How to Make Kombucha: Kombucha SCOBY Recipe | picklesnhoney.com #kombucha #scoby #diy #recipe #drink

How to Make Kombucha: Growing a SCOBY

Before you decide to grow your own kombucha SCOBY, please read my more recent how to make kombucha post to learn why I now recommend purchasing a Brew Now Kit from Kombucha Kamp.

Below is my original “How to Make a Kombucha SCOBY” recipe:

I’ve mentioned it several times on the blog before, but I absolutely love kombucha. Although I am not a fan of beer (unless it’s pumpkin, blueberry, or basically tastes like juice), there’s something about the slightly fizzy, acidic flavor of kombucha that I crave. Unfortunately, regularly drinking it sets me back close to $4/bottle and that adds up really fast. So, like my previous Starbucks habit, I’ve curbed it to a couple of times a month.

How to Make Kombucha: Kombucha SCOBY Recipe | picklesnhoney.com #kombucha #scoby #diy #recipe #drink

For the last few months, I’ve been really interested in learning how to make kombucha. The process seemed simple enough, and to be honest — part of me kind of likes the idea of being “that girl” who brews her own kombucha. It one-ups the hippiness factor of things like drinking green juice, eating chia seeds, and using coconut oil as a moisturizer. The kombucha recipe I’m sharing below is what’s worked well for me. Don’t be deterred by the longer-than-usual instructions; I’ve made them intentionally detailed so you’ll know exactly what to do, and it’s actually very easy, I promise!

Next: Learn how to use your kombucha SCOBY to brew your first batch!

How to Make Kombucha: Kombucha SCOBY Recipe | picklesnhoney.com #kombucha #scoby #diy #recipe #drink

How to Make a Kombucha SCOBY
Recipe Type: Drinks
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
Author: Amanda Maguire
Serves: 1 kombucha scoby
A step-by-step recipe for how to make a kombucha SCOBY at home. Don’t be deterred by the longer-than-usual instructions; this kombucha scoby recipe is actually very easy!
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle of raw plain kombucha (I used GT brand)
  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar (I used raw turbinado)
  • 3 bags of organic green or black tea (or 3 tablespoons of looseleaf tea)
  • 1 quart glass jar
  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • clean cloth or paper towels
  • a rubber band
Instructions
  1. Purchase a bottle of raw, plain kombucha with lots of yeast floating at the bottom (those are the weird strands that are a little scary to drink, but the more the merrier in this case). I like the GT Organic Raw Kombucha that you can find at Whole Foods and other health food stores.
  2. Pour all but 1 cup of the kombucha into a glass – you only need that bottom cup with all of the strings of yeast to grow your scoby. The rest you can drink!
  3. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Turn off the stove and add 1 bag of organic green or black tea (or 1 tablespoon of loose leaf tea). Cover the saucepan to prevent the mixture from evaporating and allow it to come to room temperature. This will take some time, but it’s important that the mixture has cooled before moving on to the next step or you’ll kill all that good bacteria in the bottled kombucha.
  4. Once the water/sugar/tea mixture has cooled to room temperature, remove the tea bag and pour the mixture into a large glass jar (I used a 1 quart Ball jar). Add to it the 1 cup of reserved kombucha.
  5. Cover the top of the jar with a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels and secure it with a rubber band. This will keep fruit flies and other bugs out, while still allowing air to circulate.
  6. Place the jar in a warm, dark spot (I chose the top, back shelf in my pantry) where it won’t be disturbed, and allow it to to sit for about 7 days before taking a peek. You should see a thin, cloudy-looking film growing over the top of the mixture—this is good! It’s the baby scoby that will grow into “the mother” that you’ll be using to brew your kombucha.
  7. Once the film has grown to be about 1/8th of an inch thick, you’ll need to feed it again. This time, boil 4 cups of water, add 1/3 cup of sugar to the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Turn off the stove and add 2 bags of organic green or black tea (or 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea). Feel free to use a mixture of green and black tea too. Cover the saucepan to prevent the mixture from evaporating and allow it to come to room temperature. Again, this will take some time, but it’s important that the mixture has cooled before moving on to the next step.
  8. Once cooled, remove the tea bags and transfer the mixture to a large glass jar (I switched from a Ball jar to a 1 gallon jar). Add to it the contents of the original 1 quart jar (all of the kombucha liquid and the baby scoby). Again, cover the top of the jar with a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels and secure it with a rubber band. Return it to the warm, dark spot for another week and a half to 2 weeks. Once the scoby is 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick, it’s ready to make your first batch of kombucha!
Notes
If at any point during the process you notice green mold forming in the mixture, toss it and start over. This can happen when the liquid isn’t acidic enough, which is why it’s so important to add that full cup of the bottled kombucha.
The time it takes for the baby SCOBY to thicken is very much dependent on environmental factors and it’s not an exact science. If you find, for example, that the SCOBY reaches 1/8th an inch thickness at 5 days instead of 7, go ahead and move on to the next step.

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  1. I am super impressed that you can make this at home and never even thought to try it. The first time I had it I was like WOAH then it grew on me.

    1. Amanda says

      I know what you mean – it wasn’t quite love at first sip for me either. haha

    2. Doe says

      Good Morning, I just finished brewing my first batch and have some questions. In addition to the 2 SCOBY there was a top rubbery layer and I am not sure what that is. I stored the 2 SCOBYs with some Kombuch in the bag. How do I store the completed Kombucha and how soon can I start another one? I have heard so many wonderful things about it that I just had to start one. I appreciate any help I can get on this new journey I am on. Thanks so much.

