Want to know how to make kombucha tea? I love kombucha. But first, I loved Dr. Pepper. I confess: I had an addiction to Dr. Pepper.
It seemed innocent enough at first. I was a college student in desperate need of caffeine. My husband — then boyfriend — had a case of Dr. Pepper made with real cane sugar (no HFCS!) in his closet. He offered me one. I accepted. I was hooked.
Over the next ten years, I periodically tried to wean myself from the soda. I gave it up for Lent more than once. I told myself how evil it was, how bad for me, how disappointing it was to drink. I couldn’t knock the habit.
What finally cured me?
Kombucha tea — the fizzy, mildy sweet and tart, health drink that works wonders detoxing our bodies.
Kombucha tea satisfied my cravings for a fizzy energy boost without the sugar crashes that accompanied my Dr. Pepper drinking. A 16 oz. bottle of organic raw kombucha tea costs around $3.50. Multiply that times several family members and a couple of glasses per day, and it adds up quickly.
If you could learn how to make kombucha tea for as little as $1.50/gallon and about ten minutes of your time, why wouldn’t you?
Want these instructions for how to make kombucha tea in a print-friendly format?
I’ve created a handy, easy-to-follow, printable version of this tutorial for you!
Here’s how I do it. This makes 2 gallons.
Kombucha Tea — How to Make Kombucha
Make Kombucha Tea: The Players
- 2 gallons of sweetened tea
- 2 kombucha mothers (AKA “SCOBYs,” or “mushrooms”) (where to buy a kombucha starter culture)
- 2 large 1 gallon glass jars
- 1 thin kitchen towel
- 15 oz of fruit juice
- 6 quart sized jars with lids (any size bottle or jar will do, so long as you\’ve got enough to hold 75%-80% of your brewed kombucha)
Make Kombucha Tea: The How-To
Some Important Notes Before Beginning:
First — assuming you didn’t grow your own scoby, you’ve got a week to ten days to start this process from the day you receive the kombucha starter or SCOBY to ensure the freshest and most healthful product. If you let the kombucha SCOBY sit too long in your refrigerator it will make the kombucha stale. (For reputable, online sources of kombucha starter cultures, be sure to check out my favorite online kombucha store.)
Second — each kombucha tea SCOBY comes with at least a half a cup of liquid with it. That is important stuff so do not pour it off. You’ll actually use that in your first batch of tea. I recommend buying a bottle of Kombucha tea from the health food store to help your first batch, but this isn’t needful. If you choose to do it, you’ll want to buy Organic Raw Kombucha tea without any fruit sweeteners added.
Finally — the kombucha starter culture (SCOBY) is a bit strange and takes some getting used to. Handling it and placing it on top of the tea just takes a little practice and a sense of adventure … it is pretty disarming initially.
One final note — EVERYONE will tell you something different. Making kombucha tea is just like making any other dish. There are hundreds of variations and recipes out there, each one somebody’s favorite. Everyone will swear doing this or that particular thing will make the beverage more healthful for you — and often the advice is contradictory. My point? Relax. Just do it. Enjoy it. Experiment and see what works for you.
Day 1 / Part One : Make Sweetened Tea (boil water and steep tea with sugar)
Boil about 2 gallons of fresh, filtered water on the stove top. (Where to buy water filters). Once water is at a full boil, remove from heat and add tea bags or family-sized tea bag and steep for 5 minutes. You can use cheap, plain Lipton tea for this, or experiment with other black or green teas as you desire.
Remove tea bags and add 2 cups of sugar stirring vigorously until it is dissolved. (This is the only thing in my house we use refined sugar for. We tried making kombucha tea with natural sweeteners like sucanat, honey, or agave nectar, but they all made the final brew take longer and taste sour. There’s no need to fear this refined sugar because it’s basically just food for the yeast.) Let the sweetened tea sit on the stove top until it has cooled to room temperature. This usually takes about 2 hours.
Day 1 / Part Two : Add the Kombucha SCOBY to the Sweetened Tea
Once tea is cooled down transfer to glass jar or jars with a wide mouth. (The kombucha tea doesn’t brew as well in metal or plastic containers. You can use a large glass bowl, glass pitchers, or a large glass sun tea jar — anything glass that will hold your tea.) Pour the half cup of liquid that comes with the kombucha SCOBY into the sweetened tea.
Carefully place the kombucha SCOBY on top of the tea mixture.
Cover your glass containers with a clean kitchen towel and place away from direct sunlight. I secure the towel with large rubber bands. The kombucha tea needs oxygen to ferment, so you’re using a towel rather than a lid to allow air to circulate. The rubber band secures the towel to keep out flies, insects, or other contaminants.
Days 1-5: Ferment Tea (allow starter / SCOBY to “eat” the sugar and produce acids & enzymes …) You will allow the tea mixture to set out in the dark corner of your kitchen for 5 days. You can forget about it or you can peek. Either way on the morning of day 5, remove the SCOBY and set it aside on a plate, pouring about a half cup of the fermented tea mixture over the SCOBY to keep it moist. Put it in the refrigerator. Every other batch or so, you’ll be able to separate the old kombucha SCOBY (aka “mother”) from its “baby” which will have grown on top of the old SCOBY. (It may separate on its own, or you may just pull them apart.) When that happens, the baby will become the mother for your next batch of kombucha tea. The “old” mother can be passed on as a gift or discarded.
Day 5 / Part One: Ferment With Fruit Juice (allow kombucha to ferment with juice for a tasty finish)
Pour clear fruit juice (no pulp, it causes much stringy nastiness!) into the smaller glass jars or bottles you’re using to bottle your kombucha. I use about 2.5 oz. of fruit juice per quart-sized jar. You can use any size bottle or jar, just be sure to adjust the fruit juice accordingly. You’re looking at a cranberry apple juice blend.
Pour kombucha tea on top of the fruit juice, allowing about an ounce of breathing room at the top of the bottle, close bottle tightly. Be sure to save at least 10% of your brewed kombucha to use with your saved SCOBY in your next batch. To ensure a consistent brew, I save about 25% of mine.
Place bottles back in your “fermenting place” for 48 hours and cover with a kitchen towel so they avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
Day 5 / Part Three: Begin Your Next Batch
Repeat the process for Day 1, Parts One and Two, and use the kombucha SCOBY you set aside earlier as the mother for this batch of kombucha tea.
Day 7 : Finish
Put bottles in the refrigerator and chill completely before opening. Do not shake. When you open, remove the thin film of new “mother” that accumulated on top during the fruit juice fermentation phase. Contents will be bubbly. Enjoy the fruits of your five or ten minutes of labor.
Some Final Notes:
Periodically, you may notice your kombucha tea changing flavor in a way you don’t like. When that happens, I usually add a bottle of Organic Raw Kombucha into my fermenting sweetened tea to restore the balance to the yeast and bacteria. If you don’t want to do that, this website has a helpful index for “fixing” problems with your kombucha culture.
Also, your kombucha SCOBY may turn brown, or bubbly, or do all sorts of strange things. None of these are problems. The only thing you want to really look out for is mold, and if it molds it will look like the mold on bread – fuzz and all.
These instructions are assuming that the room temperature where you’re making your kombucha is around 75 degrees. (I’m in Texas, what can I say?) If the temperature is considerably warmer than this, it will take less time to ferment. If it is considerably cooler than this, it will take more time to ferment. As such, people find that during the winter in cooler climates they may let their kombucha ferment for up to a week longer than they do during the height of summer. How can you tell when your kombucha tea’s ready to be bottled with fruit juice? When it’s mildy sweet and mostly tart.
Want to know more about kombucha tea?
Check out these other articles on kombucha tea I’ve written:
- Kombucha Questions & Answers Part One
- Kombucha Questions & Answers Part Two
- Kombucha Health Benefits
- How to Grow a Kombucha SCOBY
- Kombucha SCOBY Experiment
- Why Choose the Continuous Brew Method of Making Kombucha
- Is Kombucha Safe When Pregnant or Nursing?
Oh, yeah! Thanks so much for posting this. I am hoping to get to WFS tomorrow to try growing my own scoby. And then I will make the actual tea. Thanks for the encouragement!
Sarah — WFS?
Happy to be encouraging! I love kombucha.
Janet Hutchinson says
I have had my “mother” for 1 day now—-I haven’t waited to long to get started have I?? It has not been refrigerated.
Bonnie White says
I received the mother from a friend at the first of the month July and have had it in a gallon glass jar with dish towel on top. I recently rinsed it and strained the liquid and put back in the jar. I am now ready to make my own Kubucha. I hope I did not do something incorrectly. I did noticed that their was an extra baby mother.
Lisa Beatty says
I just want to thank u for this. I’m sick a lot and all drs do is throw 1 rx after another at me. Anyway, my gma and uncle came to visit us and he makes kombucha and says it works wonders! I’m very excited to try this! He said to go online to see how to make it! Thanks again!
I think she is referring to Whole Foods Store. WFS
A neighbor was kind enough to send me your info so I will be trying this at home because I am am addicted to GT’s kombucha. Will mine taste just as good?? I sure hope so!
I’m on day 4 of my starter and I’m actually really intimidated by all of this. Your post makes it a little less daunting.
I’m trying to grow my own mother right now. So far, there’s not much happening in my jar. It just looks like tea. How long before I should be able to see growth? If you grow your own, how much of the growing liquid do I need to add to my first batch? 1/2 cup? Thanks for the instructions! I’m excited to try it.
Jen — Glad you’re less intimidated. I’ll eventually put together a video tutorial on this b/c I know that even directions with pics won’t be enough to empower some people out there.
Laura — The rate of growth depends on your ambient temperature. If it’s cool, you might not see a thin film develop across the top for a week or more. Remember, the one in my How to Grow a Kombucha Scoby post took me 3 weeks to grow in a 70 degree kitchen. In the summer, when it’s 80 degrees inside, it takes me about a week and half!
When you’re mother is ready, I’d go ahead and use ALL the growing liquid as a starter. You’ll want to use AT LEAST 1/2 cup, but you can use more. So, why not? You’ll give your new batch of kombucha an excellent start that way.
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
From what I’ve learned from Betsy Pryor, a Kombucha expert who has been growing them for years, your advice for using plain Lipton Tea is right on. Other teas can cause mold to form.
Here are more tips from her: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/04/kombucha-tea-part-2-15-tips-for-making.html
Very informative post!
Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Sorry to say that Kelly the kitchen kop wasn’t the first to bring kombucha to the U.S. in 1993. I have been making it since 1988 from a mother that was given to me as a gift and my friend has been making it even longer.
Since kombucha has been around for so long, I wonder where the folks way back then got distilled water?
Amber C says
They probably distilled their own water, or used rain catchment
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
You must be confused, I never said I brought kombucha to the U.S.!!!!!
