How To Grow A Kombucha SCOBY
Kombucha, the effervescent and tangy health drink made from fermenting sweetened tea, is my family’s favorite beverage. We drink about 2 gallons of the stuff per week.
To make kombucha (see my instructions for how to do that here), you only need two things:
1) Sweetened tea, and 2) a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), AKA “mother,” or “mushroom.”
Coming by kombucha mothers is easy if you’ve got friends making this “immortal health elixir.” Kombucha mother colonies periodically reproduce, so people brewing it have a constant supply of scobies to give away.
But what if you’re a lone wolf, daring to make kombucha on your own? Where are you supposed to get a good SCOBY?
The most reputable online stores can charge anywhere from $15-$35 per kombucha mother.
So, I thought I’d show you how to grow your own for about $3.50.
- 1 bottle of Organic, Raw Kombucha
- 1 glass jar
- 1 kitchen towel
- 1 cup of room temperature sweetened tea made with filtered water (where to buy water filters)
- You can buy the kombucha at just about any health food store. I get mine from the health food aisle of my local HEB — a large chain grocery store local to my area. If you can’t find it near you, you can buy a bottle of the stuff online. Make sure it’s organic, raw, and unflavored with juice. You just want the plain, original beverage.
- The sweetened tea can be as simple as a cup of black tea, sweetened with a tablespoon of sugar.
Pour the bottle of kombucha and sweetened tea into a glass jar. Cover it with a towel so it can breathe but be protected from insects and other contaminants. Let it sit.
It’s really very easy, isn’t it?
With time, a new SCOBY will start to form on top of the liquid. It will appear first as a thin film, then slowly fill in and thicken up.
Once it’s about 1/4 inch thick, it’s ready to go. You can let it sit longer and get even thicker, but that’s really not necessary. This SCOBY is about 1/3 inch thick and took me about 3 weeks to grow. In the summer, I can grow it in half that time.
Got a question?
Check out this post on Kombucha Tea Questions & Answers and see if it can help. Also, be sure to read through the instructions and comments in this post on Kombucha Tea: How to Make Kombucha.
Want to make get started making your own booch?
I’ve created a handy, easy-to-follow, print-friendly tutorial for how to make your own flavored kombucha at home.
HELP! I followed all your advice, but it still didn’t grow.
Unfortunately, some store bought kombucha is just weak or old. Rather than playing roulette with bottles of raw kombucha, hoping for a batch that’s thriving with good culture, you may want the assurance of starting with a proven culture. If so, check out where I recommend to buy a kombucha SCOBY.
Wow! Great post! I had no idea you could do this. I don’t know why I didn’t think it was possible, but that is actually pretty easy.
Laura — Thanks for commenting! And, yes, it IS pretty easy, isn’t it? And way cheaper than the alternative.
Sylvia Solano-Guillen says
Kristen, could you please send me the info on how to obtain the kombucha ingredients to make my own scoby or where I can buy a
mother? I have alot of problems w// mybody from a brutal attack ;fractured back, elbow, knees to name a few. Thanks &God bless
OOH! Thanks! I actually have my first batch brewing right now and I am sitting here wondering when it will be done (I started it about 8 or 9 days ago). Glad to know about the thickness factoring in. My kids and I also love kombucha and right now we drink a gallon a week…but that will soon change now that I am making my own! Love your site!
good to know! I’ve been making it for ages, but the mothers I have keep getting almost-frozen in the fridge as my fridge is very tempermental, and I think that’s almost killed them as it’s started taking AGES to do a batch. i put them in there when I’m taking a break from making the stuff. my boys LOVE it thank God, that and raw milk. makes me happy :). will make a fresh one this way and start over, thanks!!
Kelly — The thickness doesn’t factor in to the completion of a kombucha brew, just the readiness of the mother to be used in making one.
In the summer, I brew my kombucha for 5 days, then transfer it to jars with a little fruit juice in it and brew for another 2. 7 days from start to finish, and I’m done! In the winter, I usually let it go for 9 or 10 days. Again, I’m in Texas! So, someplace cooler with a cooler room temperature will take even longer. I’ll let you in on a secret — It’s really just “done” whenever it tastes done to you, whenever you like it’s combination of tart and mildly sweet flavors.
Bethany — My boys love it too. You can also use this as a way to “spruce up” your mother: Make a batch like normal, but mix in a bottle of organic raw kombucha to the sweetened tea before putting your mother in. It’ll help give your mother a kick start.
since we can no longer buy organic kombucha here at the H.E.B. in Kingwood, Texas do you live near enough for me toget some starter from you?
Hey, they have it at HEB market street in The Woodlands!
Wow, I had no idea. I’ve been really wanting to try my hand at making Kombachu, but obtaining a scoby was daunting. This way I don’t mind trying it. Thanks so much for posting this.
Would you mind posting a follow up, of exactly what to do once you have the Scoby ready?
Thanks so much!
I am so sick of buying it, I will definetly be trying this soon! Thanks so much for the tip 🙂
Carrie aka Thrifty Oreganic says
Wonderful post, Kristin! I’m so glad you confirmed something I’d be suspecting for a while…I noticed the same thing when I leave a bottle of kombucha out for a “secondary ferment”, it will often grow a SCOBY on top within a few days (albiet, a rather thin one!)
We LOVE kombucha; we go through about a gallon a week as well. I’ve been enjoying it blended with frozen raspberries and freshly grated ginger (about 1 TBS per 16 oz). So good!
Carrie aka Thrifty Oreganic
I used to make this stuff. I LOVED it, especially when it was first ready to drink–seemed almost carbonated. Mmmm.
I never could tell that I felt better drinking it, but I really enjoyed growing it. It led to my interest in making my own vinegar which was also a lot of fun, and tasty too!
I make kombucha and have a really healthy scoby. I also want to make vinegar. I work at a winery so I have lots of wine to use. Can I use the same scoby from kombucha for my vinegar? thanks!!!
Yes I forgot one in a covered plastic tub I was going to grow using plain sugar water just for ginger. Forgot about it in the back of the cabinet over the stove for 6 months. Pure strong vinegar, mother looked and felt like pickled egg-whites.
Long vacation and very hot weather killed my other mothers.
OH OK!! I am going to go slip a straw into it and taste it. Well, its been brewing 10 days today and I am in Michigan (high temp today was 14) so might take me a bit longer!! HA! Thanks for the info!
I have some beautiful mothers making babies, but when I bottled the brew for the second level of fermentation I was surprised to see a little scoby forming in each bottle. It’s cool stuff, I think. Brewing is fun.
How strongly do you brew your tea for the komucha?
What types of fruit juice are good to add for the second brewing process?
jonathan drake says
Can you please increase your font size
Daniel S says
Depends what browser you’re using but “Ctrl +” usually increases the font size!
Imara — I’ll be posting a tutorial on brewing Kombucha real soon, so stay tuned!
Jonathan — How’s it now? I’d been meaning to do this for a while, but your comment made me get off my butt and JUST DO IT. Thanks!
I’m going to start on this tonight. Do you need to do anything with it while your waiting for the SCOBY to form? Or do you just do your initial mix and let it rest?
Also, could you use green tea or does it have to be black? I bought a small box of both because I wasn’t sure when I was in the store tonight. I just want to have all my ducks in a row before I get going on this little project. Thanks!
Erica — Just make sure it’s covered with a dish towel (I use a rubber band to secure the towel) and let it sit. You can use green tea or black tea or any combination of real teas so long as they’re sweetened.
I’ve read different sites arguing for the different nutritional value you get in a kombucha brew made from green tea vs. black tea. They’ve left me with the distinct impression that either tea is okay.
Great, that doesn’t sound to difficult at all. Kombucha brewing kind of scares me (don’t ask me why haha) so this is a big step for me!
I am scared too! I got a scoby starter from a really nice gal on CL and I am scared to try it! Should I mix it with something? What do the “babies” look like?
Sabrina Thorn says
So glad to find your site. I knew you could make a scoby from scratch but couldn’t remember where I found the info.
I was wondering if the bottle of organic Kombucha should be room temp as well as the sweet tea. I am starting one today.
Sabrina — Glad you’re here, too. You’re right, room temperature is best. 🙂
Wow this is perfect timing for me since I was trying to grow a culture but I didn’t have the sweet black tea in the Kombucha – How it’s not too late to add it. The kombucha has been sitting for a week. Do you think I can add the tea now or should I start over with a few bottle of kombucha?
P.S. Great site and very helpful real food info!
This is cool. I didn’t know a person could do this. I live in New Hampshire, our house is always under 68 degrees, usually hovering around 63, will I still be able to grow my own SKOBY, or do I need to add some extra warmth?
You can still grow your own scoby, but it will take significantly longer. They don’t recommend using electric warmers, so you’ll want to find the most naturally warm place in your home and put it there. Usually it’s up high somewhere near a heater or fireplace.
Hi Robin — If a film has already started forming over the top, then you may not want to disturb the film (which isthe growing scoby). If you don’t see anything yet, then add the sweetened tea. It’ll provide food for the growing mother.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sabrina Thorn says
Ok so I don’t have a film growing near the top but in one corner at the top I have something white growing. Do you think that’s it?
Also it’s very cold here. It snowed the other day. I put it on the counter in my pantry, this morning I moved it to a lower shelf so it wouldn’t be disturbed, but thought I should put it on a high shelf in the dinning room where our pellet stove is. What do you think? Should I move it or just leave it alone? Have I already moved it too much?
Hi Sabrina — It sounds like that might be it. I wouldn’t be afraid of moving it, and the scoby will definitely like the warmer temperatures. Shoot for as close to 76F as you can get it.
Kristen, what size jar do you start with? this will hopefully be my last question!
Julie — Good question! Use a jar that’s the same diameter or slightly smaller than the diameter of the container you’ll be brewing your kombucha in. You can use any size jar, but doing this will make transferring the mother significantly easier.
We found a place that is warmer than the rest of the house and it seems too be helping the SCOBY-it’s about 1/16 of an inch thick. One week and counting…
How does a person store a SCOBY if it is not going to be used right away?
Julie — YAY for the growing SCOBY. If you’re not going to use it right away, you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator in a glass bowl covered with at least 1/2 cup of the liquid you grew it in. This will make it go dormant.
thank you for this
I just have a couple questions
1. can honey be used as a sweetener
2. can herbal teas be used?
3. is this similar to the idea of lacto fermented veggies, but a drink instead.
4. does this process result in an alcohol content?
thanks in advance
Lanam — Oh this is a can of worms! I’ll answer the easy ones first.
3 — Yes, very similar.
4 — Minimal alcohol (less than 1%) results. Most of the sugar is consumed and turned into beneficial acids, not alcohol.
Now, for the harder ones.
1 — I’ll say no. Some people have initial success with honey, but honey is an anti-microbial agent so with time it will kill off and weaken the bacteria in your colony.
2 — Yes, but the best health benefits (most beneficial acids and enzymes) come from using plain black tea. If you do choose to use herbal, perhaps blend it with black tea and keep the ratio of herbal to black teas low (say 1:4).
A friend of mine just gave me an old gallon-sized pickle jar that I’m sterilizing. Now I’m ready to make my mother. So excited! My question is light. Can the tea be in the light or does it need a dark space? Also, should I make my mother in the gallon jar or in one of my quart jars? Does it matter?
Spinner — You should keep it out of direct sunlight. It doesn’t need to be cavernously dark, but it really shouldn’t be where the sun shines. It doesn’t matter where you grow your mother, so long as it’s in a jar that’s smaller in diameter than the one you’ll be growing it in. (Even THAT doesn’t matter, but it sure does make it easier!)
What type of container do you store your finished product in? Mason Jars? Or do you buy glass containers that have lids? If you buy something, could you give us a website or company that you buy them from? Thanks for all your knowledge! We are very grateful!