      1. Hi Doe! Congrats on brewing your first batch of kombucha! The top rubbery layer is a new baby SCOBY. One will form on top every time you brew a new batch. To brew your next batch, you would follow the same instructions as your first batch (I outline them in this post). If you’ve already done the second fermentation with your completed kombucha (bottled it and added fruit if you’re going that route), you can store it in your fridge until you’re ready to enjoy it. Hope this helps!

      2. Doe says

        Thanks for your quick Response Amanda. Once I finish brewing how important is it to refrigerate it immediately. Also I had 3 layers of SCOBY one large lighter one on top and two smaller ones beneath is that normal?

      3. No Problem! There’s no hard rule on how quickly to refrigerate your kombucha. If you don’t refrigerate it, it will continue to ferment and become less sweet/more vinegar-y. It’s really just a matter of personal taste preference.

        3 layers of SCOBY can also be normal. It’s possible when you were checking it, you moved the top baby SCOBY and a new one formed, or it sank on its own and a new one formed. Regardless, it’s a-okay. 🙂 A new baby SCOBY will always form at the very top of the liquid.

      4. Doe says

        One more question Amanda, it is normal for the baby SCOBY to be a different color? Mine is quite a bit lighter. Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with me, have a wonderful day.

      5. Yes, that’s normal. The older SCOBYs get stained by the tea over time, which turns them a darker color.

    3. Mariel says

      thank you so much for posting this! I am sharing this site on fb for a friend. so grateful.

  2. Kait says

    True story: for some reason, kombucha intimidates me! I don’t know what it is but something about drinking an “effervescent tea-based beverage” made with bacteria + yeast freaks me out. Says the girl who loves visualizing the 15 billion probitiotics chomping away at bad stuff in her belly + loves beer. Sometimes I fail to understand myself!

    1. Amanda says

      I get it. If I think about it too much, it kind of freaks me out. And the scoby is gross – there’s just no way around that. I’m working on a batch of blueberry kombucha and it’s much less intimidating than looking at it plain (the color is much more appealing). Also, you can use a cheesecloth to strain out the yeast before you drink it if that really bothers you. 🙂

      1. Kait says

        Glad to know you someone does! Its funny because I absolutely LOVE unfiltered beers (yuuuum) so I feel like kombucha would be right up my alley. I literally picked up and put down a bottle like 15 times at WF yesterday before I was like, “Not today!” I’ll do it eventually (just like with, you know, green smoothies, chia seeds, etc) but will take my sweet time getting there!

        PS do you moisturize your whole body with coconut oil?

      2. Amanda says

        I like to make a body scrub out of raw turbinado sugar and coconut oil and then use that in the shower, and I’ll use coconut oil on my hands. I like to use jojoba oil on my face. It works well, and I’m paranoid the coconut oil might make me break out. I’ve heard it’s great in place of eye cream though.

      3. Kait says

        Ooooh that sounds sensational. Adding it to the must-try list. I’m paranoid about using any oil on my combination skin… but I will have to add coconut for eye cream. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

      4. Becky says

        coconut oil works well for me as an eye make-up remover; even waterproof mascara – just try not to get it in your eyes – like all removers.

  3. I drink green juice, (sometimes) eat chia seeds, moisturize with coconut oil, anddd have my own kombucha abrewin right now! I’m almost ready to drink it… I tried it yesterday but it had a terrible after taste (not the bitter fermented taste that I love), so I’m waiting another week to give it a try!

    1. Amanda says

      Fun! I think I might buy a bottle of the GT stuff just so I can do a taste comparison. I finally tried mine yesterday and it tasted pretty good to me, but a taste test would be fun. Now I’m trying to work on getting it to be more fizzy – apparently that takes place during the 1-3 days that you let it ferment after you bottle it.

  4. yay totally going to start my own brew. it’s just too much to buy at the store. i’ve been using coconut oil + baking soda as a deodorant so i might as well use it as moisturizer too! thanks for all the hippy ideas 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      Ha! I was just talking to someone about wanting to try making my own deodorant! What recipe are you using?

      1. i’m not really using a recipe, just a dab of coconut oil rubbed in my pits and then I use an old blush brush to baking soda it up 🙂 but I’ve been looking for something more travel and gift friendly, I mean who wouldn’t want a homemade deodorant gift. I found this recipe, http://www.howaboutorange.blogspot.com/search?q=deodorant&x=0&y=0 let me know if you like it!

      2. Amanda says

        That recipe sounds easy enough. I think I’ll give it a try when my deodorant runs out. Thanks!

      3. N Hamilton says

        I put coconut oil on a cotton ball and sprinkled on baking soda for DEODORANT
        I have used coconut oil with rosehip oil for ALL OVER AFTER BATH MOISTURIZER for a year or so,
        as well as with baking soda for TOOTH PASTE.

      4. Amanda says

        I started making my own deodorant – coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and usually peppermint essential oil. It’s awesome! I was actually just thinking about making our toothpaste too. Thanks for the idea!

  5. Ewww, the scooby! I love kombucha but I’m just not sure I can do the whole scooby thing. haha

    1. and maybe I should try spelling it correctly next time before bad mouthing it. *scoby*

      1. Amanda says

        hahaha I like “scooby” better anyway! Maybe that’ll be its nickname.

        It’s totally gross when I think about it, but it’s also kind of cool in a science experiment sort of way. I just try not to picture it when I’m drinking the kombucha. 😉

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! I love kombucha but have been hearing sketchy things about the products on the market. I’ve been dying to make my own but it seemed so intimidating! Also, I never liked beer either (unless I’m super thirsty), but kombucha just has something about it!

