14 cups water, divided (use filtered water or alkalised water, if possible)
1 cup sugar (we prefer organic sugar; although caster sugar does the trick)
5 teaspoons organic loose-leaf black tea or organic green tea
1 cup finished plain kombucha (from a previous batch, a store-bought bottle, or from the liquid the SCOBY comes in)
1 kombucha SCOBY (obtain from a friend or purchase from reliable retail source)
1. Boil 3 cups of water in a stainless steel pot. Add the sugar, and stir until it has dissolved. Remove pot from heat and add loose tea. Allow to soak/cool for about 30 minutes.
2. Pour sweet tea through a fine mesh strainer into your fermenting container (a 1ltr glass jar with a wide mouth works well…don’t use metal or plastic). Compost or discard the tea leaves. (Alternatively, you can place your loose tea into a muslin tea bag and simply remove the tea bag after steeping.)
Add the finished kombucha and the SCOBY to the jar with the sweet tea, then add the remaining water (10 cups). Cover the top of your jar with cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band.
Leave undisturbed for 7 to 10 days in a warm, dark place. (As your kombucha ferments, a new SCOBY will grow attached to the original one to the width of your container.)
3. After a week, sample your kombucha to determine if it’s ready to drink. It should be a bit bubbly and taste both sweet and sour without much hint of the tea. If you’re pleased with the taste, use clean hands to remove your SCOBY (and carefully separate it from the new one) and store as directed above.
Transfer kombucha to glass jars for storage (swing-top bottles work well), leaving about 1/2 inch headspace at the top. Allow bottled kombucha to sit at room temperature for a day or two to ferment a bit more/build up carbonation, then place in refrigerator until ready to drink.
Kombucha will last in the refrigerator for up to three months, but it’s best if consumed sooner; we recommend drinking it within a week of opening a bottle.