This is great, I can’t wait to try it!! A couple of questions…
What happens if you use a flavored organic raw kombucha?
Can you use a flavored green or black tea?
How do you handle the skobi without contaminating it?
Also, side note, it’s so weird to see someone on here named Marnita. I went to school with a girl with that name and have NEVER seen it anywhere else. Her parents named her from a combo of their names (Morris & Juanita)!!!!
Marnita– Are you talking about what we store finished a finished SCOBY in if we don’t use it immediately? If that’s the case, then we store it in glass food storage containers in the refrigerator with about 1/2 cup of its liquid. If you’re talking about what we store our finished kombucha tea in, well I address that in my how to brew kombucha tea post. We re-use 32 oz glass yogurt jars, but anything glass will work.
Kristen, just thought I’d update you to let you know that my SCOBY has grown! Today I’m going to start a batch of Kombucha. I’m excited! Thanks so much for your inspiration!
Erica — That’s great news! Congratulations.
Thanks for the excellent article, and the very detailed responses to post questions. This is one of the best articles I’ve read on making Kombucha.
I do have some questions though. PS – I’ve never done this before. I’m going to get some glass containers today and start making my first batch later this evening. I’m SO excited! $3.50+ for a bottle at whole foods (my HEB doesn’t carry it here in Austin) is killing me.
Question 1) So if every time I brew a batch of Kombucha, I’m going to get another mother. Is this correct? What do you do will all the extra mothers that grow? Or, do I just keep using the mother I grow from scratch over and over again?
Question 2) I hear often about “mother” and “baby”. As I understand it, the baby can sometimes grow on the mother. How does this happen, and which should I use for my next batch – the mother and/or the baby? Or both?
Question 3) I prefer my drinks with a little more carbonation than less. What can I do during my brewing process to ensure I get more carbonation?
Thank you very much for your time and help. 😉
I was reading more of your web site and I found the links to “Kombucha the Balancing Act”, and your article on “How to Brew Kombucha
I just began the “grow a Scoby from scratch”. Just curious, if it take 3 weeks to produce a Scoby for brewing Kombucha, will there be enough sugar in the tea to keep it fed for that long?
When I remove the Scoby to make the first batch of Kombucha, should I add any of the liquid it was conceived in?
Hi Sudhira — Yes, there’s plenty of sugar. Your goal isn’t to make kombucha tea, it’s to grow a strong, well-balanced SCOBY, and those are two different things. Too much sugar and the yeast will multiply like crazy and crowd out the bacteria. Perhaps the biggest problem with brewing your own kombucha tea is that with time, your SCOBY will evolve to favor the yeast. The bacteria help keep them in check and produce all those beneficial acids that make kombucha so good for you. If they get crowded out by yeast, you’ll eventually witness your SCOBY’s death as it becomes weaker and weaker with each successive brew of kombucha tea.
So, you’ll want to create a SCOBY with a very strong colony of bacteria at first, and that means less sugar and just letting it sit for a loooong time.
Sudhira — To answer your second question (sorry I missed it), YES. I give directions for how to brew kombucha tea elsewhere on this site, and having that starter liquid is essential!
Thank you so much Kristin. I will be patient with the SCOBY production. Sure hope I can grow a proper “Mother”. Will I be able to tell if the yeast has over run the bacteria?
When I open the pantry the is a yeasty fragrance, but it has only been 6 days.
Thanks for the link to your post. I checked my batch and it’s actually starting to form, it’s been sitting around for a month however. Hope it’s still ok.
SHEENA — The cooler your locale, the longer it will take to grow. So, I wouldn’t worry too much at this point since it’s still Winter in most places. Now that it’s obviously growing, though, you might watch it more closely for progress. If another month passes and it’s the same as it is now, THEN I would worry that you weren’t growing it properly and start from scratch.
A couple of things that could slow the growth of your SCOBY that most people don’t think about:
~Not using a glass container.
~Using antibacterial soap to clean the container the scoby’s growing in.
tribal talk says
I didn’t see this in any of the comments, but I am wondering what you sweeten your black tea with and how much of the sweetener do you add to the tea?
tribal talk — Good catch! That’s b/c I covered it pretty well in the How to Brew Kombucha post. I use refined table sugar b/c it’s a fast-burning fuel (don’t worry, the end result has almost no sugar at all since the yeast will eat it all!). Whenever I’ve experimented with natural sweeteners like sucanat or honey, I’ve been displeased with the result. It takes significantly longer to grow the SCOBY, and the resultant batches of kombucha tea also have a very “off” taste to me. Plus, the anti-microbial properties of honey (it’s a natural antibiotic) aren’t very conducive to growing bacteria!
I just started my second brew and I used loose tea (pure ceylon) this time around instead of tea bags. I think I may have use too much because my tea is black instead of amber colored. Is it bad to use too much tea? I don’t want to drop my SCOBY in if too much tea will kill it. Halp!
Viktorious VanMorris says
Thank you, for this post! I was wondering, do you include what looks like the “baby scoby” from the bottle of Kombucha or do you remove it before starting this process and just leave the “strands” of culture? This is so exciting!!
eyelassh — I think it’ll be fine. You can make kombucha with any kind of tea so long as it’s a true tea. I don’t think a strong tea will hurt the SCOBY. Keeping tea & sugar, bacteria & yeast in balance is tricky. But when I say that, I’m talking about the effects across multiple batches and brews. If your tea is too strong one time, it probably won’t be next time. So, the balance will go on. If you’re really worried about the tea being too strong just add water.
Viktorious — Yes, use the whole bottle. The “strands” are actually dead yeast cells, so they’re less important than that “baby scoby.”
This is FANTASTIC! Thank you for this tutorial! I have been wanting to make water kefir, thinking that it would wean my husband off of sodas, but have had the hardest time trying to find water kefir grains . . . when I first heard about kombucha I thought it would be almost as hard to get a scoby (plus the whole mushroom/fungus thing threw me off. I don’t know why since I was willing and able to look for kefir grains! 🙂
Now that I’ve heard more and more about kombucha I’ve been wanting to try it (and planned on bringing a bottle or two of GT’s with me to the hospital for my upcoming birth!) and will definitely have to pick up a bottle of the plain to get this going!
Funny thing is that we’re currently living at my in-laws for a few months. She already thinks I’m a crazy food nut, what with my two sourdough starters and my constantly leaving grains and flours out to soak overnight and my steaming kale to make green smoothies (she and I have different views on foods, to say the least) – she will think I’ve gone off my rocker when I ask her to not disturb my bottle of kombucha that I want to leave out for the next three weeks! 🙂
My mother-in-law might just not understand my need to mother the mother.
Maybe I’ll have to save this post for when we move into our own place again . . . we’ll see!
Thank you again!
PS – I am so making ginger juice. I hate garlic presses for garlic, I’d much rather use a knife, but for ginger juice? I may have found a new favorite kitchen tool.
I started mine (using your method) many weeks ago, and it’s FINALLY starting get a thin film! I blame the ongoing cold weather. Nevertheless, it’s looking more and more unlikely that I’ll have to buy the mail order SCOBY! Thanks again!
This too cool! I’ve been needing to replace my mother, but feeling too cheap to buy one. I can get a bottle of organic raw Kombucha for $2.43, I think I can afford that! 🙂 Thank you so much for this post!
This is a great article, I am so excited to try it! In the ’90s my aunt in Europe was making this ‘mushroom’ sour-sweet liquid I enjoyed drinking when I visited her in my teens. Shed used to keep it on the top of the fridge in a gallon jar glass container the top of which was covered with a think cloth and the rubber band was used to keep the cloth attached on the opening. When I drank it she would pour the liquid right from the jar thru the cloth into a glass for me to drink. We also had it in my family in Europe but it was a long time ago and I don’t remember the details, I think I didn’t have a chance to drink it as my older brother would always drink the whole jar before anybody in the family could get their hands on this brew. 🙂
I recently purchased 2 bottles of Raw Organic Kombucha, I looked at the bottle and it has algae and vitamins added. I wonder if kombucha makes any vitamins while it’s brewing?
I will try making my own kombucha now with Organic Cane sugar since I have read this great article on this website.
I was also wondering if anyone tried making this brew with Distilled water, since tap water contains chloride and fluoride + other unwanted chemicals?
Thank you for awsome article!
I have a few questions about Kombucha. According to wikipedia it contains usnic and oxalic acids. Usnic acid has been linked to liver damage. Is the quantity of usnic acid in a batch of Kombucha enough to induce hepatic damage? I know each batch of Kombucha can differ because of the culture being used so this would vary.
Oxalic acid is linked to inhibited absorption in the gut of calcium. Is this a problem for having Kombucha with meals?
Karen Vaughan says
Not enough to cause problems.
Anyone have any tips of where to get a good size jar; I have no clue where to look. And can you use the same jar to grow the SCOBY and then to brew a batch?
I have brewed a couple batches of kambucha. Being a home-brewer I have been pleased with the simplicity of the process — beer takes much more work. So this isn’t really a question…just a comment. My wife brewed the one-gallon batch using a “mother” scoby from a class she attended. It was so yummy that I decided to brew a 10 gallon batch and put it on tap! After filling my two brew buckets (which won’t be used for beer again because of the bacteria) I had some extra sweet tea. However I had already chopped the mother in half for the two big buckets – so for the remaining gallon or so of sweet tea, I just poured the leftover “mother’s home” (kambucha liquid) into the gallon of sweet tea – and it formed a new beautiful scoby. Bottom line is that I can personally validate that a new scoby will form even if you don’t start with a mother. At some point, I will probably try a batch using some store bought kambucha – and I have no doubt that it will work. After reading this page of comments, I am pleased to learn that my scoby will not die in the fridge, but rather it will just go dormant.
Best to you all,
I just bought a 2 1/2 gal. ceramic crock with a tap to start some continuous brew (siphoning off half to bottle and adding more sweet tea with the mother to start a new brew, it then takes half the time to brew the next batch). It is also easier to bottle with the tap. To bottle it I am using my old GT kombucha bottles. They are the size I need for the days dose of kombucha and the caps are very study. I can just grab one out of the fridge in the morning.
I also started a scoby on July 9th with GTs Kombucha and the mother is about a 1/4 inch thick now. I wasn’t sure if it was doing what is was supposed to until I read the posts.
I have had lyme disease three times. I was very sick and couldn’t get back to my old self until I started drinking Kombucha. I feel much better when I drink it. I has made a BIG difference in my life and how I feel. I LOVE IT. Thanks for the site and everyone’s comments.
I would love to hear about how people use different things to flavor theirs.
Jimbo Jones says
Zbean26, I don’t know how old these posts are because there is no dates on them. It is 8-7-19 as of now. I am responding to your post about having problems feeling well due to Lyme disease. Have you tried CBD oil? My wife and I have both had Lyme and the side effects can be terrible. Some of those effects are from the antibiotic treatments they use. This is why the Kombucha helps you. The live cultures treat the gut and replace bad bacteria. The other symptoms are from the attack of the Lyme on your nerves, joints and organs. The CBD oil helps with the symptoms and also helps destroy the Lyme spirochetes that can hide in the central nervous system. I hope this doesn’t come too late to help you. Peace,
Hi! Thanks so much for this – I’m pretty much going to keep this page open for the next 3 weeks while I grow my first SCOBY! I have a feeling we’re all going to love this – especially with the fruit juice to flavor it. I have my bottle of Raw Organic Kombucha I just bought last night and I’m getting ready to set it up. We keep our house around 77-78 (we’re in FL) and so I should have no trouble brewing. I used to do this about 14 years ago, although back then it was called “Manchurian Mushroom Tea” – my husband loved it. I didn’t because it gave me headaches (which I NOW know were detox symptoms…)
I found this site while I was searching for some information about kombucha. Immediately I start browing my own scoby. It took me one weeks to start seeing something on the top. Today is the second week of my scoby sitting on the top the counter. I want to think that the fine white film summing in there is my growing Fernando (I baptized it with this name ha ha ha).
