Mexican Hot Chocolate Kombucha

cocoa hot  peppers

Get ready for some indulgent kombucha

Last weekend I gave a talk about you-know-what at my favorite local fermentation shop.  They have a wonderful community of homebrewers who come together every month to share their production and talk beer.  It’s a community that I have to admit to feeling a little jealous of.  They brew in a variety of different styles, give each other feedback and most importantly, give each other support.  I gave a general overview of some of my favorite ferments, and I brought a few things for them to try.  I’ll be sharing the recipes for most of those in coming weeks and today, I’ll share one of my favorite ways to flavor kombucha.

I keep two or more types of kombucha going at all times.  I have my continuous brews of sencha and now oolong and a side batch of whatever tea I’ve decided to ferment that week.  My husband is a bit of a fiend, and I admit I like having it on hand for those moments when I feel preventative (or restorative) medicine is called for.  Lately I’ve been a bit more indulgent with my flavors.  An embarrassment of berry riches has made me lazy, and at the risk of sounding unappreciative of summer’s bounty, bored.  So last week, I decided to go back to one of my winter favorites and give it a bit of summer produce to assuage my guilt.

Although the rain this year has been unkind to my tomato plants, my hot peppers have been abundant and delicious.  I have lots on hand, but I particularly like this recipe with ring of fire cayenne peppers.  Feel free to try whatever you’ve got growing or what is available at your farmers market.  Jalepeños would probably be a great choice!


Yields one quart

One trick for a completely knockout hocho ‘booch is using high quality cocoa nibs.  I used (insanely expensive) nibs from Mast Brothers this time, and I do think the final product was a bit tastier than with regular ol’ organic, fair trade nibs, but I PROMISE it will be good any way you do it, so try it with whatever you nibs you have access to, and prepare to write me a thank-you note.

I like to make small batches of different flavors to suit my nightly preferences, but you can definitely scale this up.  Just double the amounts to get a flavorful half gallon!  The best part is that you can reuse the flavorings for a second and third brew!  Just steep them for slightly longer each time.

As always, remember that fermenting in glass has its risks.  Make sure that you are checking the carbonation levels periodically, and I don’t recommend leaving it for more than one day.  If the jar lid is very hard to push in, loosen the ring and allow air to escape before retightening.  If you don’t care about carbonation in your final product, you can leave the ring loose from the beginning.  That will mitigate the risk of explosions.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Kombucha

Dessert Booch. Substitue these ingredients in your hot chocolate and wait for the applause.


  • 3.5 cups oolong tea kombucha, SCOBY removed
  • 2.5 Tablespoons cocoa nibs
  • 2 small, hot peppers, such as ring of fire cayenne, stems removed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 small pinch powdered cinnamon (optional)


  1. Pour finished kombucha into a mason jar or other appropriately sized container with a decent seal
  2. Stir in sugar and powdered cinnamon, if using
  3. Add cocoa nibs, hot peppers and cinnamon sticks
  4. Put the lid on the jar and seal it tightly
  5. Let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
  6. Strain out the tea and bottle and chill as you normally would (I usually keep mine in a mason jar when I do a secondary fermentation).
  7. Add fresh kombucha to the flavorings and repeat!


    • Amanda says

      Hi Alissa,

      Thanks! I haven’t ever really posted any of the flavors I do in secondary, because I usually throw in some fruit and spice and let that be (a delicious) that. Of all the less standard combinations I’ve done to date, this is my favorite. I do have a couple others up my sleeve for future sharing.

      Let me know how you like it!


  1. Ann says

    This sounds great! I plan to try it when I start my next batch of kombucha. I have lately been making one of my batches with green tea and then just adding chopped crystallized ginger for the second fermentation. I like the spicy zing to it. I would think this one has a great zing to it too!
    I haven’t been on the web really in a while and was happily surprised to see that you had five new posts for me to peruse. and as always, the posts are great! Thank you for taking the time to post it all.
    I finally started a batch of our okra tonight. I had hoped to start one much earlier, but the wet, cloudy weather that dominated most of our growing season here is no good for okra. We haven’t even had enough to fry. :( My husband told me to just go ahead and ferment what I could. It doesn’t even fill up a half gallon jar. I hope it turns out good!
    Thanks again for your posts!

    • Amanda says

      Hi Ann,

      Thanks for being such a loyal reader! I try to post at least twice a week and get a third in if I can. One of my blogging goals is to be perfectly consistent with my post days, but it doesn’t always work out that way. New Year’s Resolution 2014, I guess!!

      Don’t knock the secondary with ginger. :-) That is still, and probably always will be my go-to!

      That’s a bummer about your okra crop. We had way too much rain here in July and two weeks ago, my tomatoes were just like, “Nope!” I got an excellent crop until they gave out, so I guess that’s my consolation prize. Let me know how that okra turns out!


  2. says

    Sour carbonated hot chocolate?!?! Now Ive heard everything!Do you know about Tegan makes bean to bar chocolate in the old globe dye works building and sells nibs and brewing cacao and is really great. I might have to try a fruit and chili batch of kombucha next. I have some ready to bottle yesterday….

    • Amanda says

      Hi Mike,

      I have heard of Philly Love Bar, but I didn’t think to grab some of their nibs! Shame on me for not looking local first! I definitely have to get some for the long winter ahead. And as for the sour part, I find that secondary fermentation really mellows out the acidity of my kombucha, so there really isn’t much of a disconnect here. I served some at a talk recently and even people who’d never heard of kombucha before were asking me for the recipe.

      As for the chilis, I think this is a place for moderation. You definitely get a big hit of capsicum when you open up your bottle, but it doesn’t make for a super intense heat. When I’ve used more chilis in the past for a hotter booch, I’ve left the whole room coughing when I cracked the jar seal. Just a word to the wise.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Lynnee says

    I just found your site. Thanks for the great chili recipe. I will let you know how it turns out. One of my favorites is fresh ginger with a half lime juice, and a pinch of sugar. It tastes like ginger ale. So yummy and healthy. Another one that packs a punch is ginger and fresh grated tumeric. Great for fighting inflammation.

  4. Matt says

    Hi, Thanks for the share, this sounds great. I just bottled up a 2nd stage ferment batch but in a week when the new batch is ready for 2nd stage I’ll give this a try as it sounds perfect for my taste.
    I’ll let you know how it goes.

    I’ll also let you know how today’s 2nd stage turns out – (All Organic of course) Green Jasmine tea & Mate Kombucha with Ginger, Lemongrass & Habanero chilli 😉

  5. Erin says

    Darn! You beat me to it! I had the idea to try this flavor combo with kombucha as it is something that I enjoy in other forms and was looking online to see if anyone had tried it yet… well, I guess it is as they say “there’s nothing new under the sun”. Though, my plan is to use rooibos as the base. I hope it turns out as good as yours did! In any case, I’m excited to try it and happy to know that someone else had good results.

  6. Brenda says

    Thanks for the idea. I’ve been stuck in a ginger/lemon rut (which I love!!) so I put this together last night and I’m waiting. I couldn’t find the red peppers you suggested and Kroger only had green Serrano and green jalapeño. I got the Serrano. Do u just take off the stem and put the whole pepper in there? That’s what I did but just wanted to clarify this instruction so next time I do this correctly. Please advise…


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