How to Make KOMBUCHA TEA- My Basic Recipe
1. To make a small batch of tea, use 5 black tea bags (15 gm of tea), 1 cup of white sugar, and 3 quarts of boiled filtered water.
I steep the tea until it's fairly cool then add sugar and top off the water. IT'S GOOD TO MEASURE EVERYTHING SO YOU WILL HAVE CONSISTENCY.
(FOR MY TWO GALLON BATCH I USE 2 OZ LOOSE BLACK TEA (that would be about 12-15 tea bags or so-I like mine strong), 22 OZ SUGAR and fill the volume up to just under 2 gallons).
Rebekah makes hers using GREEN TEA and that is amazingly good! I use YORKSHIRE GOLD for my black tea (it's British). You can use any black or green tea but it must be real Similia leaves (not herbal tea) and shouldn't be flavored tea.
2. Cool the sugar/tea mixture down to room temperature.
3. Add the Kombucha colony and 1 cup/gallon of previously prepared Kombucha tea. (OR ONE HALF CUP OF VINEGAR/GAL. IF YOU HAVE NO TEA) THIS KEEPS IT FROM GETTING MOLDY. The mother will either float or hang there, either is fine. Before long a film (the new mother called a "baby") will form on the top.
4. Cover the container with cloth and secure it with a rubber band, elastic, or string to keep out insects and air borne contaminants.
I USE A DISH TOWEL AND LARGE RUBBER BAND
5. Place it where it will remain undisturbed. I KEEP IT NEXT TO THE RADIATOR SINCE OUR HOUSE IS COOL. JUST KEEP IT ABOVE 68 DEGREES FOR BEST RESULTS)
6. Let it ferment for about 7 to 10 days plus or minus a few days depending on the growing temperature and how acidic (sour) you like it. You will soon learn to tell when it's getting ready to bottle by the mild and sweet vinegar smell. When it is ready the pH will approach 3 or, if you don't have a pH meter, you can taste the tartness/acidity.
7. Remove the original Kombucha colony and the new baby colony that formed on the surface of the tea along with 1-2 cups of KT for the next batch. Let it rest in a bowl.
8. Strain the Kombucha tea and pour it into convenient bottles. Fill the bottles to the top and cap them. STIR IT FREQUENTLY so the
bottles will be consistent. I use the E-Z CAP 32 oz bottles
or reuse the 12 oz G.T. DAVE Kombucha bottles and cap tightly. You can also use WINE bottles or good BEER bottles and a capper.
9. The bottles do not need to be placed in cold storage. They can be stored in a cool area of the home
AFTER THEY ARE BOTTLED, I ADD ABOUT 2 heaping TBSP GRATED GINGER ROOT PER 32 OZ BOTTLE (USE RAW, ORGANIC YELLOW GINGER ROOT FROM THE COOP) or one heaping teaspoon for the GT Dave bottles. If you put any ginger in the initial brew with the mother culture the ginger will kill it. No flavoring fruits or herbs should ever be added to the mother culture
10. Return the mother starter back into the container AFTER you have brewed new tea, added sugar, and COOLED it to room temp and start the next batch.
I peel off babies to give away but I like to keep a thick 1-2" mat for maximum nutrient release and fermentation. Some people like to wash off the shaggy dregs off the mother (using vinegar or KT), but those ugly strands are actually useful and active yeast. I leave them because the new brew will be strained thouroughly anyway.
It is considered best to use clear glass containers for this whole process although some people, (like me), consider it acceptable to use a stainless steel pot to boil the water and food grade plastic containers to ferment and store the tea. Metal is considered toxic to Kombucha so never let metal touch the Kombucha colony or Kombucha tea. Never use aluminum containers for anything having to do with making Kombucha and avoid it every way you can, especially in food preparation.
There are hundreds of good web sites for KT, I'm on this one, it's a great discussion group with lots of factual information about the health benefits and details on fine-tuning the making of it.
This is the big glass tobacco jar I use but gallon jars are fine. Ceramic pots or bowls are fine as long as the glaze is not a toxic one. This is the way the mother culture is supposed to look (rather "alien" but quite friendly and healthy)
Your colony will get this huge
You can see I've taken the mother out along with 2-3 cups of brew, then I'm using the coffee filter to strain the brew. I use the GT Dave Kombucha bottles along with the flip top models which are the best by far. Beer and wine bottles work great too. It's your choice there. My glass is there because it's pretty good to drink right out of the brew tank. No flavorings and not fizzy but still delicious. The pH when it's done is around 3, that's one way to determine when to decant (you can taste the bite easily too)
Add the GINGER, fruit or whatever you want to flavor the tea AFTER YOU'VE PUT IT INTO THE BOTTLES. The tea is delicious without flavoring too. I just like getting the ginger. Let this set for about 2-3 days at room temp to achieve a "second fermentation" then put it in the fridge and drink up. In another 7 days you will have more.