Ok my Kombucha (not using a scoby but from a bottle of GTs) fermented about a month, I bottled it and it sat for 5 days but I am not getting any fizz. I like it better without the fizz but what am I doing wrong? Someone please advise.
I know this is years too late but might help others. After you bottle you need to add something to the kombucha to give it the fizz. A little juice or fruit to add in some fresh sugar. Search for 2nd ferment kombucha to get some ideas.
Sally, I got a lead free ceramic crock with a tap from foryourwater.com. I haven’t gotten it yet so don’t know how much I will like it but it looks like it will be just want I need.
this is a question for anyone==i’m on my third batch of kombucha tea and it seems to taste like vinegar; and it smell vinegary too. i think it’s supposed to taste a little like vinegar, but mine tastes a little too much like vinegar. my first starter batch was delicious and then vinegar. i’m brewing at about 80 degrees in my house and for 5 days. the mother is healthy and multiplying well… what’s my problem??? help please
Hi, I started trying to grow my SCOBY – in a quart mason jar, with the bottle of raw organic tea and the sweetened tea for starter. It’s been about 2 weeks and there’s nothing on top. The tea smells right and isn’t spoiling, and there’s sediment on the bottom of the jar. The temp is a pretty steady 76-77 degrees. Help? Do I just need to be more patient?
for the past 3 weeks i have started 4 scobys using a bottle of GTs raw but none of them are doing anything. our house is cold i’m mentioning since people seem to. low 70’s. i used assam tea for some and darjeeling for others. i never measured the sugar, just put in a lot. probably about than a cup a gallon. there’s a few specks on top of a couple of them. in my 2nd oldest one started 12/12, there’s a golfball sized scoby glob that floats, a spot on top, but that’s it. in my newest there’s a layer i think at the bottom. last, i have an unfinished bottle of GTs raw from 12/22 that sits with a loosened cap and all that’s going on in there is a pea-sized floating glob. i’m journaling everything, but not much to write since everything seems dormant but they all smell nice & kombucha-ie. should i give them ea a month of time before i inspect or just abort or what. help?
See me smile! According to what I have read here, I must have used too much sugar (I was told to use 1 cup/gallon) and my SCOBY looks like it died, much to my distress! I am filled with glee to think I can begin again without massive hassle.
Up until this happened, I have used a glass spigot sun tea jar to successfully brew several batches of kombucha. When it is done, I just pop it in the fridge and dispense from there. In the meantime, I have another batch brewing so I don’t run out.
I was given a starter with Constant Comment and Roobios Chai tea bags included.
There were no real instructions other than to brew the tea, sweeten it, let it cool completely, add the SCOBY, cover it with a bandana, and let it sit for a week. I did all that and wa-la! When the kombucha was made (7 days in Texas), I added some mango juice and yum! Too good for words!
This last batch fell flat and I was so upset. It is clear the SCOBY are not alive and well.
I drink this every day to assist my health and am so happy to have found this information..
Thank you so much. I am headed to the store!
Nancy Grace — Just to be clear, these are instructions to grow a scoby, NOT to brew the kombucha tea. For the tea, you DO want to use 1 cup of sugar per gallon. Many things can kill your scoby, most commonly: using a sweetener like honey (which is antimicrobial), washing your containers in an antibacterial dish soap, using non-organic tea or sugar (pesticides can kill it), using plain tap water instead of distilled water (chlorine in the tap water can kill it), and more. Hope that helps!
Well, it looks like I need to start over. It’s been 4 weeks at a steady 77 degrees, and there’s nothing. The liquid has evaporated down about 1/2 inch. I’m trying to think if I used antibacterial soap to wash the jar, and I didn’t use organic black tea or organic sugar, nor did I think about distilled water. I have well water that goes through a softener – there’s no chlorine in it. Back to the drawing board!
I am about four days into growing my SCOBY and all of a sudden, when I checked on it this morning, there were three little bugs in there!! I have my jar tightly covered with a cheesecloth, so I have no idea how the bugs got there, but they’re there! Two of them flew out when I opened the jar up, but one is stuck on the SCOBY. What do I do?! Is my SCOBY bad now or is it pretty tough and indestructible?
I’ve been making Kombucha for a year now. I’ve been over run by baby scoby’s.
What can I do with them besides giving them away? Someone told me to throw them in a blander and use it as a hair conditioner..any ideas?
Yippee! It’s growing. It’s been a little under a week, and there’s a thin film on top! THIS time I made sure I didn’t use antibacterial soap on the jar, and I used distilled water, organic green tea (the store I went to didn’t have black tea) and organic sugar. Grow, baby, GROW! Thanks so much for this.
I actually had this same idea! I found a bottle of the Kombucha tea labeled “live culture” at Whole Foods Market in the cold section for $3.39. I took it home, put it in a large mason jar and added about 2 tablespoons of sugar. I let it sit, covered with a coffee filter and the mason jar ring for about 2 weeks and I have a healthy little zoogleal mat! (SCOBY)
one tip: to make sure it’s a healthy environment for your SCOBY and NOT mold, try to keep the pH between 2.3 and 3 (you can get pH strips at the same market usually). You can lower the pH by adding one or two drops of lemon juice but go slowly.
Another way to make sure the environment is acidic enough is to simply keep more kombucha from each batch to use as a starter for the next batch. I keep roughly 20% of every batch I make to help the flavor be consistent between batches.
The Cultures for Health website says to be sure and use white sugar (organic if you can) and black tea, then you won’t have to worry about or monitor pH levels. If you use any flavored teas or any other kind of tea that has more oils in it, you should monitor the pH.
Thank you for the information on how to grow your own scoby and brew kombucha! I have a beautifully formed 1/3 scoby that I created using black tea, sugar, apple cider vinegar and raw kombucha. My question is whether or not I can drink the batch that I formed the original scoby in. Also, if a kombucha batch tastes too sour or too sweet after brewing how to you adjust that?
And finally, is this process harmful at all. For example, if the kombucha or scoby are incorrectly made can it cause any sickness?
Thanks for your time!
The only known instances of sickness from brewing kombucha came from VERY unsanitary conditions. If you keep yourself, your counters, your tools, and your glass jars relatively clean, you’ll be just fine. If the finished product tastes too sweet, it means you didn’t let it brew long enough. Let is sit for another day and retest. If it tastes too sour, it means you let it brew too long. It’s still perfectly safe to drink, but you might not enjoy it as much. Next time reduce your brewing time by a day and it should taste sweeter.
It looks as though my scoby has dropped from the top to the bottom. Is that ok?
Yep, that usually happens when there’s a difference in temperature between the scoby and the tea you’ve put it in. A new scoby will grow across the top and all will be well.
Thanks so much for this! I tried out this recipe using a mixture of green and white tea. I have a bunch of unconventional sweeteners lying around my kitchen, so I decided to have myself a science project and make a few test batches to start: organic raw agave syrup (total failure; no growth), organic turbinado raw cane sugar (also a failure, scoby never developed past the whispy stage), organic raw live honey (success!).
I was really surprised actually, because I know honey is antibacterial, and so I was sure it was going to just kill the kombucha. I figured I’d try anyway, just to satisfy my own scientific curiosity, and after two and a half weeks I had a nice 1/3 inch thick scoby and the resulting drink looked/tasted just like the store bought stuff!
Yeah, honey isn’t so bad. But if that’s all you use you will eventually weaken your culture over time. To really thrive, the yeast & bacteria both do better with a more refined sugar.
Well I’ve had mine going for almost 4 weeks. It did start forming a film by week 2, but steadily over the last 2 weeks the film looks like it is getting dry powdery reddish stuff on top. Because the color of the stuff is the same color as the yeast at the bottom of the raw kombucha I used and it still smelled good I thought it might be ok. I took it’s temperature and it’s holding steady between 72-76 degrees. Should I start over or wait longer? The only variable I can think of is that it might run out of food before it developed completely or I could have used too much sugar and the yeast is taking over. What do you think?
If the yeast is taking over, then just leaving it ought to solve the problem. Eventually, it will run out of sugar, and the bacteria will start re-gaining control. Balancing the yeast and bacteria can be tricky, but if you let the culture sit for a long time and get really thick it can help re-set the balance.
I’m not sure about the “red film.” Is that just the stringy, dead yeast that usually accumulates at the bottom of the kombucha culture? If you’re concerned, I’d start over or try to find another culture (ask your friends or buy a mother online from one of the companies listed on my Resources page).
Hope that helps!
Hey Kristen! I, uh, forgot about my SCOBY in the corner of the counter and its about 1/2 inch thick now….is that going to be a problem? (It looks like your picture). Also, in your Kombucha recipe you mention a store-bought ‘mother’ with 1/2 cup liquid. Do I use my ‘mother’ and 1/2 of the tea that I used to make it? And once I’ve made up the tea and transferred the ‘mother’ to the gallon jar, do I preserve any of the original liquid, or just keep 25% of the Kombucha that I’ll be putting into individual jars? (These questions might’ve been answered above but I didn’t have time to go through them all, obviously 🙂
1/2 inch thick will be awesome! That means it will take you a really long time to kill your culture! (LOL) Yes, I’d use your mother and 1/2 cup (or more) of the liquid that it grew in to start your batch of kombucha.
I’m afraid I don’t really understand the last part of your question. Are you talking about growing your own scoby (mother) or brewing kombucha using the double fermentation method?
Eh, Kristen. I’ll just make a batch and see if that clears up my question. I’ll be doing it today and am SOOO excited!!
I’ve been brewing my very first batch of kombucha for about 2 weeks or so from a bottle of GTs, and it doesn’t seem to be forming a film across the top of the jar. All i see is a tiny little blobby thing floating around in the corner that looks like a little jelly fish. Should I wait a little longer for it to grow? Or just take it out and start another batch and see if it grows from there? It somewhat resembles pictures I’ve seen on the internet, but its just a tiny little chunk that’s not really getting any bigger. Is this a bad thing?
Using this and you page on the double fermentation, I made kombucha that was better than I thought could exist. Thank you so much for the great tips.
hello. i’ve got several scobys growing on top of each other and the jar is sitting in a closet … all was cleaned thoroughly … can my scobys go bad or can i go ahead and distribute them … thankyou!
Robert Cordtz says
I am wondering if anyone knows how to make a scoby from the original bacteria cultures? Like specific yeasts and bacterias? I would like to be able to purchase 50lb bags of the culture and add it to a large batch of tea and sugar. Anyone know the names of cultures so I could find sources for them?
Great information here, thanks!
I started my own mother about a month ago. It is still very, very thin.
I live NE ..and it has been cold here..but a month-is this normal, is it ok? How long should I wait for it to get thick (: does it go bad after a certain point. And if it does, how do I turn it into vinegar?
Also, if the film does grow into a scoby, is this first batch ok to drink?
thanks a mil!
Hey there! I have had my scoby going for about 2 1/2 weeks now, I hope it’s looking right! Can you post a picture from above as to what this should look like? It smells fine but I just want to make sure I’m not growing a beautiful disc of death! 😉
I’m growing my scoby with your directions, everything seemed to be going great, it was getting some thickness, like paper thin on one side and say 1/5th inch on the other… the other day I moved the jar and the scoby sank to the bottom of the jar. Will it continue to grow??? Is it done, do I need to start over? The reason I’m so concerned is I saw a site that said if you make your Kombucha and the mother is sunken, the “baby” will grow on top of the liquid. I’ve tried to get it to float again, and it wont… should I start over?
