To start you will need a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), the key ingredient that transforms sweet tea into kombucha. If you don’t have a friend brewing a batch, we have plenty of SCOBY on hand.
Heat about 2 quarts of the water on the stove until boiling.
Add the tea and steep about 10 minutes.
Strain out the tea and add the sugar. Allow to cool. This is what we call our “nutrient solution.”
Add “nutrient solution” and starter liquid to 1-gallon jar.
Add the rest of the water (leaving a 1-inch gap at top for SCOBY).
Stir to combine and gently rest SCOBY on top.
Cover 1-gallon vessel with cloth and secure with band or bungee.
Keep vessel in a warm, dry, dark environment for up to 2 to 3 weeks, tasting each week to check the progression and condition of your brew.
If conditions are too cold, your culture will go dormant; too hot, and it is subject to mold. Around 75–85° is ideal. Bubbles around the SCOBY after the first week of fermenting are a good sign—your culture is on the right path to probiotics.
When the mixture starts to taste less sweet and more acidic you are getting close. Remember, every taste palate is different so once you’re happy with the acidity of your brew it’s time to add flavor. If you are squeezing your own grapefruit juice, make sure to take off the peel and as much of the white as possible to avoid bitterness.
Gently remove your SCOBY to a glass holding vessel with 2 cups of kombucha for the next brew (starter).
Stir the kombucha and strain.
Add the fresh grapefruit juice and stir to combine.
You can chill and drink as is or ferment it again to raise carbonation and make it extra bubbly. To do this, pick a thick glass bottle with a tight closure like lug top or bottle cap.
Prime each bottle with ¼ teaspoon cane sugar or honey. (Optional)
Fill bottles leaving ½ to 1 inch headroom (gap) at the top.
Cap or close tightly and leave it in a similar environment to making kombucha for 3–6 days.
Check one bottle after the third day: If it hisses when opened, you are ready or getting close, depending how carbonated you want it.
Chill and enjoy!
1 gallon container (glass Mason or pickle jar is preferred but you can also use ceramic, wood or wine-grade stainless steel)
Measuring cup or spoons
Clean dish towel or cloth to cover
Rubber band or small bungee cord (to keep cloth secure over jar)