    1. Amanda says

      I’m glad you found the post helpful! It’s really not a very complicated process, despite the lengthy instructions. Just a lot of waiting around for the first couple of weeks. 🙂

  7. YES! I need to do this, like now. I compare my Kombucha habit to Starbucks too (except it’s healthier…) I do stretch out a bottle for 2 days though…
    One of the stores by me had Synergy on sale for $2.89 a bottle yesterday, so I stocked up!
    I hope I actually try this out… can’t wait to see how yours turns out!!

    1. Amanda says

      Under $3/bottle?! That’s awesome! I’ve been drinking my first batch over the last couple of days, and while I need to work on getting it to be more fizzy, I think it rivals the store-bought stuff. I’m looking forward to playing around with different flavors!

  8. Rhona says

    Wow, looks interesting! I am sure it is delicious on a hot day. I can imagine a cool glass in my hand as I sit on the balcony. 🙂
    Like you I am not a big beer lover. I can only stomach strawberry or fruit beers also. When I was in Germany, I almost died as my friends there insisted that I drink my steins of biers!! Gosh, I was gagging my entire time there. 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      I had a similar experience when I visited Prague. 🙂

    2. Becky says

      I bet you would like the Framboise Lambic – it’s a raspberry beer, but it’s fizzy and light – almost like a sparkling wine, but technically it’s a beer..but like the Kombucha, more expensive than your everyday beverage, or beer.

      1. Amanda says

        That sounds really good, actually! I’ll have to be on the lookout for it.

  9. rochelle says

    Do you have to use the plain to grow one? I can only find the gingerade in my area!

    1. Amanda says

      As far as I know, you have to use the plain kombucha, and it has to be raw as well. I’m going to be doing a review of a SCOBY from KombuchaKamp.com in the next few weeks, as Hannah (who is a kombucha guru!) brought it to my attention that there can be problems with growing your own since the commercially available brands have been reformulated. Here’s a link to the article for more info on potential problems and what to look for: http://www.kombuchakamp.com/2011/10/growing-a-kombucha-culture-pitfalls-and-problems-since-the-reformulation.html

      1. Alex says

        I could not find plain. So I am trying two flavors, to double my chances. I figure the flavor will dilute enough (If it grows) by the time I’m making the final product. Tried the ginger and the lavender, both seemed mild enough to blend with whatever flavors I might want later.
        A week in, both have a nice film! Not quite 1/8″ yet, but almost all the way across. The ginger had the most yeast and got a head start. But the lavender has passed it now.
        I love your suggestion to feed it again. My gut was telling me it would be hungry, but the other sites didn’t suggest that.

  10. rochelle says

    So if i had the plain GT brand like you did above does the process work? or would you not reccomend it at all?

    1. Amanda says

      I had no problems growing a SCOBY using the plain GT kombucha, and I’ve been happy with the finished product in terms of flavor. Where it gets a little fuzzy is that the article suggests that brewing from the reformulated bottled kombucha (the GT brand, in my case) may result in a weaker kombucha in comparison to say, a SCOBY that was produced from non-reformulated tea (for example, the SCOBYs that Hannah sells on KombuchaKamp.com, which I believe she grew something like 8 years ago). I’m planning on brewing a batch using one of Hannah’s SCOBYs in the next couple of weeks, and then I’m going to do a taste-test to see if there’s a noticeable difference between the two, and I’ll of course report back on the results. I personally think that growing my own SCOBY has been worthwhile, but I’m curious to find out if it’s even better when I brew from one that’s not from the GT brand. 🙂

  11. Annette says

    Thanks for the great enthusiasm and recipe—into my 4th day of letting it “sit”, so can’t wait to taste it!!! I wanted to add that I use organic Argan Oil (Saadia), on my OILY skin, and you know, it actually prevents my skin from getting TOO OILY and with flareups!!! I use it in the morning after I shower/wash my face, and also at night. The inflammation around my chin (adult acne) seems to respond to it very well I might add! Another tidbit, I use grapefruit seed extract (antimicrobial) and Tom’s natural deordorant (without aluminum) and organic baking soda—really does keep the odor and wetness at bay! I’m gonna try the coconut oil instead of Tom’s, and also the one recipe that was given above—THANKS LADIES!!! You gals ROCK! 😀

    1. Amanda says

      I’ve heard great things about Argan oil! I’m currently using jojoba oil as a moisturizer on my face, and thinking I may try replacing my face wash (Jason Apricot Scrubble) with a jojoba/cane sugar scrub. I’d love to simplify my skincare routine – less products and time!

      1. Annette says

        Don’t know if you have ever used baking soda as an exfoliator, but it also works great on my face—very gentle, but I do tend to use it only twice a week, as my skin sometimes reacts to too much exfoliation! I usually combine the baking soda with Jason products or Dr. Woods Pure Organic Black Soap. 🙂 Happy scrubbing!

      2. Becky says

        One thing that I have found is a great exfoliant is that really fine salt that you get with a nettie pot – I put a little dab of that in my cleanser and exfoliate my face once every two weeks, and actually got compliments on how young my skin looked…and I’m in my 40s.

      3. Amanda says

        I’m curious to give the fine sea salt a try. Right now I use Jason’s Apricot Scrubble, but I’m always looking to replace store-bought products with homemade. 🙂

  12. Buch says

    Man, I hate to be the one to say this, but you mention by making your own SCOBY you know exactly what went into it. Well, taking someone else’s SCOBY and growing off of that is not creating your own SCOBY. And you really have no idea what went into it; you’re simply using its “babies.”

    I was looking forward to learn how to make it from nothing. But I must give props on the awesome site!

