I'm sure your've seen it in a store and there's a number of brands out now but we have usually purchased GT's. Kombucha in a nut shell is fermented tea with beneficial bacteria and has been consumed for 100's of years - more. Whether it's benefit claims are true or not we enjoy the beverage and believe that it does have health benefits.
You first need whats call a "SCOBY." SCOBY, long o sound, is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast - yes it's easier to say SCOBY! You need a SCOBY (Mother) to ferment the tea so can purchase it - link below or make your own as I did.
To start you'll need:
Brew tea as normal allowing it to steep. While still pretty warm add sugar & stir to dilute all granules, cool - bringing it to room temperature as well.
You do not want to add hot liquid to Kombucha starter; it could kill any possible yeast/bacteria needed to start the SCOBY. Place in an area that is warm (ours likes the corner counter) and WAIT. It will take a while depending on the warmth it likes warm. I started it else-wheres and moved it.
Be patient it takes time to grow - but keep checking mine took a few weeks There is actually two that formed I used both when it was ready for the first brew.
I grew the SCOBY in a half gallon jar but brewed in a gallon jar. If process doesn't work try again.
Now that you have your SCOBY it's time to brew! Brewing is similar but on a larger scale.
Here pictured - I used 5 tea bags (Tazo Earl Grey - it's what I had), brew and let steep in 4 cups of filtered water. Add to warm tea 1 cup of organic sugar and stir until will diluted. This process can be done in the gallon jar. (Keep in mind SCOBY is still in other container). Once sugar is diluted fill the gallon jar with filtered water bringing sweetened tea to 3/4 of the way up - leaving room for SCOBY and 1 cup of starter liquid from SCOBY jar. Allow all to come to room temperature same temp as SCOBY. Once it is room temp. with clean hands take out SCOBY (I used both) and add to tea then top with starter liquid I used all. DONOT added SCOBY to a hot liquid. Cover with cloth and band. WAIT ~
After seven day's sample a taste with a straw gently going under the SCOBY. If it's too sweet - taste each day until it reaches optimum flavor. Properly brewed it should have a slightly acidic apple cider flavor and not sweet. Once it reaches the desired flavor - you can use it regular flavored or add flavoring when bottling.
Some flavoring ideas shown are berries, ginger, chamomile, rose petals and lavender. Experiment! Pictured is the first I've made but have bottled a second batch using as flavors - key lime, watermelon, rose-hips and of course ginger. I have number 3 started and SCOBY'S continue to grow babies.
When you are ready to bottle - making sure all your bottles are sterile. With clean hands take SCOBY(s) out and place in clean bowl adding 2 cups of Kombucha liquid (now starter).
Put flavors in bottle and funnel in Kombucha bring it close to the top, cap.
Now that it's bottled leave to sit out for a few days to ferment / carbonate naturally. Test lids by unscrewing and screwing back. This will also help with built up pressure. Caps have been none to pop off. LOL - trying to keep this short and simple.
After bottling I started another brew but 2 gallons since SCOBY's grew placing 1 large and small SCOBY in each gallon jar and using same brewing method as first full brew.
Here sampling a really loaded gingered drink, my son did. Very good like a natural ginger ale only better. Ginger carbonates - so the more you use - use wisely ~
Sampled mine chamomile and lavender ~ once fermented / carbonated to taste, put in refrigerator, the process will then stop. Of course in the favorite corner is brew number 3 and one of the favorite flavors is watermelon.
I tried to keep it as simple as I could so if I missed something or if you have questions let me know - all helpful links below.
Kombucha Mama best over all link for all things Kombucha as well as supplies.
Food Renegade SCOBY recipe I used.
I will add more links as I think of them. GNOWFGLINS is also a top place to go on all fermenting endeavors. Keeping in mind fermentation of food has been safely done since beginning of time and is a lost art that's coming back with it's many health benefits.
Nourished Kitchen is another ~ Enjoy!