The first step to making your own kombucha is to boil about 3 quarts of water in a large pot.
After the water comes to a boil, you can add tea. It was suggested that yeast and bacteria prefer black tea, so I typically use some black tea even with the fruity teas.
Once the water has boiled and the tea bags are added, pour in about a cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. At this point, the tea must come to room temperature. Tea bags can be discarded.
Once tea is cooled, pour it into large glass containers. This one has a spigot which makes sampling the brew convenient.
You may also use extra large mason jars or other recycled jars.
After pouring cooled tea into a large glass jar, you will need to add a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast).
This is a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast). You can get one from a kombucha brewing friend, order online, or you can make your own. Making your own is easy but may take 7-10 weeks.
A SCOBY may vary in color from light tan to brown but should not have any mold growth.
There are several SCOBYs in this container. Gently pick one up and place it into your tea.
The SCOBY may float on top or it may sink down. Either way it's okay.
This SCOBY is floating on top.
Cover jars with cloth or paper towels. It will take 7-10 days for this first fermentation. Mark jars with the date and tea in order to keep track.
SCOBYs eat sugar, so you will have more fermented tea with less sugar the longer you leave your SCOBY in the tea. Taste your tea periodically until you reach the desired flavor.
Once you reach the desired flavor it's time to bottle your kombucha and prepare for the second fermentation.
If I'm using fruit to add additional flavor, I use regular size ball jars instead of bottles because it's easier to add fresh fruit.
However, it's important that your tea has a low Ph (high acid) level before adding fruit so the fruit doesn't spoil during this fermentation.
It's fun to experiment with different flavors.
Cover your kombucha for 4-7 days and put in a warm place until the desired fermentation is reached. This is the stage where the fizziness is added. Remove fruit and pour into bottles.
If not adding fruit for flavoring, it's time to bottle the kombucha.
You can use recycled glass bottles for you kombucha as long as the lid isn't metal. The metal interacts with kombucha and can change the taste.
I use a strainer and funnel to strain out partials left by the growing SCOBY.
Pour kombucha into clean bottles. Running bottles through he dishwasher is sufficient to sterilize them.
Cap bottles and cover ball jars with paper towel for 4-7 days.
During this second fermentation, you may have to loosen and retighten bottle caps to release some of the pressure that builds up in the bottle due to fermentation.
Periodically sample your brew and put in the refrigerator when you attain the desired flavor. The cold temperature will stop the fermentation process.
Be sure to save some kombucha to store your SCOBY in until your next brew. You will grow a new SCOBY with each brew. SCOBYs can be given away or put in a container covered with a cloth.
For long term storage SCOBYs can be kept in the refrigerator otherwise between batches it's fine to keep it covered at room temperature. Happy brewing!