Brewing your own Kombucha tea at home is much cheaper than shelling out $3-$4 bottle at the grocery store. The first step to making your own sparkling, pro-biotic beverage begins with a gnarly mass called a SCOBY, Kombucha mushroom, or simply ‘the mother’. Once created, the SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is transferred from one batch of Kombucha to the next. Each time you brew a batch of kombucha, a new layer of SCOBY forms on the underside of the old one. Over time you can actually peel off the new SCOBY and double your Kombucha output!
Your first batch of fermented tea is used to raise a SCOBY, and is called the starter tea. After you grow a substantial SCOBY, you can use this same recipe to brew your first batch of Kombucha.
14 cups distilled water
2 cups white granulated sugar
8 bags of black tea (I use Yorkshire Gold)
2 cups of raw, unflavored Kombucha (GT’s Original works great, and is the easiest to find)
1-gallon glass jar
Thoroughly wash your glass jar and wooden spoon, and rinse with white vinegar. Bring water to a boil and pour over black tea and sugar, using the wooden spoon to stir until sugar has dissolved. Let the tea steep until it cools to room temperature. Remove tea bags. Pour kombucha in the jar, get as much sediment (the cloudy stuff) as possible. Cover the jar with the cheese cloth and secure with rubber band.
Let the tea rest in dark area where it won’t be disturbed. I keep mine in the cupboard above the refrigerator, my sister brews her bombucha on the counter with a towel over it to keep the light out. After a couple days, you’ll notice the top of the tea looks more gelatinous, and the tea smells like vinegar. Over the next couple days the gel (your SCOBY) will become more opaque and funky looking. When your SCOBY is 1/4″ thick (about two to three weeks), you are ready to brew your first batch of kombucha!
If you notice spots of black or blue mold on top, or if your kombucha tea starts to smell rotten, you’ll have to throw the whole thing out and start over. Kombucha needs the right temperature and pH to brew properly, but luckily those conditions are easily achieved finding a nice room temperature place for the SCOBY to grow, and simply following the above recipe for kombucha starter tea.