I also grew a scoby from a bottle of organic kombucha after asking everybody I knew for an orphan. The idea came from a bottle I found in the store that had a little scoby volunteer floating on top. I became nervous about my second batch because of the very dark color the mother had taken and a tail she was dragging. I put it aside to discard later and start all over. Well, didn’t I forget that jar at the back of my cupboard behind some seasonal stuff? This must be a year later that I found it with a seven inch scoby just as pretty and creamy as can be, the mother still proudly dragging her tail. After reading around the web for an hour or so looking at all the pictures I could find, it seems that I dissed that mother for picking up some tea stain and dregs. Sorry, Mama. So now I’m seeing if that overgrown child has enough going on to send up a grandchild for me. Even though I could see the rings, there wasn’t any peeling to be done on that solid ole mushroom. I did manage to slice off a nice shiny piece from the top and snag a little skinny piece from the bottom, which I have brewing now. For good measure I set some chunks up in some glasses. Sure be nice if one of them comes through for me, won’t it?
Yeah! Our scoby got mold and I had to throw it out. We originally got our scoby for free when we lived in a major metropolitan area. But now we live in the less populated midwest and I couldn’t find anyone to get one from. (other than paying $25 on craigslist – you’ve got to be kidding!!) We have been missing our kombucha. I never even thought about starting it from a purchased bottle – can you say duh?!?
I’m. so. happy!
.-= Amy´s last blog post …You Know it’s Cold When… =-.
Thanks for all the great info!! I started my scoby tonight. One quick question, my wife accidenentally grabed the ginger katalyst instead of the the raw. Will this be a show stopper? I went ahead and started it, but if I have to do it again, its no biggie. Thanks in advance.
I’m a newbie to this site. I am making my first attempt at making a scoby. I just made the mixture this past Friday afternoon and was wondering if I had done something wrong. It’s only Monday! Thanks for all the info. I’m looking forward to my first batch of kombucha!
Hello, Well I wish I would have saw this site before I started. I thought I had done my homework. I started to grow my own mother but I used 1 cup sugar and I also used 2 bottles of raw kombucha but one bottle had 5% juice already added to it. It has been a week and I see a film across the top but it is ugly. It is not pretty clear looking but a grayish purple bubbly mess with a clear coating mixed in. Do I need to start over? Why am I not suppose to start with juice mixed in? Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Lisa S. says
Thank you, ThankYou! I thought that I should be able to develope my owen mother for a store baught. My question is – Can I use pure organic Maple syrup in place of sugar? I use it for my water kieffer and it works.
Love this simple idea of growing your own. I bit the bullet and bought mine.
My first one however, was given to me from an old friend but he has long since gone.
Hope many of your visitors take up this very simple to make beverage and have all the success they deserve.
I grew my own scoby using this method. It appears to be healthy and looks like your pictures. However, on one side of the bottom of the scoby there is a patch (about the size of a quarter) of dark colored stuff. Is this potentially mold or something harmful? Would mold typically grow on top only or could it also grow submerged on the bottom of the scoby?
Brian — Dark-colored is okay. It’s the texture of the dark spot that will tip you off. If it’s fuzzy, then it’s mold. If it’s stringy or like the rest of the scoby, then it’s just dead yeast.
My scoby, which is a baby, has several small uniformly dark but not (yet) fuzzy rings/circles growing on it. I’m worried that it’s mold. Also, the taste of the second batch I made (with the mother) was stronger and more vinegary than the first batch I made with the mother. I’m concerned; my temptation is to dump the whole thing and get a new scoby, but I’d love some advice.
Lorry — Fuzzy = Mold. So, yes, dump the whole thing and get a new mother.
Today is the day I grow my own mother. I hope she likes me 🙂
Wish me luck!
Thanks so much Kristen for these directions! And all the comments that raise so many good questions too. I’m learning much. I did Kombucha a long time ago and started it again recently with the bought ones at the health food store. I thought, “this is great stuff!” but it will cost to much to go on buying pre-made. I was delighted to find these instructions and am starting my own batch soon.
Tea questions: The only black tea I have on hand is darjeeling though, will that work? Is there any brand of black tea that for sure is free of any essential oils or other flavorings that might cause the batch to not work?
And can your instructions be used with plain green tea as well?
Mother or child SCOBY questions: I’m also wondering if its best to keep the baby when it grows and let go of the mother to keep things fresh and growing.
Sorry if I missed these answers in skimming the comments section…
Niara — Yes, you can use green tea. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t make kombucha with Earl Grey black tea, but I’m not sure why. I have a friend who swears by making it with Earl Grey and has done so for years. Perhaps some of the beneficial health effects are reduced when using Earl Grey.
I generally keep the baby and let go of the mother.
Earl Grey contains an essential oil, bergamot I believe. Essential oils tend to be bactericidal in nature. If your friend is having success with it, my guess is that either it’s not real bergamot in the tea, or the tea’s old enough for most of the effects of the essential oil to have aged off.
If they’re anything like me, it’s probably the latter. You don’t want to know how old some of my tea bags are. >.<
hello, i too am a newbie. i tried my first brew, got back from vacation and my scoby was covered in mold 🙁 i am going to try again tomorrow, but have another short vacation coming up. my question is about storing the scoby. i know there are 2 options, 1 out of the fridge and 1 in the fridge when it will become dormant. i would like to store it outside of the fridge. do i just pour the starter tea on it and cover it with a paper towel? how long will it remain good and active, like that?
Does kombucha have to be refrigerated? I live in a small apt. and i only have a mini fridge.. Thank Kristen..
Yes, it must be refrigerated, otherwise the fermentation process continues. I’ve got instructions for how to brew Kombucha here:
I have two jars that I’m using to grow my own SCOBYs. (scobies?) One is a quart-sized glass jar which has one cup of sweet tea and a bottle of GT’s original kombucha as a starter. The other is a gallon-sized glass jar with a cup of sweet tea and a bottle of High Country original Kombucha as a starter.
I really like the taste of GT’s kombucha. I’ve never heard of High Country kombucha before, and to be honest I didn’t like the taste. It was a bit too sweet and didn’t have any carbonation – on the other hand I love the fizz and vinegary flavor of the GT. The bottle of GT kombucha not only had the flavor and fizz that I like, it also had a thin mini SCOBY floating just off the bottom. I was thinking this would yield better results – the High Country had no SCOBY floating, just some strands of what looked like dead yeast at the bottom.
To my surprise, four days after starting my brew, the High Country in the gallon jar is growing a healthy thick SCOBY (covering the entire surface), while the quart jar with the GT starter doesn’t look like it’s doing much. The thin mini-SCOBY that was on the bottom is floating on top and is a little bubbly but hasn’t grown in size, however there are some white ‘tentacles’ growing off the bottom. Meanwhile the other one is getting thick and looks healthy, covering the entire surface of the liquid. What could explain this? Do I just need to be more patient with the smaller jar?
It might have to do with how fresh and active the cultures were in the bottles you bought. GT is a popular brand, shipped across the country. So it’s likely you got a bottle of GT that was a bit older than the High Country, which was probably more local. The older it is, the less culture will be alive and kickin’ in it. It would also explain why GT has a more vinegary taste. The longer a culture ferments, the more acidic and vinegary it becomes. So, it’s likely that they ferment it longer to begin with, then package it and ship it farther, where it sits on shelves longer. By the time it gets to you, most of the culture of bacteria and yeast has lived its life and run out of new food to eat, so their numbers are dwindling.
That’s just a guess, but it makes sense to me.
Thanks for the help. I’m just glad that I decided to use two different brands, otherwise I would have thought that I was doing something wrong.
The High Country starter is on day 7, and it’s growing a ridiculously healthy SCOBY. It’s almost 1/4″ thick and it’s HUGE being about 8″ in diameter, which is much more than I would have expected after only seven days! I had to relieve the pressure of some big bubbles by massaging the SCOBY and getting the gas to the side of the container. I even sampled my brew and it’s delicious; though I first want to develop a thick healthy SCOBY before worrying about making my brew so I’m going to let it sit a few more days.
There’s a tiny bit of activity on my brew with the GT starter. Tonight (day 7) the mini-scoby that was in the bottle is still floating and bubbly, and there appears to be a very thin film forming on the surface of the liquid. It’s nothing like the other batch I have going however. This makes me wonder, if the bottle of GT didn’t have live healthy cultures, doesn’t that defeat much of the whole purpose of Kombucha? Or are there still benefits of drinking kombucha with significantly less living organisms? This was a surprise to me – as I said before, I really enjoy the taste of the GT products. very fizzy and just enough of the vinegary taste (which I love).
There are definitely probiotic benefits to kombucha, but there are others as well: all the vitamins and beneficial acids!
I’ve found that the level of fizz in a brew has a lot to do with how it’s bottled during the second ferment. If you bottle it w/plenty of room at the top, it develops significantly more fizz.
It sounds like it has *some* live critters in it, but there wasn’t enough of a critical mass to solidify right away. I bet if you leave it for longer, it’ll start looking better.
I’m on my first attempt, and I used a local kombucha that was also raw like GT’s. I wasn’t sure at first that it would do anything, it took a few days to kick in. But it’s thickening nicely now. Once they get started on that sugar they start growing fast. They just need to wake up and get going.
I was reading something about kombucha the other day stating that according to the actual research that’s been done, a lot of the claims about kombucha are unproven or groundless, BUT that the substances produced by the bacteria and yeast appear to aid the liver to perform more efficiently. So even if there weren’t enough critters to benefit your GI tract from good colonization, your liver would likely be happy.
Here’s a picture of my attempts to grow a mother from bottles of store-bought kombucha:
On the left is High Country original Kombucha, and on the right is GT’s original Kombucha, both mixed with 1c of sweet tea (8oz water, 1 Red Rose tea bag, 2tbsp white sugar).
Guess I can’t post images. Here’s the link instead.
Kirsten… I bought a SCOBY online and when i placed it into the sweetend tea it sank to the bottom, now its just floating suspended in the tea… Is this alright?
Thanks again for posting this. I finally got around to attempting it. At first it didn’t seem to be doing much, but I could tell the tea was starting to smell alcoholic so I didn’t worry much. Now it’s all across the surface of the tea. The SCOBY is still lumpy, some parts thicker than others, but I’m guessing it will fill in. It’s been less than a week since I started it, although it’s warm enough in the kitchen that my coconut oil is now liquid even with the central air running, so I guess that really sped things up.
I love kombucha, even the regular flavor with no juice added to it. This will be sooo much better than soda. Well, I guess it is soda, in a way. Just, a good kind.
Instructions worked great!
It took a month for my scoby to be ready but I have made 2 batches now.
Tastes great and thanks for the help!!
I’ve got two batches going, one in a large ceramic mixing bowl. I’m wondering if I can take the daughter that grows across the big bowl, cut it into pieces, and start several new, smaller jars of brew going.
Yes you can!
I bought a mother from a guy on craig’s list. Still nervous with his instructions I found your website. I started my tea on Friday and let it sit in the basement until today the mother seemed to double in size and I found a clear-whitist looking baby attached. I wanted to try the two tier brewing process and had some grape juice that my mother in law had canned frozed with out sugar or preservative. I followed your instructions but my tea tasted sweeter than what I tried Synergy/Whole Foods which tasted rather vinegary, is this normal? Should I have let the tea sit longer? Not sure if I should throw away what I have bottled or wait the additional 2 days and then sample it again? I would really appreciate some assistance, I want to enjoy the process and not be a nervous mess.
Tina, yes, just let the tea sit longer. The longer it sits, the more vinegary it will get. How long you let it sit depends a LOT on temperature. In the summer in Texas, my complete brewing process from start to drinking is 7 days (5 days plain and 2 days bottled with fruit juice). In the winter, it goes up to about 10. In Siberia, it’s not uncommon for them to take 25+ days to make a brew!
