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Kombucha DIY: Checklist for Fizzy Kombucha

The most common battle with kombucha brewing would be how to keep a carbonation level. In other words, how do you make your kombucha fizzy?

Today, I want to focus on the actual kombucha brewing process step by step to point out the specific things you need to consider each of your kombucha brewing steps in order to make your kombucha fizzy.

I wrote a post on how to make your kombucha extremely fizzy. This post discusses what you need to consider in order to keep your kombucha fizzy. If you want to learn how the carbonation process works and what factors matter, this would be a good post to read.

This post will be more of your diagnostic checklist for your next fizzy kombucha batch.

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How to approach with kombucha carbonation

To make your kombucha fizzy and carbonated, you will have to consider several things across your brewing steps. This is why there is no singular solution to guide you if you are struggling with a flat kombucha.

I will discuss six different items in this post. If even only one of the items is not done properly, you could easily end up making your kombucha flat.

It’s not that I’m trying to scare kombucha beginners, but it’s more to share that it takes some efforts to make your kombucha fizzy.

At the same time, once you get used to brewing kombucha and making kombucha fully carbonated, you will learn that it’s not that hard to make your kombucha fizzy and carbonated.

In fact, if you are struggling with the carbonation level, you probably did only a couple of things wrong among many things that affect the carbonation level.

Once you figure out what needs to be fixed, your next batch will be the fizzy kombucha you were wanting so much!

I hope you are excited to diagnose your kombucha brewing process and figure out what to do. So, let’s dive in straight into the brewing steps.

This post discusses the DIY kombucha brewing process step by step to introduce the diagnostic checklist to make your kombucha fizzy and fully carbonated.

Checklist during the first fermentation

The first fermentation process typically does not affect your carbonation level. As you might know already, the second fermentation step is when we expect the carbonation to be build up.

However, it does not mean that the first fermentation does not matter at all.

You actually need to make sure that the sweet black tea you made is fermented “enough.”

What you want to avoid is not giving enough time to build up the yeast.

If the tea is not fermented enough, it will definitely affect the second fermentation process with not enough yeast built up in the liquid. Without enough yeast, you can’t expect to have a fizzy kombucha.

Then, how do we know when it’s enough?

Well, just taste the kombucha.

If the liquid tastes sweet, do not move into the second fermentation process. 

  • CHECK: Is your kombucha still sweet after the first fermentation process?

Depending on the weather and temperature (and the amount of kombucha liquid you added at the beginning), the brewing process can be a lot faster or slower than you expected.

You want to make sure to give enough time. So, taste your kombucha to see if it’s ready.

It’s also a good habit to taste your kombucha every time the first fermentation process is over. It will help you diagnose the level of acidity in kombucha better over time.

Checklist when pouring into small bottles

After you have your fermented kombucha batch ready, the next step would be to take out the scoby and pour the liquid into the small bottles.

And here, your bottles should be the ones suitable for the second fermentation.

  • CHECK: Are the bottles proper for the second fermentation?

Not all the glass bottles out there work well to hold the carbonation in the bottle.

Mason jars are a good example. As much as mason jars look sturdy, these jars surprisingly don’t hold the pressure in the jar enough to make the kombucha fizzy.  

We have a post on choosing the best kombucha bottles to introduce what needs to be considered when choosing the bottles for the second fermentation process. So, check out this post if you are not sure if your bottles would hold the carbonation level.

Okay. Now, we have good bottles that work for the second fermentation.

After having the bottles ready, now you need to pour the kombucha liquid from the big jar into the bottles.

When you do this, you want to make sure that each bottle has enough yeast for the carbonation process. You can simply stir the liquid well so the yeast doesn’t sit on the bottom of the jar.

  • CHECK: Did you stir the liquid enough to not find any residual at the bottle of the jar?

Make sure that you put all the yeast produced during the first fermentation into the bottles.

Checklist when flavoring kombucha

Now it’s time to flavor your kombucha.

There are many ways to flavor your kombucha, and all work as long as you are adding enough sugar.

  • CHECK: Did you add enough sugar (or fruits) when favoring your kombucha?

We typically add some fruits, and in this case, you won’t need any extra sugar. For instance, a couple of frozen pineapple chunks are more than enough to make a 32-ounce kombucha fizzy.

However, some fruits don’t have enough sugar like pineapple, and in this case, you probably want to add some actual sugar.

If you are making a ginger kombucha, obviously you would need to add a lot more sugar. Depending on the size of the bottle, a couple of teaspoons of sugar would be needed.

Don’t be too scared of adding more sugar. We have the yeast that eats all the sugar eventually. 🙂

After adding the flavor to your kombucha, all you need to do is to close the cap tight and leave out the bottles for a few days.

However, our checklist to make a fizzy kombucha is not over yet.

Checklist during the second fermentation

Unless you are using the swing-top bottles that hold the pressure from the carbonation process, you would need to keep checking your kombucha bottles as you wait for the second fermentation. After a day or two since you stored your kombucha for the second fermentation, check if you see active bubbles (CO2) in the liquid. If so, it’s actually not a good sign.
  • CHECK: Do you see lots of bubbles in the liquid?
It means that the cap is not fully sealed and the CO2 built up in the liquid is leaving the bottle! Well, you can still get some carbonation and make your kombucha somewhat fizzy, so don’t think that you failed to make a fizzy kombucha just because of these bubbles But I would probably keep an eye on it. For most, you would need to make sure the cap is tightened. In fact, as the pressure is built up over time in the bottle, it can loosen the lid.
  • CHECK: Do you tighten the lid every day?
If you are in the process of figuring out how to make your kombucha fizzy, I strongly encourage you to tighten the lids every day until you put the bottles in the fridge. I’m not saying you always have to tighten the lid every day. Depending on the types of bottles you use, you don’t have to worry too much about this. You wouldn’t really need to tighten the lid every day if you know for sure that the lid is not the cause of your kombucha flat. But who knows, we are trying to figure out what makes the kombucha not fizzy. Quite many times, the problems are with the lids. Personally, it happened more with stainless steel lids than plastic lids. But, some people have also reported that it happens more with plastic lids. So just let’s make sure that it’s tightened.

Conclusion: Make your kombucha fizzy!

As you can tell, there are many things you would need to consider in order to make your kombucha fizzy. At the same time, these are also an easy fix. Below is the list of things that I mentioned above to make your kombucha fizzy. Let’s review them.
  1. Is your kombucha still sweet after the first fermentation process?
  2. Are the bottles proper for the second fermentation?
  3. Did you stir the liquid enough?
  4. Did you add enough sugar when favoring kombucha?
  5. Do you see lots of bubbles in the liquid?
  6. Do you tighten the lid every day?
Hope this post can help you figure out what’s making your kombucha flat and make your kombucha fizzy. If you are interested, there is also a famous kombucha guidebook out there for DIY kombucha and kombucha recipes. (Click here to find Big Book of Kombucha from Amazon.) Below is also the list of our articles related to the kombucha carbonation process: Happy brewing!

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This post discusses the kombucha brewing process step by step to introduce the diagnostic checklist to make your kombucha fizzy and fully carbonated.

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