John got me this very cool kombucha jar for Christmas. This was my first attempt making it! This is not so much a recipe as a walk through what I did for my first batch. I thought the flavor here was excellent, but the carbonation was quite light.
First, I had to make a scoby. It seems like you can buy a scoby online, and that some kits come with one. Others get a piece from a friend into the hobby (and please, friends, come take some of mine – it’s huge already).
I decided to make my own because it didn’t seem that hard. I followed the directions here. I made a sweet tea, boiling seven cups water with 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, stirring until dissolved. I added four bags of black tea (just like, Wegmans generic brand orange pekoe) and allowed to cool completely. I then removed the tea bags and added it to my brewing jar. I added 1 cup store-bought kombucha (GT’s unflavored, I believe) to the jar, trying to add as much gunk from the bottle to the mixture. The recommendation then is to let it it sit 1-4 weeks at room temperature, away from sunlight. I waited closer to form and I definitely saw the scoby at that point.
According to my jar’s instructions, it seemed to me that my next steps were either to acclimate my scoby (this seemed more geared towards if I’d gotten it elsewhere) or start primary fermentation, so I went with the latter. I placed three liters of water on the stove and brought it to a boil. I added five bags of the same brand of black tea and two cups of white sugar to the mix. I letit cool, took out the bags, and added that tea to the fermentation jar. I then let it sit for two weeks further (apparently you can do this step in just a week).
Then it was time for secondary fermentation. This is supposedly when things get fizzy. I was told to transfer the mixture to bottles. They clearly want you to get these guys for this purpose. I used two growlers with similar lids instead. I divided the tea mixture between these two growlers and added 1/2 tbsp sugar per bottle. I then flavored it. My idea was to do ginger turmeric but it was a little tricky to know how much to use. Inspired by this recipe, I added about 2 pinky fingers’ worth of fresh peeled turmeric and one large peeled knob of ginger (maybe two inches) to each bottle, bruising and slicing up the herbs to make sure the flavor got absorbed. I then let it sit an additional five days. I strained the mixture, re-added it to the growlers and was done! Took one growler’s worth to a party and it was a big hit.