D. Benjamin says
@Kelly the Kitchen Kop: I think Brooke’s July 31, 2012 comment refers to your site (via the link you provided, http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/04/kombucha-tea-part-2-15-tips-for-making.html) that states a “Betsy” was the first to bring kombucha to the US in 1993. It has been in the U.S. far longer than the early 90’s where mainstream media attention was first cast on it as a response to the HIV community’s usage. For more than my quick anecdotal reference here, library and/or internet research will confirm for you it reaches back (at least of confirmed public records) to the 1970’s. Given its use in China/Russia and elsewhere much earlier than that and the early 20th century immigration wave America experienced, one could assert it has been in the US for many decades. This is just a quick fact-check suggestion; i.e., cheers to enjoying the stuff regardless of who brought what where, first 🙂
They didn’t need distilled water back then because they didn’t put chemicals into the water that kill bacteria like we do.
I’m on day two of my first batch and I’m excited!!! Thanks for the tips!
I’ve made many, many batches of plain single fermented kombucha, though life often throws me off the production line, which is the case currently. But I do want to get back into making kombucha, and I would especially like to try making ginger kombucha, which I believe is double fermented. I can get ginger kombucha at the store, but it’s more expensive per glass than some wines! So I’d rather make my own. But I haven’t been able to find directions for double fermenting with ginger.
its super easy!!!! all u do is juice some ginger (perferrebly organic) and add about a teaspoon to a cup of kombucha.. u can add more or less its totally up to your ginger palatte.. Makes for a delicious and nutritious meal!
Anna — I don’t see what would be hard about that. Just use ginger juice instead of fruit juice. You’ll probably need to use less ginger juice than I use cranberry juice because of how potent it is, but you can experiment and see what tastes right. Just put a different amount of juice in each of your bottles and be sure to label them so you know what bottle has what amount. Then you can share your findings with the rest of us!
What? You don’t cook with ginger juice? You basically just peel and grate fresh ginger, then squeeze it in an old-fashioned manual juicer or garlic press to extract the juice. You could possibly do it by hand, but that’d be pretty messy.
I think my first step is to get addicted to kombucha – then I will feel suitably driven to ferment and brew at home.
I hope to go to Wholefoods Market today when I am in London – might see if they have a taster or something. Then I can start trying to get hooked….
Thanks for posting this Kristen! I am hooked on the raw kombucha (citrus flavor) that WF sells and I’m going to try your recipe in hopes of recreating something similar. I’ve had a scoby sitting in kombucha in my fridge for months but after reading your post, I guess I need to toss it and start over…
Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet says
Great Post! 🙂 I LOVE kombucha, but had to cut it out for a while because I had an “intolerance” to cane sugar products. I love that you include instructions for adding fruit to it. 🙂
Elisabeth — What? You’re not addicted already? 😉
Oneboyzmom — My mom loves the citrus flavor, too. She duplicates it at home using pineapple, lemon, and orange juice. So, experiment away!
Kimi — While it’s okay plain, I LOVE it with the fruit juice fermented in. You can get so much variety out of it this way.
Steph Goble says
My oldest daughter has been brewing kombucha since she was stationed in Alaska for 7 years. I visited her and thought it was way too much work since I was teaching school and had little “free time”. I retired and voile: I’m working on my 3rd batch of kombucha and my family LOVES the stuff as much as I do. My daughter told me how healthful. In south Texas with all this heat, it is not hard for the scoby to multiply and produce quickly (store it in the garage, which is not air conditioned). Family loves the fizziness. I stopped drinking soda about 10 years ago, and this is a great frizzy alternative to soda! My other daughter is a coach and she comes to “mom’s” house to pick up bottles of kombucha. When she returns the bottles I refill them for her!
BTW, for those who lack a kombucha “mother”, “baby”, “mushroom”, or SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) and want to get started without seeking out a scoby from a stranger or through the mail, I was able to get a small scoby started from the last few tablespoons of a bottle of GT’s Raw Original Kombucha from the store.
When I poured the GT’s Original kombucha from the bottle into a glass to drink, I tried to retain the little brown protein “threads” in the bottle (I spooned them back out and returned to the bottle if they escaped). When there was just a bit of kombucha left, I put the brown bits and the last 1/4 cup liquid in a drinking glass and covered it with cheesecloth and a rubber band. It sat undisturbed at room temp for about a week and a new scoby developed on top.
That tiny 3″ circle of scoby made a half batch of kombucha beautifully, which then made a much larger new scoby with another full size batch.
No affliation with GT’s except as customer.
no sugar and tea added to grow that scoby?
Hi there Anna,
When you mentioned: “I put the brown bits and the last 1/4 cup LIQUID in a drinking glass and covered it with cheesecloth and a rubber band.”
Do you mean some left over GT’s Kombucha or water?
Rod Newbound says
Well done and quite interesting.
Very cool – I love this stuff – but haven’t seen it where I live yet. THANKS!
PinkPeppercorn — If you can’t pick up a bottle of Kombucha at a store near you, you can buy it online. If you buy organic, raw kombucha, you can use it to grow a kombucha mother (instructions for that are in a previous post on this blog). Then you can use the mother to ferment the tea!
A quick Google search found this site:
Heidi / Savory Tv says
You rock once again! I drink it, thanks to my nutty ski town green veggie hippy friends, but have never given a thought to making it! Thanks for sharing your secrets!
Heidi / Savory Tv
Carrie @ Thrifty Oreganic says
Great post. I have a close friend who also cured his sugar addiction by drinking kombucha! I just love kombucha, and to the readers above who are feeling overwhelmed, it gets easier and less daunting each time! Hand in there!
Carrie @ Thrifty Oreganic
I just love this site! I am beginning my first brewing attempt today and your information was very imformative. I’m with you on meat and butter and all that is balanced about eatting.My entire family even my 9 year old daughter drinks KT and eats very heathy as your site supports.It’s a great journey educating a new generation to a healthy,very active life. I believe this way of living and eating really gives a person a great athltetic perfomance edge too!
I’ll be coming here often
I make kombucha tea all the time with various flavored teas – rarely do I use just plain old Lipton and I have never had a mold problem.
I am curious about how the taste changes when you add the juice and ferment it longer. That sure isn’t much juice! LOL
I am going to try it!
I’ve read so much about Kombucha online- feeling increasingly discouraged/confused. This is a beautifully written, simple tutorial. Thank you for your eloquence!
Oh my gosh, it is me again!!!!! My “mothers” finally grew and I started that actual brewing part yesterday. When I peeked this morning the “mothers” had sunk into the jars of tea. Do they all do that? Are they supposed to stay afloat at the top of the jar? Won’t you all be happy when I finally get through this??????????
Thanks for your patience
Has anyone tried pomegranite juice?
I haven’t but that sure is a good idea! I just made an apple/ginger after my first batch. Can anyone tell me please that it is only 48 hours for the fruit juice one and then I refrigerate?
KAthy — It’s perfectly okay if your mothers sink. A new one will grow across the top. Then the sunken mother will be eligible for you to give away to a friend.
I’ve tried pomegranite juice before and thought it was okay, although we really settled on apple, grape, and cranberry as our favorites.
I love this! Thanks for posting.
Kombucha helped me kick my soda habit too. I had already weaned myself from drinking TOO MUCH soda but a diet soda at night had become a “treat” (this was all before my Real Food discovery) … anyway kombucha satisfies that need for bubbly and I feel the health benefits as well (not to mention a slight buzz). Imagine how excited I was when my mom turned me on to brewing my own kombucha which is saving me almost $100 a month because it replaces my 1-a-day $3 GT Dave’s habit! And I have found this to be much easier than keeping a sourdough culture going…
A couple questions: is there a reason you don’t dissolve the sugar in boiling water BEFORE you brew the tea – does it matter? Also I read to avoid herbal teas because of the oils which can compromise the culture… are teas like chai or infused with herbs/spice OK? Also, my most important question: I am finding that my tea seems done after only 3-4 days. 5 days seems a little too acidic (and I actually prefer a more acidic than sweet taste). my kitchen can’t be over 70-degrees and I am keeping it in a low cupboard. Any tips on knowing when it’s just right?
Naomi Most says
I realize this is an old comment, but I wanted to field a reply to the question about whether you can brew spiced teas like chai for kombucha.
The answer is “probably not”. The flavor components of spices are found in their oils, with very few exceptions, and oil is a nutrient that will encourage mold to form.
A lot of spice oils are also antibacterial or antifungal. E.g. cloves, almost always found in chai, produce a potent antimicrobial oil that is often used in herbal antiparasitical applications as well as herbal toothpastes.
So, go ahead and try out some spiced teas — the worst that can happen is either that it won’t brew, or it’ll get visibly moldy — but use more caution when sampling the brew than you would for your plain k-tea.
.-= Naomi Most´s last blog post …Kombucha- My Lord- Kombucha =-.
Maureen — The sugar dissolving thing is just how I’ve always done it. Not sure why. I would avoid herbal teas & spiced teas b/c you really don’t know where they came from or how they were seasoned. I’d say drink it according to your tastes. For the most beneficial acids, the best brews take 7 to 9 total days at about 76 degrees. I found a chart about it somewhere. I should probably try to find it again and link to it. Happy brewing!
Hi Kristen, If you do find that chart I’d like a copy of it. My wife & I just learned about Kombucha and are brewing our first batch. How much of this tea should one drink in a day?
Because of the detoxing effect you may want to work your way up to a full glass. No need to get a headache by having a mass release of stored toxins and tax your liver. Listen to your body.
I’m a little ways into my first batch right now. Got the SCOBY from a friend who brews a lot. He suggested putting a canvas bag over the top to keep the light off of it. Can that keep it from getting enough oxygen or should it be okay?
Joan Chastain says
Hi. Just wanted to know if anyone has purchased the “kit” on one of the sites? Is it a rip off or does it make it a lot easier to brew? Thanks. I love what I’ve been reading on this site.
Kristen, what a wonderful website you have! I just received my first SCOBY from a friend of yours, Lindsey Bell, and she provided me with the link to your site as well. I am a fan of yours now as well as your husband. I see him most every Wednesday night with the guys. Thanks for providing such a wealth of information in such an approachable format as this. I am in awe.. Great work.
Kristen, I’ve got a question: must you always ferment with fruit juice or is that step soley to make a more palatable beverage?
I just had to tell you, I have been wavering on trying to make my own Kombucha for some time. I love the GTS Synergy kombuchas, but as you know, they are SO expensive. Most of the other websites on kombucha that I have found just confused me more and made me hesitant with possible problems that could occur, but your article is so clear and easy it brought back my confidence and I feel like I am ready to try my own now! 🙂 I have some friends who are bringing me a SCOBY in a week or two, so I will get my other ingredients ready and study your articles again, and be ready when it gets here. I especially like your instructions on adding the fruit juice, I tasted plain kombucha once and definitely preferred the fruit flavored ones from GTS!
P.S. Love your whole website BTW! It has been very helpful in many ways!
I am so excited about making my first Kombucha (and growing my own scoby!) thanks to you. My only holdback is not having gal glass jugs/jars. I have 1/2 gallon. Would it work to divide the scoby in 1/2?
I’m brewing right now. On day two of my second batch. I’m going to add some juice when I bottle. This is very well written, unlike other instructions i’ve come across.
.-= Natalie´s last blog ..There Is No Love In That Food =-.
Thank you for great directions – I’ve made a SCOBY and my first gallon of kombucha fermented with pomegranate/cherry, fresh lemon and fresh ginger juice. Fantastic! Now I have a question… Today I read on two other sites that you should let the mother ferment on the tea for 7 days or up to two weeks. Your five day directions worked great, I’m wondering what would happen if I did it longer? Is there more benefit?? I’m in Florida so it’s pretty warm still, is this a consideration?
