Start with water hot enough to steep the tea. Add it to the jar. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Note that the bacteria and yeast will feed on the sugar, so add the full amount—don’t try to be diet-conscious.
Add the tea ball to the hot water. Steep until desired darkness. The longer the tea sits, the stronger the flavor will be.
Allow the tea to cool to around 68°F to 85°F. It needs to be warm, but not too hot, to start the fermentation process. Too hot, you’ll kill off the bacteria and yeast, so beware.
Add the starter according to the package instructions. If you’re beginning with a dehydrated starter, follow the instructions for activating it first, then add it to your kombucha recipe. Make sure you have already removed the metal tea ball from the water, so it doesn’t come into contact with the starter.
Add the vinegar and stir well.
Cover the mouth of the jar with the filter and secure it with the rubber band or the ball jar ring.
Store it in a cool, dark place with a temperature between 68°F to 85°F for 7 to 10 days. Note that the longer the tea ferments, the less sweet and more vinegar-like it will taste. It will develop a “bloom” that looks like a mushroom. Use this for your next starter.