    1. Amanda says

      I’m glad you like my blog! 🙂 I’m not sure I follow your comment…I initially made my own SCOBY from a bottle of GT kombucha, but later tried a SCOBY from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp. After trying both brews, I found that the SCOBY from Kombucha Kamp produced a superior product, which is why I edited my initial post to reflect that.

      1. Buch says

        I apologize if I sounded rude; that was not the intent. I initially thought it would be a recipe, something along the lines of “1 tbsp of this, 1/2 tsp of this, mix together and let sit in this solution of water, etc.” I didn’t think of it as growing a “mini-SCOBY,” if you will.

        However, I never thought of taking the culture out of an already brewed tea and using that to create more. Awesome idea!

      2. Amanda says

        No worries. 🙂 I see what you’re saying now.

      3. Steph says

        It’s dangerous making your own SCOBY… if I’m understanding your post correctly. Because SCOBY is a culture of a specific species the dangerous thing about trying to grow your own SCOBY from nothing is that you don’t know what bacteria and yeast you might be creating. Even the big companies either grew their SCOBY in a lab or got their culture from an original source.

        Think of it like creating a cheese or beer. Big companies will protect their yeast or bacteria species because it is particular to the product they are making. Asking someone to teach you how to *actually* grow your own SCOBY is like asking someone to teach you how to make your own blue cheese strand to be just like your favorite brand of blue cheese without using any pre-bought or borrowed strand to start it with. You would just make a cheese solution and then let it sit out hoping it would form into blue cheese…

        The OP probably assumed that most people looking for a SCOBY recipe would understand this and this might be why she was confused by your question initially.

      4. Amanda says

        Yes, the resulting kombucha is different depending on which SCOBY you use to brew it. It seems like growing your own SCOBY is more difficult than it used to be in the past. Now that the commercially available kombucha teas have been reformulated (due to alcohol content), and many of them contain probiotic supplements, the SCOBYs that you can grow from them often produce a weaker kombucha. Initially, it hadn’t even occurred to me that this would be a potential issue, but it does make sense.

        Love your comparison to creating beer or cheese – that’s a great way to think about it!

        Thanks, Steph!

      5. Alex says

        Agreed. I’ve seen this complaint on other “how to” pages. It is not reasonable to expect the right combination of living bacteria and yeast to fall out of the sky to make a safe and tasty culture mother. It has to come from an existing batch. Commercial or a friend or a stranger locally.. I would trust a commercial product first. Then a friend. Growing yogurt or sauerkraut without a starter is feasible because the specific bacteria is so prevalent in our environment.

      6. Amanda says

        Thanks for your comment, Alex! I’m in complete agreement based on my own experiences brewing kombucha at home.

    2. Barbara Johnson says

      You can make your own scoby. You don’t have to use already made kombucha. It does require patience. I have done both. Think I prefer the taste of homemade. I gave a baby from my scoby hotel to a friend. After two moves and 8 years later, she returned the favor. From the original scoby.

  13. Drea Davis says

    Thank you so much for posting this article! I was on a kick about brewing my own Kombucha for a while but was discouraged when I couldn’t find a source to buy a scoby. I am so excited that I can grow my own.

    Thanks Again!

    Drea

    1. Amanda says

      Hey Drea! I grew my own initially, but then switched to one from a site called Kombucha Kamp run by Hannah, who’s basically a kombucha guru. 🙂 I highly recommend the Brew Now Kit. The finished kombucha is much better than the stuff I was using from my homemade scoby. You can read more about that here if you’re interested: https://picklesnhoney.com/2012/06/15/homemade-kombucha-giveaway/

      Happy brewing!

      1. Drea says

        Thanks you so much Amanda! That is a great site 🙂

      2. Amanda says

        Yes, it’s just about everything you ever wanted to know about kombucha. 🙂

  14. Jessie says

    I added raw kombucha to the tea and sugar. it has been sitting for about a week. when the Scobey is ready and I remove the baby to make a new batch can I drink the first batch or do I need to toss it?

    1. Amanda says

      I’ve always read that you should toss that first batch, so that’s what I did. I figured better safe than sorry!

  15. So I am a lover of kombucha and am just venturing into the growing my own scene. I have been growing from GT’s bottle for about a week and my jellyfish is starting to form. ( I also ordered a scoby from Hannah this morning having read through all your comments and suggestions- hope your an affiliate seller).
    I have a question about the process, when you use the mother to make the batch and the baby grows do you then use the baby next and discard the mother? Seems silky but I didn’t see that answer anywhere yet. I have heard people say that have used the same scoby for years but I have also seen I That it may lose some potency. What’s your thoughts and take please. Thanks in advance!
    Bill

    1. Amanda says

      That’s a great question! You use the mother the next time you make a batch, and you can either discard the baby scoby, or save it in a “scoby hotel” as a back-up. Kombucha Kamp has a helpful video explaining this. I’ve only switched to a baby scoby and tossed the mother once, and that was recently when I tried brewing with molasses instead of sugar (the taste was terrible in my opinion!) and the mother got all discolored. I think you can play it by ear with regard to when to switch to a new scoby, but Hannah’s site probably has more specific guidelines on this as well.

      Good luck! 🙂

  16. mark says

    You sure give detailed instructions. I like using the GT kombucha too. I have been doing this for about 18 months and I share the scobies with friends.

  17. ESsie says

    All they had was the flavored Kombucha at the store. Is this okay?

    1. Amanda says

      Unfortunately, the flavored kombucha probably will not work. I actually no longer recommend brewing from store-bought kombucha after learning more about the process. You can read more about my thoughts on that here.

  18. Patrick says

    I just started my first scoby and very excited to save money. I was reading through the posts down here at the bottom of the page and was trying to look at hannah’s site and its down. Do you know what’s going on?