Lee — My directions are also for a 7 day ferment (5 days without fruit juice, 2 days with). The total time spent fermenting will depend on the temperature. Supposedly the ideal brew for optimum beneficial acids/etc. is 7-8 days at 76 degrees. Every degree of temperature change either adds or subtracts time. In really cold climates, a 2 week ferment is quite normal.
Allison — Yes, you can divide the scoby in half. Just cut it down the middle and put a half in each jar. You may want to use a little more starter fluid just to be on the safe side.
What happens to the alcohol content on the second fermentation? I read somewhere that it increases..?? I want to check before I give it to my kids. Also, we just picked apples and made fresh cider from a press. Can I use that juice on a second fermentation process or will the fresh enzymes from the apples cause strange fermentation with the kombucha tea? I did mix the two and drink immediately (w/o fermenting for 2 days) to sample the taste and it was wonderful!
JennieD — Actually, the alcohol content of kombucha is ridiculously small, regardless of the fermentation time. All the commercial brands say there’s less than 1% alcohol in their products (which include fruit juice fermentation), and Kelly The Kitchen Kop even recently did a little chemistry experiment with her kids to see how much alcohol was in her home brewed, double fermented batch and it came out to be less than .5%!
Of course you can use fresh juice! YUM. It won’t hurt anything at all.
Do you recall where this information is found? I searched KTKK website, but could only find an article about testing alcohol content in kefir, but not kombucha.
Kimarie @ Cardamom's Pod says
It’s me again! The grown-your-own scoby worked perfectly, and I think we’re on our third batch of the tea – I have 3 gallons going right now. (My husband drinks 8-16 oz per day) and I have 9 children who love the taste.
My question is this. I’m fermenting mine with one fermentation for 10 days. My husband likes it more tart, so I’m going with 14 days and that will give the baby time to grow. When I’ve bottled the kombucha after the 10 days, it fizzes beautifully, but then it’s flat when hubby opens it. Can I put a raisin in? Does it need that extra fruit juice to keep the bubbly? I’m using glass jars with canning lids (leaving headspace so the tea doesn’t actually touch the lid – do I need to use better jars that keep the fizz in? I can hear it fizzing in the fridge until it cools down.
Sorry to inundate with questions! I love your site, and am directing all my kombucha-querying friends to it! 🙂
.-= Kimarie @ Cardamom’s Pod´s last blog post …50 Percent Less Clothing and Laundry – Guaranteed! =-.
My husband and I like fizzy kombucha as well. We live in northern Michigan and the weather here is quite cold during the winter. I let my fermenting tea sit covered in the kitchen cupboard for 2 weeks, then harvest it into 2 qt. canning jars. I tightly seal them and place the jars in my pantry cupboard for about another 5 days, then refrigerate them. This seems to work for a more consistent fiz and the flavor is wonderful.
Okay, Kristen, so my “mother” sank to the bottom, also. I read above that you said it was okay–a new mother will form on top? So this batch of kombucha will still be okay, and I can ferment it with fruit juice in 5 days? (my mother is 1/2 inch thick and almost heavy–no wonder it sank)
I’ve started over. I’ll just use a thinner “mother” this time 🙂
The link to the troubleshooting website is now dead because Geocities has gone. I think this is a really useful link to have, so I had a look around and managed to find the site hosted on a new server here:
Thought it might be helpful to share it 🙂
This is my second post…my first never showed up :~((
I have grown my mushroom and made one batch of tea already YUM, YUM, and a big thank you…This second batch I cut the mushroom in half to get tow gallons but this time ( day 5) while I was transfering the Tea to my bottles I see that a think layer of “stuff” ( maybe another mother growing?) but on that was some mold….Do I have to throw it all out? ANd why do you think that happened? Maybe because I am in Florida where its hot and this is the first few days the AC has been off? although the house has not been hot maybe 78 in side? Help I dont want to get sick drinking this and if I have to start all over growing a new mother I would like to get to it ASAP.
Thanks for any help
Or anyone else who knows,
Is the “mother” in my Bragg’s Natural Vinegar the same as the Kombucha mother? And if not, why did my Kombucha come out tasting very vinegary when I let it grow the required length of time? Or is it supposed to be flat and sour. It was sweet and fizzy in about 2-3 days. Is it as healthy when sweet?
Thanks for the great info here and on the “scoby” page!
Thanks for the instructions. I plan to experiment with them some time next year.
Just sampled my first batch of home-grown kombucha with a scoby grown from a bottle of GT’s and used fresh grape juice from my parent’s house. The verdict: AMAZING!!! This is absolutely fantastic! I was so scared it wasn’t going to turn out! I couldn’t find a gallon jar and I know it’s not ideal but I brewed mine in 4 quart jars and had to toss out 2 jars because of mold. That’s not gonna happen again as I’ll be taking precautions against it, I don’t want to lose any of this! It is so good!
Thanks Kristen for putting this page together, it’s fantastic!
thanks for the VERY clear instructions – the best i found! can’t wait to make my first batch 🙂
btw, i bought my SCOBY mom from someone on craigslist who was nice enough to give me a few extras in case i kill one or two. can i store these lovely ladies in the fridge for a while?
I am starting my first batch of kombucha and before I read not to use herbal tea, I bought some Yogi ginger root tea to mix in with black tea since I prefer ginger kombucha by far. Will this screw things up? Will I have to chuck my scoby or can I just do it better next time and trust that the scoby will improve? Thanks!
To make ginger kombucha just put a piece or two of dried ginger in your smaller bottles of kombucha for the second ferment time. Tastes great and no mess!!
You don’t do anything as far as flavoring during the main brewing time and no flavored teas either. Only black or green tea.
Can you tell me if the sugar is “eaten” by the yeast, what is the sugar content of the final product? I have finally kicked my diet coke habit of 30+ years, it was called Tab, back in the day, anyhow, I am trying to eat Paleo, ie, no liquid sugars, sweet drinks, fruit juice, they want you to eat the actual fruit, get all the fiber and goodness that way, instead of the calories for 3-5 oranges in one glass of OJ. It all makes sense, but I could use some of the benefits of this kombucha. Energy, regularity, fizzy drink, so can anyone tell me about the calorie/ sugar count in the end product? sorry to ramble.
Susy O says
I am so excited, my boyfriend and I were buying the GT’s at least once a day, spending a crazy amount of money! We talked about researching to make our own for a while, but I finally found this site and was inspired to start today! We went down to our Food Co-op and bought the essentials (fair trade sugar and GT’s kombucha). Then we went to our local tea house and bought some green tea fresh from the hills of China.
So we put some stuff together today for a scoby, but we live in Southern Arizona, and it is unusually cold this year. We’re going to be patient, and let you know how it all turns out. And I love that you posted a recipe including fruit juice because I have a juicer that I am dying to try out!
Thanks so much for your posts, my boyfriend and I are food renegades and we didn’t even know it! I look forward to reading all of your posts, and hope that this idea of fresh/local untainted, traditional food can be embraced by more and more people through information and much convincing! (I am in my early-twenties, and my parents scoff at my way of eating, they say that I am being stuck up when I politely refuse to eat processed beef from Safeway. Oh well, I can only inform them with facts…)
the wench says
First of all, thank you for breaking down the kombucha process into manageable, bite-sized pieces. Following your instructions to the letter was not really feasible (my husband likes it arctic in this house), so although my fermentation has taken far longer than anticipated, the result is delicious! I’ve gotten some of the cooks at work to taste GTs, and they are now demanding my old scobies when the babies are born.
Now, for the confessions part of the post: I neglected to read others’ posts about alternative teas before starting my own hibiscus tea brew. I guess I gotta keep a close eye on it…
Naomi Most says
We’ve had a continuous brew of hibiscus tea kombucha running for months. It actually works just fine, and it’s delicious when second-fermented with pineapple juice.
.-= Naomi Most´s last blog post …Kombucha- My Lord- Kombucha =-.
Christine Z says
Love your site. Thanks for sharing this recipe with others. I’ve been making KT for a few years and have a couple tips. 1) Make a concentrated hot sweet tea using only 4 cups of water and the rest of your ingredients as indicated, and then use your remaining water “cold” to dilute the concentrate and bring the water temp down quickly – avoids waiting around for the whole gallon to cool before adding the SCOBY. With this method you can have a gallon jar of KT brewing on the shelf in about 20 minutes! 2) Organic paper coffee filters work great to cover your KT brewing jars – just secure with 2 rubberbands (two, in case one breaks when you are not looking!)
One other note: I believe Sallon Fallon advises against using Lipton tea due to the high fluoride content (see her Nourishing Traditions book). If you can get it, organic unflavored teas would be best.
Good luck everyone with your KT – it is a wise investment of your time – you won’t be sorry!
I started brewing a week ago tomorrow,and I just peeked at my brew and it looks like mold is growing on it!! So upset.Any tips or a way to save it?
I am trying to loose weight, won’t kombucha let me gain ? What is the nutritional value, especially the energy per 100ml?
This is an old question but in case anybody else comes along who was wondering: If you’re the type who believes low-fat eating is the key to weight loss (erroneously, as it turns out, but some people can’t be convinced otherwise), kombucha has zero fat in it as far as I know. If you’re low-carbing, just be careful to do a full ferment and not try to stop it prematurely. The SCOBY is supposed to eat all the sugar. No sugar equals no digestible carbohydrate to cause weight gain, in theory.
Even if this stuff were labeled (and the commercial stuff usually is), labeling of carbohydrate content is notoriously incomplete and even inaccurate. In the world of nutrition labeling, “carbohydrate” seems to be Latin for “none of the above”–in other words, “not fat, not protein, not vitamins, and not minerals.” Glycerin gets counted as a carb. Lactic acid gets counted as a carb. Et cetera. Doesn’t matter what their actual effect on the body is. If I’m not mistaken, fiber is even sometimes assumed to have caloric content even though we can’t break it down. Crazy, huh?
I am preparing to return to work in a national park. I am wanting to take my mother with me to brew more tea. I am trying to decide if there is a way to get it up there with me safely as the only ways to get there are by hiking 5 miles or helicopter. Will the jossling of hiking that distance by harmful to it? And is there a temperature range that it should stay in? It will most likely be very cold during the hike or copter ride. Thank you for you help!!!
When you place the mother in the tea, is there a side that should be facing up or down? Thanks for all your info…peace, Sahaja
Sahaja — No, you don’t have to worry about what side is up or down.
Where did you fine those nice looking jars with the white lids?
They are re-used White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt jars.
I love cultured foods! In addition to yogurt, sauerkraut, and cheese I also brew my own beer at home but that takes a while and can be pretty labor intensive. It’ll be nice to have something bubbly and delicious to drink while I’m waiting for something a bit stronger to ripen. But, what’s peaked my interest is what I’ve heard from fellow beekeepers that swear by the health sustaining effects of kombucha when they’ve sprayed it on their honey bee colonies! I’m very interested to try this. I’m very grateful for your sharing this information with the rest of us!
