Updated: Aug 25, 2021
First I boil about 6-8 cups of water. When it's boiling, I remove from heat and add 4 black tea bags and 4 tablespoons of loose green tea ( I use a tea ball for loose tea). I also added a few lemon balm leaves to the loose tea this time because I had a few left over from dinner salads last night.let the tea steep for 9 minutes, then remove the tea.
Add 1 cup sugar and stir it in so it dissolves. Let the water cool for a bit.
Let the tea cool. You can add some cold water to the pot. You can set it in a ice bath. You can just wait. We will be adding it to our gallon jar and you don't want the jar to crack, so being mindful of the temperature matters.
After the tea is cool, you add it to the gallon jar and add enough room temp water to bring the level up. I like to have it about 2 inches below the neck of the jar. This leaves trim for the Scoby and the starter tea from the last batch you made it from your new Scoby package.
A Scoby is a Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. It's a pancake shaped structure that is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform tea into tangy, fizzy, yummy kombucha. It looks weird. It floats in top of your kombucha and it's scary the first time you make it because it almost looks like mold. It will also eventually make baby scobys, which any of your hippy or homesteader type friends would love. You can reuse your Scoby many times. And if you see little bits of Scoby floating around, you could strain it out... But you shouldn't because it's super healthy to drink.
Ok back to the tea. Let your tea come to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. You want it warm enough ( not too hot, not too cool) to slip your Scoby and starter tea in and have it be warm and inviting. Go ahead and add your Scoby with started tea now.
If you'd like, you can use PH strips to ensure that you have every thing right for your first batches. It isn't necessary. But you can get them here if you're nervous. To me it was worth it till I got comfortable. Fermentation made me nervous for awhile, frankly.
Once your good, place a cloth on the jar and secure it with a rubber band. The jars I use came with the cloth and rubber band. #handy.
Now you're fermenting! This should be placed somewhere where it can stay around 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I have found the top of my fridge to be ideal for this.
It stays put for 7 to 10 days. 10 days makes a more tart kombucha (it ferments longer and uses up more sugar) and 7 days is a bit sweeter. I recommend 7 days for your first time and then adjust from there.
After your first fermentation, you'll still need second fermentation. It's quicker and it's where you get to add YOUR style and taste to the kombucha. And the bubbles!
How to do second fermentation is in this next blog.