Add 1 quart of water to your pot and bring to a boil. When a boil is reached, turn off the burner.
Add 2 Tbsp of the loose leaf tea to the tea ball.
Place the tea ball into the water and steep for 6 minutes. Remove the tea ball.
Add 1 cup of raw cane sugar into the hot water and stir until dissolved.
Cover the sweet tea mixture and let cool for 10 minutes.
While the sweet tea mixture is cooling, install the spigot on the fermentor. Test for leaks by filling the fermentor with water until the spigot is fully submerged.
After you test the fermentor for leaks, empty fermentor. Add the remaining 3 quarts of water to the fermentor. Then, once the sweet tea mixture has cooled, mix into the fermentor.
Cut open the plastic pouch containing the SCOBY and the starter liquid. Without touching the contents pour the liquid AND the SCOBY into the fermentor.
Using the pipette, remove a small amount of liquid from the fermentor and test the pH using the provided pH test strips. If the pH is 4.5 or below, move to step 10. If the pH is over 4.5, stir in 1 Tbsp of distilled white vinegar and test again until 4.5 or below. For directions for use of the pH test strips, refer to the Tips section.
Kombucha fermentation requires an exchange of oxygen and CO2. Instead of using a hard plastic lid, we will cover the fermentor with two layers of the provided butter muslin. Cut a section that is large enough to cover the opening of the fermentor while folded over in a double layer. The remaining muslin can be used for future batches. This allows plenty of airfl ow during fermentation, while also keeping out pests, such as fruit fl ies. Secure the muslin over the fermentor opening with the rubber band.
Place the fermentor in a warm location, out of direct sunlight. Anywhere between 72°- 80° F is ideal. Allow the fermentor to sit undisturbed for 7 days.
By Day 7, you will see the SCOBY grow to cover the surface of the liquid. This is normal and indicates healthy growth of the culture. Using the spigot, while trying not to disturb the SCOBY, draw a tasting sample from the fermentor. If the tea tastes too sweet, allow the kombucha to ferment longer. The fl avor should have some tartness to it, but the balance between sweet and tart is a matter of personal taste. Repeat daily until desired fl avor is reached.
Use your pipette, remove a small amount of liquid to test the pH. Verify your kombucha is within the ideal range of 2.5 to 3.5 pH.
Once your fi rst batch of kombucha reaches your preferred fl avor it is time to bottle or transfer into a serving vessel. Using the spigot, pour your kombucha from the fermentor into bottles or a serving vessel. Leave roughly 2 cups of kombucha in the fermentor with the SCOBY. This liquid will keep the SCOBY alive and act as the starter liquid for your next batch. If bottling, it only takes 2 - 4 days for the bottles to carbonate at room temperature. You must then refrigerate ALL of your bottles to prevent them from getting too carbonated. Over-carbonated bottles can explode, so be sure to refrigerate them after no more than 4 days.