If you haven’t already, you might want to watch my video + check out my write-up on second fermentation here.
What is third fermentation?
It’s basically when you split the second fermentation process into 2 phases:
Flavoring phase: Add fruit or herb flavorings into the first fermented kombucha and let the flavors infuse into the kombucha. (Make sure the SCOBY is removed from the vessel before you add any flavorings! Read why here.) Once it’s infused for a few days (until it reaches the desired flavor you like) you strain out the fruit pieces or filter the fruit puree/sediment out. This is basically a pre-bottle conditioning flavoring step.
Bottling/carbonation phase: After the flavoring phase, you pour your flavored, filtered kombucha into bottles and let them sit at room temperature for a few days until the kombucha develops carbonation in the bottle.
Why do it?
This is great for people who don’t like to have fruit pulp or sediment in the bottle when they’re drinking their kombucha. By straining it out before bottling, you eliminate the need to strain fruit out of your bottles each time you pop one open.
Any downsides to this method?
If you strain the fruit/pulp out prior to bottling, you might find that it’s harder to achieve carbonation in the bottle if there’s not enough sugar for the yeast to eat and convert into carbon dioxide. If that’s the case, try adding ½-1 tsp. of sugar to your bottles after you’ve strained the fruit flavorings out, before you ferment your bottles for a few days at room temperature.
This also draws the second fermentation process out and makes the process take longer than if you just consolidated the flavoring and bottling into one single step.