This Method Is No Longer Recommended!
After the great Kombucha reformulation of 2010, bottles of store-bought kombucha are no longer a consistently good way to grow a kombucha scoby.
Please read about my kombucha scoby experiment for more on this and to find out how I now recommend everyone get their hands on a starter culture for this healthy beverage.
Original post content continues below…
How To Grow A Kombucha SCOBY
Kombucha, the effervescent and tangy health drink made from fermenting sweetened tea, is my family’s favorite beverage. We drink about 2 gallons of the stuff per week.
To make kombucha (see my instructions for how to do that here), you only need two things:
1) Sweetened tea, and 2) a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), AKA “mother,” or “mushroom.”
Coming by kombucha mothers is easy if you’ve got friends making this “immortal health elixir.” Kombucha mother colonies periodically reproduce, so people brewing it have a constant supply of scobies to give away.
But what if you’re a lone wolf, daring to make kombucha on your own? Where are you supposed to get a good SCOBY?
The most reputable online stores can charge anywhere from $15-$35 per kombucha mother.
So, I thought I’d show you how to grow your own for about $3.50.
- 1 bottle of Organic, Raw Kombucha
- 1 glass jar
- 1 kitchen towel
- 1 cup of room temperature sweetened tea made with filtered water (where to buy water filters)
- You can buy the kombucha at just about any health food store. I get mine from the health food aisle of my local HEB — a large chain grocery store local to my area. If you can’t find it near you, you can buy a bottle of the stuff online. Make sure it’s organic, raw, and unflavored with juice. You just want the plain, original beverage.
- The sweetened tea can be as simple as a cup of black tea, sweetened with a tablespoon of sugar.
Pour the bottle of kombucha and sweetened tea into a glass jar. Cover it with a towel so it can breathe but be protected from insects and other contaminants. Let it sit.
It’s really very easy, isn’t it?
With time, a new SCOBY will start to form on top of the liquid. It will appear first as a thin film, then slowly fill in and thicken up.
Once it’s about 1/4 inch thick, it’s ready to go. You can let it sit longer and get even thicker, but that’s really not necessary. This SCOBY is about 1/3 inch thick and took me about 3 weeks to grow. In the summer, I can grow it in half that time.
Got a question?
HELP! I followed all your advice, but it still didn’t grow.
Unfortunately, some store bought kombucha is just weak or old. Rather than playing roulette with bottles of raw kombucha, hoping for a batch that’s thriving with good culture, you may want the assurance of starting with a proven culture. If so, check out where I recommend to buy a kombucha SCOBY.