Homemade Kombucha

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Homemade Kombucha Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com Making your own homemade kombucha is stupid-easy. Yusss! All you need is tea, sugar, a SCOBY and patience. Okay, so there are a few more details than that but overall, it’s pretty simple. I started buying kombucha before the great freak-out of 2010 – thanks a lot, Lindsay Lohan - during which the unquantified alcohol that could be in the drink caused it to be suddenly yanked off store shelves. Meanwhile, brewers of homemade kombucha were laughing.

[Want me to show you how to do it all from start to finish? Click here.]

All About Homemade Kombucha

I love fermented foods – I make my own sauerkraut and plan to start making kimchi – and it makes me feel kind of off the grid. Recently, I decided that I’d had enough of spending $4 for a bottle of GT’s. It was high time to get a SCOBY and start fermenting my own homemade kombucha. For those new to kombucha brewing, a SCOBY is a magical symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast which gobble up (ferment) the sugar, metabolizing it into the slightly carbonated, tangy drink that’s rich with probiotics and beneficial acids. In reality, it looks like a pale, weird, flat pancake and sort of like a science experiment. Click here to read more about kombucha health benefits.Homemade Kombucha Recipe | stupideasypaleo.com

I used a recipe for plain kombucha to start, then created my own flavor combinations for the second fermentation (to make more carbonation). I came up with ginger-mango and blueberry-raspberry…ummm, both came out freaking delicious! Since I’m all about stupid-easy stuff, I made a fruit puree (directions below) and froze it in ice cube trays so that I could add it exactly when my homemade kombucha was ready – which happened to be during the week when I was uber-busy. I ended up with *almost* four full 32 oz jars of homemade kombucha (one ginger-mango, two blueberry-raspberry and half a jar of plain). Why not four? You have to reserve at least a cup of homemade kombucha out of each batch to get the next started.

Overall, I was psyched at how easy this was to do at home, and I’m already planning to expand my little operation so I can double or triple my homemade kombucha production. Bottom line: you’ll have to experiment to see how long each step of process will take based on the conditions in your home and your own tastebuds. If the homemade kombucha is too sour, you can add more sugar and keep the fermentation going, but that just delays the process. For troubleshooting the process or to find a SCOBY, a quick search of The Google will give you a bevy of info. Watch here for my awesome tutorial on growing you own SCOBY.

Basic Ingredients for Unflavored Homemade Kombucha Tea (KT):

Directions for Unflavored Homemade Kombucha Tea (KT):

  1. Boil 64 oz of water (8 cups) in a large pot.
  2. Add 8 green tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir well.
  4. Allow the tea to come to room temperature and pour into a clean one-gallon mason jar or crock.
  5. Add 64 oz more water to the jar and place the SCOBY (along with any KT it came with) into the jar.
  6. Cover with a piece of old t-shirt, and secure with a rubber band.
  7. Allow the homemade kombucha to ferment in a dark place (mine was in the pantry) for 7-14 days. Mine was ready after 8, but I live in Southern California, and it’s been warm lately. The fermentation time will vary depending on your location, your SCOBY and how sweet or sour you want the homemade kombucha. Sample by moving the SCOBY aside and taking a little out with a clean spoon. After this time, your tea may be slightly carbonated and will be unflavored (only tea-flavored). You may drink the homemade kombucha tea then or to do a second fermentation with different fruits for flavor and more carbonation.

For Ginger-Mango Homemade Kombucha Tea:

  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen mango
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • Optional: For chia kombucha, add 2 Tablespoons chia seeds per 1 cup of kombucha.
  1. Puree the defrosted mango and ginger in a blender, Vitamix or food processor. Or, you can grate the ginger with a microplane grater if your blender isn’t very strong.
  2. Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.
  3. Two cubes will be ~1/4 cup of fruit puree.
  4. After your unflavored homemade kombucha is done fermenting, transfer it to a 32 oz mason jar. Add two cubes or 1/4 cup of ginger-mango puree. Close the lid and allow to ferment again from 1-3 days – again, it depends on your taste. You may want more or less ginger-mango puree or more or less carbonation. Mine took 2 days until I thought it was perfect. When it’s done, add your chia seeds and stir well so they don’t clump together.
  5. Keep the extra cubes frozen for your next batch.

