Kombucha Primary Fermentation

Kombucha Primary Instructions for making the primary fermentation in 2 gallon jugs.

1. Starter SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast)
– Obtain one of these swimming in one or two cups of liquid.
– Or if you have a previous batch, leave the SCOBY in your fermenting jug along with 1 or 2 cups of liquid.

2. Sugar water (food)
– Put 4 cups water and 2 cups white sugar in 2 qt saucepan. Don’t use honey since it has antimicrobial properties.
– Heat to near boiling, stirring occasionally to dissolve.
– Cover, let cool and refrigerate until needed.

3. Tea
– Put 28 cups of water in very large pot with lid.
– Heat the water to a boil and turn off.
– Add 1.5oz of black tea and 0.5oz of green tea to the hot water (or use equivalent in tea bags).
– Cover and allow to cool to room temp (don’t squeeze the leaves or bags, if you do the tea may get too bitter).

4. Main Batch (first fermentation, or 1F)
– Clean drain spigot if your jug has one.
– Clean jug with soap and water and then rinse with vinegar.
– Pour in half of the cool tea through a filter (do not put the leaves or bags in the jug).
– Pour in all the sugar water.
– Pour in your SCOBY and stir.
– Fill jug to the smallest part of its shoulder or neck with remaining tea.
– Clean inside and outside rim of jug with a piece of paper towel soaked in vinegar.
– Soak a new large coffee filter or fine mesh clean cloth in vinegar and squeeze it out so it doesn’t drip.
– Cover the mouth of the jug with the filter and secure with a rubber band.
– Store jug at room temperature where it can get light but not in direct sunlight.
– Try to keep the jug between a temperature of 70F and 85F, but don’t let it get too hot.
– Leave it alone about a month (cooler takes longer) taking a tiny taste every week or so.
– The fermentation process accelerates towards the end so you should taste it every other day later on.

5. Storage and Use
– When almost all of the sweetness is gone from the main batch it’s done and ready to drink.
– Stir the batch with a large clean spoon to incorporate the goodies from the sediment.
– Drain off most of the Kombucha from the jug through a strainer into smaller bottles with lids and refrigerate.
– Serve over ice or any mixture of juice, cool herbal tea or even alcohol.
– The caffeine from the original tea is not destroyed in the process, so it’s great for a morning tonic.

6. Continuous Brewing
– Simply go back to step 1, but there is no need to clean the jar except for the rim area.

7. Second fermentation (2F)
– This adds flavor, water infused phytonutrients and fizz.
– Simply add any fruit or sweetened strong herb tea into stoppered bottles and leave for another week or so.
– Refer to the page about Kombucha Second Fermentation.

Note: This recipe can easily be scaled up or down. however a small SCOBY will take longer to permeate a very large volume which increases the possibility of undesirable wild microbes getting in.