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Fermented Tea Kvass. This recipe is for about a gallon and a half. It is an 11 day process but once you start, you just can't stop. You need a 2 gallon glass or safe ceramic crock and some cheese cloth for a lid. A clean room averaging 78 degrees. Avoid any major temperature spikes.You will need to purchase a SCOBY culture and build up to this size. There is a great guy on ebay - search ebay for the bacteriapimp or go to GEM cultures (where I got my scoby). I'm not into retailing but if you are local to the so cal OC area and want to pick one up I'll give you a scoby and some drink after a harvest. more information on SCOBYs: Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast can be found from wikipedia - here is a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombucha#Biology_of_kombucha NEVER ever put your SCOBY into contact with metal, and keep out of the sun. Be kind to your SCOBY it is a living organism. Keep everything as sterile and clean as possible - rinsed with filtered water and air dried. Do not use dish-washing soap to clean anything related to this drink. ONLY use vinegar water to clean... and that's filtered water - not unfiltered muni tap water b/c of the Chlorine. The SCOBY feeds on the sugar and tannins in the tea (like making beer) and converts the drink into the healthy effervescent tart Kombucha. You must refrigerate the drink or it will continue to ferment and turn to vinegar as the SCOBY is a kin to the cultures used to make some vinegars. Wait - your excited and don't want to wait for the mail to receive your purchased scoby - try this - the $4 dollar alternative: buy an 8 oz bottle of organic Kombucha tea from a health food store. Find the one that has the the biggest bits and gooey strings floating in the bottle that you can find...and start small scale in a 1 quart mason jar!! take ALL the bits collected from the store brand bottle of K-tea and 4 oz of the store bought K-tea as the base - put in a 1 quart wide mouth mason jar. and start same process as my big recipe... fill with strong - room temp sweet organic tea (sweet tea ratio would be 1 qt boiled water, two tea bags, heavy with the sugar about 3/4 cup b/c you need to entice the culture to feed on the sugared tea so it will grow) cut the bottom off of a brown lunch sack to make a tube to keep the jar in the dark. - give at least 10 days no disturbance - a brand new film of a scoby will grow on the surface of the tea and thicken up eventually. from that batch - double everything - go to a 2 quart mason jar. enjoy enjoy enjoy. note - some batches taste vinegary some do not - it's all about how long you let the culture grow at room temp before transferring to refrigeration and cutting off the fresh air supply by bottle capping. my last batch is on the sweet side, my current batch will not be so sweet. I continuously brew - but I clean between brewings to care for my scobys and to separate the layers. Each scoby produces a second layer of scoby like a stack of pancakes. You only need one layer - so I have a stash of several scobys in the fridge to give away. from the one gallon glass size - they are about 5" in diameter. my ceramic jar scoby for 2 gallons is the size of a dinner plate, and quite heavy. beautifully amazing to look at too.
- Start by making your Sweetened Organic Tea.
- Boil filtered water and dissolve sugar.
- pour into 2 gallon GLASS or CERAMIC crock - a cut brown paper grocery bag around glass crock to keep light out - I use a 2 gallon safe ceramic water dispenser with a spigot from a thrift store 5 bucks.
- toss in 8 to 10 bags of Organic Black Tea I like Celestial Seasons best and St.Dalfour second best.
- cover with bread cloth and cool overnight on a bakers rack - you want as much of the tea tannins to exude from the leaves.
- remove tea bags - squeeze if you want to.
- stir in 2 cups Kombucha reserve from prior batch.
- let movement settle and place crock in final clean room out of way location.
- introduce the SCOBY as gently as possible (kit gloves) into the crock.
- cover with double layer of fine cheese cloth and a rubber band.
- harvest all but 2 cups reserve on the 10th day ie SCOBY introduced on the 17th - harvest on the 27th.
- refrigerate immediately.
- serve chilled.