For best results use filtered or dechlorinated water
Stick thermometer on jar
Boil the kettle and pour 500ml in BALL MASON JAR ONLY( if not using an authentic jar you have to make this separately in a pot)
Add 1 packet of sugar and stir to dissolve.
Split the tea provided in 1 packet, between the 2 re-usable teabags and add to jar
Remove teabags after 15 minutes (empty and wash them for future use)
Pour around 1300ml cold water to jar and allow to cool to room temperature or below 25c
ONCE COOL - open your SCOBY bag, and pour the liquid in and stir with wooden spoon
Then add the SCOBY gently
Wipe the top of the jar clean and cover the cloth lid and elastic band provided
Write the date on the jar with your glass pen
Set aside somewhere that can remain stable warm temperature , not direct sunlight
Check it with your straw after about 10 days, if still a little sweet cover and leave but check daily
When it is the right taste for you (often between 10-14 day), move onto bottling your brew
For the first few batches at least, stick with the basics until you get used to the process. Then you will be able to tell how it's coming along. Smell it every few days to notice when the batch becomes more vinegary.
RATIOS - you can play about with the ratios of tea/sugar as you get more used to it
FRUIT FLIES - love booch - make sure there are none around - if any get in you will probably need to discard the batch and the SCOBY. You can make traps to leave nearby if they are a problem but so long as you have sealed the lid tight with a band, you should be ok.
SCOBY - what is it? A symbiotic culture of bacterial yeast. This grows to seal the brew in and prevent damage from air. It will look a little strange as it grows but will thicken over time. Think of it as the bacteria, creating a building to live in, with lots of floors in it.
SCOBY - floats, sinks, goes sideways - it really doesn't matter as a new one will be forming on the top. If you disturb the new layer and liquid goes on top, it will start growing again but will be a separate layer.
MOULD - looks like mould. The scoby forming doesn't have the blue/black fuzzy cirles but it is easy to panic and think it is. Look at pictures to check.
PLACEMENT of jar - out of direct sunlight, preferably in a stable warm temperature like top of the fridge (SCOBYs don't like cold and this will slow down the fermentation process - in winter you can use a heat pad)
TESTING - use you straw and disturb the scoby as little as possible
INGREDIENTS - we use filtered water from a standard jug filter, and organic ingredients - you want to feed them what you want to eat.
TEA - use only black, green, white or oolong for the first ferment. Flavoured teas can interfere with the microbes doing their work, flavours can be used in second ferment.
SUGAR - don't use honey or sweeteners in place of sugar.
CLOTH LID - the batch needs air so cannot have a tight seal, however you don't want to use something loose woven like cheesecloth as flies can get in. Thick kitchen roll does the job just as well as the muslin cloth provided.