Hi Kristen thanks for the kombucha instructions, I am just getting started. Just letting you know that the link you gave for “a helpful index for “fixing” problems with your kombucha culture” no longer exists. Any idea how to find where they moved to? Also thanks for the article about kombucha and pregnancy or nursing. Very helpful.
My homemade SCOBY has turned out so pretty. I just now got it started on a gallon of tea–unfortunately I only had the one 1-gallon container. No big, I figure that will be a good excuse to keep the mother going rather than try to take too long of a break in between ferments.
Guess I will need to consider investing in family-size tea bags, though. Wow, one gallon takes a lot of the small bags. O_O
I’m starting my first batch tonight with a mother I got from the green wagon general store in Nashville. I used a Roobios tea. Wish me luck!
James — Unfortunately, a Rooibos tea won’t work. That’s because Rooibos isn’t truly tea. It’s an herbal tea, made from the leaves of the South African red bush. In order to create a real kombucha with all the beneficial acids, you need to use a real tea made from tea leaves.
I was wondering if I should invest in an organic white sugar or I am OK with the supermarket regular sugar. The organic one is much more expensive so I am wondering if it is worthwhile.
Also I would like to drink kombucha when there is the least amount of sugar in it. I think that the more vinegary it is the less sugar in it. Is it correct? Well, I do not like drinking vinegar but I do not want sugar either. Maybe I should drink it when it is more on a vinegary side and I just dilute it with something?
Would you know how much sugar there is in fermented kombucha?
Thank you very much in advance and I very much enjoy your blog.
What can we do now that KT is no longer being sold in the store (thanks to the FDA)?!?!?! I do the same thing you do and add a bottle from the store when I need a little pick me up, but now I can’t buy the pick me up. Thanks for the help, Paula
thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial! i am going to start some today 🙂 i was going to try to make my own mother, but the stores are not carrying the plain raw kombucha right now; luckily, my favorite health food store is carrying the starters. chelsea
Love your blog! I grew a beautiful mother using your instructions :), and cut it in half using two separate one gallon jars to brew. I added one bottle of plain KT split between the jars. The mothers sank right away. I let my sweet tea cool for 5 hours but it was still actually a tad warm when I filled my jars and added mothers. I wonder if that’s why? Will that hurt them? Now on day 3 and I see a thin new mother forming on top. Do I still do the 5 day first ferment time? And will the very thin new mothers be ready to use for a friend that wants them? Thanks so much!!
Jessica G says
I just brewed my first batch. It’s done and I took a taste. I was surprised that it is not carbonated! I followed the direction explicitly. Shouldn’t it be fizzy?!
My SCOBY grew well in my tropical climate. Thank you for the recipes and this great site. Yesterday I started the Kombucha. I used all of the liquid in the SCOBY container. Is that going to change how the Kombucha ferments? I am growing another SCOBY and will only use 1 cup of the liquid in my next batch if that is what you suggest.
Good story on brewing kombucha. I do mine just a little different. I have two gallon glass jars that are finished. I pour one quart out of each jar for a half a gallon. I already made in advance two quarts of tea, ie, three tea bags and 3/4 cup of sugar and add it my jars. This way, my scoby never has to work hard cause it is only fermenting a smaller amount of tea each time. My scoby’s look awesome,, nice and clean. I cover my jars with coffee filters, use whatever works of ya. Mines tastes like battery acid in less than a weeks time. I had a occasional bout with gerd, and I no have that and still no gray hair and I’ll be fifty this fall. Don’t know if it help my immune system cause I make kefir also, put I haven’t had a cold or infection for the longest time..
Hi Jeff, how do you make your kefir?
Kristen, I’m trying to make my very first batch of kombucha via your FANTASTIC instructions here, but I have some questions (if you have the time to answer!):
1) My scoby looks dark brown. Yours looks white in your pic above. Is mine okay?
2) I got my scoby about 2 or 3 weeks ago, but I’m just now using it. It doesn’t have any mold or anything. You say above that it can go stale if it’s sat out that long — is that just in taste? Or will it not do it’s “scoby thing” now that I’ve let it sit too long? I really hope my scoby’s okay here and will work!
Also, if I have the choice between using an old mother that’s been used several times before, new mother, or baby — what’s the best one to use for a new batch of kombucha?
I just asked about the thyroid stuff. What about the sugar & caffeine in kombucha?
michael rivers says
This is a WONDERFUL site-thanks for all the information so freely given. Been making kombucha for about a month now (third batch) and was experimenting with sugar ratios in an effort to increase carbonation. Not happy with my results. Love the idea of including fruit juice at the bottling stage. Will try that next! Thanks again. M
gretchen trent says
I am just one person and it makes 2 3/4 gallon batches. How much can I drink a day, (is the sugar content considerable?) how long can it sit out without spoiling and I thank you very much..if I divide my mushroom to share with someone else, do they half the recipe when starting their own? When traveling, I decanted some into 4 cup glass bottlwes with scretiop lids did the metal lid hurt in transit and when travelling, there was no mushroom in the decanted portion any problem?
Michelle (Health Food Lover) says
Do you still brew and drink Kombucha reguarly? Have you ever noticed any ill-effects from drinking it?
I’m also wondering about the caffeine in kombucha. Also, when you add fruit juice, are you also adding carbs and sugar? Is it different thatn drinking fruit juice as far as the sugars go.
I have used a slightly different kombucha brewing method, called the continuous method. I like it because you have a steady supply of kombucha, a little bit every day rather than a whole gallon ready all at once. You just siphon off a certain amount every day, or every other day, replacing it with the same volume sweetened tea like what you make for the regular method. If you position the siphon tube just under the mother it seems to be the tartest. How much you take and how often depends on how big your brewing container is. We have a two gallon crock, and we can take 16 oz every day. You just judge by taste. If it gets progressively sweeter, you are taking too much, too fast. Rather than mixing up sweet tea every day I make a big batch of concentrate and keep it in the fridge. Dilute it to normal strength just before you add it to your brew. As for the 2nd fermentation I like to add a little Knudsens lemon ginger echinacea juice. I freeze it in the tube-type ice cube tray so the cubes will fit down the narrow bottle neck.
Some people have asked about making kombucha with herbal and other kinds of tea. I don’t know but my understanding was the beneficial acids and whatnot that the mother makes come originally from compounds in specifically black tea.
You do know that kombucha IS alcoholic:
…Kombucha makers say it leaves production with almost no alcohol. But alcohol can develop over time in unpasteurized versions because the yeast is still alive, converting sugars to alcohol. The more sugar a drink has, the more alcohol can ferment….
…kombuchas a regulatory “ticking time bomb.” One brand, the top-selling Synergy line, might even continue to ‘cook,’ or ferment, in the bottle. That can bring the alcohol content from a legal 0.5 percent to as much as 3 percent, which is as high as some beers…….
The LAST time I drank one not only did i get a buzz I ended up miscarrying later that day. I AVOID it like the plague!
I read the articles you posted, and one of the points they make is that the kombucha continues to “cook” in the bottles. If you make your own, you can control those conditions a little better, and don’t have to worry as much as with a bottle of G.T. Dave’s that may have been sitting in a Whole Foods warehouse for a week before being shelved. You can also control the amount of sugar that goes into your batch, and test it regularly.
I also saw some discussion over the fact that yeast eating sugar, which produces alcohol ALSO produces CO2, which might account for some of those gushers those of us who buy kombucha regularly have encountered. No argument that there is alcohol in kombucha. For most of us, however, the benefits of drinking a probiotic non-dairy beverage far outweigh any health risks associated with a variable-but-low amount of alcohol.
Lisa wilson says
Be reassured the Kombucha did not cause you to miscarry. When you go into premature labor the stuff the hospital gives you to stop it, is basically a form of alcohol. People are even told if in labor before due date to drink a shot & it can stop your labor.
Agreed. One of my favorite brands flavors actually tastes a bit like a wine cooler. I drank during brunch and felt like it was similar to a mimosa.
Cecilia Long says
Okay… What do you do when you dont like how tart and bitter a lot of these things are? Is there a way to make them sweet. I know a lot of people like tart and bitter, like cranberry juice and yogurt… but what can one do to take these things and make them edible for those who dont?
I am loving this site! Just a quick question for anyone on here. I was wondering if I could make my tea using Red Raspberry Leaf tea, since it`s not a spiced tea? Any body try this? Thanks for all the info!! -K
Daniel Hansen says
This is serious stuff 🙂 Now if it could cure me from my gallon a day diet coke habit…
Great tips. I’ve been brewing Kombucha for a while but have been looking for that “fruity” flavor. I’ll give this a shot.
I’m also to a point that I have WAY TOO MUCH Kombucha, way too many mothers, etc. I’m probably up to 4-6 gallons.
Any advice for doing with the extras? Anyone have experience bottling and selling it? What are the risks given the alcohol content with too much fermentation? How about selling the mothers?
Seems like a waste to just stop the production cycle and toss the mothers out when they are perfectly good. Feels like infantacide! =)
I just wanted to say thank you for posting this and for the post on how to grow your own scoby. Several years ago I made kombucha for the first time and got my scoby from a fellow blogger. Well, I didn’t know how to get one this time when I wanted to make some, so I grew my own. Thank you! I also had never added juice to it before, but I did this time and I absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful information!!
They say you can dry them and grind them and put them into your cereals, baked goods and the like. You can toss pieces in smoothies. Both chickens, and dogs apparently love them and are great for them also (they don’t mind the texture like us finicky humans), and they make great compost, by either just tossing it in or can dry it out and grind it up a bit and add directly into the soil. Now you never will wonder what to do with a SCOBY again.
Jake Widmer says
WOW! I will have to brew this myself now! I love finding new drinks to brew!
Syreeta Jayne says
Thanks so much! i just brewed my first batch of kombucha, using the scoby i created using your other recipe, and it turned out fantastic!!!
So, as a Type II Diabetic with -extreme- insulin resistance and carb sensitivity, I sort of scoffed at the idea that I could drink something with any sugar in it (liquid carbs cause the fastest spike) and not see horrible results.
On the way home from Farmer’s Market today, I stopped at WF and picked up a bottle of GT’s Organic Raw Kombucha, #9 with the bilberry juice in it.
I don’t know, as of yet, if it was the bilberry (which I didn’t even realize was in the bottle until after I’d gotten out of the store) or just the acidic nature of kombucha, but my blood sugar was actually LOWER than it was before I drank it. And I drank the entire bottle. All 14g of carbs/4g of sugar.
I am curious what the other 10g of carbohydrate are, if it’s not from the sugar(s) present in the added sugar. Is it from the SCOBY?
I followed your instructions on how to grow a SCOBY (which turned out beautiful!) and just completed my first batch of Kombucha. I added fresh raspberry and blueberry juice to mine. It is perfect! Thank you so much for your easy to follow directions.
Vinegar in general lowers blood sugars, seeing as how brewing KT, esp. for longer lengths of time, produces that “vinegar taste”,.. guess what you just did,.. made a very palatable, blood-sugar lowering, diabetic aiding beverage! ENJOY!
I picked some fresh mint and lemon verbena from my garden, and crushed it with a little of the finished tea with a mortar & pestle, and strained it into the tea. It takes any vinegary flavor right out, and it’s doubly delicious!
