1. Clean and dry your glass jar.
2. Place the tea bags and sugar in the jar.
3. Fill with boiling water just to cover the tea bags.
4. Gently stir to dissolve the sugar.
5. Cover with a swatch of cloth and let it set for 15-20 minutes.
6. Stir the tea, remove the tea bags and carefully press to extract any remaining tea.
7. Stir until all sugar is dissolved into the tea.
8. Add cool, filtered water until the jar is approximately 2/3 and stir. As the volume of your SCOBY increases, you'll have to adjust the water level to avoid going into the neck of the jar.
9. If your tea is room temperature to touch, you're ready for the next step. If not, let the tea rest until it cools down.
10. Add the starter-prepared kombucha. The starter should consist of approximately 10-15% of the total liquid.
11. Gently place the kombucha scoby in the jar.
12. Wipe down the exterior of the jar to remove any sweet tea or kombucha goop that may not have made it into the jar. Otherwise, it's an open invitation for your new enemy - the fruit fly.
13. Cover the jar with the clean, organic swatch of fabric and secure with the rubber band.
14. Place the jar in a warm, dark place away from aromatic or messy food production.
15. Do not disturb your kombucha for 7 days. I know it's tough, but leave it alone. You'll see some changes in the liquid and the SCOBY by now.
16. After 7 days, start tasting your kombucha daily. Observe how the sugar content decreases and the tartness increases. When the solution has a vinegary sharpness and the sweetness has reduced significantly, you're ready to bottle - usually 14-21 days. This takes a little practice and new brewers usually bottle too soon. Whatever! The SCOBY is yours and you can modify your fermentation time on the next batch. And if you have any pressing questions, you can always email us.
17. Get your bottles cleaned and ready. Most glass bottles will do as long as they seal tightly. With clean hands, gently remove the SCOBY and place it in a bowl.
18. Stir the kombucha to lift the yeast off of the bottom of the jar. Pour or ladle enough of your newly prepared kombucha to cover the SCOBY. This will usually be a sufficient amount of kombucha to use as a starter for your next batch. Cover the bowl with a thin towel or cloth and set aside.
19. Strain the rest of the kombucha through a kitchen strainer before bottling. This should remove the larger kombucha strands and leave enough of the yeast to react with the remaining sugar. This reaction, or secondary fermentation, is what gives the kombucha its lively carbonation when it's ready to drink.
20. Carefully fill your bottles. If you're planning on adding any flavor, now's your chance. Avoid adding anything fibrous, i.e. remove all pulp and solids from the juice you're adding. Seal tightly.S
21. Set the bottles out at room temperature for 5-7 days before refrigerating and consuming. During this time, the sharp acidity mellows and the liquid is naturally carbonated. If you have a few flat bottles, don't worry about it. The kombucha is still good. This just means that the yeast cells in that particular bottle punked out.
22. Repeat the instructions for another batch.
For your next batch, the standard measurements are these:
10 tea bags or 12g loose leaf tea
1/2c - 1c sugar*
1c starter kombucha – save this amount from the previous batch. Make sure it’s plain and not flavored with any other ingredient.
*This measurement really depends on how you like your kombucha. The more sugar you add doesn't necessarily mean a sweeter drink. It does, however, mean that it will be stronger. The longer the primary fermentation lasts, the stronger the beverage.
Please see the FAQ section for more information regarding recipe manipulation.