A Recipe for the Holidays: Cinnamon Spice Kombucha

Kombucha Kamp SCOBY and Tea

It’s this time of year, the cold days of late fall and early winter that I crave sweet spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves.  I flavor my cookies with them.  I season my wine with them, and even my vinaigrettes for salad.  And one of my favorite ways to use these sweet spices so beloved in wintertime is by flavoring my home-brewed kombucha tea with them.  Cinnamon, ginger and cloves complement the sour and faintly sweet flavor of kombucha tea, resulting in an exquisite version of the probiotic beverage that is rich with flavor, and utterly delightful.  I pour the spiced kombucha tea over ice.

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a traditionally fermented tea that, like all fermented foods, is extraordinarily rich in beneficial bacteria – those same bacteria that help to support gut health and immune system function.  And, like most fermented foods, kombucha is blessedly simple to make – requiring little more effort or knowledge than you’d need in making a simple sweet tea.  Kombucha is brewed and fermented by the way of a SCOBY, or a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts, this is also referred to as a mother (you can see an image of a kombucha mother pictured above).  You can learn more about kombucha’s history and how it supports health and wellness here.

How to Brew Kombucha

While once relatively unknown, kombucha tea is now widely available in health food stores and in many supermarkets where it is priced at about $3 to $5 for a bottle.  Fortunately, making kombucha is easy – involving little more than heating water, steeping tea and sweetening it before pouring it into a vessel with a kombucha mother to ferment.  The kombucha mother performs the bulk of the work as beneficial bacteria and yeasts consume the sugar in the sweet tea, and transform it into a wonderfully tart, probiotic-rich kombucha tea.  You can get an easy guide to brewing kombucha here.

Benefits of Continuous Brew Kombucha

Like many avid kombucha brewers, I favor a continuous brew kombucha, that is, instead of brewing my kombucha tea in batches, I keep a large container of kombucha on tap, and I fill it periodically with new sweet tea.  This ensures minimal handling of the kombucha mother, and also helps to ensure that we have a ready supply of kombucha tea anytime we need it.  You can learn more about the continuous brew system and its benefits here.

My Continuous Brew System

I love this continuous brew system – one custom made for me that you can have custom made for you – which came with a gorgeous customized oak barrel designed for kombucha brewing, teas for kombucha, kombucha mothers, and a warming mat to ensure the right temperature is maintained even in cold temperatures.  Check out the full continuous brew systems here to get started.

How to Make Fizzy Cinnamon Spice Kombucha

Once you’ve established your continuous brew system, and you’ve prepared your first batch of kombucha tea, you’ll notice that it is flat and not fizzy like the kombuchas you can purchase in health food stores and supermarkets.  The reason for this is that the initial fermentation of kombucha allows gases that build up during fermentation, like carbon dioxide, to escape.  In order to produce a fizzy and foamy kombucha, those gases need to be contained during a second fermentation.  Secondary fermentation of kombucha also allows the opportunity to flavor your kombucha by adding fruit juices, herbs or spices.  In my favorite wintertime version of kombucha, I flavor it with sweet spices and a touch of sweet apple cider that provides enough carbohydrate to give the kombucha fuel for its much-needed fizz.

jenny's booch (1 of 1)
Cinnamon Spice Kombucha

 

Cinnamon Spice Kombucha
 
A fermented tea, kombucha is a lively, fizzy probiotic beverage that is at once faintly tart with hints of apple cider. In this version, classic kombucha tea undergoes a second fermentation that infuses it with the flavors of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and sweet spices.
Serves: 1 quart
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Drop the cloves and cinnamon stick into a 16-ounce flip-top bottle (available here).
  2. In a pitcher, stir the grated ginger and apple juice into the kombucha tea. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flip-top bottle, leaving at least ½ inch of headspace. Close the bottle, and transfer it to a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow the kombucha to ferment for 5 days, then transfer to the refrigerator.
  3. Open the bottle carefully over the sink as it may foam, and strain the kombucha through a fine mesh sieve. Serve the kombucha over ice.
Notes
To prepare this recipe for Cinnamon Spice Kombucha, you must first have brewed kombucha tea which is then mixed with sweet apple cider and spices to produce a flavored, fizzy drink. You can acquire a kombucha mother here and learn how to brew kombucha here.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4 servings

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What people are saying

  1. Becky K. says

    Thanks for the recipe! We brew 4 gallons of kombucha using a batch system, not CB…I’m really curious why you say to strain your kombucha? I’ve never heard that before! That gets rid of all the good stuff-yes? Or is it specific to this batch since you don’t want to drink the cinnamon stick or clove? Just curious, love your blog, thank you!

    • Jenny says

      We want to strain this kombucha because, if you don’t you’ll have whole cloves and cinnamon sticks floating in your brew. It shouldn’t affect the probiotics at all.

  2. Deborah Sax says

    Wish you lived in Salt Lake! I would love to taste your creations! Love your blog, it is consistently my favorite. Your recipes are thoughtful and distinct!

  3. Lisa says

    Do you find that the oak brew barrel imparts an oaky or woodsy flavor to your kombucha? How does the flavor compare to when you brewed in glass? Thanks so much…very inspiring!!

    • Jenny says

      No difference in flavor at all! Love the new system. It’s super cute, and I like it because it’s specifically designed for kombucha making.

    • Karen says

      At the top of the recipe, it says that it yields 1 quart – how can that be, when you only use a 16 oz. bottle and use about 2 cups of liquid?

  4. Meagan says

    Wow this sounds so good! Why can’t I ever be creative and think of great Kombucha variations like this? Thanks for sharing Jenny. Glad to see you promoting Hannah’s website too. I didn’t realize she made the oak barrel crocks as well! Very cool! – By the way, I think I already told you, but it was so nice to meet the two of you at this year’s FTCLDF event at Polyface. You guys are amazing and I’m so thankful to have you as online mentors! <3

    Happy Holidays to your and your beautiful family!

  5. Danielle Lawrence says

    This sounds delicious, but I’m confused on the math. If I use 14 ounces of kombucha in the recipe how do I end up with one quart or 32 ounces at the end? Do I add the spiced kombucha to the regular kombucha batch to get 32 ounces? Thank you for the clarity in advance.

  6. Alison says

    I just started making kombucha and absolutely love the cinnamon spice! Thought I would share a tip regarding cinnamon sticks. For my first batch I used some small bottles I had in the house and when it was done, the cinnamon stick had unrolled during the second fermentation and I can’t get it out of bottle. Soooo – crush up your sticks for narrow bottle necks! Thanks for sharing your recipes.

  7. Denise says

    I’m confused. Your kombucha is flat? We use a continuous brew as well and when we draw off we get ahead of foam. We never have done a second ferment.

  8. D.K. says

    Jenny, is there any chance that the antibacterial properties of the cinnamon may interfere or counteract the probiotic nature of the kombucha? Are there any herbs/spices that shouldn’t be used with kombucha for a similar reason?

    • Valentia says

      I add cardamom too. It tastes AMAZING.

      I had the same question as D.K. Could the cinnamon harm the bacteria in kombucha? I think i’d drink it anyway because I love the taste but I might make a separate batch.

      Thanks!

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