Of all the ways I've flavored kombucha since I first started brewing it last year, I've been coming back to mango again and again. It has a mellow sweetness that's just the right partner for fizzy kombucha's punchy tang.
But, to be honest, if I had seen this recipe the first time I made kombucha, there's a good chance I would have thought it was too tricky or advanced. And if you happen to be thinking the same thing right now, let me assure you that it's not the case at all. This just-sweet-enough kombucha with a tropical twist is just as doable for first-time brewers as it is for someone who's been at it for years.
The recipe follows our step-by-step lesson on how to make kombucha. From making the scoby (or buying one) and steeping the tea, to what to expect along the way as the kombucha brews and infusing it with sweet mango, we'll hold your hand as you get your fermentation on!
Flavoring Your Kombucha with Mango
Kombucha goes through two stages of fermentation. During the first stage the tea ferments over the course of seven to 10 days, taking on kombucha's signature sweet-tart flavor. It's not until the second stage that the scoby is removed from the jar, the fruit gets added for flavor, and the drink becomes carbonated. When it comes to the fruit, either ripe, fresh mango or frozen mango can be used. I often prefer frozen fruit because it's readily available, well-priced, and already prepped.
Once carbonated, refrigerate the kombucha for at least four hours to chill it down. The kombucha will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. If desired, you can strain the kombucha as you serve it to remove the mango pieces, but all that sweet mango flavor will still be there.
More Helpful Tips on Brewing Kombucha
Makes about 1 gallon
3 1/2 quarts
(14 cups) water, divided
black tea bags (or 1 tablespoon loose leaf tea)
green tea bags (or 1 tablespoon loose leaf tea)
pre-made unflavored kombucha (store-bought or from your last homemade batch)
scoby per fermentation jar
finely diced mango, thawed if frozen
Bring half of the water (7 cups) to a boil in a Dutch oven or large pot. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Drop in the tea bags or loose leaf tea and steep until the water is completely cooled. This will take a few hours.
Stir in the remaining water. Remove and discard the tea bags. (If using loose leaf tea, strain out the tea leaves.) Stir in the pre-made kombucha.
Pour the mixture into a clean 1-gallon or larger glass jar. With clean hands, gently place the scoby on top. Cover the mouth of the jar with a clean cotton dish towel, a few layers of cheesecloth, or paper towels secured with a rubber band.
Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and where the jar won't get jostled. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically. It's not unusual for the scoby to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new cream-colored layer of scoby should start forming on the surface of the kombucha within a few days. It usually attaches to the old scoby, but it's ok if they separate. You may also see brown stringy bits floating beneath the scoby, sediment collecting at the bottom, and bubbles collecting around the scoby. This is all normal and signs of healthy fermentation.
After 7 days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. When it reaches a balance of sweetness and tartness that is pleasant to you, the kombucha is ready to bottle.
With clean hands, gently lift the scoby out of the kombucha and set it on a clean plate. If you're planning to make another batch of kombucha right away, measure out your starter tea from this batch of kombucha and set it aside for the next batch.
Divide the mango between bottles, then pour the fermented kombucha into the bottles using a small funnel. Leave about an inch of head room in each bottle. Seal the bottles. Store the bottled kombucha at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate. If you bottled in plastic bottles, the kombucha is carbonated when the bottles are rock-solid; if you bottled in glass, intermittently open one of the bottles to check the carbonation (it will re-carbonate quickly once you put the cap back on).
Once carbonated, refrigerate the kombucha for at least 4 hours to chill it down. The kombucha will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. If desired, strain the kombucha as you serve it to remove the mango.