    1. Amanda says

      You will definitely save a lot of money brewing kombucha at home! I just tried Hannah’s site and it appears to be working now.

  19. Geoff says

    Of all the scoby recipes I’ve read, yours is the most detailed and straightforwardly explained. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Geoff! I’m glad you found it helpful. 🙂

  20. Joshua says

    GT Raw Kombucha still works, at least for me. Being cold still, it took two weeks to get a nice size SCOBY on top, then it really grew in size in the second container and create a baby.

    I used reverse osmosis water, organic black tea, and half a bottle of GT raw which had a nice baby in it already. I used a glass container which I sanitized with a food safe product used in the brewing industry (StarSan). After boiling the water w/ sugar and steeping the tea, I cooled covered to room temp. Dumped it all in, covered with a clean coffee filter, and three weeks later it’s time to rock and roll a large batch.

    No substitute for proper sanitation, coming from the brewing world it’s critical.

    Your instructions are good. Thanks.

  21. Michaela says

    I know you said you use coconut oil on your body – I use olive oil and love it. And I use it on my face. Organic, food grade olive oil that you buy at the store. The key is to put it on when your face is still a little damp – it works as a wax/sealant and will trap in moisture. That way your face won’t get greasy. And I never break out. And people are constantly telling me my skin is “glowing.” hell yes it is!! 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      That’s awesome! A lot of people seem to love olive oil. Unfortunately for me, I had a horrible reaction to jojoba oil earlier this year (and I am still recovering! Truly, truly awful.), so I would be terrified to use it on my face. I do, however, love it in homemade sugar body scrub. I’ll probably do a more detailed post on my skin disaster once I more fully recover.

  22. Kayla says

    Hi. I’ve been trying to grow my own SCOBY for 7 weeks without success. I’ve followed the directions, but I have only seen a film on the surface. What
    am I doing wrong?

    Thanks!

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Kayla, it’s hard to say, but it could be that the kombucha you purchased to grow your own scoby is the problem. My recommendation would be to purchase a high quality scoby instead – which is what I ended up doing (you can read a summary of my experience in this post). I really like Kombucha Kamp for everything kombucha-related and you might want to check out the Brew Now Kit. I used the kit to get started (it takes out nearly all of the guesswork) and the scoby I still use today originated from the one I got in the kit. The kombucha is so much better than the stuff I was trying to make from the bottled GT stuff!

  23. Christina says

    Thank for the info! How do I safely remove baby scoby from the container? It’s stuck!!lol

    1. Amanda says

      haha You can just peel it away from the container, assuming it’s thick enough and won’t completely disintegrate. 🙂 It’s okay if it tears a little, those things are usually pretty resilient and will grow back.

  24. Gabe says

    So my wife just pointed out that the carbonation in my kombucha is a result of the bacteria(scoby) expelling gas, or as she likes to say” farting”. Wow she has such a nice way of putting things. She hates the taste of kombucha but I’m totally hooked. Just thought id vent:-) thanks for your help with brewing my own.

    1. Amanda says

      hahaha That’s hilarious! Has your wife tried the kombucha with fruit puree? That might be an easier introduction. Or, you could use it to your advantage and just drink it all yourself. 😉

  25. Jen says

    Thanks for your post! I just grew my first SCOBY and am very excited to try making kombucha. We can usually get it for 2.89 but I’m sure I can make it for much less. Plus, my kitchen is pretty much like a chemistry lab with all the fermentation that happens between yogurt, beer, sauerkraut, and mead, so adding one more thing isn’t too much of a stretch. I appreciated your instructions. I followed them to a “T” and everything worked perfectly.

    1. Amanda says

      That’s great, Jen! I’m happy that the instructions were clear.
      That’s so cool that you have a little chemistry lab in your kitchen. Mine looks like I sell appliances between the blender, food processor, juicer, dehydrator…the list goes on!

  26. Chris says

    Great article, I just moved my first baby SCOBY from the quart to the gallon jar per your steps above.

    The baby SCOBY is in the middle of the new brew, semi folded. I tried to flatten it out, but not much luck. Does this need to be at the bottom or on top of the tea, or will it start a new SCOBY at the top altogether? Thanks!

    1. Amanda says

      Don’t worry about where the SCOBY is located in the tea – sometimes they sink to the bottom and other times they float near the top. The new baby SCOBY will form at the very top of the liquid regardless (it will always form right at the surface). Hope this helps!

      1. Chris says

        Great, thanks! So this baby will just get tossed in the future, and then I only use the new SCOBY when it comes time to brew?

      2. Amanda says

        When I make mine, the new baby SCOBY usually grows right on top of the original SCOBY and then I use both in the next batch. I typically only toss the original when it gets really old and discolored, or when enough baby SCOBYs have built up over time that it gets overly thick.
        You will probably want to save the original for use next time, since it will be more mature. Or you can always use both in the next batch, or take the baby SCOBY, put it in a glass jar with enough plain kombucha to cover it and close the jar with a lid – this can be stored in a dark pantry as a backup in case something happens to the original. 🙂

      3. Chris says

        This is awesome, thanks so much for your help! 🙂

      4. nancy says

        Ok, I remember this one about your using both in the next batch until it becomes discolored. This is why the other post was confusing. The options you talk about on this post make sense, as it isn’t rocket science but an old process. If it looks bad, then throw it out…

      5. Chris says

        Ooh nevermind, I just read your reply to someone from almost a year ago, you use the baby and can either store or toss the mother.

        Thanks!