Thanks Kristen..I am not sure if I would have tried this had it not been for your website it really takes the anxiety off the brewing process. I was going to let you know that I found Quart size canning jars at Wal-Mart for about 10.00 and they now sell plastice lids for $2.36 for nine..so if someone is lucky enough to come across the jars at a thrift store or Flea market they could get new lids in plastic at Wal-mart. Thanks again I will let my second brew sit an extra few days before refrigeration and see it that takes some of the sugar out..
Thank you for the reply, but I just went ahead and dismembered the baby and doled her out to people on freecycle and still had plenty to put into jars in my own kitchen.
I loved writing that sentence.
For some reason, that batch in the giant bowl was the best ever.
Can you use herbal teas instead of the black or green tea to make the scoby (and the kombucha)? T/U!
No. Herbal tea will not grow a SCOBY, nor will it make real kombucha. Instead, you’ll have a vinegary-sweet kind of flavored water. The real benefits of kombucha come from many of the beneficial acids it contains, and those only come from the kombucha SCOBY interacting with the chemicals in REAL tea.
I let the tea set an additional day and my brew is still somewhat sweeter than what is bottled by Whole Foods. I really prefer the taste of mine since it is not so vinegary tasting. Does drinking it my way still have health benefits or are the benefits only derived that it gets vinegary. I let me Tea sit for (5) days and then (3) in the secondl bottling stage and then (2) days in the refrigertor.
Cyn Stoneking says
When my son went to Antarctica in August, he left his cactus and his SCOBY in my care. I wasn’t sure I wanted fungus growing in my house so I kept the SCOBY in the refrigerator for several months. I started to toss it but then felt bad and gave it a cupa tea. Poor thing musta been starving because it began to grow and grow…
That brings me to my question- should I discard the old disks at the bottom of the jar? I read above that they lose their strength as they age and the oldest SCOBY in the jar is at least 10 months.
Nice and informative site, BTW.
Hi Kristen, thanks so much for building this site. I am growing a SCOBY right now according to your directions. I’m just worried because the surface of my SCOBY is quite bumpy and not smooth like the images you show. Is this OK? I’m on day 12- the thickness looks like it’s ready but I’m hesitant with the surface tecture. Any ideas?
Kristen, also, my SCOBY does not have fibers under it like your picture (or the images provided in a link). I have dark material stuck to the underside of the SCOBY- it looks like the stuff at the bottle of a store bought bottle of kombucha. Is this still safe to use as a mother for another batch? Thanks for your help!
I followed your instruction to make scoby and it is almost a week and I see a scoby forming. But I also noticed that there are lots of bubbles forming on the scoby. Is it still OK to use this scoby to make kombucha tea?
Danielle Renee says
To answer Kelly’s question… A bumpy scoby is fine! Thats the beauty of growing a living thing, if forms differently each time. I have scobies that are thinner in one place and thicker in another place. There is nothing to worry about.
To address the dark stuff under your scoby, thats totally normal too. Your scoby is safe and if it bothers you just take it off when you make a new batch. I’ve done that in the past.
i am attempting to grow my own scoby but the only kombucha available in my healthfood store is Vibranz and it all has fruit juice added. will this work? i see in the instructions that it should be unflavored but this is all i have access to. please help.
I am so glad I found your site! I have bought kombucha by the case for years. I bought the last from my local organic market, not realizing that my back-up national chain had stopped selling it. 🙁 In desperation, I tried the replacement, but it was filled with sugar and disappointingly sweet. Your instructions were easy to follow, and I find my tea at least as good as the commercial brands. Thanks!
Your site is amazing. I love it! Thank you for sharing. I’m making Kombucha tea. It has been 13 days. I followed your directions. It doesn’t seem to be forming on top. The gel-like form floats but is not attached and solid on top. I did everything with cleaning, jar ect.. but i did use the synergy raw organic Kombuncha with tea. I have put the jar in my cabinet and have only pulled it out to look at it. I live in Florida and my house is air condition @ 78 degrees because it is summer. Help any suggestions would be helpful. I just want to know if it is forming correctly and if I’m on the right path.
Thank you so much! A great post, very easy and informative – Perfect!
I’ve made several batches of kombucha in the last months and wanted to begin experimenting with flavors. I had the idea to steep some berries in my tea for flavor. I removed the remnants of the fruit then began the fermentation process. I’m now wondering if this was a mistake. Should the flavoring only be added after the scoby is removed? The new scoby that formed is thinner and harder on top but the kombucha tastes good to me.
Thanks for all your information!
This is my first time experimenting with making a mother. I have the jar out for about 5 days. I have done exactly what you have said. I am noticing small blobs floating on top. Some are bluish/blackish in color. Does it mean that it is mold? There are others which look like babies. Not sure. Can i just skim the moldy ones and still continue to wait for the mother to grow?
Thanks so much for your wonderful website and making Kombucha making so easy.
All I could find at my local health food store was a kombucha flavored with juice. I already mixed the recipe and started trying to make my mother before I read it had to be plain, unflavored kombucha . Is there any chance it will work with the kombucha I used?
Thank You! Fantastic post! Clear instructions and great follow through photos! Can’t wait to get started on my very own Scoby!
I like the idea of starting my own Scoby. Looking at my local health food store online, the only “Kombucha tea” they have is a Pronatura 33 oz bottle for about $20. Would I still use the whole bottle? Or how much? Thanks!
Karla Cott says
Hi. I have some scobys that have been in a tight jar for about 5 months. They are not moldy. Can i still use them? or toss them?
This worked perfectly. It took about 12 days to grow my SCOBY. It is now working it’s magic in a gallon of sweet tea. Thanks for the great directions!
[email protected] Pure Homemaking says
This is so funny! I literally just made a post about this yesterday only I didn’t even add any extra tea to it. Too funny!
Hi Food Renegade,
First and foremost, you have a tremendously helpful site!
I followed your directions and I can’t figure out why there’s no growth in the jar.
I used this Kombucha (plain) http://www.wonderdrink.com/
Followed by a cup of black tea with 1 tbsp refined sugar.
After the tea was room temp, I added the kombucha.
The house temperature is around 75 degrees.
I want so badly to see growth! Any troubleshooting tips?
Thanks so much for this, after spending $15 for a starter that didn’t work 🙁 I made a beautiful scoby using your method! Now I’m beginning my first gallon of Kombucha and keeping my fingers crossed!
Soooooo…I grew a scoby in a gallon of sweetened tea and some raw kombucha. It’s been about 2 whole weeks and my tea tastes sour and it’s not bubbly anymore. Should I just use the mother I have grown to make another batch? And Can I use Tea with ginger in it?
Thank you culture lovers.
Great site! Just added you on facebook. I have been looking for kombucha starters for awhile now with no luck; nice to know I can just start my own!
It has been a week since I emptied a bottle of GT Kombucha into a glass jar and covered it with a cotton dish towel and put the whole thing in a corner of my kitchen counter. I am not sure, but it just looks like mold is beginning to grow on top of the kombutcha solution. I read several blogs about how to grow a scoby using commercial raw organic original GT kombutch. Several people claimed to have grown a scoby by putting the kombutcha into a glass jar, covering it with cotton cloth, and securing it with a rubberband. I live in Southern California, so the weather is pleasant and my home is closed up all day and it is usually pretty hot in the house when I come home from work. Any suggestions? Thank you very much for any assistance I can get.
If all else fails, does anyone in the LA area have a baby scoby they would be willing to sell to me?
Hi! Looking forward to brewing Kombucha for the first time, and I have a question. I bought a 2-gal jar for brewing Kombucha… is this too big to grow a SCOBY? My fear is that there will be such a thin layer of liquid in the jar and might evaporate! Is it OK to add 2-cups of tea? Thanks 🙂
I tried making my own Kombucha mother a number of times. The first time with great success and then it was accidentally thrown in the garbage (don’t ask – I almost cried). I am now on my 4th attempt.
The 2nd, 3rd, AND 4th attempt started off with thick white fuzzies growing ON TOP of the liquid, almost like hair. I thought it was mold, so I threw it out the 2nd and 3rd time. This time (my 4th attempt) I was so frustrated I just walked away. And then today (2 days after I discovered “the fuzzies”) I checked on it again and all “the fuzzies” are gone and it’s been replaced with a very thing SCOBY.
Was that mold I saw? There is no hint of it on the SCOBY now. If that wasn’t mold, I might just cry thinking I threw away 2 good batches of mother. lol. HELP?
[email protected] says
Glad to see this topic has had such a long life!
Since some of the store kombuchas can be pricey (like Kombucha Dave’s), do you approve of, or know of, a generic brand that works fine? Also, what’s your position on the health benefits of kombucha (maybe it’s already somewhere on your site, but pls. link me if so)…
I also just discovered that my scoby grew! It was so exciting! I almost threw it out a week into it because it looked like mold but I have let it sit and now there’s a scoby for sure! I just wanted to make sure I t really wasn’t mold…it looked fuzzy and was in several places on top of the liquid. It now it’s a pretty solid scoby! Is there any way it could have been mold or is that the way it looks when it’s starting to grow? Thanks!
Thank you for such a needed online resource! I need help though. I am a trifle ADD and just finished pouring out a bottle of Raw Kombucha #9 into the jar which means its flavored with fruit, dang it. Should I drink the Kombucha then make the 20+ mile drive to the health food store to purchase plain kombucha? or Should I just keep going with what I’ve started and see what happens? I am curious..
Thanks for this helpful post! I just bought a bottle of kombucha with not one but TWO scobys!! I’ve never seen a bottle with a thick scoby on top, I think I found the luckiest bottle ever! Anyway I’m excited to see what happens.
So today I am harvesting a beautiful 1/4 inch Scoby! Yay! Fingers crossed that it’ll make the kombucha taste good!
I made it in a french press, lol! Sans the press of course. But the width seemed perfect for the scoby to grow and now I am actually ready to ferment my tea. Oh, I hope it turns out well!
can we drink the liquid that we grow the mother in? I got a little impatient last week and stuck my jar in the oven (not on, just in it while it was off) with the oven light on to keep it a little warmer. It’ll be 2 week Tuesday and it looks almost 1/4 inch. Should I wait just a bit longer to make sure its stable?
thank you so much for this info!
i made the mistake of using honey instead of sugar, but i figured i’d wait and see what happened and now my scoby is looking really good! it’s only been about 6 days and it’s about 1/4″.
Awesome! Gonna try….
Glad to see someone actually post this. I have done this a number of times when I have wanted a new SCOBY.
I made a gallon. It sat undisturbed for two weeks, it’s tangy like vinegar but not fizzy. Is it still good? (no mold)
Well, this is a recipe for how to grow a SCOBY from scratch, not about how to brew kombucha. So, if you grew a SCOBY and it’s not moldy, I’d say it’s good! If you want to know how to brew kombucha now that you’re armed with a SCOBY, follow my instructions here.
Can you do it with out sugar? Possibly honey?
Thanks for this. I can’t wait to get started. I wonder if you would mind if I pinned this on Pinterest so I can find the page when I’m ready to grow my Scoby?
I followed your kombucha recipe 3 weeks ago.
I used an organic plain bottle of kombucha, a kombucha tea bag and raw agave mixed in as the sugar.
It has some particles on the bottom as you would find in the bottom of a bottle of ACV, but no sign of a film growing on the top.
I’ve had it in a cupboard in the corner – dark and of neutral temperature.
Should I wait longer or perhaps something was wrong?
I appreciate your help,
Lana Long says
Mine looks the same, some pieces on bottom, nothing on top, it has only been 1 wk tomorrow. But it’s EVAPORATING!
