How to Make Kombucha

Making your own Kombucha may seem a little scary at first, but I assure you it’s quite easy. Just follow these easy steps, and you’ll be brewing your own Kombucha tea in no time!

The key ingredient you’ll need to start brewing Kombucha is a SCOBY and some starter tea. You can purchase these in my store.

Kombucha
I highly recommend using a heating strip to keep the temperature stable. You can find this and my kombucha scoby in my store.~Donna
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Materials
  • Gallon Jaror non lead-based crock
  • Linen or cloth napkinthat will fit completely over top of jar or crock
  • Rubber bandto go around neck of jug or crock
  • 16 oz Bottles
  • Heating Strip(Optional, but highly recommended)
Ingredients
  • 1cup sugar(sucanat, white sugar or raw sugar)
  • 4 - 5 tea bagsyou can use black or green, organic is best
  • 3quarts Waterfiltered, not distilled
  • 1cup Kombucha StarterThis will have a kombucha scoby and 1 cup of already made kombucha tea.
Servings: Quarts
Units:
Instructions
  1. Wash all utensils with hot sudsy water and rinse well.
  2. Boil three quarts of purified water.
  3. Add 1 cup sugar ( you can use white, sucanat, coconut sugar)to water when a rolling boil is reached. Boil water and sugar for five minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and add 4-5 tea bags of black or green tea.
  5. Steep 10-15 minutes and remove tea leaves or bags and let tea cool (it doesn't hurt to steep the tea longer).
  6. Pour cooled tea into gallon size glass container.
  7. Add your Kombucha culture, placing it so that the smooth shiny surface lies up.
    Place your scoby in the tea
  8. Add 1 cup of fermented Kombucha Tea from a previous batch.
  9. Place a cloth over the opening of the jar and secure with a rubber band. This keeps dust, mold, spores and vinegar flies out of the fermenting tea.
  10. Place Brew Belt around jar. (optional, but highly recommended) Allow to sit undisturbed in a well ventilated and darkened place away from direct sunlight (temp. 65-90 degrees F.) for 6 - 15 days.
  11. You will notice that a new culture, or "scoby" will begin to form.
  12. To make sure the tea is ready to harvest; pour off a couple of ounces for a taste test.
  13. When the tea is brewed to your taste, pour the tea into glass bottles and cap. Then place in the refrigerator. This can now be second fermented with juices, but is still delicious as is.
Taste Test
  1. A taste test on a batch of Kombucha may taste like this:
    • 4-6 Days - Too sweet, not all sugar converted.
    • 7-9 Days - Tastes like sparkling apple cider.
    • 10+ Days - Vinegar taste becoming prominent.
Recipe Notes

Kombucha starterAlways leave enough starter tea from your last batch to make another batch of tea. You can remove the two cultures or leave them in the pot to make another batch.

Make another pot of tea with sugar and add this to your starter and culture to start the process again.

CulturedFoodLife.com
246 Responses to "How to Make Kombucha"
  1. I have made 2 batches now, neither of them had a very thick new scoby on top. It was paper thin even though the tea is a sparkling cider kind of taste. How do I get the new thick scoby? I am doing something wrong? I am using a heating pad vs a brew belt. How warm can it be? I have 5 settings, the first batch I started at the highest setting, but that felt kinda too warm to my hand on the jar. The second batch I used the mid-range setting, that fermented a day quicker, but neither of them produced much of a scoby to speak of. What am I doing wrong? Thanks so much for your help.

    • If its too warm to touch your probably killing the scoby. I would test the temp with a thermometer and see what it is. Over 100 will kill the scoby and culture.

  2. Hi Donna, just received your scoby 4 days ago. Thank you. I started the brew that day. Followed directions to a T. It’s at a constant temp of 70-72°. Your scoby had sank to the bottom two days ago, but no sign of new one forming on top. Is it warm enough, now day 4. Thanks so much.

    • Hi again, I just examined the surface of the Kombutcha with a flashlight and I do see a haze which I’m sure is the new scoby. Sorry to bother you.

    • Kombucha likes about 80 degrees but will still culture at lower degrees it will just take longer. It’s ok if it sinks it will just form a new scoby on top but it might take a little bit.

  3. Hi Donna,
    I am a little upset today.. I used Organic Coconut Palm Sugar to make my last 2 batches of kombucha. I am now reading that it is hard on my scoby and it’s not a desirable sugar. How can I fix my batches and should I switch back to organic cane sugar?
    Thank you!!!!

