I've brewed a couple of batches that have both been tasty, but the process is work-intense. Also, I dropped a glass jar on the ground which was a total disaster
So it's time to leverage a staple of the beer homebrewing community:
I repurposed the lid from a 6.5 gal brew bucket. It has a hole for an airlock, but i'm using this hi-tech paper towel to cover it up.
Since I was scaling up volume, I decided to go big with the tea as well. I've been buying bulk tea directly from Rishi since it's local to Milwaukee. I followed their brewing instructions just to see what would happen. I don't understand why the 'rule of thumb' (7g tea & 70g sugar per 1L water) kombucha recipe uses such a small amount of tea. The tea package reccomends about triple that amount for the same volume of water. Is there something to it? Is it a conspiracy from big tea so that people need to buy it more frequently? Who knows! One thing im sure of is that more tea -> more caffiene, more likely kombucha becomes a refreshing coffee alternative for me in the summer.
So I steeped a lot of tea (~95g) in 2 L sugar solution. Then I made another batch and re-steeped the same tea. The result was somewhat astringent, so I might skip that in the future.
Last time I brewed, I made a small volume and let it ferment for a long time. I wanted to make a strong culture that I could scale up.
This fermentation really took off. It was bubbling within 48 hours. It's about 10 days as I'm writing this and it looks like it's going to take over my apartment, and my life.
Since I'm brewing a larger volume, it has been fun to watch the color change. It started out this beautiful black tea color and it has transitioned into a more conventional light kombucha color. All the gross brown bits in the scoby must be congealed tannins from the tea? It's all very ... disgusting.
It's incredibly tart. I think it's because I used so much of that sour starter (it had gone 3+weeks). Luckily I'm super into tart stuff and will probably drink all of this very quickly.