So, I got this jar from a neighbor, and when she handed it to me it was all I could do not to recoil. Does it not totally look like something you would see in some back alley curiosity shop where they have pickled two-headed goats and unicorn horns for sale?
Since I'm not a black tea drinker, I decided to use yerba mate. It has a little caffeine, which apparently the bacteria need. They also like sugar, not honey. I guess the bacteria that's sometimes present in honey can interfere with the kombucha bacteria, so you're supposed to use white sugar, something I also don't eat. The neighbor said she had heard of people using sucanat, which I might try, but in favor of not changing too many things at once, I got some organic evaporated cane juice and figure that should work just fine.
So, in a nutshell, what I did was brew four scoops of loose yerba mate and made a concentrated tea. I added a cup of the cane sugar and let it cool a bit, then mixed it with room temperature, filtered water and filled up my gallon jar about 3/4 of the way.
I'll probably let it go for awhile to eat up a good amount of the sugar. Back when I was making water kefir I liked to let most of the sweetness (honey then) get eaten up and then drink it half and half with fresh fruit juice. So yummy! My favorite store-bought kombucha is mango, so I'm thinking about blending up some fresh juicy mango and mixing that in with my first glass...