  4. Hi Donna- my question has to do with the yeast. I was told that if you do a 1f for too long, the yeasts die off. How is that possible with a live SCOBY being that it is made up of yeasts and bacteria? Can you please explain? Many thanks.

  5. I’m so glad I found your website – Nice to meet you! I’m new to fermenting, but very determined to make it a regular part of our diet. While I love sauerkraut, and plan to try fermenting veggies too, I’m also interested in making your kombucha. I’m gathering supplies, (Thank you so much for having a store!!) and wondered WHY certain teas will work, and if there are some that won’t work. Does it really matter? I have major allergies, and some medical issues, so my diet is really limited, and I’d like to just use the few teas that I normally use, one of which is just peppermint leaves. Is there a certain biology or science behind which tea to use?

  6. I made my first batch of kombucha a while ago. Didn’t turn out to well. Kinda tasted funny. I was use to store boughten so I just thought that was it. I second fermented and when I went to open a bottle it sprayed everywhere. Not sure why? My scoby has been in the frig covered with my first brew for 3- 4 wks. Is it any good or should I start all over?

    • You should try it and see if it makes kombucha and the fact that your kombucha was really fizzy is a good sign and means it good. Try again don’t give up it will probably still work.

  7. Hi Donna,

    I’m trying to figure out why my kombucha tastes like the scoby. Is this normal for the homemade variety? Yours that I tried in your class last month tasted so much better than mine does! I bought one of your SCOBYs and I just want to make sure I’m not doing anything wrong! I use filtered water, green tea, regular sugar, a brew belt and follow the recipe in your book. It usually ferments for about a week.

    Thanks for your help, Donna! You rock. Discovering fermented foods (and you!) has been literally a lifesaver for me. I’m so grateful!

    Kourtney

  8. Being a newby at it, I am making my first batch of Kombucha. I didn’t know which teas to use, and I had Moringa tea bags so I used them. I forgot I had Rooibose…next time I’ll try that or a combination. Anyway, the question I have is, when you flavor it with fruit juice, how can you do ginger to add in??? I was not a big fan of ginger, since buying Kombucha with ginger…it has changed me. Now it is my best friend. lol Would you just cut some ginger off and put it in along with the fruit juice? Thank you

  9. Hi Donna!! I was given a scoby. Started brew 15th Jan up until the last four days it was in my airing cupboard to keep from getting too cold (not very warm but warmest place in house) I purchased a brew belt which I have had on it for the last four days now the 1st Feb. My question is in the pictures of most scobies they seem to be pale coloured and sort of rubbery. Mine is sort of chestnut mushroom colour and sort of powdery not so solid looking it does have bubbles and I can hear action when I look at it not sure if it is ok? Can you advise please.

  10. Hi Donna,

    I am just starting to introduce the trilogy into my life! I am starting out with Kombucha and purchased a dehydrated SCOBY . I am in the process of activating the SCOBY. I have been reading through your website and note that you do not use vinegar in your Kombucha. The instructions I am following has 1/2 cup distilled vinegar and it also has this in the instructions for making your first batch. Is it better for me to make my first batch without the vinegar – will this change anything as it is a re hydrated etc.?

    Sue

  11. Hi Donna–Loved your story about your premature baby. Especially the outcome. I’m 66 yrs. old and have had high blood pressure since leaving Vietnam in 1972. I’m a walking pharmacist. You name it, I’ve been on it. I’m currently on 6 medications that do lower my BP, but oh the side effects! Really looking forward to trying kombucha. Do you feel it could help someone like me who has a history of BP?

  12. I have been fermenting veg and making kefir and yoghurt for some time now but have avoided kombucha because of the sugar as I am fighting an overgrowth of candida. You say the sugar gets eaten up in kombucha, so does this mean I can drink it without the sugar feeding my candida?

  13. Hi, I make a gallon of komb. I use 8 teabags, 5 organic oolong tea and 3 roobibus with 1 cup of sugar. Are 8 teabags ok, or to many?
    Love your website, thank god for people like you.

  14. I have a scoby that I just bought and it came in a small package sealed with tea (I assume). I cannot use the scoby yet until I test for Yeast in my body. How can I preserve this scoby to use in a month or two?

  15. Hi Donna! Can I split my scoby? I want to turn my 1 batch into 2 alternating batches and I’m wondering if I can split my scoby to do this?
    Thanks!

  16. Donna – I plan to try making Kombucha soon. Two questions:

    1) I live in a rural area in the mountains with delicious well water. If I boil the water can I use it for the kombucha?