Avari Copp says
Hi! Thank you so much for your post, its been so helpful to me. I do have a quick question though. After I had added the kombucha to the bottles with my fruit juice, my well intentioned boyfriend put them in the frig with lids thinking I had left them out. They’ve only been in their for a day, if I take them out and let them sit open for 48 hours will the secondary fermentation finish? Thanks for your help!
Kim Goral says
I just wanted to say I grew my own scoby from a bottle of kombucha. About 8oz black tea (one tea bag) and about 1 T of white sugar. It took about 2 weeks to see anything of significant size. I then added another store bought bottle of kombucha to help it along. About 3 weeks total then I could make a half gallon batch. Just about 3 or 4 months later I have two 1gallon jars and one 2gallon jar going. So it can be done and I like that I know where my scoby came from. I also love kefir water. That you ferment for 24-48 hours. I ferment mine for 24-36 hours. It’s a lot more bubbly than kombucha and a good variety, but I still love kombucha. I drink 1-2 16oz bottles a day. Adding ginger ia my fav. Ginger with lemon or strawberry puree. Yum! Sometimes I will just mash the strawberry with a fork. Then you have yummy bites of strawberry in with the kombucha.
Wonderful Post, quick question; How does Flouridated water affect Kombucha? I just learned that after two years of brewing with (using a home filter system; Pur) the flouride doesnt get filtered. Since I found out I havent brewed at all. Thank you for your time.
= bad…use non fluoridated water! black/green tea plants uptake fluoride from the soil and concentrates it- using fluoridated water on top of that and you are getting quite a fluoride dose! Also..sad to say that GT’s, while delicious, is made in Beverly Hills CA, which is currently fluoridated : (
Finishing up a 30 day Paleo challenge where kombucha was not recommended (as ALL sugar except limited whole fruit). Excited to get my kombucha brewing again! I loaned my “mothers” to a friend so she could grow one or two of her own, but then they got mold, so time to look for some new ones.
I have used the double fermentation method for awhile now and enjoy it more than without the added fruit or juice. Although I haven’t had much luck getting it fizzy like the GT brand from the store. Maybe just needs more time out on the counter before refrigerating? One of my favorite ways to make it during the summer is to add fresh raspberries or blackberries instead of juice. So yummy! You can leave the fruit in, or strain it out if you don’t like the mushy berry bits. Works with frozen ones too 🙂
I’m new to brewing and this is the first time I’ve ever flavored with anything. I tossed in some raspberries and the berries themselves started to turn white / grey. Is this mold? It also looks like something is “eating” the raspberry, which I can’t tell is mold or the bacteria in the brew. Have you ever had an experience like this?
Deidra Wilson says
Awesome, I am making this as we speak. Thanks for great advice on adding flavor to home brews.
I just made my first batch of Kombucha – I felt it would be to much to do and put off making this for a good year or more. My mom finally talked me into doing it and it is very easy. It’s just different. Our skoby grew a daughter the first time……It’s so fun to do and can’t wait to reap the benefits of daily kombucha tea!!!!!
Wow this was an amazing process and so good. I just decanted my first batch of grape kombucha and its awesoe, thanks
Eileen Smith says
I just found this blog and can’t wait to try this. I have always been into this sort of “homesteading” stuff, and now have my own home to do it. I’m a vegetarian, so I just adapt it for our lifestyle. Really enjoying healthful DIY articles like this. We have our own organic strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and apples, so anything that can make use of them, like this tea, is so useful.
Morta Di Fame says
so on this.
I have just bottled my first batch! These instructions are awesome. Will let you know in 2 days how it turned out, but the whole process has been so easy and this website has clear instructions and good information. thank you!
I am new to kombucha drinking. I used your instructions to ‘grow my own scoby’. I started it on 12/28/11. By 1/9/12 a thin scoby grew but had sank into the mix. So today, 1/10/12, I made 1 gallon of sweetened green tea and added the mother plus the starter tea. It sank again.
Is this ok?
Cross your fingers…I hope it turns out great…and I’ll be drinking my own KT by this time next week.
do certain fruits take longer for the second fermentation than others? do certain fruits get fizzier than others?
Lori Nelson says
I am really sensitive to the caffeine in the tea – can this be done as successfully with decaf tea?
I’ve been brewing kombucha successfully for some time know, but have never used juice or a 2nd fermentation process. The question I have is, is it necessary to use a plastic lid for the 2nd fermentation, or can I use a standard mason jar lid? Thanks so much and keep up the great work!
I usually let my kombucha ferment for at least 14 days, then follow with a second fermentation. I like ginger and turmeric, very powerful and medicinal.
great site! can you clarify why the recipe calls for 2 kombucha mothers? I see where you add the first mother on top of the sweetened tea, but don;t see where the second mother comes in.
Hi i am new at this .I started my second batch and i can say that wow!!!!! it took my sugar craving away .I was a heavy soda drinker and i don’t even crave it lol!!!!Instead now i reach for a glass of Kombucha .Can`t wait to see what other benefits .Love it !!!!!
we have been brewing kombucha for a couple years now. we can’t get enough. anyway, recently i bought some stainless steel drinking straws to replace all my kids funky plastic ones. then my husband said “but you’re not suppose to let kombucha touch metal”. i had forgotten, do you think it’s ok to drink kombucha from a metal straw? i can’t find any info about this online.
Did you ever get an answer about stainless steel straws and kombucha?
no, still wanting to know…
According to the cultures for health site, Stainless Steel is fine with KT, they like to BREW it in glass (visibility, no reaction to ph’s, etc.) but to drink out of a SS straw is perfectly fine. (They scoff on plastic brewing because it can harbor bacteria in the scratches it gets, and well it is PLASTIC – ya know,.. chemical laden junk.)
I did not fall in love with kombucha at the first mention of it’s contents from a friend, who was making a batch in her kitchen. To be frank, I curled my lip at her description of her counter experiment. Only after tasting a bottle purchased from a store, at $3 for a 16 oz bottle, did I realize my friend’s genius in making this delicious and refreshing beverage at home.
She directed me to this site and I would like to comment that the instructions made making this beverage at home very easy. I have just tasted, with complete satisfaction, the first fermentation of my very first batch, made from this very recipe. I would like express my thanks to the author, KristenM, for the efforts in sharing her recipe, pictures and advice.
I have one question regarding the brown sediment at the bottom of the first fermentation. Does this get thrown away, added to the next batch or should this be distributed into the second fermentation bottles?
vera susanna araujo says
i am in brazil. i cannot buy kombucha and i dont know what it really is are but am most interested. can you help ??? offer alternatives? we do have paris and japanese mushrooms. best , v. susanna
So my question is this … we make our own ginger tea (ginger & cinnamon in a kettle of boiling water – boil 10 minutes, steep for 20, yummy tea that settles the tummy, and you can add a spoon of honey if you need a little sweet) and I want to know if we can use our ginger tea instead of the black tea to make the kombucha ? We can leave out the cinnamon if that makes a difference.
We’re totally new to this, and after finding your scoby recipe (which I’ll be starting this weekend) I am excited to begin making our own kombucha. While I don’t mind buying fruit juice to make it, as we already make the ginger tea, I thought I would ask if that would work. Thanks !
No, ginger tea would not be acidic enough. It would mold. You can double-ferment kombucha and add some ginger gratings or ginger juice though-just a little; it can be very strong.
Does anyone know how to start with the mushroom? I can get ahold of the mushroom from a farmer but I don’t know what to do with it.
Lisa wilson says
You don’t need a farmer to get this mushroom. Its not really a mushroom, but called that cause it looks like one.
toni kantner says
Does kombucha acidify the digestive system ?
Martha in SD says
This is a very good tutorial. Thanks! The only thing I would add, is to advise newbies, like myself, to read your questions and answers link. That is where I read that the scoby needs to be the same temperature as the tea to perform optimally. If I hadn’t read the Q & A, I wouldn’t have known that. Otherwise, I’m on my way to making my first batch with a friend’s scoby(as I write this) and trying to grow my own as well. Thank you.
I know this won’t go over with everyone, but my wife and I discovered a way to get my kids to drink kombucha in place of their regular kool-aid and sodas. We brewed kombucha and tried all sorts of fruits/juices to flavor. It was great, but the kids wouldn’t even touch it. I think it was mostly stubbornness than anything else, because they were upset that we took their kool aid and soda away.
So, I had the idea of giving them kool aid flavor in the kombucha. At bottling time, I put a pinch of unsweetened kool aid powder and a pinch of sugar (to get it to become fizzy) into a few bottles, topped it off with kombucha, capped and did a secondary ferment for 2 days. We told the kids that we’d made “kool aid soda” to make up for taking away their beloved drinks. It totally worked! I tasted the booch and the flavor was spot on for grape kool aid (first batch was grape), plus it was fizzy like a soda! The kids went nuts! Little did they know they had been tricked into drinking a nearly sugar free kombucha! Bwahaha! After a few runs doing the koolaid/sugar mix, we started sneaking in a little fruit juice instead of added sugar. I know kool aid has the bad dyes and all that artificial stuff, but adding a tiny pinch to kombucha is better than them drinking soda and “regular” kool aid, both of which are loaded with sugar. The kids don’t even miss either, and tell all their friends that they make kool aid soda at home, then brag to them how much better it is than “regular soda”. We’ve noticed a huge change in their behavior since cutting out all the sugar, too! We have another reason to love kombucha now, and wanted to pass along our little Kool aid fake out.
peggy wells says
WOW! will try this. i have a 16 yo who loves dr pepper and root beer. any ideas on how to get a rootbeer flavor?
i have just finished a second brew of chia tea flavor with apple slices. AMAZING. even my adult children love it and will drink it. no vinegar flavor to it. pretty much whole nutmeg, whole cloves, cinnamon bark, splash of ginger, orange seed or peel and a few thin apple slices. be warned, it’s addicting
I really want to try your chia tea recipe–it sounds awesome! Would you mind telling me a few more details: do you put the ingredients in the large kombucha container on the initial ferment, or do you do this with the second ferment in individual bottles?
I love kombucha and have been brewing my own for a few months now. Your site is great. Thank you for being an advocate for real and nutritious food. I recently started brewing water kefir and I love it. It is more maintenance than kombucha because it brews in twenty four hours, but is lovely and versatile. I thought you might like to look into it and see if it was something you wanted to try. I am overloaded with grains if you want to try it out. I live in ND, but would happily mail you some dried grains to experiment.
peggy wells says
have never heard of water kefir, but am very interested. would love some grains if you still have some. i have started making my own yogurt from raw milk and love it. kefir is on my list to try now that my kombucha is going on a continuous brew.
sarah fridy says
I just finished my first batch! I made it from one scoby, and I like it so much I am going to make 2 this time, and keep several batches going at once. I made it with well water. I bought some quart jars with plastic lids, so I may try bottling it in them next and possibly buy some pint jars too. Now is the time to buy them as canning season is still here and they have them in stock at walmart.
I added the unsweetened grape juice to the bottles on the 10th day and left it out for 5 more days… I put it in the fridge and it is yummy! I have to say I didn’t even measure the grape juice. I just pored an inch or so in a 16oz empty kombucha bottle.