Ingredients for Blueberry-Raspberry Homemade Kombucha Tea:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • Optional: For chia kombucha, add 2 Tablespoons chia seeds per 1 cup of kombucha.
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the berries over medium heat until they have released their juices.
  2. Lightly pureed them in the Vitamix or blender.
  3. Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.
  4. Two cubes will be ~1/4 cup of fruit puree.
  5. After your unflavored homemade kombucha tea is done fermenting, transfer it to a 32 oz mason jar. Add two cubes or 1/4 cup of blueberry-raspberry puree. Close the lid and allow to ferment again from 1-3 days – again, it depends on your taste. You may want more or less blueberry-raspberry puree or more or less carbonation. Mine took 2 days until I thought it was perfect. You may want to strain the flavored kombucha to remove any seed reside. When it’s done, add your chia seeds and stir well so they don’t clump together.
  6. Keep the extra cubes frozen for your next batch.

You can also order pre-made kits for making homemade kombucha, like these.

Have you ever made homemade kombucha before? If not, what questions do you have?

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174 thoughts on “Homemade Kombucha

    1. Steph

      Hi Tracy…I got my SCOBY from a friend but you can find them online or in some health food stores. You can also grow one from scratch from a bottle of pre-made kombucha.

      Reply
    2. Lestyo

      Very interesting! I’m cerluntry growing a 2.5 x 1.5m kombucha scoby. I make leather and traditional egg or brain tanned buckskin, so was interested to put the scoby through the same processes involved. last night I cut off a strip and put it in tanning solution. Will take up to 3 months. If you are interested I will be describing the process at the website of the forager book project or on my blog at wildman wild food. Would be very interested to hear if you have already progressed further with similar experiments.Cheers, Fergus

      Reply
      1. Lisa d

        SCOBYs can also be made by using tea, sugar and half a bottle of GTs. Super easy use the same method as described using vinegar but use GTs instead. Keep it at about 70-75 degrees and you will have your own baby SCOBY. Look it up on the web, there lots of sites that talk about it. It’s super healthy and tastes great!

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          Thanks Lisa…yes, I have a whole tutorial on growing a SCOBY from a bottle of GT’s. Works like a charm!

          Reply
    3. Wanda

      You can start your own SCOBY by making a 1 qt jar of sweet tea and adding 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with the mother to the jar, Braggs works well. Then just put your cloth secured on top and let it grow 1 week or 2 until you see the SCOBY on top of the tea. If you will be using a 1 gallon jar to make future batches then put the quart of the tea with apple cider vinegar in the jar and cover with cloth secured by a rubber band. The longer you let the tea ferment the thicker your SCOBY will become.

      Reply
      1. Steph Post author

        Good to know! I’ve never seen ACV with much of a culture inside but I’ll have to test this out! Thanks for sharing :)

        Reply
        1. Bart

          if you want the mother from unpasteurized ACV to grow you need two things: provide air and food, the vinegar is kinda a finished product with little food for the culture left, also the culture is normally aerobic and needs air to grow and make acetic acid.

          Reply
  1. Ashley Bee

    Can you do a tutorial for making SCOBY? Like could you make one from a store-bought bottle? I dislike tea but with enough fruit I could make it work for my tastebuds ;)

    Reply
    1. Steph

      I’ve never tried it but I’m willing to give it a go!! :) Even the kombucha in the store is based on tea. The green tea that I use is a milder flavor, I think. I’ll get back to you with the results!

      Reply
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  3. Kathie B

    I have my first batch of kombucha fermenting now. I have mason jars and will probably use those to bottle it. I have read, however, that you should use plastic caps and not metal for bottling. I also read that mason jar lids are not great to use because they don’t hold a tight enough seal and carbonation leaks through resulting in a flat kombucha. Have you experienced this? I would love to use my mason jar lids and not have to seak out another source of bottling.

