Yields: 8 cups
1 large glass/metal jar or bowl that has a wide opening. You want to avoid using a plastic jar or bowl because the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the kombucha during the fermentation period. It’s also possible that ceramic pots might cause lead to leach into the kombucha once the acid comes into contact with the ceramic glaze. Look for a big metal or glass jug/jar/bowl online or in large kitchen stores, and make sure the opening is wide enough to allow a lot of oxygen to reach the kombucha while it ferments.
1 large piece of cloth or dish towel to secure around the opening of the jar with a rubber band. It’s not recommended to use a cheese cloth since this allows particles to pass through. You can even try using an old thin cotton t-shirt or some simple cotton fabric from any textile store.
1 SCOBY disk. You will need to purchase a “SCOBY” disk and can find one either in health food stores or online at very inexpensive prices. A SCOBY disk can be vacuumed-sealed in a small pouch and shipped directly to your house for only a few dollars, while still preserving all of the active yeast ingredients.
8 cups of water (preferably filtered, but people who use tap water feel this works fine too). Some prefer using distilled water which will contain less contaminants or metals than tap water will. Distilled water is inexpensive (only like 88 cents a gallon) and can be found at most large drug or convenience stores.
1/2 cup organic cane sugar or honey. When it comes to sugar substitutions, some feel that it’s not a good idea to substitute cane sugar for another kind of sugar, honey, stevia or anything else. On the other hand some people have reported making kombucha successfully with raw honey. The quality of the sugar is important in order to avoid contaminants, so look for organic sugar. Yes, this is one of the few times we’ll tell you to use real sugar! Most of it is actually “eaten” by the yeast during the fermentation process, so there is very little sugar actually left in the recipe by the time you consume it.
4 black tea bags (preferably organic which some people have reported works better). Some people also like to use green tea, although black tea is the kind used traditionally in most cases.
1 cup of pre-made kombucha, which you can either buy or use from a previous kombucha batch that you or a friend made.
1. Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.
3. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes about one hour). Once it’s cooled, add your tea mixture to your big jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.
4. Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel, and try to keep the cloth in place by using a rubber hand or some sort of tie. You want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place, but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.
5. Allow the kombucha to sit for 7–10 days depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment even longer and develop more taste. Some people have reported fermenting kombucha for up to a month with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation you’re looking for.