I like it better after the full 14 days, next time I may add the juice in later and process longer, we shall see!
Your tutorial is the best! It took me a week to grow my scoby and I just bottled my first batch after4 days (we are also in Texas and our house got real warm so I cut the first brew by a day) for the second fermentation. I snuck a taste and it is just as good if not better than store bought kombucha. Thanks for showing how easy the whole process isa
I have brewed kombucha in the past and decided to give it another go. I bought a research paper on kombucha titled “Analyses of Kombucha Ferments” which is available on the web. I will try using honey as a sweetener because it is suggested from the research data in this paper that honey will produce more saccharic acid than other sweeteners, which inhibits glucuronidase from releasing toxins back into the body (making the liver more efficient I guess).
I made it with 3 quarts of water, 5 organic black tea bags and 1 cup honey, adding 2 cups of starter from a kombucha batch that I had brewed and bottled at least 6 months ago (could have been at lot longer, my wife found it in the back of the fridge, still a little fizzy and pleasant to taste(!?), with a little floater in it)
It’s sitting in the cupboard now, tastes a little lemony and sweet with the honey flavor not to strong. Hopefully this batch will take and a scoby will form!
I’ve been drinking GT kombucha for several weeks and really liked the stuff.
I have now started to brew my own at home from scratch. I started the culture from a GT drink and brewed my first batch. It tastes good. However, it is really heavy on my stomach.
One of my theories is that I used the starter created when I did my original scobie. I remember being really tart, almos pure vinegar. Can that be the problem?
Any insight will be great. I really want to do this at home.
I made my first batch but had to throw it b/c of mold. So made my second batch and did the exact instructions but kept it in my closet rather than in the garage (what was I thinking!?) and took a little over a month to finally be bottled and drink. I was so surprised it tasted just like the Kombucha you buy at the store and will definitely be making more Kombucha and just made my third batch. Hopefully it wont take as long as my second batch. I like how Kombucha satisfies your soda craving as well as keeping you fuller longer.
Update – Unfortunately my honey batch failed. My old kombucha must have been inactive. I will have to get a kombucha mother started on sugar first, then try the honey.
peggy wells says
your kombucha starter was probably fine. honey, especially raw honey, is highly bacterio-static—kills viruses, bacteria-bad and good ones- and yeast. (it’s pretty effective topically on shingles, but i digress). it probably killed your culture. excessive washing of the bottles with soap, chlorine etc will do it too. (that’s one reason to use distilled or RO water). sweeteners like xylitol will kill it as well. xylitol is a great virus and bacteria killer in the xclear nasal spray. regular sugar is the best as the culture loves it and doesn’t leave an after taste like the rapadura or sucanat does. (didn’t like the brew i got from using the wholesome sugars)
Very interesting and helpful, Peggy. Thanks.
jerry gut says
I am a tincture producer. working with kombucha today, I will be using 14 types of herbs for a great pain releaver. I need to know the shelf life of kombucha, and at what stage do I add the herbs for a liniment, and at what acetic acid measurement.. and where can I buy a acetic (VOC meter).. meter.. Thank you for you time, please reply.. jerry
Jerry, Kombucha’s shelf life is pretty close to indefinite. It’s high acidity, and bacteria clutures pretty much defend it against all comers. It’s really hard to “spoil” a batch. If I were going to add herbs, I would do it during the steep. Either that Or I would boil it before the steep. If you already have tinctures or macerations made, I would add them after the sweet tea has been made. The alcohol in the macerations will be converted to acids by the SCOBY along with everything else leaving behind only the extract. I would be interested in finding out what herbs you are using.
Hi, I am wondering about altering the size of my SCOBY. I have been growing kombucha in bowls, so there is a large surface area, but I would like to try it in the quart size jars. However, the scoby is way bigger than it needs to for the jars. Can I tear (not cut, since I know you shouldn’t touch it with metal) my Scoby in half or thirds and use that, or will tearing is somehow damage it? Thanks!!
YES. That question, and others, is answered in my Kombucha Questions and Answers post.
I’m doing a second ferment with some of my kombucha from my maiden voyage! I just finished adding freshly juiced apple, ginger and cranberries from my Breville… I see above that you say you can use fresh juice, is it safe to let it sit out for 48 hours and then move to the fridge? Should it be consumed sooner rather than later? I’ve got botulism paranoia!
Quick question: does it matter what sort of juice is used for the second fermentation? By that I mean, will there be a difference in the process between fresh squeezed/juices and bottled juices?
I have a question about teas used. Would it be possible to use dried chamomile from my garden to make the tea, instead of a commercial camellia sinensis tea? Eventually I will try it when I have an extra mother lying around, but I was wondering if someone has already done so.
Thanks for the wonderful tutorial- I’ve read through and seen throughout that filtered water is ideal to use. However would bottled water be ok (evian, volvic, fiji, etc), considering that in theory good quality bottled water is meant to be devoid of chlorine and other harmful chemicals?
Scoby Wan Kabobi says
Is there any reason not to use pieces of flavored sugary gum (strawberry hubba bubba) to help sweeten and flavor my kombucha? Not as the primary sweetener but as a flavor boost.
jessica perez says
Hello Kristen, i am a beginner kombucha enthusiast and have made my first batch of tea. I was making my second batch today in a larger container and when i placed the mother on top it sank after a while.. I was wondering is that good or bad?
Ron W says
I have been brewing a continous batch of KT since Nov of 2011, thank you Kombucha Kamp, for recipe and advice in the start up. I run a tea shop so the tea part was easy. I give the SCOBY away to interested starters, now have seven adopted parents. I also, make a blend of white, green and black tea for feeding my batch. For those who like to flavor I have started using syrups from my bubble tea lines and it makes a great KT. Especially the ones with fruit pulp(ie strawberry and raspberry) I hooked on the drink, thank goodness its good for you or I would need a 12 step program to stop sipping it. 🙂
Thanks for the info Ron! It seems you are now an experienced Kombucha brewer. Lots of unanswered questions on this comment list. Can you take a stab at answering some?
Hi – I was reading the instructions for this and am confused as to why you suggest getting two mothers – maybe I missed something, but what do you use the second one for? Thanks so much for sharing this information.
After making my first batch of KT, it did not have much ‘bite’ or ‘zing’. I read somewhere about adding apple cider vinegar to increase the acidity – does anyone have an opinion and if you can add it, when?
Also, we keep our home fairly cool which I’m sure contributed to the 4+ week brewing time. When I decanted the jar, the scoby was about 1/4+” thick and felt a lot like a wet chamois. I am currently making a second batch (2nd day of the process) and brewing it in my hot water closet which is a nice 75 degrees – am I on the right track?
Thanks for any help.
Cultures for Health web site also mentions adding a few tablespoons of ACV for a boost, so I think you are on the right track.
I started brewing my own kombucha several months ago. It seems to upset my stomach though. Could I be doing something wrong during the brewing process? I saw in your directions that you separate the mother from the baby. I’ve never really done that until recently and the scoby I have now is about 2 inches thick. I started drinking GT’s raw kombucha and I love the the guava goddess. Do you have a recipe that similar to it? Thanks for your help-Laura
How long is the Kombucha tea good for? I havent seen any info on how long it stays good. Once the “mother” is removed how long does it stay good before you have to start another batch? I am planning on ordering the “mother” today. Wish me luck!
where did you get those bottles with the plastic lids? I love them!
I’m not sure what bottles you are referring to, but I’ve been buying bottles from Sunburst Bottling Company for years to store a homemade cranberry liquer I make at the holidays. I just checked, and they sell 16 oz glass bottles with plastic lids for a bit over $20 for a case of 12 bottles.
I just have to say how really awesome it is that I happened across this tonight because I am 4 months pregnant and have been craving Dr. Pepper like crazy, lol! I never drink soda and I hate that I can’t get enough of it right now. Anyway, I found your post about kombucha’s health benefits & followed the link here about how to make it. Now I really have to- maybe it will cure my Dr. Pepper addiction, too! 🙂
Are you nuts? You want me to use two cups of sugar when th Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine wants sugar to be classified in the same genre as cocaine and the brain shows the same pleasure response to sugar as cocaine. No thanks.
No, I am not nuts. What I want you to do is feed the sugar to a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast so that the colony will multiply and produce the beneficial acids, vitamins, and minerals that make this fermented kombucha tea one of the healthiest, most probiotic beverages in the world.
The end product is not that sweet at all, but tart. That’s because the SCOBY eats most of the sugar!
Try it before you knock it. And please, do try to be polite.
How can I safely store my kombucha culture when I’m not useing it? Will it be ok in the fridge or what? Thank you!
I have the same question. If you are not continuously making kombucha, how can you store your SCOBI, or can’t you? Will it be OK for a few days in the glass container originally used with a couple of cups of the original brew? Should it be refridgerated? For how long? On one mention, it said it will go “stale” in the fridge but might be able to be revived with some store bought kombucha. I’m having SCOBI anxiety and don’t want to kill it!
The Cultures for health website has a zillion Q&A’s you can go through that answer every question on here that I have read, including yours,.. go take a look sometime. Refrigeration slows down the scoby, but does not kill it. If you leave a bottle of brewed KT in the fridge over time it will form its own new scoby. Hope this helps!
Hi! Thanks for the tutorial, it’s super helpful. My question is about flavoring. My latest batch is as fizzy as I like it, but when I pour it into another bottle to add ginger for a second fermentation, it goes flat. Should I just wait longer for it to ferment a second time? Or can I put the ginger directly in with my scoby when I start the first fermentation process?
You probably aren’t leaving enough air at the top of the bottle in the second ferment. Don’t fill it way up. Leave about an inch or more. It’ll stay fizzy that way.
I was wondering the same thing! Thanks so much!!
You can use a large glass bowl, glass pitchers, or a large glass sun tea jar – anything glass that will hold your tea.)I told myself how evil it was, how bad for me, how disappointing it was to drink. I couldn’t knock the habit.
Couple things. First, Plastic containers are not bad. If you have a food grade plastic fermenter, that will work just fine. I have brewed in glass and plastic side by side with zero variation. Larger batches can take longer, and ferment to taste. I personally like to let my batches ferment all the way out. This poster seems to like her Kombucha a little sweeter as she only ferments for a week. Most batches take at least two weeks. I’ve even seen batches with more sugar in the brew take as long as a month. Don’t be impatient. The best way to know when it is done is to check the PH. Store bought GT Kombucha has a PH of around 3, which is what I ferment to. You can get PH test kits at any brewing store, in most pet stores, and spa stores. Third, You can grow your own SCOBY (not scobie, it’s an acronym) from a bottle that you get from the store. It takes a little while but the dregs at the bottom of a bottle of GTs Kombucha will create a complete mushroom. Just make some sweet tea in a mason jar, let it cool, and add the dregs from the store bought, and in a few weeks you will have a mushroom. Much cheaper than buying it online.
I want to second this: the dregs at the bottom work really well to grow a mother when you don’t have one. I failed three times to get a mother when just using the little floatees in the comercial drink, plus the drink itself, to try to get a mother started. Once I used the dregs, my mother formed within a week.