    Reply
    1. Steph

      Hi Kathie,

      I saved up some old GT’s bottles and use that when I can. I’ve also got some growler bottles that I bought from a local brewery that sells kombucha. Both provide a nice firm seal.

      A few weeks back when it was very hot here, I had my kombucha in it’s second fermentation in a mason jar and after 24 hours, it built up so much pressure that it dented the lid upward. My suspicion is that if your lids are a bit old and the rubber is dry, it may not hold the seal quite as well.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
      1. Denise

        Please tell me what GTs are.

        Will kombucha tea raise the blood glucose level for diabetic type ii?

        Does kombucha have the same health benefits of other fermented foods such as sauerkraut? It sure seems like an easier way to consume fermented foods. What benefits do you get from it?

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          GT’s is a commercially available brand of kombucha.

          How much it would raise BG would depend on how much sugar had been converted by the SCOBY and how much was left.

          It does have the same benefits of probiotics but some folks prefer to drink it as opposed to eating other fermented foods.

          Reply
  4. Mona

    Why does it need to be frozen? I have been putting strawberries in mine. I just cut the strawberries into chunks. I am fairly new to this.

    Reply
    1. Steph

      Hi Mona! You can certainly put fresh fruit into your kombucha. I make a large batch of puree ahead of time, and I freeze it so that it keeps or else it would go bad before I could use it all. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      1. Mona

        Got it. Yes that helps. Especially this time of year when all of the fruit is soooo good. Need to save some for when it isn’t!

        Reply
        1. Miriana Andreeva

          Wanda, FYI not the same! ACV scoby is different than the kombucha scoby and the two have different properties. There are taste differences as well, starting a kombucha brew with ACV mother will lead to much more acidic of a brew, you are way better starting a scoby from store bought plain kombucha than the “rushed” way with the ACV. Also, freezing the fruit and then adding it is ideal for anyone worried about fruit contaminating their brews, plus it “blends” flavors better

          Reply
  5. Tilly

    Wow this is a great post on flavoring kombucha! I’ve been dabbling in making some for a few months now and sadly, I haven’t found a great combo with juice that I enjoy. Especially since I’ve become pregnant. And boy do I need the probiotics and energy boost right now!!! I’ve done apple and berry juices from Trader Joes (organic even!) and didn’t ferment it a second time, just popped in the fridge after bottling it in glass pop-top bottles. I am never impressed with the flavor, it always tastes to vinegary for me. :( I’ve used a combo of black and green tea.

    Is there a particular reason you like green tea better? I’m in SoCal as well, and I will be following your directions exactly this next go around. I’ve never done a fresh fruit puree. Freezing it ahead of time is genius! Do you strain your tea as well? I guess if you add fruit puree you wouldn’t. The little yeasty strings freak me out. But like I said above, I’m pregnant! ;)

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Tilly! Thank you!

      You know…from the tinkering I’ve done, it seems that juice does not make as fizzy an end product as adding whole fruit chunks or fruit puree. The best result I had in terms of carbonation was from the blueberry-raspberry puree or chunks of strawberry.

      I used green tea because that’s what was suggested for a milder flavor. How long were you doing the first fermentation for? Mine seems to take about 8 days and it comes out sweet/sour.

      I haven’t strained mine but I can see where you might want to :)

      Steph

      Reply
      1. Tilly

        Wow so green tea is milder! I’ve gotten some advice saying it tastes funkier with green tea. I’ve not noticed though because I’ve used a combo black/green tea. I’m going to try with just green.

        I fermented same as you, but one day less, around 7 days. I’ve not used fresh juice due to inconvenience (ok, lazy!) and I really think you are right about fizz. Fresh must be better for that. I like a REALLY fizzy kombucha too! Luckily, it’s so cheap to make I can throw out batches without too much money wasted, though I hate to do it.

