Go Back

Homemade Kombucha

What is kombucha?
A naturally fermented beverage made from black and/or green tea, sugar, and a kombucha SCOBY with some starter liquid. This popular drink originated in the far east ~2000 years ago.
What is a SCOBY?
A Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast. The term was invented in the early 1990’s to distinguish the tea from the culture.
What is starter liquid?
Fermented tea rich in probiotics to help inoculate the next batch of fermented kombucha tea you make. After adding a SCOBY to sweet tea, the starter liquid is poured in to help get the fermentation process going. It also helps prevent mold.
Is it caffeinated?
Caffeinated tea is used to start the process, but the bacteria and yeast consume the caffeine during the fermentation. A quick fermentation, like 10 days, is about equivalent to a decaf coffee, but a longer fermentation, like 14 days, has nearly zero caffeine left in it.
Is it healthy?
Once made kombucha contains B-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, and a high concentration of acetic, gluconic ,and lactic acid which help digestion.
To get started you can purchase a dehydrated SCOBY online, obtain one from a friend or grow your own. Growing your own takes quite a bit longer but it's typically a fifth of the price of an online purchase.
Prep Time30 minutes
Course: Drinks
Keyword: Kombucha, probiotic
Cost: $5


  • 1/2 gallon ball jar
  • paper towel or coffee filter


  • 3 cups boiling hot filtered water
  • 3 individual organic black tea bags Decaf will not work
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup Kombucha (from last batch) for first time see note below
  • 1 piece SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)
  • 3 cups filtered water (room temperature)


Initial Fermentation

  • Place the sugar into a 1/2 gallon ball jar and add in 3 cups of boiling water and stir to ensure all the sugar is dissolved. Add your tea bags and let your tea steep till it is room temperature (I let mine steep overnight).
  • Remove and discard the tea bags.
  • Add in the SCOBY (your tea must be below 100F) and add 1 cup of kombucha from the last batch as a starter.
  • Top off your jar till the water line is about 6 or 6 1/2 cups total.
  • Cover your jar with a non-bleached coffee filter, paper towel or folded cheese cloth, securing it with a rubber band or your ball jar ring (not the metal top). This will prevent fruit flies from getting to your tea.
  • Let this mixture ferment for 10-16 days depending on your taste preferences. I do not ferment in direct light, but in a room that has ambient natural light. The longer the fermentation, the less sugar will be left. A three week fermentation is pretty vinegary for my taste. I ferment for 2 weeks as my preferred taste and this allows me to turn over my batches every other weekend with ease.
  • After your 10-16 day fermentation, remove the new "baby" SCOBY that forms (typically on the top) and 1 cup from this batch of kombucha to start another round.
  • Drink the remaining fermented tea or proceed to a secondary fermentation to create a fizzier drink. You can discard the "mother" SCOBY, put it in your compost, or use it again to double your batch. Kombucha should be kept in the fridge till consumed.

Optional secondary fermentation

  • Pour the remaining fermented kombucha (after you have removed the SCOBY and 1 cup of tea as a starter for your next batch) into smaller serving size containers. I use 2-cup size ball jars or clean 16 oz jars. Jars must have lids. Leave a little bit of room (like 1/4 cup) for flavoring if wanted.
  • Add additional optional flavoring such as fruit,1/4 cup fruit juice, 1/4 strongly flavored tea, or 1-2 TBST lemon juice. I often use grated ginger or ginger tea, blueberries (about 6-8), or some fruity herbal tea like cherry.
  • Close the jar tightly and let this secondary fermentation sit for an additional couple of days at room temperature to add carbonation to your drink.
  • Transfer your finished kombucha to the refrigerator for storage. Kombucha will be drinkable for up to six months. The tea will still ferment in the fridge, just at a much slower rate.

First time - Growing a SCOBY

  • If you don't have a SCOBY from a friend or neighbor, no problem, you can grow one. Purchase a bottle of Kombucha from the store. Original flavor is best, and I personally like the GT brand best for growing a new SCOBY. Transfer that liquid into a quart size ball jar.
  • Steep 1 organic black tea bag into 1 cup of hot water and add in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.
  • Once your tea has steeped and cooled, add it to the store bought kombucha.
  • Cover your ball jar with a paper towel or a coffee filter and secure it with a rubber band to prevent fruit flies. A SCOBY should grow within a week to you to use as a starter.


I use a SCOBY for 1-3 batches then either give it away, toss it into the compost bin, or feed it to my dog (cut up into small pieces).
If your SCOBY baby has attached to your mother, no worries, simply cut them in 1/2 with scissors.