- In a small pot, bring 3 cups (750 ml) of the water and the sugar to a boil for 1 minute or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Add the tea and let infuse for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve. Compost the tea leaves.
- Pour the remaining 8 cups (2 litres) of the water into a 12-cup (3 litre) glass container with a wide opening. Add the sweetened tea mixture and mix well with a plastic or metal spoon. Using tongs, add the SCOBY and then starter liquid. Cover the container with a clean dishcloth, holding it in place with an elastic band.
- Place the container in a dark, well-ventilated spot with a temperature around 77°F (25°C), such as on top of the refrigerator. Let ferment for 5 days without moving the container. With a straw, taste the kombucha. If it is too sweet for your liking, let it ferment for another day or 2; it will become slightly more acidic. You are looking for a well-balanced flavour, slightly more sweet than acidic.
- Using tongs, remove the SCOBY from the kombucha and place in a smaller glass container. Cover with 1 ¾ cups (430 ml) of the kombucha. Cover the smaller container with a clean dishcloth, holding it in place with an elastic band. Set aside in a cool spot until ready to make your next batch of kombucha.
- In a measuring cup, combine 2 cups (500 ml) of the boiling water with the sugar. Mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add the herbal tea bags and let infuse until the mixture is cool, about 1 hour. Compost the tea bags.
- Meanwhile, in a blender, purée the ginger and the remaining 1/3 cup (75 ml) of the boiling water until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve. Set aside 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the ginger juice. Freeze the remaining ginger juice in 1-tbsp (15 ml) portions in an ice cube tray and use for your next batches of kombucha. Use the ginger juice pulp left over in the sieve to flavour teas or lemonades, or simply compost it.
- Pour the herbal tea mixture and ginger juice into the large container of kombucha. Strain the kombucha through a fine sieve set over a pitcher.
- Line up three 4-cup (1 litre) glass bottles (or six 2-cup/500 ml jars). Using a funnel, pour the kombucha into the bottles. Close the bottles.
- Let the kombucha ferment in the bottles for 1 week (see note 2 on the counter at room temperature (see note 3. After this period of fermentation, refrigerate the bottles. The kombucha will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
1) Depending on the brand of tea used, the number of tea bags needed for this recipe will be somewhere between 10 and 12. It is best to weigh the tea in either case.
2) This step of the fermentation process is where carbonation takes place. The longer the second fermentation is, the fizzier the kombucha will be.
3) After the second fermentation, a small SCOBY will form in the bottles. This is completely normal since the fermentation process is ongoing. Simply strain your kombucha before serving.