        Going to make your blueberry-raspberry puree tonight– hubs got organic farmers market berries for me! YES! Thank you again!

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          I think it’s got a milder flavor compared to black tea.

          Yours was too sour at 7 days? Or just after the 2nd fermentation? It interesting…ginger-lemon (with fresh, strained ginger juice) also seems to get quite fizzy.

          How you’re storing it might make a difference as well. I purchased a few 1/2 liter growler (flip top) bottles from a local brewery here in North Park and it seems to hold the carbonation pretty well.

          You’re very welcome. I like being able to have the fruit frozen so when I check my kombucha and it’s done all I have to do is head to the freezer, pop in a couple cubes, and it’s ready to go :)

          Reply
          1. Lisa

            I was very interested in this recipe, but I am so put off by all that sugar! Is kombucha always made with that much? Do you think it would be unpalatable without? I suppose one could use a sugar substitute, huh?

          2. Steph Post author

            Hi Lisa…great questions. Yes, kombucha’s always made with that much sugar. If you don’t put enough in, the SCOBY won’t any substrate to ferment and the tea will not come out right. Artificial sugars can kill the SCOBY and are not recommended. If you want it less sugary, a simple solution is to let it ferment longer, thereby becoming more acidic/sour.

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  8. Joanna

    I’ve been too intimidated to try making my own kombucha until now! I just saw the link to your YouTube post on growing your own scoby and am definitely gonna give this a try in the next couple of weeks. I love how you break it down so simply! Keep on rockin! -JOJO

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Jojo! Awwwww I’m so GLAD to hear that you saw the video and how simple it is. That’s why I love doing what I do. In regards to herbal tea, it won’t work because the oils in the different herbs can actually harm the SCOBY. Caffeine, to my knowledge, will still remain even after the fermentation is over. Decaf tea might be a good bet. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
      1. Becki

        I know this is a long time later, but maybe this reply will help somebody! My mom is very sensitive to caffeine. She can’t even eat chocolate after lunch or she can’t sleep come nightfall. But the caffeine in kombucha doesn’t bother her at all. Maybe the SCOBY processes it somehow? Anyway, caffeine shouldn’t be a problem

        Reply
  9. Joanna

    p.s. – do you know if this would work using an herbal tea instead? I’m thinking ginger tea or rooibos tea might be really nice… does the caffeine in the green tea remain in the kombucha?

    Reply
    1. Jason

      Hi Joana!

      I use to use strictly green tea, but white tea, red tea, and even coffee work! (i haven’t tried coffee yet but some pinterest page said they used coffee, and even mountain dew!)

      We brew ours with various combos of flavorful tea blends in addition to the tannin-full tea, and it means as we sample ours, we know exactly how it’s sourness will blend with the flavor combo. Our favorite combos have been the Republic of Tea’s 20 Herbs blend. We like adding a handful of dried hibiscus too! We used a lot of fruity zingers from Celestial Seasonings with great success too.

      We started having an issue earlier this year. We were brewing for 8 or so months, hardcore, and after months of reusing the same scobys, allowing them to build up extra thick in the jar (they brew ALOT faster the more scoby/motherjuice to tea that we use!), we left our scobys unattended too long I think. We started having them smell like really strong sulfur when we got back to brewing! After reading up a bit, I think it happens when they start self cannibalizing! We were not sure at first and pulled the scoby, scrubbed it with water only, cleaned the jar out, and started from scratch with the apple cider vinegar (it can work as a starter, which we call “mother juice”, but at the price of it taking a couple batches to not taste like the vinegar). We ended up having another couple batches taste fine, but it came back pretty quick. Thinking of starting over again with just a bought bottle.

      I hope this helps someone!

      Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Karen,

      It lasts for a long time…I’ve kept mine for up to a few weeks and it’s fine but truthfully it never lasts very long until I drink it all up. Over time, unless you use a very tightly sealed bottle, it will go flat but is still drinkable!