Should I keep the original mixture that the SCOBY is create in? I know I used a half cup of it to create the kombucha, but can I drink the original liquid (that came from tea+sugar+store bought kombucha) or keep it for future use?
Hi! I started mine quite awhile ago and it’s finally forming. It’s been pretty cool in Seattle, so I would just let it sit longer. Mine has been sitting a little over a month and it’s finally starting to get thicker. It’s hard to be patient but it’s worth it!
How do i know if my tea (that i will be brewing kombucha with) is flavored with oils? it is bigelow green tea with pomegranate and acai.
Great page! Wish I had found this before I started my first batch last weekend. I was originally planning on buying a mother from someone, but then wound up deciding to try and growing one myself instead. So I read tons of different tips and decided to go with a style that seemed to kill two birds with one stone… and grow the mother and a batch at the same time. Not sure if it’ll work or not though.
What do you think I’ll wind up with here? This is what I did:
– Got a 1/2 gallon jar
– Got a bottle of raw, organic Kombucha
– Made enough tea so that with the bottle of Kombucha, it filled the 1/2 gallon jar. Used 3 bags of white tea (let steep for 20 min)
– Dissolved 3/4 cup white sugar in the tea, then let it cool to room temp
– Poured in the bottle of kombucha, covered it with a towel and rubber band, and put it on an open, top shelf in my kitchen.
– It stays pretty warm in there all day, then drops to about 61 degrees at night, so I suppose it might go a little slower than I’d like. Hopefully that’s not too cold.
**The idea was that I would not only grow the mother, but also wind up with a drinkable batch… then I would immediately start on the next batch with the mother, in a larger container (to make a larger batch).
**It’s been 6 days since I started the process and I see lots of activity going on, some on the surface, some on the bottom – not exactly sure what I’m looking at yet, but it doesn’t look like a nice mushroom disc growing yet, but I’m sure it will eventually. Right now it’s just a bunch of random clumps along the top with long strings hanging off… then some sort of sediment on the bottom (I guess).
Does this all sound like I’m on the right path here, or is there anything you’d say I should modify? I noticed your process is to grow the SCOBY first, THEN make a batch, so I’m not sure if this is really a good way to go or not. I’d hate to have to toss what I’ve made and just use the created SCOBY (considering I actually get a healthy one using this method), but if I have to, I have to…
Thanks! Can’t wait to start experimenting with all kinds of different batches….
So…just was putting this together this afternoon and when I opened my store bought bottle of GT’s plain kombucha, it already had a scoby in it!? A really thick one too…with a baby. It smelled very vinegary. The baby and all the kombucha went into the jar with the sweet tea. Any idea what that’s all about and whether this will work? Thank you!
Lana Long says
I think I will just order a Scoby, the one I have tried to create since last Friday has done nothing but to evaporate and it doesn’t look any different than when it started! Agrivated for sure!
My mushroom came from a jar of GT’s raw organic kombachu. It was several layers thick. I brewed tea; cooled it; added the juice and mushroom from the bottle of GT’s kombachu. Now, at day 6, my mushroom is thinner than it was, and the tea is not vinegary, nor is it sweet; but it is not like unsweetened tea. It has a small bit of carbonation. Am I going to lose my mushroom completely? It has never grown to the diameter of the gallon jar it is in.
Anita Chevalier says
Well I followed the instructions carefully, and nothing happened…but since it was sitting so innocuously on my kitchen counter I just let it be. Seriously–I think it has been a month, and it started to grow, and I thought it was mold at first. But a real live SCOBY grew, and thickened up. My five year old daughter was in denial–“No, that’s not Kombucha Mom. Do it again!”
Now I can try making Kombucha. Can I simply add the room temperature sweetened tea to the SCOBY culture with it’s original liquid? And if it really took that long to make the SCOBY, should I expect the fermentation process for the Kombucha to take twice as long as the ‘recommended’ time? -I live in Vancouver, and it’s been ‘cold’ here but is warming up.
[email protected] Hill Country Cook says
Started growing my SCOBY today!! Nervous b/c I used water from a Brita, instead of buying bottled water. Hope it works! 3 weeks, and I’ll let you know. Does it have to sit in the dark??
Dear Kristen, I have question. I made a SCOBY and made a couple of batches of kombucha. Recently I noticed the black spots at the bottom of the jar and the culture is always at the bottom of the jar and not floating on top like in your picture. I heard that mold can be an issue when home brewing KT. Can you please elaborate on safety and maintenance of a healthy culture?
Thank you in advance for reply.
I have an old bottle of braggs apple cider vinegar and I think it has a scoby in it. Is that possible? It looks the same as what’s in the kombucha I buy. Can I use this?
Hi Kristen! You can brew your own apple cider vinegar with your little scoby. I know it has been several months, no worries if your scoby is long gone, you can still brew your own ACV with raw vinegar and fresh apple cider. If you have a juicer, simply juice up 1 cup of apple cider and mix it in a jar with 1 cup of braggs raw apple cider. (If you have the scoby, plop it in!)
This following is reposted from “PickleMeToo.com:”
“Take 1 cup unfiltered ACV and add one cup apple cider. Cover with a coffee filter and stick in the back of your cupboard for about a month undisturbed. When you check on it a month later, you should see a mother floating on top covering the top of the jar or at the very least you should see a thin film. Give it a taste and if it’s strong enough, you can begin another batch. Now that you have the mother, this second batch will work up quicker.”
Thanks so much for the SCOBY info. I love kombuch and am attempting to make my own based on your blog. However, I started it over 3 weeks ago and its not going too well. It doesn’t have a full film on top, it has formed lumps around the edges of the top, and it also has stuff formed on the bottem of the jar. My house is right around 70 degrees all the time. Any ideas what going wrong?
I’m a novice at this. does it really taste good? it sounds disgusting but I need the benefits of it. I plan to try to buy some kombucha to start my scoby. I’d appreciate any advice and comments. thanks
Hi there! So, I didn’t really think about it and started growing a scoby from cranberry flavored kombucha. The scoby grew just fine, and looks healthy, but I’m eight days into my first batch of new kombucha and it just doesn’t taste vinegar-y enough. The scoby is growing and developing, but I can still taste pretty much all the sugar that I put in the brew ten days ago. Why is it that you can only use unflavored brew to grow a scoby with? Is my current batch of kombucha just not going to ferment as well?
In my large family, everyone is interested in this health drink, apart from using glass which is not big, is there no alternative to glass or can i use a big plastic container to prepare so that it would be enough for everyone?. Thanks for sharing.
Here we are two weeks and finally Results!!!! I started growing my mother with organic evaporated can juice, green tea and a store bought raw “Original” bottle of Kombucha. At 7 days, I thought it was gonna be a bust. There was such minimal growth that I figured I was gonna have to start anew. This morning is day 14 and I have a full milky white film varying in thickness, but at it’s thin-ist portion it is around an 1/8 of an inch, and has a touch of vinegar/kombucha to the nose HOORAY!!!! I am going to brew the second feeding liquid now, and am glad that my momma finally decided to grow. Thanks for the great blog. I will link to you when I start my post!
Question…I started growing a Scoby in May, and with all the school year end festivities, and now having all 6 kids home, its still sitting in my cupboard. The Scoby is now at least 1″ thick. Is that too thick, have I ruined it be leaving it for so long? Shall I cut it in half and make 2 batches?
Thanks for any advise you have.
Will it work with Green Tea and Honey?
Green tea can work with kombucha (I would just add at least a bag of black tea though), but honey is often not recommended (hard for the scoby to digest), especiall raw honey which has it’s own specif bacteria. Jun though, which is similar to kombucha, eats green tea and honey, although it does produce more alcohol and you will probably need to buy the scoby (I’ve never seen Jun).
Thanks for the pictures and directions! I made my own scoby with your instructions and I started my first batch of kombucha last night. It took me 12 days to grow a 1/4 inch scoby. Rather than waste the starter, I drank it! This is fun stuff. I used organic oolong tea with organic cane sugar and a bottle of organic GT Kombucha plain.
Interesting…. Area there any free San Antonio SCOBY extras, saw H.E.B. so you might be local.
Hi – Thanks for the info! I started a scoby months ago — I think it’s less than 1/4 inch thick, but there is no mold and it looks like is should but it hasn’t gotten thicker. Maybe because initially it was a bit too chilly in the house? It’s certainly warm now! Well, with no mold and looking like a scoby, even if it’s thin, do you think I can use it?
Thanks in advance cor your reply:)
Max Hollnander says
my mother began to form after a week on the surface but is now submerged in the water . is this normal?
i started it with a health food store bottle of kombucha.
i think i used more sugar then in the recipe but that shouldnt really mater.
Just wanted to say “thank you” for this post! I have been playing around with brewing kombucha this summer. Using your instructions I have grown my own scoby and brewed flavored kombucha per your instructions.
Mine has tasted every bit as good as the stuff from the store! Previously, this topic seems very difficult and mysterious. Thanks again!
Help! My SCOBY didn’t grow 🙁 I followed all the directions explicitly but all I ended up with is a yeasty liquid with a thin shiny skin on the top and 4 pinky fingernail sized white spots that are like thick discs. I have photos if they will help. I will try again but I am sad. Could it be that it is too hot? It’s been in the low upper 90’s & low 100’s.
I am so happy I found your website. I had been considering spending way too much money buying a scoby online and instead, I followed your instructions and after a week already have a beautiful scoby that is almost 1/4 inch already! Here’s a blog post of mine with pictures of my pretty SCOBY: http://www.thepaleoreview.com/2012/08/scoby-watch-week-1-report.html Do you think its ready to go or should I wait longer to brew?
I’ve been following your instructions on how to grow your own scoby and there is a good deal of activity but it is all on the bottom of the jar. Is that ok? The culture is about two weeks old and there is a solid film on the bottom and a couple of floaters on the top. Is it still useable or should I start over?
After making Kombucha which Scoby should be disgarded? the one on top or bottom?
ie is the bottom one the baby ? and is that the one to put with a new batch of tea?
Alexi Lund says
Thanks for sharing! I have been searching for an easy to follow recipe and you have added many of helpful hints. I am a Kumbucha newbie, so I think the next step is to make an attempt at making my very own scoby! After reading more about it on 20 something allergies, (http://www.20somethingallergies.com/kombucha/) I am feel like I am ready to accept the challenge! Thanks again for all your helpful advice.
Success, made a wonderful batch of Kombucha! Now I don’t know if I did the right thing, I put the batch that I just made with the mother into the fridge, to stop the fermentation process. My question is, is it ok that I put the mother in the fridge, or should I have kept that out in some of the kombucha liquid?
Will appreciate your feedback.
Robert Loy says
Followed your excellent instructions and now have a beautiful SCOBY. (Well, none of my kombucha-ignorant friends think it’s beautiful, so I guess it’s an eye-of-the-beholder kinda thing.) So, now I’m reading to make my first batch with this mother. The instructions say to use some kombucha from a previous batch as a starter. Can I use the tea in this SCOBY-growing batch? Is that kombucha? Can I drink it?
Julie Donaghy says
I’ve been spending about $30 a week at Whole Foods for my Kombucha….came across your article and just started my own SCOBY! I’m super jonsed about it. Thanks for the info.
I have fun with, cause I found exactly what I was having a look for.
You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye
Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama says
Thanks so much for this! I grew mine in a week (gotta love TX) and am so excited to move on to the next step. I think I understand your tutorial for the tea-if not I’ll be back for help 🙂 Who knew a person could get so excited over growing a scoby…I may or may not have kissed the jar seeing it grow nice & thick! Ha!
I picked up some kombucha to make the Scoby but i missed the part of no juices….i have one with just a mango puree. Is this all right?
