Boil 4 cups of water
Add 3 Tbsp of loose leaf tea to a reusable tea bag (or use 9 tea bags).
Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the tea bag(s). Let steep for 6 minutes.
After 6 minutes, remove the tea bag(s) and stir in 1 cup of cane juice crystals. Set aside to cool.
Next, fill your clean, empty 1 gallon brewing jar with the sugar-tea mixture
Then, add 7 cups of ice water to dilute the sugar-tea mixture (ice water is necessary if the sugar-tea mixture is still hot. You don’t want to fry the active cultures that we're adding next!)
Once the ice has melted and the solution is no longer hot, add 1 cup of kombucha starter tea and gently place the SCOBY on top (it's ok if it floats, sinks or flops sideways! Just let it do its thing).
Cover kombucha jar with a piece of tightly woven cloth and secure with a rubber band
Place your 1 gallon jar of kombucha in a dark, warm location where it will be undisturbed.
At 1 week, do a taste test and see what you think. Still too sweet? Let it go for another week and test again. Most people brew in the timeframe of 1-3 weeks. It all depends on how active your SCOBY is, environmental factors and your taste preferences. The thicker your SCOBY becomes, the more active it will be. I've found that a thickness of about 1" is perfect for my brew, so I pull off extra layers when it gets too thick.
Once you're satisfied with the taste of your kombucha brew, bring it back to the kitchen and complete steps 1-4 again to make the sugar-tea mixture.
Now that you have a full gallon jar of finished kombucha, there are a few more steps to add on!
With clean hands, remove SCOBY from the brewing jar and place on a clean plate
Reserve 1 cup of kombucha. Set aside. Set out clean bottles to begin filling.
Fill clean bottles with add-ins of your choice (see above for ideas!)
Fill bottles with finished kombucha using a funnel and close the swing-top lid. Set bottles aside.
Pick back up with steps 5-9 to make the next batch of new kombucha.
Now, place the bottles of finished kombucha and the 1 gallon jar of new kombucha back to the warm, dark location where it will not be disturbed.
After 2-3 days, move the bottles of finished kombucha to the fridge and now you can drink them!
After 1-3 weeks, your 1 gallon of kombucha brew will be ready to start the process all over again!