      Reply
  10. Donna

    Steph! Just had to tell you… I grew a SCOBY! And it is lovely. I watched your tutorial almost 2 weeks ago, got a bottle of GTs, dumped it in a jar, and today I peeked, and yay! Thanks again for the super easy instruction.

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      High five!! It worked :) That’s so exciting!! You’ll have to update me when you make your first batch!

      Reply
  11. Justin

    Just started a 2nd ferment with these recipes :)

    I tried straining the blueberry/raspberry puree, but it didn’t work at all. Everything but a little bit of juice just stuck to the strainer. I just ended up putting all of it in the KT. Should be fine, I’ll just strain it before drinking.

    I’d also recommend to people if they are using frozen mango to thaw or warm it before putting it in the blender. I didn’t think to and it was like a handful of rocks in my blender. Blender is fine, but it was quite loud for a second ;)

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hey Justin…ah, you have a good point. I forgot to go back and modify the original instructions (*puts on list*). Thanks for reminding me!

      Very good point as well…mango should be thawed. I’ll go back and edit that. Really appreciate you taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  12. Mrs.Buck

    Hi Steph,

    I too have followed your instructions on how to make a SCOBY and now have my first batch of kombucha brewing. My question is, after I make this batch, do I have to start the whole process again and grow another SCOBY? Or do I keep the SCOBY from this batch and just plop it into my next round of sweet tea? Do you put some of the SCOBY into each of your smaller jars for the second fermentation?

    Thanks so much, so excited to try my kombucha!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi there! I’m so psyched you were able to make a SCOBY and get your kombucha started! Just keep the SCOBY from this batch and put it into the next round of sweet tea. Do not put the SCOBY into the smaller jars…there are enough small SCOBY cultures to keep the fermentation going.

      I hope it turns out great!!

      Steph

      Reply
  13. Rhonda

    So recently finished brewing the mother scoby but when I fed it for the second brewing and put the scoby in the bigger jar, the scoby fell to the bottom of the jar then another scoby started forming in the top! Now I have 2 scobys. I’m kinda nervous about this fermenting to begin with haha! Now I have 2, makes me a little more nervous, what so you suggest?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      It’ll be totally fine. Sometimes the SCOBY will sink but that shouldn’t adversely affect the batch :) Leave it as is and ferment away. At the end of the brewing, you can either throw one of the SCOBYs out or keep them both in the same jar (or give one away or make another separate jar).

      Reply
  14. Rich

    So can I just leave a cup of kombucha in my gallon jar with the scoby and do another batch of tea? or do I need to start from scratch again?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Save two cups of kombucha in your gallon jar with your SCOBY. Make another batch of new tea (cool 100% to room temperature) and pour it in. The process will start all over again :)

      Reply
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  16. Karoline

    Maybe this is a silly question, but is there much smell associated with making either the scobi or the kombucha? For the sake of domestic harmony, I promised my husband that I wouldn’t make any overly stinky kitchen experiments. I think the concept of homemade sour kraut scared him. But I’m thinking that tea has to be less offensive than cabbage… Right?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Karoline! If you put your nose in the jar and take a whiff it’ll smell of a weak vinegar but nowhere near like what cabbage smells like. Cabbage releases sulfur compounds when cooked, hence that rotten egg smell that comes with!

      Reply
    2. Bart

      My suggestion is to get your husband a beer-making kit, pretty soon he is like to take over the kombucha making operation. :D

      Reply
  17. Laura

    Hi! I’m loving all these tips. I recently got a SCOBY from a friend and she coached me through this process. I made my first batch and it’s really tasty! I added a little fruit juice (organic pomegranate from Trader Joe’s) to the finished Kombucha I made and I like it. I’m going to try adding the fruit to the fermentation process next! I wanted to mention that my husband is VERY sensitive to smells and especially vinegar, which he dislikes very much. I keep the jar away from the kitchen table and there is no smell, and he’s not complaining. Sometimes I can’t smell it even when I put my nose right up to the jar.

