
I hope you enjoy your ginger kombucha! If you'd like to learn more great tasting and healthy kombucha recipes, be sure to check out the rest of my website. Have a good one!