Flavoring homemade kombucha tea is a fun way to add a twist to your daily dose of gut-healthy tea. The cherry-basil combination in this recipe isn't overpowering. The short window of brewing time with the tea and herb adds a delicate flavor. You can try any combination of juices and herbs if you're interested in making other varieties.
In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Add black and green tea bags, and remove from heat. Let steep 15 minutes. Remove tea bags, and let sit until cool, about 30 minutes.
Pour cooled tea into gallon jar. Add starter tea and SCOBY. Cover jar with paper towels, and seal with rubber band.
Set aside, covered, for 7 days at 70°F out of direct sunlight.
Pour tea into 5 glass bottles and 1 plastic bottle through a funnel. Add 1 tablespoon cherry juice and 2 basil leaves per bottle. Seal and set aside at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. When the plastic bottle feels tight to the touch, the kombucha is ready to be consumed.
* Estimating carbohydrates, sugar numbers, and calories for homemade kombucha is tricky. The final numbers depend on how long you ferment and the "activity level" of your SCOBY. The longer you ferment, the more tart the kombucha will be and the lower the sugar number. You could ferment kombucha until there is no sugar remaining, but your kombucha would taste like vinegar. If you prefer to ferment until the kombucha is rather tangy, it'll have less remaining sugar than if you prefer to ferment shorter to keep it sweeter. A lower sugar level lowers the calories and the carbohydrates. The only way to accurately state how much sugar is in each batch is to have it lab tested. A typical commercial version contains 60 calories, 14g carb, and 4g sugars per 16-ounce bottle.
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