2 cups starter tea (previously brewed or store-bought kombucha)
32 cups purified water (2 gallons)
1-2 cup evaporated cane sugar (I opt for organic and prefer using just 1 cup)
16-20 tea bags or 35 grams of loose tea (Black or green tea works here, but I prefer black)
thumbnail-sized chunk of ginger, grated
When you're ready to start your first batch, you'll need a SCOBY, and I recommend seeing if a friend has one. Each time you brew kombucha, new SCOBYs will form. You can use them for more batches or discard them after each use. If you can't find one from another home brewer, you can buy a SCOBY online.
Prepare your tea
Bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat, add sugar and allow it to dissolve. Drop in your tea (or tea bags) and steep for as long as you like. I usually allow 15 minutes, but if you like stronger tea you can leave it in until the water cools. Once your tea has cooled, transfer to your brewing jar. If you want extra flavor you can add in different spices or loose leaf tea during the tea brewing process. Make sure to strain this out before you place in your brewing vessel.
Add SCOBY and starter tea
Once your tea has cooled, pour in the starter tea and (with clean hands) gently place the SCOBY into your brewing vessel. The SCOBY should float, but don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t right away. It will make its way to the top.
Cover the vessel with your dishtowel and secure with a rubber band. Place your jar in a cupboard where it can stay warm and not be disturbed.
After 7 days, I recommend tasting your kombucha. You can do this by slipping a straw between the glass and the SCOBY so it reaches underneath where it is floating. If it tastes too sweet, let it go a few more days until it reaches a flavor you enjoy. I have let my brew go up to 3 weeks, but I prefer waiting 2 weeks.
Remove the SCOBY
Carefully remove the SCOBY with rinsed hands. The mother will have grown a baby SCOBY on top (weird, right?). You can peel this off and discard, share with a friend or start a second batch. Place your scoby in what's called a hotel (a glass bowl covered with kombucha from your new batch) between uses.
Bottle your finished kombucha
Measure out two cups of starter tea for your next batch. Pour your remaining fermented kombucha evenly into bottles using a small funnel (and strainer if you desire). Be sure to leave an inch of room in the bottle.
This is where I add a pinch of grated ginger. Feel free to experiment with other herbs, spices or fruit!
Optional second ferment
If you like your kombucha to be bubbly, store your bottles at room temperature for 1-3 days to allow the kombucha to carbonate. I recommend this step, but it is not necessary.
Refrigerate and enjoy!
Drink your brew within 30 days of refrigeration.
Make a fresh batch
Clean your brewing jar, brew some new tea and start the steps again. I always have two different batches brewing in my cupboard!