      6. nancy says

        I guess I’m confused as to how you know the baby from the mother 🙂 it sounded easy until that one came up…I appreciate your information, you directions are the easiest that I have found online. Some folks make it so complicated even though it’s an ancient process from times in which things might not have been so clean nor available.

  27. nancy says

    I too like the brand from the store that are talking about, esp the ginger/lemon one (no added sugar to flavor, have to watch out for those…) Is there any way to make a smaller amount? I’m in a small condo and don’t have room for a large biscotti-type jar to sit anywhere. Also, can’t it be stored in the fridge when done? I Thank you–

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Nancy, I think you could scale down the recipe to a size that works for you. And yes, once the kombucha is ready, you can store it in the fridge. 🙂

      1. nancy says

        Oh, thank you—that was fast! I was reading the posts in the mean time—-I want to make it with lemon/ginger. As for now, I buy the GT, brew some Celestial Seasonings Lemon/Ginger tea, add stevia and dilute the Kombucha with the tea to make it go further.
        Thanks again!

  28. nancy says

    Now I’m confused after reading the posts—if I use GT Kombucha mother as starter for my own batch, I have to throw it all out so as to have the mother off that batch? Also, would it be the same if using the mother from my bottle of organic cider vinegar? Thank you–

    1. Amanda says

      I initially grew a scoby from a bottle of plain GT kombucha, but the results were so-so (you can read about that here). My recommendation is to purchase one from Kombucha Kamp (I started with the Brew Now Kit, but she also sells just the scoby and starter liquid for under $25) – I have nothing but good things to say about Hannah, who runs the site.
      However, if you do decide to grow one from a bottle of GT, you want to grow the scoby and once it’s about 1/8 inch thick, you’ll need to transfer it to a bigger jar with new tea/sugar mixture, and then also pour in the old tea sugar/mixture (this is your “starter liquid”). Hope this makes sense!

  29. Alia says

    I have read you can get really ill from this home-brewed method and could even die because of bad bacteria and mold that you are unaware of in this tea. Is there any truth to this?

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Alia, I’ve read a little about this too, although I think it’s a non-issue the vast majority of the time if you’re careful and smart about home-brewing. It’s so important to sanitize everything when making kombucha at home. The jar, the utensils, your hands…this is also the reason you want to use filtered water for the tea and then boil it for at least five minutes to kill off any potential, harmful bacteria. As far as the mold, that will likely be very obvious if it happens and you’ll want to discard everything and start from scratch. Preventing mold is the reason you need to keep the sweet tea liquid acidic by adding some of the kombucha from the last batch.

      1. Alia says

        Hi Amanda. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Keeping things clean will not be an issue for me. I must admit, I have a bit of the “howard huges” in me. I have been on an organic, natural and holistic journey for the past 20 years and am always willing to try something new. I will definately make this tea and hope it will be a great addition to my healthy diet.

      2. Amanda says

        I hope you enjoy the kombucha! I wasn’t sold on the taste the first couple of times I tried it, but now I actually crave it. 🙂

  30. Ann says

    I want try making kombasha tea, but I live in a warm country, Thailand, I’m worried it will be too warm, 70s are cool here, what do you suggest. Thank you

    1. Amanda says

      The heat should simply expedite the fermentation process. For example, when I make kombucha during the summer, it takes 5-7 days. In the winter, it takes more like two weeks.

  31. Laura Franklin says

    Can you use Red Tea or does it have to have caffeine for it to work? My kids have given up there sodas for Rooibee red tea. They love the flavor so I am hoping I can make Kombucha flavor rooibee. I am about to make my own tonight for the 1st time.

    Thank you for any help you can give me.
    Laura

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Laura! I recommend checking out this article from Kombucha Kamp about what teas to use/avoid, but it seems like red tea should be fine!
      Good luck with your first batch!

      1. Laura Franklin says

        Thank you so very much for you quick response. I have to put making in off by a few days but I will make it with the Rooibee. Thank you, again.

  32. Doc says

    Thank you for the instructions to make the scoby! Just one question…I just put the little scoby into a larger jar to continue feeding it and it sunk to the bottom. Is that going to cause a problem?
    Thank you!

    1. Amanda says

      Nope, that happens sometimes. It should be fine – a new baby SCOBY will grow at the top of the jar. 🙂

      1. Doc says

        Awesome! Thank you again!

  33. ahmed esam says

    I drink kombucha tea every day

  34. barb says

    I am going to try making this. I love fermented foods, and think this will be good. I have decided to use this as a science experiment with the kids(we homeschool). How much alcohol is in the tea? I certainly don’t want them drinking it if it has alcohol.
    I understand the comment about wanting to make the scoby from “scratch”,instead of getting a start from someone else. I also understand the comment about getting cheese cultures to make cheese with. I did however “catch” my own yeast for sourdough starter; and have been using that starter for about 8 years now. Someone somewhere got the scoby started, and the thought of growing it all by myself is enticing. I will however be using the GT for this first try : )

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Barb! I don’t know the exact amount of alcohol (that will depend on the fermentation process), but it should be very low (.5-1%, not more than 3% from what I’ve read).
      I agree with the point you raised about the SCOBY originating from somewhere. I think the takeaway is just to make sure that you’re getting it from a good source! I did notice a difference between the SCOBY I grew from GT and the one I purchased from Kombucha Kamp though. You can read more about that here if you’re interested.
      Happy brewing!

  35. Kris says

    What size did storebought did you start with?
    Thanks!

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Kris! I assume you mean the bottled kombucha? I initially used 1 Bottle of Raw, Plain Kombucha (GT brand); however you only need the last 1 cup from the bottom of the bottle. I no longer recommend this method though, because the resulting kombucha wasn’t great. You can read my more recent kombucha post to learn more about why I now recommend purchasing a Brew Now Kit from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp, rather than growing your own SCOBY from scratch. The kit is also ideal for beginners because it takes out a lot of the guesswork.