I have 3 different flavors of double-fermented kombucha in my fridge right now. I like pineapple best-it tastes like a dry sparkling cider or a sweet champagne. I used about 1/2 cup of overripe pineapple and fermented overnight at about 75 degrees.
Can I make a SCOBY with the following: Yeast, sugar and organic live probiotic bacteria (liquid form); or do you have a recipe to make a SCOBY from scratch?
Asabe Tase says
Ilove kombucha drink so much. I was introduce to it by my sister and i have been brewing it for the past 3yrs now. i have a question, is the sugar involved in brewing the kombucha not harmful to the body.
Sara Johnson O'Brien says
Hello Kombucha-brewing community!
I just bought a bottle of GT’s original kombucha and I was wondering, is this the “starter tea” and “mother” set I’ve been hearing about? Is this what you add to the batch of black tea and then leave to ferment? Sorry that I have so many questions, I’m just a little confused.
The “Original” flavor is what you can use to start a batch of kombucha at home, but you will need a “Mother” to go with it (a scoby). You can grow your own scoby or get one from a friend. Hope that helps.
I just taste tested my very first kombucha brew. It is wonderful! I am so relieved. I can’t wait to make another batch and try different flavors. I followed these directions and it worked! 🙂 Only 1 weird thing, during my second fermentation I had new mother’s forming in my bottles. Wasn’t prepared for that. Not a big deal. Thank you for these easy to follow directions!!
I want to thank you for the time and energy you’ve put into this, it has helped to broaden my understanding of the culture. you say: “There’s no need to fear this refined sugar because it’s basically just food for the yeast.”, however just to remind you, these days white sugar usually comes from GMO sugar beets. You can choose to support that if you like. Also, a quick search on how sugar is turned white may dissuade you. If Kombucha is as old as they say it is, I would think its origins, therefore its roots, and strengths, would lie in being sweetened with less refined, more mineral/nutrient dense sweeteners such as whole cane sugar or maple syrup. they have always worked for me, even with home made maple syrup.
Thanks! That’s exactly what I was looking for! I really didn’t want to use white sugar and your reasoning makes perfect sense
I a made 2-gallon batch… used 5 black bags & 5 green tea bags and 2 cups of sugar. Temperature constant 72 degree, 14 days later, everything looks healthy. Ph levels tested 1.5 but the Kombucha tastes very weak. I’m confused!! Any ideas?
For a two gallon batch, you might need more sugar, like 3 cups, but you can experiment with that. I have noticed that my brew becomes stronger as my scoby gets thicker/older. If your scoby is new or just has one or two layers, your kombucha is fine to drink but the taste will improve over time as more layers develop.
I love the juice fermenting idea and will try it with my next batch.
Do I have to fill my mason jars up the high to cause the kombucha to get fizzy?
Sarah H says
I love experimenting with kombucha flavors. Some winners in the past have been ginger-berry (raspberries or blueberries thrown right into the brew with some grated ginger) and lavender, made with fresh lavender sprigs from my herb garden.
This tutorial doesn’t even say how much tea to use. Additionally, why on earth would you boil a full 2 gallons to make tea when you could just boil a quart or less, brew tea in it and dissolve sugar- then add to lager amount of water. This would reduce waiting for the entire 2 gallons to cool enough so you don’t kill the bacteria.
yvonne goodwin says
good point I do this time saving step as well 🙂
If you have city water with chlorine in it, the boiling gets rid of the chlorine.
I suppose for some people boiling all the water could be redundant, but I choose to boil all my water since it comes from a spring and I am unsure of its bacterial content, so I boil it to kill off any pathogens that might be present.
I also find that the best way for the process to go (without making one impatient) is to boil the water and steep the tea at night, then in the morning it will be cool enough to put with the scoby.
I must be missing something. I feel like I have followed all the directions well but I have no fizzy business in my kombucha. I grew my own scoby and then did the process you described above and yet no fizz. What am I doing wrong??
I fermented for 8 days. from what I am reading it could be because of that? I seen others fermenting at that rate and it was fizzy. I used green tea and black tea, 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of sugar. I am doing a gallon and half this next time and have 2 cups of sugar in this one. Should I go higher and longer on the ferment?
Placing a lid on after the initial fermentation is what causes all the CO2 to be contained and build up, so lid it and leave it out still a couple more days and you will get the fizz.
when I make it, it does not get fizzy is it supposed to or did I make it wrong?
The first fermentation (her recipe says five days, but I let mine go 10-14 days) is done with a clean cloth over the jar so it can “breathe.” But the second fermentation, with the fruit juice, needs to be sealed tightly so the CO2 can build up. I let my second fermentation go 2-5 days, sometimes longer.
Hope that helps!
yvonne goodwin says
I didn’t have time to read all the comments and I’m sure someone probably said this- but the sugar should be organic, otherwise there it is guaranteed to be made with genetically modified beets- I wouldn’t feed that stuff to my beautiful mama scoby! I use organic evaporated cane juice looks just like sugar except it is a bit of a light tan color instead of “Bleached white.” I have never noticed the bitter taste you describe with the other sugars- which I haven’t tried. I know all the main store bought brands are organic so they weren’t made with white sugar. Like you said there are a 100 different ways to do it- some contradictory-just wanted to bring up the GMO issue because a lot of people don’t know that sugar is almost as bad as HFCS as it is a gmo too!
Started a new scobey with GT’s, got a batc going now and am at the end of my first try at Kombucha. Was intimidating at first, but pleasantly surprised at how EZ it was too! Yum, enjoying my Fall season with a cup. (BTW I live in cold country, N.D., took the allotted time and half for me.)
I cannot wait to make this! Thank you so much for posting this. Having a visual aid with the instructions is going to be such a help. My father has fibromyalgia (for those that say this is made up in a person’s head, it’s not!) and I want to regularly make him batches to ease his symptoms which happen to be particularly vigorous. He’s been living with it for about 8years now with no relief. He prefers not to take narcotics for the pain or the new drugs for it. I am really hoping that through regular use, this can help/cure him!
I really don’t think that 7 days is long enough to ferment kombucha. In my experience, the first ferment takes 2-4 weeks depending on climate, while the second ferment takes 1-3 weeks.
Also there is a way simpler way to make kombuhca. Mix a half bottle of original GT’s kombucha (or any other plain kombucha) wtih tea and sugar in the ratio of 1 cup sugar to 1/2 gallon tea.
Cover jar with a cloth, and let sit for 2-4 weeks. Then bottle, and let sit another 2-3 weeks. Voila, you have kombucha.
Maybe starting from one of those starter packs leads to a swifter fermentation, but I call the directions in this article into question.
Hmmmm..been making booch for a while..yum. I was at the co-op the other day, and got a bottle of “Dr.Better” kombucha.Dr.Pepper booch. OMG. If you could work up a recipe for that..why, I’d be tempted to ask you to marry me. No, really, any way you could give that a try?
Kristen, this article was super helpful!
My fiance’ and I are planning on making a lot of kombucha, so we really needed some instruction on it, thanks so much!
Do you have any other helpful hints about being in charge of one’s own raw, organic food?
Sally Inman says
Is there a chance that the Kombucha can turn to alcohol as it ferments ? I ask since I cannot drink alcohol due to health reasons.
Thank you for your blog, it is very interesting & helpful.
Hey Sally. I realize you posted your message over a month ago, but to answer your question, unless one does the secondary fermentation for a really long time, there should not be much alcohol in the finished product (certainly not enough for it to be deemed an alcoholic drink.)
I am not trying to provide medical advice, but I have heard that some organizations use kombucha to help people get over alcoholism.
Personally, I find that when I have no kombucha, I will be more likely to drink wine or something like that (probably to satisfy my craving for something fermented).
So, all in all, unless you are consuming large amounts (like more than 2 pints a day) I think it should be fine.
You should NEVER refrigerate a scoby. http://www.kombuchakamp.com/2011/10/kombucha-brewing-problems-dehydrated-and-refrigerated-scobys.html
If “mother” starts growing on the top can’t you use what’s growing to make more?
Can this be canned?
Food Renegade via Facebook says
Pin it for later –> http://www.pinterest.com/pin/136867276149878012/
Flower Phillips via Facebook says
strawberries with lemon juice, yum!!
Elaine Davidson via Facebook says
Apple ginger…home brewed
just wondering because i am new to kombucha tea making and i was wondering in the secondary fermentation if i could leave it in the large bottle and add in my juices and ginger and put the cap on it to get fizzy. of course i would take out the scoby before adding the juices and putting the lid on. thank you 🙂
I live in Atlanta and just grew my first mother using a bottle of organic raw plain kombucha from a health food store. It seems to be working well and mold-free, just wondering if I should be concerned because my brew looks a bit opaque and cloudy, not clear like some of the photos I’ve seen on this site. Also, I’m not sure it’s growing a baby yet…might it take several batches to do this? We have had an unusually cold winter here which is making brewing take much longer than described in directions I’ve read, could this also be contributing to the opaque tea?
Eilish Foley via Facebook says
I am curious – is it better to start with making your own or purchasing some?
Lisa Smith Rickman via Facebook says
Because every time I try, I get mold. 🙁
Food Renegade via Facebook says
Eilish Foley, have you ever tasted kombucha?
Amanda Woods-Osman via Facebook says
Thanks to your step by step guide, I’ve made 4 batches, all with a base of black tea with different fruit green teas (passion fruit tazo is my fav so far) and then use cranberry pomegranate juice. Love this mix!!
Andrea Sarandes via Facebook says
Just couldn’t take the smell anymore.
Tara Lawless via Facebook says
I’ve had success in making it following your guide except that it’s never fizzy! I also got into it to quit my soda habit, and it’s just not the same without the carbonation. Anybody have any tips?
Eilish Foley via Facebook says
Food Renegade no I have never tasted it
Andrea Butcher Unger via Facebook says
Am currently making my 5th batch. No more soda for me! I have only used black tea and sugar but plan to try green tea and honey once I collect from my bees this summer. I have found that a second fermentation creates lots of carbonation, especially if you add fruit….chopped strawberry is yummy.
Tonya Cardwell via Facebook says
I use Yerba Mate and in the second ferment: orange zest or extract, fresh ginger juice/sticks and a pinch of sugar or crystallized ginger. Blueberry pomegranate turns out delightfully fizzy.
Diana Henry Drinkuth via Facebook says
I make Jun and love experimenting with different teas. Elderberry Jun is really good, so is Tulsi.
Laura Nugent via Facebook says
Debbie Frost via Facebook says
I use Mate.
Kendra Dunlap via Facebook says
Making my first batch today….what is the best tea to start with?? Can you use tulsi? And I have heard you can’t start with green tea, is this true??
Melissa Welch via Facebook says
Misses Shamsud-Din via Facebook says
Diana Henry Drinkuth via Facebook says
Kendra Dunlap, To start Kombucha you use black tea and sugar. If you have a Jun baby you use Green Tea and Honey. I use Tulsi for the second ferment when I make my Jun.
Tammie Welch via Facebook says
I might do this.
Veronica Marie Luchessa via Facebook says
I’ve been making my kombucha with green tea for 2 years continuously. You don’t HAVE to use black tea. And you can train your kombucha scoby to live on honey just like a Jun scoby although you will not get the same microorganism’s
Mui Vu via Facebook says
I used Lipton tea and it turned out very good.
