12 cups water
1 cup sugar (organic white sugar is great; do not substitute other sweeteners as white sugar produces the most glucuronic acid)
4-5 tea bags of organic black tea (black tea produces the most glucuronic acid); I usually use 3 black and 2 green tea bags for our favorite flavor)
½ cup kombucha from a previous batch
1 kombucha mushroom
1 gallon glass jar
Wooden spoons for stirring (do not use metal as it can react with the acidic liquid)
Boil 6 - 8 cups water and pour it into the glass jar; add the tea bags. After the tea has steeped for several minutes, remove the tea bags, add sugar, and add the remaining 4 - 6 cups cool water for a total of 12 cups of water. Stir it all with a wooden spoon. Wait for the tea to cool to room temperature (no more than 110°F). Then, add the kombucha from the previous culture and place the kombucha mushroom on top. Cover the jar with a clean tea towel and hold it in place with an elastic band. Store it in a warm place (on the counter or in a cupboard) for 7 – 10 days. At this point, the kombucha should be rather sour and possibly fizzy, with no taste of tea remaining.
Use wooden spoons to remove the mushroom from on top and pour the liquid through a sieve before chilling and drinking.
If you want to build up the carbonation and improve the overall taste, use glass bottles with an E-Z Cap lid (such as CattleBoyz BBQ sauce or from a wine-making store). First, reserve ½ cup kombucha for the next batch. Then, pour the strained liquid into the bottles along with some Welsh’s grape juice (about 3/4 cups juice for 4 cups kombucha). Close the bottles and let sit at room temperature for a 2nd fermentation (try a couple of days to start with). Then, enjoy! If the pressure starts to build too much in the unopened bottles, refrigerate immediately! They have been known to explode if left too long!
The process can be repeated over and over as long as the mushroom (SCOBY) remains healthy and you remember to save ½ cup starter for each new batch. The kombucha will grow additional spongy pancakes. These can be left attached to the original mushroom, or removed and used to make additional batches, given away to friends or even fed to critters! If it develops black spots or doesn’t sour a batch properly, the culture may have become contaminated and should be discarded.
A word of caution: Please start with a small amount of kombucha daily and build up over time. It can cause cleansing effects!
Also, DO NOT brush your teeth for about ½ hour after drinking kombucha as the acid can etch away at your enamel, similar to brushing right after consuming orange juice.