I have been brewing kombucha for the past 5 years. What a joy it is to have and share this wonderful beverage.
thanks for sharing your recipe and method for making kombucha.
Tami Otis says
u seem to be in the know so I’m coming to you. I have a mother K which has sat dormant in my refrig since late summer. I tried making a batch and it just vinegared and turned totally slimmy. Is it dead or can it be revived? Perhaps I just need to buy a new one???
I have been making my own scobies with GT Kombucha. It seems to work great and it’s cheap…about $3 per bottle when it’s on sale.
I brew my kombucha in a gallon jar but only fill it half way. Seems to work better and faster. The only problem is that it takes twice as much real estate space. I usually have at least 4 gallon jars brewing at all times to keep up with my family’s demand.
I’m hoping you will respond, did you get the GT Kombucha that was flavored or not? I know it says to get unflavored but they didn’t have that. Will it work with flavored?
Hello, I just started growing a scoby about 2 weeks ago and the first week a scoby grew about 1/8 inch thick and fell to the bottom, and the second week the same happened again, is that right? or are they bad now? I am using Yerba Mate tea and table sugar, is green tea or black tea better?
I just grew my first scoby with the GT Original kombucha. Thanks, I am thrilled!!
A friend gave me a bottle of homemade Kombucha. This was 8 months ago. It has been sitting in my fridge and somehow became frozen…I suppose from being exposed to the coldest part of the fridge. Anyhow, Is it possible for me to safely use this bottle of Kombucha for my starter scoby?
Can you drink the kombucha after you grow your SCOBY in it?
Emily Lubcke says
i had been trying to grow a GT scoby for several weeks before you updated this post. i waited patiently for that long, so i was going to use it, dangit! i’m on only my second batch of kombucha from that culture; it takes so long to brew (a month) and still so sweet! just started another scoby from a local brewer in Madison, WI and after just a few days, there’s a healthy baby on top.
George and Anna says
Thanks for this site, very informative! We’re really new at this, bought a SCOBY on line, and followed the directions to make the tea. Now five weeks later it is good and healthy looking, 1/2 inch to one inch thick on the top of the gallon jar. (House temp is around 70 degrees.) Can it be cut up and brewed into tea using multiple smaller jars? Thanks again for all the wonderful posts and info here!
George and Anna says
P.S. Don’t see any “babies’, just the one big healthy blob across the top from the “mother” and the thick white film that grew on top of her!
This method worked great for me. I used a bottle of Tonica brand kombucha and plain sweetened orange pekoe tea. In exactly 1 week, I’ve got a beautiful 1/3″ thick SCOBY.
Owen Einarson says
I thank you for this great article I tried this stuff for the first time a few months back and getting past the smell was the easy part because the taste and the feelings I got just from drinking this healing elixir was awesome nice to have someone write about making this aspect to make your own SCOBY to get things started; always love to save some cash. God Bless and to much Success in your life.
Though this method is no longer recommended or guaranteed to work, I thought I would give it a shot before shelling out the $20+ to buy a SCOBY online. Much to my surprise, it actually worked!! I used G.T.s organic to make the SCOBY. It took awhile but with much patience, I was able to grow a beautiful mama. Thanks!
I searched out and found a bottle of the originalGT’s Classic Kombucha, a handful of stores sell it in Los Angeles. Worked great to grow a scoby, in short amount of time as well. Only hitch is you have to be over 21 to buy it, and you may not find a store that sells it unless you live in a large city.
Thanks for all the info. I live in Ontario, Canada and I bought GT’s Raw Original Kombucha in a local health store. Added some sweetened green tea and put it by the water heater. Hope it will grow into a nice SCOBY.
Love this stuff, but it’s very pricey. I’m glad there are people who share recipes for healthy things online 🙂
Mrs. D says
Actually, once you go down the SCOBY path, it is difficult to slow down the Mother process, and you wind up with more SCOBIES than you know what do to with them. For some reason, here in my parts of the Midwest, you cannot give them away. Folks would rather buy the ready made than make their own. I would like some suggestions as to what to do with the older SCOBIES besides tossing them out. And God forbid, never toss down the old septic tack! I have tried burying them, using them in compost, you get the idea. Any suggestions?
Just to put in my two cents- making a SCOBY this way still works, despite the warning at the top of this page. Bought two bottle of GT Raw Original two weeks ago when Whole Foods Detroit opened up, both bottles were about 1 month from expiration. I combined the best looking floaties from both bottles (16 oz total) in a mason jar along with 1 cup of 2 tablespoons of organic sugar. Covered with a napkin and rubber band, put in the closet, and now two weeks later I have a 1/4 inch SCOBY. 😀
@Chris – was the GT’s you bought “Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha”? I’m a bit nervous with mine as I’ve read that the “enlightened” stuff is weaker than the original formulation. Guess I’ll have to wait two weeks and see!
Kelli Yanez says
I have babies I am willing to give away- contact me- at my e mail address- I prefer pick up but I will mail as long as you pay the shipping-
I have been brewing kombucha for two years, is it ok for the pregnant woman drink it?
Thank you and more power
FYI I used a raw store bought bottle of booch an am thrilled to say it grew a scoby. From that scoby I have started a continuous brew. jug and am on my 4th batch of deliceous home brew with a nice big, thick healthy organic scoby. I am in Canada….maybe the stores there are not selling raw
I started to grow my own scoby and am wondering if it is ok that i left the stuff floating around in my store bought kombucha in the jar that im growing my scoby in?
“A kombucha SCOBY (also known as a starter culture, mother, mushroom, etc.) is a necessary component if you wish to make kombucha tea. There are generally three ways to obtain a SCOBY;
Get one from an acquaintance,
Purchase one from a reputable source or
Grow a scoby from a bottle of raw kombucha tea.”
There appears to be a fourth way: fill an insulated mug with tea and a little lemon; bring to school and lose there for about three months; find in a corner of an overheated classroom; open to discover a gelatinous mass which resembles a jellyfish; set free…
This method is unlikely to produce kombucha tea but there could be a feral SCOBY on the loose. Hope it’s not angry.
Diane B. says
I was wondering if it’s possible to use stevia to sweeten the tea for the scoby??
no, it needs to be a real sugar
Hello , my scooby is complete and looking fabulous , how long can i leave it in it original jar before brewing with it ? I just wanted to make sure there wasnt any sort of spoiling time . thank you please email me this answer if possible
are you able to put the jar outside to be in warmer temps?
I grew from this method a few years back after the kombucha scare of 2010 and it worked just fine but fell off keeping up with it after a about a year. Wanting to get a new batch going I came back to your website. I had already bought the new kombucha for making the SCOBY and was torn on drinking it then or giving it a shot. I bought locally made Buddhas Brew original (same as my first batch) with hopes that it wasn’t affected as much as the more mainstream beverages. & I was correct in 2 1/2 weeks i had a great looking SCOBY.
So my recommendation would be if you choose to go this method definitely try and source a locally made product.
I’m successfully growing a scoby from store bought kombucha thanks to your tutorial! I chose a local kombucha (called CommuniTea I think) that required ID to buy because of the tiny alcohol content. So I think there are still bottled kombuchas out there that will work. I’m just waiting a little longer for the scoby to thicken andI’ll be starting my first batch – yay! Thanks so much for the tutorial.
When I made Kombucha I would take eight bags of organic green tea with lemon put them in a gallon jar with spring water, set it outside in the sun until you had sun tea (2-4 hrs). Then I would take the teabags out add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup white sugar mix until sugar is dissolved and add the mother. Cover with paper towel secured by rubber band around the top of the jar, set above the refrigerator in a dark place and watch it grow, mine took from 7 to 10 days and it was ready! My mother had four cancers 2 breast cancers, Esophagul and the last was Bile Duct which led to pancreatic cancer and I gave her Kombucha and Essiac Tea, 3 times a day, I had my mother longer than I thought I ever wanted xoxo
I tried this about 4 days ago not knowing about the reformulation. So I ordered a scoby from someone on CL. I left my sample alone to see if anything would happen.
I checked today, about 4-5 days later and wouldn’t you know.. there’s a very thin opaque/clear layer growing on top with stringers coming down from it!
This was made from about 1/3 bottle of GT citrus kombucha and some lipton orange tea I had laying around. Go figure. 🙂
Thank you! I know it said “not recommended anymore” but…I fell in love with kombucha in Cali, just moved back to Illinois, and guess what, the people in this area hardly know what it is…. I had expected as much and brought a couple bottles with me, the last of which had a wonderful sludge at the bottom, so i gave it a go, and now have a beautiful scoby! Im going to start my first batch today!
I saw this question 3-4 times above, but unanswered.
Does anyone know what to do with the liquid the scoby was grown in?
I believe it is good to drink
you are suppose to drink the tea. that is the whole point
It will be too vinegary to drink but you use a cup of it to make your first batch of kombucha.
Donna D. says
Hello. Thanks for this info. I buy my kombucha from a farmer’s market here, but it is getting to be far too expensive. I know that I can get a scoby from the guy who makes it, but I would like to start sooner rather than later and I just bought a fresh bottle. Anyway, my question is, after I use this process to grow a scoby, is the resulting liquid kombucha or does this just make the scoby? In other words, what do I do with this liquid and can it be used to start another batch of kombucha? Thanks.
Thank you for your awesome instructions and pictures. I have a question, my scoby begins to form its evenly all around but then it sinks and another begins to grow. This has happened four times, so I have four very thin scobys in the same jar right now. What’s happening and what do I do? Thanks so much in advance and God bless you 🙂
That’s completely normal. After a while, they will get bigger. The only problem is figuring out what to do with so many new thing babies.
Just never, ever, flush it down the drain. Very bad. They’ll grow in the traps.
I have made scobys successfully more than once with store bought kt. To those who want to know what to do with the liquid, you are supposed to add about a cup of it to your new batch along with your scoby (save a cup from each batch going forward to put in each new batch you brew). With the other remaining liquid, why not use it to grow another new mother scoby? You can never have too many!
I have been drinking Kombucha for over 20 years and recently had an issue with my mushroom. I remember in the old days when I first started doing this that mushrooms were shared and not made for profit. I am really disappointed that people are not sharing the health anymore. I refuse to pay for this. It just seems wrong.
I was looking into fermenting my own vegetables and recipes suggest using whey or a starter. I was wondering if I could use some of my homemade kombucha or would I put a scoby on top of the vegetables as a ‘lid’.
Thank you for any help
Could you email a reply to me?
It’s 2014 and I used a bottle of GTs Original from a store that had newest dates on them. It took a month of leaving it alone but it finally grew. FYI
Same thing happened here. We left it for 3 months, and it worked fine. 🙂
I ordered a bottle of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar online and it arrived with a broken cap. I had it sitting for 3 weeks and noticed a scoby starting on the top. The bottle neck is too thin to get it out so I just shook it up and used it. Do you think I would be able to make kombucha from that scoby though?
HI — I believe what you have there is a vinegar mother. You can now make your “real” vinegar. A great thing to have, they cost money to buy!
Hi — I just wanted to let you know that the old way does work, after a fashion.
We tried it back in August 2013, using all of the tea in two bottles. Nothing seemed to happen, so we just left it.
Then we had a medical emergency the first week of September, and didn’t get back home for three months. When we got home, we had a inch thick scooby growing in our tea. We’ve changed it out twice more since, and now have more than one big, healthy mother.
It just takes longer, I guess?
Thanks — Teresa
Today marks three weeks since I started my own SCOBY using store bought kombucha tea, and it is ready to start a new batch…. My “secrets”:
I buy two bottles (I use Synergy brand: raw/original)
I search the store’s inventory for the bottles with the most solids in the bottom.