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Laura….nice! It’s good you had a friend to help you through :) It’s pretty simple once you get your head around the process, right? Oh good! I’m actually very sensitive to smells and the kombucha process usually doesn’t get to me either. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  18. Jacquie

    I’m wondering if you have to use regular sugar, or if you can use honey as the sweetener or another sweetener substitute? Me and sugar really don’t get along so I need a sub!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Jacquie…it’s highly recommended that you not use any liquid sweetener. You could try it with coconut sugar though I haven’t tested it out. Honey can actually harm the SCOBY.

      Reply
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  20. Serene

    I am soooo excited! I love kombucha, and have read recipes for home brewing, but they seemed much more complicated than yours. I am going to try to grow my own SCOBY, as some of your readers had good luck, but if it doesn’t work, do you have online stores that you recommend for buying?

    Also, I would *LOVE* to see more flavor combinations and recipes!

    ~Serene

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Serene…I would recommend putting a message out on Facebook to your friends (if you’re on FB) or spreading the word…you can usually find folks willing to part with some of their SCOBY in your local area. They’re so expensive when you buy them online. Sometimes a local health food store will have some leads…

      Reply
    2. Charles

      I actually found a bottle of GTs original kombucha that had a scoby in it at Sprouts whole foods. There were a few bottles with whole scobys in them.

      Reply
      1. Serene

        Oh my gosh oh my gosh! So I read this the day after I went and bought my plain kombucha to get started, so I was bummed I didn’t get a chance to look for it. But when I went to the fridge, one of the bottles has a mini scoby in it!! YAY! BONUS!

        Reply
  21. Cheri

    I followed your directions and can’t wait for my tea to ferment! Health benefits sound great! I used a two gallon jar (I hope that’s not too big)… but it has a spigot I can use to drink the tea. Should I pick up a gallon jar and transfer it… or is the spigot okay?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Cheri…great questions. You’ll need to somehow remove the tea and separate it from the SCOBY or else it’ll keep fermenting and get very sour. Once the first fermentation is one, drain it through the spigot into smaller bottles (you can drink it plain or add fruit for another couple days). Be sure to keep some of the completed kombucha in with your SCOBY so it has something to thrive on.

      Reply
      1. Cheri

        I just tried my first cup of Kombucha tea and I LOVED it!!! It only ‘brewed’ (fermented) seven days, but I could not wait one more day! I am so excited! I will wait until Sunday and bottle the rest and start another batch! YaY */*

        Some people add Apple Cider Vinegar… I’m wondering why and should I? Mine is starting to look a little fuzzy on top and is really cloudy… is that okay? I also noticed the SCOBY is still in the middle and hasn’t floated to the top… is this okay? How long will it take before I see a baby? I know, I’m full of questions… and I’ll probably have to name the baby! Hahaha!

        Thanks for your great advice! Cheri

        Reply
        1. Cheri

          I’m creating a Kombucha factory over here! When I woke up I could tell it was time to transfer my tea to smaller jars! Instead of a little fuzzy on top (like yesterday)… it’s really fuzzy and just a teensy bit sour, but I love sour so I’m transferring at the perfect time for me! I left two cups of the original batch along with the SCOBY and will brew a mixture tonight, completely cool… then add it to my two gallon jar! I think this may become a permeate fixture in my kitchen!
          When I transferred my tea it left the sides of my jar a bit (ummm) yucky looking. Here’s the plan, I’ll be very careful and… 1) Remove the SCOBY and a cup of the original batch. 2) Clean the jar… I’m thinking the side need cleaned, I’ll only use water and a very clean cloth. 3) Replace the SCOBY and a cup of the original batch along with another mixture of brewed organic tea and organic sugar. 4) Cover with cheese cloth and ferment. Let me know if I need to change things up a bit!
          I loved the taste so much I’m drinking 10-12 ounces at one time… is this too much? I teach 5th grade and my kids are so inquisitive about ‘what I’m drinking’ (I’m laughing, but so are the other teachers)… so I’m going to bring my first ‘baby’ to school so they can all watch the process! A few of the teachers have tasted it, liked it, but had a hard time getting past the thought of ‘bacteria’… others ran the other way! Hahaha! I’m a true CrossFitting Paleo’er and I’m having a great time with this tea!!! Soon I’ll try infusing fruit.