      1. Kris says

        Thanks. I now see GT has only one size and since we’re only using 1 cup, it’s all good. Thanks for the suggestion of a kit. Since there are a couple local places near me with very active kombuchas I’ll still try it from scratch first. Thanks, again.

  36. coleST says

    Hi, I’m pretty new to brewing kombucha. It took a little while to activate my scoby as m husband likes to keep the temp at 68 🙂 but have since found a more cozy spot for it. We are on our third batch, including the activating batch. It has had what a believe to be a/the baby. I get confused here as to what do to with it or how to handle it while I’m making the next batch. The original or mother scoby is and has always sunk, so its def not connected as all the articles I’ve read leave me to believe babies form on top of the mother. Is this thinking correct? Since they are separate, do I put both in the next batch? I hope I’ve explained well enough. Thank you!!

    1. Amanda says

      Hi there! Sometimes the original mother scoby will sink to the bottom – that’s totally normal. You can simply place both scobys (mother and baby) in your next batch. 🙂

      1. coleST says

        Thanks so much! However now I think the spot I saw was a mold spot. I took it out, touched it and it kinda poofed with a dust and had a greenish tone. Since it wasn’t touching the actual scoby do I still have to throw that out too? 🙁

      2. Amanda says

        Bummer! Yes, throw the whole batch (liquid & scobys) in the trash. It’s not worth the risk if you even suspect there’s mold. I haven’t dealt with mold before (although I did have fruit flies last year – SO GROSS), but that may mean it wasn’t acidic enough. I mention this in some of my posts, but I highly recommend purchasing a starter kit from a site called Kombucha Kamp. Having tried growing my own from a bottle of the GT stuff and using the starter kit, the kit is 100% the way to go. It takes out just about all of the guesswork.

  37. Evan says

    Finding G.T.’s kombucha really helped me personally, I had spent years living with a growing amount of heartburn. it would wake me up at night consistently. I was going through a half a pack of tums a day, and I could not eat certain things without trouble. A close family member around my age had highly invasive surgery to fix his heartburn troubles. After starting on fish oil and kombucha, and switching to organics I don’t have any stomach troubles. Thank you for this informative post!

    1. Amanda says

      That’s awesome, Evan! I’m so glad you’ve been able to avoid surgery and manage your heartburn through dietary changes!

  38. Mickey says

    The first time I tried Kombucha I fell for it! I couldn’t get enough of it, except for the fact it cost so much, that slowed me down. The brand I was purchasing came in many different flavors, but for some reason the green one caught my eye. I lovingly named it “Pond Sludge” as it looked like something I would dredge out of my pond. Thank you for sharing how to grow a SCOBY! Now I can start making my own and start brewing up some of my very own “Pond Sludge”! I guess slimy, nasty, snotty stuff doesn’t really bother me so I’m up for this! I was shopping the local health food store today and they were out of the flavor I enjoy the most. Now I won’t have to depend on them. Thanks again!

    1. Amanda says

      I think I know exactly which one you’re referring to when you call it “Pond Sludge” – that was my first kombucha too! I remember bringing it back to work for a meeting and getting some pretty weird stares!

  39. Ellen says

    I recently grew my own SCOBY this way using 1 cup kombucha and 1 cup sugar tea. Took about 2 weeks at 68-70 F. Tried it with GT Enlighted unflavored bottled as well as Bare Foot fruit flavored on tap. The Bare Foot was slightly more active but both grew well. Currently fermenting one gallon batches with the Bare Foot SCOBY. Takes about 5 days to bottling.

    1. Amanda says

      Glad to hear you’re having success brewing your own kombucha, Ellen!

  40. Julianne says

    I am at Day 7 with my scoby dark pantry storing and I only notice about a dime size of a floater. I used all of the good stuff from a GT Raw Kombucha, raw turbinado, and green tea. It currently is in a quart mason jar with a coffee filter rubber banded on top. Any suggestions or thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Julianne. 🙂 There are several factors that could be impacting the growth of your SCOBY. Temperature is one (warmer temps will expedite the process). However, it sounds like the bottled kombucha you used wasn’t great. This is a common problem with growing a SCOBY from the bottled stuff and it’s part of why I no longer recommend this method (I tried it initially and the resulting kombucha wasn’t great). You can read my more recent kombucha post to learn more about why I now recommend purchasing a Brew Now Kit from Kombucha Kamp, rather than growing your own SCOBY from scratch. The kit is ideal for beginners because it takes out a lot of the guesswork. Hope this helps! Let me know if you run into any other questions along the way.

  41. Christy says

    I’ve been wanting to try making my own kombucha for a while but the whole DIY scoby process seemed intimidating. I followed this recipe and it workout out perfectly! By the end of the first 7 days my scoby was closer to 1/3″ than 1/8″ and another week and half and it was a little over 1/2″ thick and ready for me to make my first batch of kombucha. Fantastic scoby recipe!

  42. Caroline says

    Hi there – am very interested in making Kombucha however I live on an island in the Caribbean and we do not have bottled kombucha to purchase. I also can’t order it in as they would to allow it in the country a starter kit alos might not eb allowed and the cost of shipping and added taxes is not very economical. Does anyone know if there any recipe for making the scoby from scratch from individual ingredients? It must have happened that way initially from a fruit tea with maybe honey that sat and turned into vinegar/wine. Thx 🙂

  43. Casandra says

    I have a few questions — If I’m already starting out with a SCOBY, do I just start at the “feeding” it section of this recipe? Also, do I have to transfer the recently boiled tea (once cooled) to a separate glass container before adding it to the brewing glass container? Or can I just move it straight from the pot to the glass container? I guess I’m just confused as to why there are two glass containers involved. Thanks!

