3 Quart(s) water
1 Cup(s) sugar
4 organic black tea bags
1/2 Cup(s) previous culture & mushroom of kombucha
Bring 3 quarts filtered water to a boil. Add sugar and salt, if using, and simmer until dissolved. Remove from heat, add tea bags, and allow tea to steep until water has completely cooled. Remove tea bags. Pour cooled liquid into a 4-quart mason jar and add 1/2 cup kombucha from previous batch. Place the mushroom on top of the liquid.
Cover with cheese cloth and screw on lid ring, to allow air circulation. Transfer to a warm, dark place away from contaminants and insects. In about 7 to 10 days the kombucha will be ready, depending on temperature. It should be rather sour and possibly fizzy, with no taste of tea remaining. Transfer to glass containers and store in refrigerator (or let it sit out another day until it develops desired fizziness, then refrigerate).
Don't wash kombucha culturing jar in dishwasher.
When the kombucha is ready, your mushroom will have grown a second spongy pancake. This can be used to make other batches or given away to frineds. Store fresh mushrooms in the refrigerator in a glass or stainless steel container -- never plastic. A kombucha mushroom can be used dozens of times. If it begins to turn black, or the kombucha doesn't sour properly, it's a sign that the culture has become contaminated. When this happens, it's best to throw away all your mushrooms and order a new clean one.
White sugar, rather than honey or Rapadura, and black tea rather than flavored teas, give the highest amounts of beneficial organic acids. Always use organic teas.