          Reply
          1. Steph Post author

            The yucky sludge at the bottom is spent yeast produced from the SCOBY.

            I like the sound of steps 1-4 but I would also add something after step 2. Rinse your clean jar with some white vinegar.

            Most people stick to that amount or less.

            That’s so great that the kids are learning from it :) My students (high school) were always inquisitive too. I just call it “probiotics” instead. Sounds “nicer”. Well, if they’re fans of yogurt or sauerkraut, they’re eating bacteria too :)

        2. Steph Post author

          If you add apple cider vinegar I don’t see why it would be a bad thing…just makes it more acidic and well, vinegary. Fuzzy like different colors of fuzz or just cloudy? The SCOBY may not rise and the baby actually forms as a layer attached to the SCOBY.

          Reply
        3. Bart

          Vinegar is a great antiseptic, it will keep germs from taking over while allowing the probiotics to flourish, tea is also an antiseptic ingredient, also the heavy sugar content inhibits growth of most disease-causing bacteria at the beginning of fermentation.

          Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Erin, What I do is transfer the unflavored KT to smaller jars and either flavor it or keep it plain. I keep the SCOBY in the original jar, make a new batch of tea (cool it completely) and pour it into the big jar with the SCOBY…then I start again.

      Reply
  22. Karen

    I took a little break from brewing and want to start up again. I’ve kept my SCOBY in a mason jar in the fridge with some kombucha . Will it still be “active?” When taking a break from brewing, what is the best way to keep a SCOBY?

    Can’t wait to get it going again!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      The sugar gets used up by the SCOBY as the homemade kombucha ferments. Some folks let it get very sour and there’s virtually no sugar left.

      Reply
  23. Samantha

    Hi Steph! Thanks for a great site, first of all, and I really enjoyed reading about how you make your kombucha as well as all the comments. I started making K about 3 months ago and am quite simply addicted. My favorite is lemon ginger flavour. I even have friends making it now as they love the samples I bring in to work and to the yoga studio. I “adopt” out my baby SCOBY’s and give each a name so the recipients tend to be quite committed by the time they decide to make it themselves! (it’s hard not to care for your SCOBY when it comes with a name). Thanks for the comment about the caffeine that remains in the finished product. That explains why I’m having trouble falling asleep when I have two (wine) glasses before bed! I prefer the green tea and noticed I had been using decaf green tea which explains a lot as well! I tried to make K with wu long tea (oolong) but it didn’t turn out at all. Any idea why? I’m not even sure what kind of tea that really is so maybe the SCOBY doesn’t like it along the lines of the oils in the herbal teas. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Samantha! Love hearing about your adventures in kombucha :) As for the oolong tea, it may be because of the oils as you mentioned. SCOBYs don’t seem to tolerate herbal teas very well (in my experience). Take care!

      Reply
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  27. Angie

    Hi. Do you put a piece of the scoby when you are doing the flavour fermentation phase? Also. One of my tea bags burst during first fermentation. Is this ok or do I need to start again? Also scoby sank. Is that ok?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Angie….no, don’t add the SCOBY to phase 2 (the flavoring phase). I always take my tea bags out after the tea has steeped (about 20-30 min) but you should be able to pour it through a strainer to clear it up. Sometimes the SCOBY sinks…that’s normal.

      Reply
  28. loveswildflower

    I adopted a SCOBY from a friend who had not been brewing for quite some time. She brought over her quart jar and I noticed her mother had porous holes in the underportion. . . almost like a sponge. It had 2 fleshy-thickeness skins on top and I removed these together to put into a gallon jar of some pomegranite green tea and sugar that I had brewed up the day before.