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Casandra! This post was intended to show how to grow your own SCOBY (which I no longer recommend, per my intro). You’ll want to reference this post on How to Brew Your First Batch of Kombucha. And to answer your 2nd question–yes, you can pour the cooled boiled tea/sugar mixture straight from the pot into your glass jar for fermenting. 🙂

  44. caroline says

    I only had about 1/3 cup of the liquid from my Kombucha bottled tea that I was able to put into my jar of brewed tea w sugar. Will this be enough? It had the little stringies in it… but it was just barely 1/3 cup. Thanks!

    1. Amanda says

      Hey Caroline! You’ll want to reserve 1 full cup of kombucha liquid. This keeps the brew acidic to help prevent mold, so don’t skip it!

  45. ZZeven says

    After a failed first attempt at making a SCOBY, I tried this site and it WORKED!!! So excited! Now, I’m on the next step of “feeding” the baby. Question: I made the baby originally in a quart mason jar, and it looks beautiful. After feeding it, though, and upgrading to a larger container, my new container is rectangular and narrower across than the quart jar was, so my round SCOBY is diagonal and half sunk. Will I have issues? Thank you so much!!!

    1. Amanda says

      So glad you’re having success! The SCOBY should be fine. 🙂 Sometimes they stay at the top, sometimes they sink, but the finished kombucha should still be a-okay!

  46. Lee koelzer says

    hi there! my baby scoby is only like 1/8 of an inch thick (or slightly thicker) but I would like to drink the tea. should I start a new batch with it even if it is not mature? or can I remove some tea and add new tea to keep it going and feed both the mother and baby scobies? thanks.

    1. Amanda says

      Hi Lee! I wouldn’t recommend drinking the tea, since as you mentioned, the SCOBY is still very small. You can try letting it brew for another week to see if it will continue to thicken; however, as I mention at the top of the post, I no longer recommend growing your own SCOBY from scratch. You can check out my more recent kombucha post to learn why I now recommend purchasing a Brew Now Kit from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp, rather than growing your own SCOBY from scratch. The kit is also great for beginners because it takes out a lot of the guesswork.

  47. Catherine says

    Is the ANY way to make a batch if you cannot find a scoby OR raw Kombucha? Can you for example make the sweet tea and let that ferment to start making a new scoby? It all must have started somewhere, but I can’t seem to find anything on the internet about how to start when you only have tea and sugar!!!

    1. Hi Catherine, My understanding is that you can’t simply start with tea and sugar. You must begin with a SCOBY. I ordered mine from Kombucha Kamp and then it arrived in the mail a couple of days later. Easy! 🙂 Also, be sure to use plain black tea or green tea, not flavored teas.

  48. Catherine says

    If you accidentally used Earl Gray Tea, will it kill your scoby?

  49. Lynette Fatchen says

    Well I am inspired and hope to grow my own mother with your instructions from above, wish me luck

  50. TerryLynn Saunders says

    How long can the kombucha mother last without using to make tea. Can you drink kombucha all day or should you confine it to one 8 oz glass a day.

    1. The kombucha mother, or scoby, will last an infinitely long time so long as you keep it in a jar with starter liquid and add in some sweet tea (just as you would when making a batch of kombucha) every so often to feed it. You’ll also want to keep a cover on the jar (not something breathable) so the liquid doesn’t evaporate. This type of setup is often called a “scoby hotel”. I keep a scoby hotel with a few extra kombucha mothers in it in case I need a new one.

      In terms of how much kombucha you should drink, I don’t know of any hard and fast rules. I would say start out with a small glass, listen to your body, and then go from there. Enjoy it whenever the craving strikes. 🙂

  51. Lucy says

    Well, i was experimenting and put apple cider vinegar in a jar with marshmallow root. It made a beautiful thick scoby. So my question is what can i do with it? A herbal kumbucha? What is feeding it? Can I make more scoby with it.

    Thanking you in advance.

    1. Hi Lucy, I’ve never heard of doing this. Kombucha is a very specific type of bacteria and fermentation process, so the bacteria culture you’ve grown is obviously not going to produce kombucha. I’m not even sure it’s safe. I recommend purchasing a SCOBY from Kombucha Kamp, where I bought mine. Per the update at the top of this post, I no longer recommend growing your own SCOBY. I hope this helps.

  52. Susette says

    question that NO ONE on the internet answers…..once my scoby is grown and ready to make the very first batch, can I use the tea she grew in as the 1 cup of starter tea ????? thank you if you reply because it is a mystery

  53. Billy says

    great post, thank you!

  54. Thank you for the article! I was really looking for this information. Hope that my kombucha scoby will grow well.

    1. Amanda says

      Happy to help! Good luck with your kombucha!

  55. Brett says

    hiya thanks for the information!

  56. Kevin & Annie says

    I did step 1 for about 10 days, and am now in the process of feeding it for the second fermentation.

    1. Kevin and Annie says

      I do have a quick question:
      Once I have fermented again in the large jar, do I just remove the SCOBY, add it to another small batch and consider that starting at step 1 again?

      1. Amanda says

        Hi Kevin and Annie, this blog post explains what to do: https://picklesnhoney.com/how-to-make-kombucha-recipe/ Let me know if you still have questions! Happy to help.

  57. Jennie says

    Hello!
    Do you have to start the scoby in the quart jar or can you just start it in the gallon jar, and then just feed it directly instead of having to transfer it?

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