I keep the jar at the top of my (heated) basement steps. It is the warmest spot in the house right now…
Good luck – I bought a scoby from Cutltures for Health and ended up throwing it out. This was far cheaper and a lot more fun!
I’m new to scoby growth and bought a bottle of GT for my mom to drink. She drank almost all of it and we forgot to refrigerate it. It’s been sitting on my compute desk for 2 weeks and I looked inside the bottle and there is a half formed scoby in the bottle which is sealed. There is no air getting in. Is this normal? It’s definitely a scoby which is ironic because I bought a scoby mother and baby today along with starter tea from a local mama.
Hi Bought a scoby online it is sealed and also had some tea in it so it didn’t dry out, but before I could make it we had to go away and now my scoby in the bag is under pressure is it still ok to use or should I trow it out??
So I think I have a mother … I have been super busy the last few weeks & left a jar of the store bought kombusha (mango flavored) on my dresser. I drank most of it; only about an inch or two was left- the lid is in tight.
I don’t see any mold and it’s about 1/2in think
Would you say it’s safe to use? I drank out the jar.
I wanted to let you know that I was able to easily grow a scoby 2 weeks ago using Organic Raw Kombucha that you can pick up at any Whole Foods. It was the original formula. I wish everyone the same luck I had!
I did this, too! organic raw kombucha from Earth Fare Grocery-made a SCOBY in 3 weeks!
I have a gluten free sourdough starter I added some Kombucha to it a few times and now a Scoby keeps forming on top of it. I am wondering if this will be good to use for making Kombucha. Actually I am in the process of experimenting with this and have a small batch going now. What are you thoughts on this.
Rose hollands says
I was womndering if the benefits of the probiotics is better the longer the brew is left. If you prefer the kombucha sweeter will the probiotic benefits be reduced. Can you use apple cider vinegar with the mother to make enough liquid for a starter brew.
How big is the bottle of Kambucha when you are making your own skoby?
I live in Ingleside. Does anyone near me make kombucha and have a spare scoby. Just tried my first bottle and now would like to make my own kombucha tea. Thanks
Dian Hodge says
Ingleside is in South Texas.
I did this and let it sit…. it is a half inch thick and looks good BUT it is sinking now instead of staying on top. Did I leave it too long? Is it no good?
I did this too and when I disturbed my jar I was growing my scoby in it sank. It’s 1/4″ thick but I don’t know if it’s strong enough to go ahead and brew or if I should let it sit longer and see if it floats back up (I’ve got another scoby that initially sank during brewing but floated back up eventually).
Martha Case says
I found your website and Hannah’s at about the same time and since I’m impatient, I decided to try to grow my own scoby. I bought a bottle of GTS plain, unflavored, raw. Kombucha.
I made some sweet tea, mixed it with the bottled Kombucha and placed it on my home made seed warming tray and left it quite undisturbed. As I watched but didn’t touch, white patches appeared and grew. after about 3 weeks I have a beautiful. 1/4 inch, firm white scoby with bis of yeast on the underside. I am very excited about this success and am hoping it will produce healthy Kombucha tea.
But I have one question, what do I do with the original scoby starter liquid? Is it alright to drink (I tried it and it is quite tart and vinegary) or should I just discard it.
Thanks for a great article
Martha Case a very new kombucha brewer
Can kombucha tea be made with raw honey instead of sugar?
Thanks for leaving this post up, despite the new regulations. I got some kombucha from a friend (who didn’t have a Scooby to share at the time), and this post came in handy for me.
Colleen Young says
What is the reasoning of not using flavored Kombucha? I’m trying to start mine with ginger flavored raw Kombucha. It is taking a long time!
HELP! I received a scoby from my sister in law and last night attempted to make a batch of tea. I followed the direction for 1 quart, but mis read her instructions. I used 2/3 cup hot water instead of 2-3 cups. Do I add more water today, or just start over?
john clayton says
I dislodge three baby scobys in my 1 gallon brew jar, two because I had to moved and then back and the other time was gingerly putting as straw way to the side of the scoby – tasting tartness.
QUESTION for a first batch, and also for a stallion gallon jar properly mixed, how many is too many?
is there an order of face-up, how new and older or starter scobys show be arranged.
More coming. A 58 year old man, making kombucha for the first time. I’m very excited. Today is week two and between two jars I have 9 scobys – Perfect like a thick crepe are then new ones 🙂
I’m set with the location, we made our own brew station. She has a jar with a natural brown coffee filter and I have the white. We each hope to net 5-6 wired capped bottles. We’ve got our flavor choices, More to follow
Ken Walker says
Build your own “Kombucha Oven” in an insulated cooler that is big enough to easily handle the size of jar that you will be using for brewing your KT. Also, you might want your cooler a little bigger so you can keep your coconut oil in there so it will stay in a liquid state, which will happen at 75* F to 80* F. If your ‘oven’ is big enough, you can also ferment veggies (think sauerkraut) at the same time also. I stood mine up on one end so the door will swing open to one side (the left side hinge works best for me, plus, the drain hole in the cooler will then be on top which will make it easier to run the electrical wire down inside where you will have to connect it to some form of heater. I use a coffee mug heater – the kind you can leave on your desk to keep your regular coffee/tea hot.). I drilled a slightly smaller hole than the size of the thermometer probe that I used ($5 or so at Walmart) and placed it about 3-4″ down from the top and about 2″ in from the front on the left side. Then I pushed the sensor rod from the thermometer into this slightly smaller hole so the thermometer won’t fall out. I cut off the wiring of my warmer about a foot over the length of my cooler so I could thread the exposed wiring up through the drain of the cooler (this should be located at the top of the cooler if it is standing on it’s end). Pull the wiring through the drain hole just so the warmer is just resting on the bottom of the cooler. Make a “gentle” knot in the wire that is then sticking from the cooler so the warmer will stay toward the bottom and along the back wall of the ‘oven’. Connect an adjustable switch to the open wiring that is outside the box, then reconnect the plug to the other end of the switch. SAFETY NOTICE: Use a 15-amp GFI (ground fault interrupter–so you don’t get a nasty shock or burn your house down if there is an electrical problem. If you are not competent enough to do these electrical connections correctly/safely then you should get someone that is to do it for you) plug-in. Plug the GFI in to your normal house plug-in, THEN you can plug the wiring from the heater into it. Make sure the ‘oven’ door is closed and move your adjustable switch so it is only about 1/3 on. Check the thermometer temperature about every hour and adjust the switch until you get a steady reading of about 80* F. Your ‘oven’ is ready to use at this point and will give you more consistency in time/flavor of your KT or fermented veggies.
I just found a kombucha growing in my apple cider vinegar! I think I used the same funnel. I had been bottling the kombucha and then used it to put vinegar in my vinegar bottle. A few days later I went to use it and there it was, growing in a sealed bottled ! I’m sure I cleaned the funnel! Maybe not as well as I thought. Does this mean I have super healthy vinegar ?!??
My kitchen is pretty cold. What sort of temperature should I try to keep it at?
Jim Warnsley says
I a user of kombucha for almost twenty years off and on when I started it popular to pass the scoby to someone for free and you could get lots of info on the internet now to see it being sold seems funny being about a week from being 79 years young still have some grey hairs I guess Ill say fifty percent grey could work if I could find a job but still work flea markets keeping busy.
Nancy Hunter says
Help leaders does out have to be black tea? It’s there an alternative to black tea?
If you get the dark bottle raw organic gt kombucha it still works!! They dont add the GBI to it! You just have to be 21 to buy the dark bottles 🙂
Hi. Thank you for this post. I am new to this blog and to the world of Kombucha making. I recenbtly did an experiment. I bought two bottles of store bought Kombucha (one plain and one ginger flavoured) and tried growing a SCOBY from both. After 2 weeks i have a thin but sturdy looking brownish yellow film on he 1.8 litre jar where I added sweet tea and half the bottle of ginger kombucha and on the smaller jar where i added sweet tea and the raw kombucha there is absolutely nothing. Also, on the one with the developing film at the top, there also seems to be quite a lot of sediment at the bottom of the jar, it almost looks like there might be another SCOBY developing there, or at least a lot of loose mother material.
I have always read that we should never try to grow a SCOBY from flavoured kombucha but no article I have read explains the reasons why. Do you happen to know why it is not advised? Do you think I can use this developing SCOBY to make Kombucha straight away or should I leave it there maybe another week or two for it to develop further? And could the first batch I make after this be drunk already or should I brew a few batches first?
Sorry, I forgot to mention that the ginger kombucha I used already had quite a bit of mother in it and it had a pretty strong, acidy flavour and smell to it, which is why I chose to use that. It also smelled smilar to when I have made rejuvelac in the past, which is another fermented drink, so I thought it had some promise. Oh, and I am writing from Spain 🙂
Thanks again for your time and help.
Reviewing this post is it safe to use black tea and bottle of kombucha to grow scone I am bit confused at beginning of post it says this technique not advised please comment thanks
Harmon Payne says
I enjoyed your article on making Scoby. I guess I was one of the lucky one’s . I started my Scoby from a bought bootle of Kombucha. After about 5 days it’s about 1/8 of and inch thick. My question is can more sugar be add to my Soby to thicken it? Or will it continue to thicken on its own?
On another subject my ancestor were from an isolated area of West Virginia where the pickled corn on the cob. It has a very interesting taste. They would keep it for months in the brine. Since obviously air conditioning wasn’t available., they pickled many vegetables. Apples and potato’s they would dig a hole in the ground and using straw, layer them to be used later. They still string up field beans, they remind me of a small green bean, they were hang up to dry. Then soaked and mixed with dry pinto beans to flavor them with a kinda of smoky taste.
Oh…the moonshine wasn’t bad either:))))))
Greig McKellar says
What is this “great Kombucha reformulation of 2010” you’re talking about? Kambucha shouldn’t be pasteurized or heat treated esp if it’s advertized as raw and fresh, organic etc? This would be like starting a batch of beer by starting a yeast starter from some unfiltered secondary fermented say Belgian beer! Drink most of the good stuff, add a bottle of malt extract to the dregs, cover -not plug your bottle and leave in a warm dark place for a couple days and voila!
If indeed this is how we can create our own scvoby, please enlighten me on how long I should wait for this to start?
We are Canadian, south central Ontario so ordering a xcobey via ebay or amazon etc from stateside can quickly become not so cheap an endeavour! How to start a scobey and how long etc to let a starter sit etc etc??
‘What can you tell me
Andrea kerr says
We started a scoby almost 2 weeks ago and it is beginning to grow. Do we need to feed it or just leave it? This is our 1st attempt at starting one on our own and we aren’t 100% sure!
Thanks for replying.
I live in Ecuador and cannot find a skoby or any kombucha, it is not sold here. I want to make my own from scratch without a starter like kombucha or skoby. How do I make a skoby with out these ingredients? I have scowered the web and cannot find anything that doesn’t use already made kombucha or a skoby.
Hi I have more of a question than a comment. I’m a 1st time kombucha maker & I didn’t realize that a kind of skin forms on the top. So after 8 days the instructions said I could start to sample. When I did put my spoon in( non-metal) I touched the film or skin formed on top. The next day I noticed it had sunk & my scoby had started to rise back to the top, now there is a blob floating in my kombucha. Should I take this out ? is everything ok? is this just another scoby growing? I know so many questions , any answers would be greatly appreciated Thank you
This recipe for making scoby doesn’t make sense, in the recipe you mention you need kambucha,…but you need scoby to make kambucha…so what’s the recipe for making scoby from scratch, without the kambucha you’re supposed to be making with the scoby you’re trying to make? You understand? You understand that having a recipe for making scoby that’s made to make kambucha doesn’t make sense when kambucha is in the recipe?
The liquid that is used to make a SCOBY seems to me to be finished Kombucha.
Should this be thrown out or can it be used?