Gallon Jar (presuming you already have kombucha brewing in it. If not and starting new, do step 2 and then skip to step 9.)
Bottles for you kombucha
8 tea bags (You will want some type of regular tea (Camellia sinensis), not herbal. It’s best to use black, green or white. And stay away from teas flavored with essential oils, such as earl grey. Most SCOBYs don’t like them and may die on you.)
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of juice (if doing a second fermentation)
Something to pour your kombucha into bottles (I use my quart measuring cup. Works great!)
1 SCOBY either in your gallon jar fermenting your kombucha or in a small jar waiting to get going.
Wash your hands really well. Any germs, stuff, whatever could get on your SCOBY and kill it. It is very sensitive. Be kind.
Gather the ingredients that you will need. (This is after you have your SCOBY.)
Boil water and brew you 8 tea bags. Some people use a large (non-metal) pot to brew the whole gallon of water as tea. I brew my tea in my french press (that is only used for tea) and add cold filtered water when I am ready so I don’t have to wait for my tea to cool down to make the kombucha. Hint- if using the boil-a-gallon-of-water method, wait for it to cool down completely before finishing your kombucha making process.
If doing a second fermentation (which I loved for the extra flavor), add 1/4 cup of juice to the each bottle before adding you fermented kombucha.
Bring out your fermenting kombucha from your cool, dark place. (It should have been fermenting for 5-7 days, depending on how strong you like your kombucha.)
Make sure your hand are very clean and take the SCOBY out and set it aside.
Fill your bottles while leaving a couple of inches at the top for breathing room with the kombucha from your gallon jar that has been fermenting. I pour it into my quart measuring cup with the handy-dandy little spout and then pour into the bottles. Some use funnels. I have never had luck keeping those around. The boys always think they are toys that belong to them. Gone.
Make sure to leave 1 to 1 ½ cups left of your fermented kombucha for a reserve for your next batch. This will help to acidify the next batch and prevent potential contaminants from developing.
Place cheesecloth squares on top of the bottles of kombucha and secure with rubber bands. You want the kombucha to continue breathing during the second fermentation, but you want it to be safe from contaminants and pests like fruit flies. (Little suckers love this stuff.) Give it another 24 hours in a cool, dark place for second fermentation. Remove cheesecloth. Then store in the fridge and drink. I just use regular wine stoppers for the tops.
Back to the brewing tea. Measure out 1 cup of white sugar.
Add brewed tea and sugar to your now-empty gallon jar. I have been told to always use white sugar. I know some that have used honey or brown sugar, and they were fine. Others have had their SCOBY die on them. I have always stayed safe with white sugar. It’s up to you what you want to do.
Then add enough filtered cold water to almost fill it up, leaving enough room for your reserve and SCOBY. Add the reserve to the new tea. If this is your first batch, you should have some reserve that your SCOBY has been growing in.
Add SCOBY to your new batch of kombucha tea to ferment.
Put cheesecloth over the top and secure with a rubber band. (See step 8 for reasons why.) Store you jar in a cool, dark place for 5 – 7 days. Take out and go back to step 1.