Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The water should be hot enough to steep the tea but does not have to be boiling.
Place the tea or tea bags in the sugar water to steep.
Cool the mixture to 68-85ºF. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools or removed after the first 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger the tea will be.
Remove the tea bags or completely strain the loose tea leaves from the liquid.
Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid. If you do not have starter tea, distilled white vinegar may be substituted.
Add an active kombucha scoby.
Cover the jar with a tight-weave towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 68-85°F, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.
Pour kombucha off the top of the jar for consuming. Retain the scoby and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch.
The finished kombucha can be flavored and bottled, if desired, or enjoyed plain.
Flavoring and Bottling
Once the kombucha has finished culturing, remove the scoby and enjoy it plain or add flavoring. There is no limit to the flavoring possibilities. For a fizzy finished kombucha, try bottling in a Grolsch-style bottle or other tightly-sealed container.