    2) I have a yogurt maker that heats to around 80 to 85 degrees. I am getting a 3 liter bottle so that I can put it in the yogurt maker (will stick out at the top) and use what I have rather than buying a heat belt. When I receive my scoby should I add less of the starter because of the 3 liter bottle? Should I leave air space in the bottle?

    Thank you!

    • Yes, you should boil your water for kombucha. The more starter you use the faster your kombucha will brew so i recommend using all of it. You don’t need to leave air space in the bottle.

  17. Hi Donna, I am interested in kombucha tea, have already started on kefir and cultured veggies, but am not able to obtain kombucha starters here in India. Is it possible to ship kombucha scoby to India,

    Thanks
    Anish R K

  18. Hi Donna, I could have sworn I read that White Tea is acceptable but now I can’t find where I might have read it on your site. Can it be used? I have one brew steeping composed of 50% Rooibos and 50% White Tea.

      • I experienced the same thing. A couple hours after drinking my kombucha I got intense stomach pains that put me on the couch for about 6 hours. This happened on 3 different occasions. Each time a couple hours after I drank my kombucha. Strangely, I’ve drunk store bought kombucha and experienced no problems. I was on my second home brewed batch when this started to happen. Sadly, I threw away my scobys and have not drank any since. Any thoughts?

        • I had this reaction too, Susan! I drank GT kombucha from the store too and once I switched to home brewed, it made me sick at first. I had to start ever small (like a tablespoon at a time) and dilute it. Eventually I would have more at a time and now after about a month I can handle home brewed kombucha just fine!

  19. Hi donna,
    Firstly thank you for bringing this information to the internet where everyone can learn!
    I have a food grade 10 litre plastic bucket, is it possible to use this for making kombucha? I am wondering if there is a volume to circumference ideal for a scoby as the bucket is quite wide.
    Also do the containers that have a tap make it easier? I am anticipating being as hooked on this as I am on kefir and cultured veg so anything that makes it quicker or easier would be worth investing in. Thank you so much have just taken up membership on your site and loving all the info and videos!

    • Yes, you can use this and you will get a scoby the size of your opening bucket. That’s fine it doesn’t matter how big or little it is.
      Taps make it much easier.

  20. I was given a scoby a couple of months ago. It is sitting in the back of my cupboard with the lid on the jar in the tea that it was made in.
    I was a little confused as to what to do with it…I am wondering if it will still be ok?

  21. I made a few batches of kombucha this summer and I got really sick (seemed like food poisoning) after the second batch. I kept both scobys in the second batch and did everything the same. Any insight? I have been hesitant to try again and got rid of my scoby.

  22. So, I turned away from Kombucha quite a while ago, because I was told that you can’t make it with herbal teas. Is that true? I’ve always wanted to find a way around that! I have a yummy herbal Chai tea,…and Rooibos.

  23. when drinking my kombacha today there was a clump of little floating things. Tea was fine but just curious what that is.

  24. Just wondering if you can 2nd ferment Kombucha in a flavoured tea (such as a flavoured rooibos)
    If so, would you just add a tea bag to the 2nd ferment jar, or brew the tea and add it.

  25. Hi, I just started brewing last week and the scoby I bought with starter liquid sank to the bottom (which I read is normal) but a baby is growing on the tip which has already gotten pretty thick within the 6 days it’s been brewing. When I start my new batch should I put both back in or just the baby and keep the other in a scoby hotel?

  26. I used a scoby that was given to me about 8 months ago, bought a gal of Purified Water, (plastic bottle), also used some bulk black tea) put in bags), sugar, put it in a 3/4 gal jar and covered it with cheese cloth and tied it. I just checked it today, (day 8) and saw tiny specks of mold on the top of the jar, on tip of of a thin scoby.
    My org scoby had fallen to the bottom and a new, thin scoby had formed with it. I removed the top scoby with the mold. Should I throw everything away? The org scoby was stored in a plastic container.
    Please comment on the things that I did wrong and how to correct it. Thanks

    • Yes, you need a new scoby and also starter liquid from a previous batch of kombucha. The starter liquid is more important to the fermentation being done properly than the scoby.

      • Hi Donna,
        I’ve been using part black tea and part fruit flavored herbal teas in each batch for a year or so now and my Kombucha is delicious. Why is it that you do not recommend the fruit flavored herbal teas? I just want to make sure I’m not doing something that makes the Kombucha less viable.
        Thanks!
        Lori

  27. Donna, I have made 3 batches of Kombucha and none of them have been fizzing. I am using black tea and coconut sugar. What might I be doing wrong?