Clean your brew jar with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly, you can also give it a wipe around with some clear distilled vinegar, this will ensure that there are no moulds present in the jar but rinse thoroughly afterwards. Do not use malted or apple cider vinegar.
Pour 2 litres of the water into a pan on the hob and bring it almost to the boil.
Add your sugar and tea and stir until the sugar has dissolved and let this steep for 20 minutes.
Pour the remaining 2 litres of water into your brew vessel then strain your tea mixture into the water now in the brew vessel. You might want to do this through some muslin or cheesecloth to make sure that you catch all the tea leaves. Alternatively, if you are using tea bags, just remove them before you pour your tea mixture into your jar.
IMPORTANT: pour the cold water into your brew jar first before you add the hot liquid, this will ensure that you don’t crack your jar and the cold water will reduce the temperature before you add your scoby. It is important that you now check the temperature of your brew. It should be between 65-85F or room temperature before you add your scoby. Any hotter and it will kill the scoby.
Once you have added your scoby, you should now add your 500ml of starter liquid. This will protect your brew from any pathogens such as mould.
Cut up an old tea towel (or a tee shirt is ideal), do not use cheesecloth as it is too porous. Make a cover for your brew and fix this with an elastic band (your brew has to breathe but we also need to keep out things like fruit flies). Fruit flies love Kombucha and they will come from nowhere – trust me, if you were living on the dark side of the moon brewing Kombucha, you will see fruit flies! (But don’t freak out, they are easily gotten rid of)
The only thing that you have to do now is wait. For 1 gallon of Kombucha to ferment, it usually takes between 7-10 days. The longer that you leave it to ferment, the more acidic it will become and if you leave it for long enough, you’ll produce your own Kombucha vinegar! Great for salad dressings!
Only you will know when your Kombucha is ready, we suggest tasting it by inserting a straw into the brew and taking a sip. Try it first after 7 days, then try it every other day after that.
Kombucha should have a sweet/tart taste and the fermentation time depends on the temperature in your home. The ideal temperature for brewing is between 23.5C and 26.5C
After a couple of days, you will see the top of your brew start to cloud over, this is perfectly natural and this is the formation of another scoby. Each time you brew, you will produce another baby scoby.
Once your Kombucha is ready, you can now bottle it in clean glass bottles. Make sure that there is a gap at the top of the bottle of about an inch, to facilitate carbonation.
DO NOT fill to the top of the bottle. You can leave it out to ‘mature’ for a few days and this will produce a natural carbonation. We recommend then that you put your bottles in a fridge so this will slow down the fermentation and prevent the brew being a bit too lively when you open them! Your Kombucha will have a good long shelf life and should be OK for 12 months*
You will find that some sediment will form in the bottom of the bottles, this is OK and is good for you, it’s yeast from the brew and is just like a craft beer. You may also find that you get small scobys forming in the bottle, again this is OK, just swallow them like you would an oyster!
We hope that you give this a try and if you have any questions, we are happy to help, just drop us an email any time at [email protected], we’d love to hear how you get on.
*This is based on our own scientific lab reports, yours may differ