My wife and I have been brewing for almost two years now. Recently we’ve enjoyed using loose leaf oolong tea, a ginger pear blend tea bags, organic sugar and then adding some fresh ginger slices to the initial fermentation. The ginger pear taste is quite refreshing!
But another one we used to do was with Roobis Red Tea. Have you tried that? You have to do also brew with black or green tea because there aren’t any oils in red tea that ferment well with the SCOBY. But it’s tasty too!
Thanks for all you do!
Sarena Kopciel via Facebook says
Ginny Barr did you make it yet?
Ginny Barr via Facebook says
No. I need to get a gallon jar. Just havent had the time yet. I’ve been buying it :/
Sarena Kopciel via Facebook says
Home Goods often has
Ginny Barr via Facebook says
Nice. I’ll check tomorrow.
Janet Armour via Facebook says
Every time I drink kombucha, my ankles swell. Store bought, home brewed. It doesn’t matter. I finally gave it up and am using other fermented foods instead. Unfortunate, because I really enjoy kombucha.
Peace Ellis via Facebook says
Not sure what it is, or how to make it?
Read some of this website, or the countless others on the web, to find out what it is and why you might want to drink it. Then go to a health food store and buy some to see if you like it. Then if you do, go back to this website (or the countless others on the web) and you will find out exactly how to make it.
Amanda Woods-Osman via Facebook says
Thanks to your awesome recipe, I ALWAYS have it brewing. Love it!
Food Renegade via Facebook says
Amanda Woods-Osman, glad to hear that you are enjoying it!
Melissa Pennanen via Facebook says
I’ve been brewing it for about 5 years. I drank it religiously all winter long and I swear it’s the reason I never got sick. I normally get every little bug going around!
Pure Essential Oils Chicago via Facebook says
Just started recently 🙂
I have a problem with caffeine. Anyone tried making Kombucha with a decaffeinated tea? dandelion or nettle?
I love this article. Do you have an estimate on how many calories this is? I have recently starting juicing for 2 meals a day, and need to break my coffee habit because I drink too much milk with it. I can’t drink it black because it’s too hard on my tummy. I LOVE Kombucha though.
John MacDowall says
I’ve been having a lot of fun with this. I just started brewing kombucha myself. I tried culturing one from a bottle commercial stuff but couldn’t get it to work. I have a couple articles on my websites about my experiences. In the end, I bought a SCOBY on ebay for a couple bucks…
Gene Vacca via Facebook says
I was addicted to diet coke amongst other foods.
Connie Nour Hinkle via Facebook says
I am addicted to fizzy water. Plain I never touch the stuff but put in the SodaStream and I drink gallons. Every once in a while I put in some stevia and lemon.
Susan Louisef via Facebook says
You know what?!? I haven’t made my own Kombucha; have only drank it a few times; I liked it & you know what? When I drank it, I thought, “this could replace Pepsi! This could replace pop!” The effervescent bitey tang was satisfying!
DeAnna Lewis VandeZande via Facebook says
been drinking it for about 5 years, when I could afford it, been brewing my own since april and haven’t had a single soda or even a craving for one
Angie Cobb Lamoree via Facebook says
I make my own, I prefer to bottle it with juice for flavor and the bubbles. 😉
Christina Beisel via Facebook says
I started mine several months ago from a bottle of store bought kombucha. I use unrefined sugar and gunpowder green tea. It’s much more subtle than black tea and my whole family loves it with a little lemon juice, plain or double fermented with peach puree (the best!). It takes about two weeks for a good brew, even though it’s between 72-84 degrees in the house most of the day, but it’s worth the wait! The only problem with making your own scoby this way is life span. I ended up with two but the offspring started turning brown and becoming less effective after a couple of batches. They also aren’t as uniform looking as pictures I’ve seen of other scobys. They are very lumpy and range in color a lot. Most of the babies stop progressing at a thin film. The original is still going strong though. I wonder if this is because of the extra organisms in the original kombucha or maybe because I use green tea instead of black.. Regardless, we are enjoying our very inexpensive kombucha!
what is Scoby,,,,,, what does GT stand for….. can you use herbal teas instead of green and black tea??? I would like to try this as I have problems with my liver and think this might help,,,,, would like to see an actual demonstration of the process if anyone has a video the can post .
Betty Abbey says
I just had my first taste of kombucha.I did not “hate” it but, I like water better. Are the benefits enough for me to learn to drink.It reminded me of beer which I’ve never liked.If I need to drink it ,I will definitely want to make my own.
PS:Does any one ever get tipsy drinking hombucha?
Mary Light via Facebook says
I have tried it, and I don’t like it, but I can certainly see how this could be an option for others. I never drank or liked drinking sodas either. What I love about it objectively is the wonderful new creative flavors and use of herbs and fruits, as versions, all we had back in the beginning was a sweet black tea version. which was introduced to us (1995) as something from Russian culture.
Hannah Elder via Facebook says
I loveeee Zevia!!! I like their ginger ale and regular coke the best.
Deidra Wolfe via Facebook says
I can never get mine fizzy. 🙁
Danielle Sagun-Apilado via Facebook says
Food Renegade via Facebook says
Deidra — Try leaving more air at the top of the bottle for the second ferment.
Michelle Sabin Brady via Facebook says
I really want to start making this. It’s so expensive at the store.
Michelle Sabin Brady via Facebook says
I really want to start making this. It’s so expensive at the store.
Kris Arsenault via Facebook says
Ive never seen it in the store myself because I live in the middle of nowhere but In my late teens I used to make a lot of it. Not so much for the health benefits (bonus) I just love the taste! Ive attempted to make it again a few times over the years without much luck. My most recent attempt is close… But still not quite working out. Ill get it sooner or later 😀
Kris Arsenault via Facebook says
I just wanted to add. If you end up with too many new scobys ive heard of a few other uses for them. They can be composted. Or dried and used as chew treats for dogs and apparently they can be stretched and dried for making skins for drums and such. Creative things.
Bobbi Golson Livnat via Facebook says
Jayne Zapp Caldwell via Facebook says
My daughter makes and drinks it all the time.
Deanna Walker via Facebook says
Dezerrae Sanchez Houk
Quick question, I grew my own scoby from a bottles of GTS kombucha about 3 weeks ago. Since it’s become a nice, uniform circle, I get big air pockets under the scoby so that only the edges are touching it. I’m brewing my second batch now, and mostly only the edges are thick.
Is this normal? How can I grow babies when the mother is mostly above the tea?
I’m making kombucha for the first time using your double-fermentation recipe; thanks so much for posting it! I’m hoping that you can help me with two questions. First, I forgot to taste the 5-day fermented tea before adding juice, and the tea is still too sweet. Is there anything to be done once the juice is added? Will fermenting the tea-juice mix longer help? Should I add a little bit of SCOBY back to each jar?
Second, is it necessary to put the juice-kombucha mix in the fridge after 48 hours? I’m going to be away for 4 days; would it be better to wait that long or put it in the fridge now? Thank you!
Brian G says
Good read. We have been brewing kombcha for a while, and often astound guests with the quality, flavour, and taste. I have never used fruit juice for the second brew, but prefer fresh fruit. Whatever is around, however, a few slices of lemon are a good standard additive. Today I batched it with mangoes, monsterio, and native lili pili fruit.
P.S. The only thing I know about Texas is Townes Van Zandt.
Michael Hannan says
Hi, just wondering if raw sugar can be used instead of white granulated sugar?
Bee M says
I just had a bottle explode in my kitchen during the second ferment…. My last batch was not fizzy at all after 48hr second ferment, so this time I was going to give it an extra day but it’s only been just over 48 hrs! How do I tell when it’s carbonated enough?!
John Simpson says
Thank you so much for this article! I’ve brewed Kombucha for about two years until I stopped in college when everything started to get crazy busy. Now I’m looking to start up again and this article was a perfect refresher to get me siked for brewing. Also, I had never added fruit juice and a second fermentation stage. Thanks for the advice! I’ve definitely favorited this page cuz I’ll be back! Cheers!
I’ve got a quick request for information regarding the continuous brew of KT and leaving the additional SCOBYS in the jar. Should I remove them? Will the sugar get consumed faster as a result of more than one SCOBY being present? Will the tea be prepared faster with additional SCOBYS?
Can you tell me if I have mold starting in my brew?
Thank you so much for creating a relaxed and easy tutorial. This makes it seem effortless and nothing to really worry about. <3
Wendy Epp says
Hi! Just had a couple of questions.
I’ve read that the “part” of the kombucha tea that I should use for my next starter tea should be poured out first, so that I retain the bacteria-rich kombucha at the top of my jar as opposed to the more yeasty kombucha at the bottom of the jar. What are your thoughts on this?
Is plain white sugar ok for the tea?
Also….where do you purchase glass jars with plastic lids? I’m having trouble finding such.
Thanks so much!
Very interesting, thank you we are going to try it.
You can use your old scoby as fertilizer for plants
Further to your comment about watching for mold – if it molds should the scoby be discarded / replaced?
What makes it mold? – Steeped tea with ‘flavors’ unknown, bergamot tea, Earl Greu Teas – I have used them all and ended up with mold; 🙁
I purchased a scoby on December 20, 2017. It was kept in a sealed jar on my kitchen counter.
I did not get a chance to make Kombucha until now.
Is it too late to do this safely?
When add the fruit juice for second ferment, you say add towel and store again for 2 days and you said it will be bubbly. Otber directiins say to put cap on and tighten to get carbonation.
Are you saying we don’t have to cap and we will still get carbonation?
Julie Demoor says
Your fermented tea is not sweet enough. Start with something I saw in a waking vision. A glass of clear sugar oil that is drinkable and tastes like vanilla chai. It has to be clear like a diamond. This is the start of all your teas. Splenda is not sweet enough to add delight to your elixer. I am to busy growing a national Forest that is in Sacramento CA and was said to be nuclear winter. We are almost ready to be established as a part of national Forest administration congratulations to everyone keeping alive in area 91. 6 Julie Demoor IA BIOLOGIST PERFe-Shapiro. TEAM fortress dragons. 916 8562958
Erin Pedersen says
Hello!! I’ve been brewing my own kombucha for quite some time now, and never had any issues until my most recent batch. When I went to do my secondary fermentation, I used store bought blueberry juice rather than make fresh (which I usually do) and after a day I noticed that my batch had MOOOLD in the jars!! I’ve never had this happen before, and am wondering if it has something to do with the pasteurized juice, or maybe because the lids I used were old and possibly not air tight anymore? I made sure to clean and sanitize everything prior to bottling, so I’m just sitting here a bit baffled…as I broken-heartedly pour my batch down the drain. Any tips??
What if I added a ratio of half juice to half kombucha during my second fermentation will it work out OK? Will it be safe?
Thanks for sharing this information. I am a recent fan of Kombucha ( it’s new to my area). And just started exploring its health benefits. I may very well try my hand at brewing some up!
I m a newer to kombucha. Found that no fizzy in 2nd fermentation. How can I do next or does it have to drink it? Thanks you
Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your recipes and experience with us I can’t wait to get started.