My Current Technique for Brewing Kombucha Materials Needed Glass Container with a wide mouth Go for wide and

shallow as opposed to long and skinny- margarita glass as opposed to a champagne flute- you want more surface area so that your ferment can get plenty of oxygen. A pyrex salad bowl, or the large 2 gallon containers you can find at kitchen supply stores is ideal. #2 FOOD GRADE plastic will work if necessary, but I would avoid it. Major things to avoid: ceramics with lead in their finish and the crystal decorative glass that has lead in it, or a metal container. I believe that some people use stainless steel, but just save yourself the headache and go with glass!

<--- You don’t need the lid

Large pot This is necessary for brewing your tea. It is fine if this is stainless steal, as you will not be doing any fermenting in this. Tea I recommend starting off with just black tea. A good one to start with is Paul Newman’s organic black tea, sold in containers of 100 at King Super’s for about $5. Avoid breakfast teas that have citrus oil added- read the ingredients list, it should be only black tea, no extra flavorings or oils. As you master the technique and are getting a good brew with black tea, you can play with green tea, white tea, rooibos, St. John’s Wort, chai, whatever and see what works and what doesn’t. I recommend always keeping a culture of black tea going as a reserve in case one of your experiments goes awry. :) Sugar Again, I recommend starting simple with raw organic cane sugar. From there you can experiment with Turbinado sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, etc. Sugar is tried and true. White sugar will work, if that’s what you choose. Pure water You don’t want to use the liquid that comes out of your tap, which contains chlorine and fluoride (originally used in Nazi concentration camps) and other contaminants that will likely hurt your SCOBY (and you). Purified water or good spring water should be used (deionized water will work as the kombucha will revitalize this ‘dead’ water, but it is not necessary to obtain this type of water). An easy place to get suitable water is from the machines at supermarkets where you can fill a gallon container for about 35 cents.

SCOBY (Symbiotic compound of bacteria and yeast). This is the white squishy thing that works all the magic. A new one will form with each successful batch. It is fine to use multiple scobies. Eventually you’ll want to retire those which you’ve been using for a while (compost them). Kombucha Tea You’ll want to save some tea from your previous batch in order to inoculate your new batch, and to get it going to prevent mold, which will usually only happen in the first day or two if your ferment doesn’t acidify quickly. Cloth You need something to cover your culture while it brews to keep out fruit flies and the like, while still letting it breath. I use shirts from charity events- they seem to allow my kombucha to breath just fine. When I used cheese cloth, I got lots of fruit flies. Other handy things: White vinegar, A strainer, a funnel (for bottling your tea), Glass bottles to bottle your brew in so that it gets nice and fizzy- old Snapple bottles and juice bottles work just great. Your Wisdom! Be creative and try new things. The big things to avoid are containers that leach toxins (bad plastics/metal/ceramics with lead in them/treated glass vases that have lead in them. Buy a nice glass jar and tape poetry to the outside of it! Method of Production for about 3/4 Gallon of Kombucha 1. Make sure that your large pot is clean- if you like you can rub a tablespoonish of white vinegar around in it for extra sanitation. Don’t use raw apple cider vinegar, because the live cultures in it might start growing as well and lead to some interesting results. In your large pot, bring 3/4 a gallon of pure water to a boil, then turn off the heat, and dissolve about a cup of sugar in it. Add about 5 tea bags, or six teaspoons loose-leaf tea (put it in a tea bag though!) and let this brew for a while, with the lid on to keep dust and other things from joining in the fun. I generally leave the tea bags in until the water has cooled back down to room temperature. If you’re doing a huge batch and don’t want to boil all your water, you can boil half your quantity of water, but still use all your sugar and tea, and make a concentrate, then dilute it later with the rest of your water when it’s brewed. 2. Wait for water to cool to room temperature (this could take a while). 3. Prepare your glass jar. Clean it well, and again, if you’d like, use a splash of vinegarhowever the kombucha from previous old batch should be insurance enough at keeping unwanted stuff from growing.

3. If you haven’t yet removed the tea bags do that (wash your hands or utensils first!). I like to vortex the water around a bit in the pot at this point and say/think whatever magic words/prayers are on my mind at the moment. Put some intention into your work! 4. Pour your tea from your pot into the glass jar. 5. Add your SCOBY or two/three/four/twenty and about two-three cups of Kombucha tea from your last batch. 6. Cover the jar, perhaps using a rubber band or some twine around the edges of your jar to secure it. Place your jar in a warm place away from sunlight. Ideal temperature is between 70 and 80 fahrenheit. Cooler and it will take longer, warmer and the taste might get a bit off because certain of the slower growing bacteria will be outpaced by the others. 7. Wait a week-three, sampling it until it’s where you like it, or just a bit sweeter than you want if you plan to do a secondary ferment. Note: Every time you sample it, and disturb the culture, a new scoby may begin growing on top. 8. When you’re satisfied, put aside your SCOBYs and some tea for your next batch, then drink or bottle your tea. If you bottle your tea, the bacteria will stop growing as quickly because they don’t have any oxygen, but the yeast will keep working on the remaining sugars, making it nice and fizzy. The older your tea gets, the more sour it will become (it doesn’t really go bad because the ph is so low, it just starts to taste REALLY strong). It is at this point that you can really get creative, adding ginger and other herbs and fruit juices to your tea to give it new flavors and healthful properties. Some notes: There isn’t a set ‘dose’ of kombucha to drink. It is very medicinal, and probably at high doses (gallons) could have some negative effects. Listen to your body and see what happens. Some days I drink a quart, some days a shot or two (kombucha is great for virgin cocktails), some days none. You can drink it in the morning, after a meal, on an empty stomach, play around! It won’t kill you- unless you brew in lead.. I’ve never had mold, but you’ll know if you do- it will look furry and probably green. Throw everything out! The internet is full of information. Above is the technique that has worked for me over the past year. I’m at the point where I’m starting to experiment with different teas and sugars. A good, tried and true website is: Share SCOBYs with your friends and strangers! Bring kombucha to potlucks! Use it to celebrate the New Year, the Sunrise, weddings...

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