2 organic black tea bags (many say non-organic tea just doesn’t work as well)
1/2 cup kombucha (from a previous batch or store-bought)
Sterilise a broad-mouthed glass or ceramic bowl or jug with boiling water (it needs a wide opening to allow plenty of contact with oxygen).
Combine the rice malt syrup or sugar in a saucepan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour the liquid into the sterilised container. Leave it to cool to around body temperature. Or cooler.
>> Note — this is an important bit, okay? Hot tea will kill your mother!
Add the kombucha and then gently place the SCOBY on top (it may sink, but this is okay, says my mate Kate). Cover with a clean towel or muslin and leave to sit for 7-10 days (a week will be plenty in warm weather and/or if you use sugar). The temperature needs to be around 24-30°C.
>> Note — if it’s cool where you live, stick the bowl on top of the fridge.
At the end of 7-10 days, a ‘baby’ SCOBY will have formed on top of the ‘mother’. Remove both SCOBYs, placing them in a glass container. Pour a little of the kombucha liquid onto the SCOBY’s, then pour the rest into a 1 litre swing-top bottle (one with a hinged lid and rubber stopper), or a plastic soft-drink bottle, and refrigerate, ensuring you leave a 2-3cm space at the top.
>> Note — you could use one of your SCOBYs to start a new batch and give the other to a mate.
So, where does one obtain this SCOBY fellow?
This is the fun bit…you have to become part of a very cool witchy ‘bucha community to get hold of one. SCOBY’s can’t be manufactured as such but are spawned from a ‘mother’ when one makes a batch of brew. Regular kombucha makers are always happy to give away a baby SCOBY.