Adding Champagne Yeast to Kombucha: A Step-by-Step Guide for a Bubbly Fermentation
Kombucha has been a popular drink for centuries. This fermented tea is enjoyed for its health benefits, probiotics, and delicious taste. However, some people find the original kombucha recipe too sour, and they prefer a more carbonated version. That’s where champagne yeast comes in. Adding champagne yeast to kombucha can create a bubbly fermentation that gives the drink a fizzy, champagne-like texture.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to add champagne yeast to your kombucha, step by step. First, let’s understand what champagne yeast is and why it’s used in kombucha.
What is Champagne Yeast?
Champagne yeast is a strain of yeast that is specifically bred to ferment grape juice into wine. It’s called champagne yeast because it’s often used to make champagne. However, it’s not exclusive to winemaking. Champagne yeast is a hardy and versatile strain that can be used to ferment various beverages, including beer, cider, and, of course, kombucha.
Champagne yeast differs from the traditional yeast found in kombucha, which is usually a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). While a SCOBY is a symbiotic colony of microorganisms, champagne yeast is a single strain of yeast. It has a higher alcohol tolerance, which means it can ferment kombucha with a higher sugar content and produce more carbonation.
Why Use Champagne Yeast in Kombucha?
Champagne yeast is not necessary for making kombucha, but it can improve the carbonation and taste of the drink. When kombucha is fermented with regular yeast, it can produce some carbonation, but the effervescence is usually less pronounced than with champagne yeast.
Champagne yeast ferments quickly and efficiently, producing a lot of carbon dioxide in the process. That’s why it’s an excellent choice if you want a fizzy kombucha. Furthermore, champagne yeast can also impart a pleasant, wine-like flavor to the drink, which is great for people who love the taste of kombucha but find it too sour or vinegary.
How to Add Champagne Yeast to Kombucha
Now that we know why champagne yeast can be beneficial for kombucha, let’s see how to add it to the brew. Here’s a step-by-step guide for a bubbly fermentation:
- 1 gallon of already-brewed kombucha
- 1 packet of champagne yeast
- 1 cup of sugar
- Bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid
- Measuring cup
- Start by brewing your kombucha as usual. Once you’ve reached your desired level of acidity, remove the SCOBY and set aside one cup of the liquid to use as a starter for your next batch.
- Dissolve one cup of sugar in one cup of boiling water, then let it cool to room temperature.
- Pour the kombucha into the bottle or jar, leaving some space for the yeast and sugar.
- Add the cooled sugar water to the bottle using the funnel.
- Sprinkle the champagne yeast on top of the sugar water. Don’t worry about stirring it; the bubbles from the fermentation will mix it in.
- Seal the bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid, and let it ferment for one to three days at room temperature. Check on it daily to release the built-up pressure (called burping).
- Once you’re satisfied with the carbonation, transfer the kombucha to the fridge to slow down fermentation. It’s ready to drink!
It’s essential to note that adding champagne yeast to your kombucha will make it more alcoholic. Although the alcohol content will still be low (around 0.5% ABV), it’s something to keep in mind if you’re sensitive to alcohol or avoiding it altogether.
Tips for Using Champagne Yeast in Kombucha
- Use a good-quality champagne yeast. Some brands are better than others, and using the right strain can make a significant difference in the finished product.
- Don’t overdo it with the sugar. Adding too much sugar can stress the yeast, and it won’t ferment as efficiently.
- Burp the bottle or jar daily to release the pressure. Kombucha can explode due to the buildup of carbon dioxide, so it’s essential to release the gas regularly.
- Use a tight-fitting lid. A loose lid will allow the carbon dioxide to escape, leading to less carbonation in the final product.
- Don’t let it ferment too long. If you let it ferment for too long, it can become too alcoholic, and the carbonation can become too intense, leading to a dangerous buildup of pressure.
Adding champagne yeast to kombucha can be an easy and fun way to experiment with new flavors and carbonation levels. While it’s not essential to making kombucha, it can be a great addition for those who want a more effervescent and flavorful drink. Follow the steps outlined in this article, and you’ll be a kombucha + champagne yeast pro in no time!