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Preparing to Brew Kombucha

This is part of a series on brewing kombucha. You can view all of the kombucha entries here.
It takes some time get all of the items needed to brew kombucha. But, this part is probably the hardest step, as the brewing is easy. Here is how to prepare:

Gather Ingredients

Water- 1 gallon
I estimate by using a large pot. Precise quantity is not important. If using tap water, you do not  need to prepare this ahead of time.

Tea (black tea works well) - 3-4 bags/2-4 tablespoons loose leaf
Quantity varies based on quality and type of tea. I have had success with Wegman’s decaf orange pekoe (bags), and Frontier’s Organic Black Decaf (loose). Herbal tea and chai turned out vile.
Sugar  - 1 cup          
I mostly raw cane sugar because that is what we have, but the cheap white stuff works just as well. You can use honey or other natural sweeteners, but it can produce an off taste. Note that the sugar feeds the SCOBY, and little sugar will remain in the fermented product (the longer is brews, the less sugar remains). 
Symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY)                     
Reserve the liquid the SCOBY comes in. Obtain from a friend, online, or even Craigslist.

Gather supplies

Needed for Day 1
  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Large glass brewing jar (mine is an old pickle jar)
  • Sieve (if using loose leaf tea)
  • Piece of cloth large enough to cover the jar opening
  • Rubber band or twine
  • Optional: small glass jar, extra fabric, extra twine (for backup SCOBY)
Some of the Day 1 Supplies
Needed for Day 7+
  • 3-5 Storage/drinking bottles, glass (Old glass jars with lids work just as well as beer brewing bottles. If using jars with metal lids, place a piece of parchment paper in between the jar and lid.)
  • Something to label storage bottles with (grease pencil, masking tape, post-it, Sharpie, etc.)
  • Funnel
  • Flavoring agents (fruit, juice, herbs, etc.)
Some of the Day 7+ Bottling Day Supplies
Clean Your Equipment
  • Using a dishwasher on heat dry is an easy way to sanitize (even if you don’t have a sanitize cycle).  
  • Alternatively, boil water and then submerge small items in the water (provided they are heat-safe). For your brewing vessel, pour some of the water inside, cap, and swish around, being mindful that the glass will get very hot. Dump out the water.
  • Let all items cool to room temperature before using.

Prepare a SCOBY hotel (optional)
Sometimes SCOBYs go bad. Other times, you might make a really vile batch of kombucha and you want to have clean starter liquid on reserve for your next batch rather than perpetuating the nastiness. To make a SCOBY hotel, assemble a jar containing a small bit of SCOBY (perhaps one layer of your large SCOBY) and a small amount of kombucha. Top with cloth and rubber band or twine. Leave in an out-of-the-way, warm place out of direct sunlight (indirect light is fine).

Preparing the SCOBY Hotel and Fermenting Jar

 Coming soon...brewing instructions.

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