    I placed the baby SCOBY in the gallon jar and it sank to the bottom and stayed there. I set the jar on top of my fridge because it is in a nook that is semi-dark. After just a week I noticed a cloudy layer forming on the top of my jar. when I tilted the jar sideways it broke up into little pieces. I want to grow a nice thick healthy SCOBY and so I figured I may just sacrifice this first gallon jar of tea to allow that to occur.

    It is now week 3, the original quart jar sized SCOBY is still on the bottom of my gallon jar and is darkish brown. There is a new SKIN of a SCOBY just now forming fleshy on the top of my gallon jar. SHould I just continue to let it set and grow in order to get that nice thick mother SCOBY I’ve seen in the pictures? Will I need to add more sugar to the gallon jar or feed it any? Since this is my very first attempt at brewing I’m not at all sure what I am doing. My friend had no real idea how to brew either. . . I just don’t want to risk losing the SCOBY I have, and I want to do the best thing for my mother. ANy pointers from here would be a GREAT help!!!

    Thanks a bushel!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi there! Great questions.

      Let’s see…when you started the new pomegranate green tea and used the 2 fleshy SCOBYs from the top of the SCOBY your friend gave you, those are the babies from previous batches. They can be quite thin and take time to develop in thickness and become more like the mother. It’s normal for a SCOBY to sink. You may want to let your original quart sized jar SCOBY go (any idea how old it is?) and let the new skin (baby) develop. It’s going to take many batches to get a very thick mother but it’ll happen over time (each time you make a batch it essentially adds another layer). You may need to add some sugar, yes, to keep feeding it so it’ll keep growing.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
      1. Cheri

        I have a question about feeding Kombucha. I have a jar started and it’s been fermenting for over a week (Thi is my 3rd round). I’m not sure if this round has enough sugar… can I add more?

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          Hi Cheri…do you remember how much you added?

          The great part is that if you add more, all you’ll have to do is let it ferment a bit longer :)

          Reply
        2. Bart

          Two tablespoons of sugar per eight ounces of tea will give about the same sugar content as a fruit juice: around 12 percent. The reason frozen juice concentrates don’t really need preservatives is their high sugar content inhibits growth of bacteria and yeast and the temperature also inhibits growth. the bottom line is that you don’t want to make a syrup because that is too much sugar for even the scoby to handle but too little sugar without a high alcohol or acid content will allow germs ( pathogens) to take over with objectionable smells associated.

          Reply
  29. shannon

    I am confused by this whole process, someone has posted that growing a SCOBY from gts kombucha didn’t work anymore due to the process being changed but this seems to be untrue according to this post. Can anyone tell me where to buy unflavored gts kombucha – I live in a small city in the South so I am in a desert when it comes to whole, real, organic foods . . . Thanks so much

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Shannon…the video of me growing a SCOBY was just from this summer so it’s after GTs changed it’s formulation. Still works about 80% of the time (every once in a while, the bottle just doesn’t have enough culture but I’ve grown several this way). Hmmmm. I’m trying to think of where you could get one but you may have better luck ordering one online :/ Perhaps someone will be able to suggest a spot!

      Reply
  30. leslie

    I have made kombucha many times, but stopped about 4 months ago, I guess I just got out of the habit but am excited to start again! is my scoby that’s been in the fridge, with the original juice and jar, still safe to use? Is there a way to tell? It has a really strong kombucha smell, and a little darker color…. Should I just make a new batch like when I first started?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Leslie! It should be okay to use but I’ve found that refrigerated SCOBYs put back into use just aren’t as vigorous and take longer to ferment the tea. If you could find a new one somewhere (or grow one) it might mean faster batches down the road. To get started again, just keep going where you left off!

      Reply
  31. Pingback: Top 5 Paleo Mistakes Newbies Make Stupid Easy Paleo - Easy Paleo Recipes

  32. Megan

    I am so excited to make my own!! I live in Alaska thought so it might take triple the time to ferment because it’s winter! Maybe I should put it under my sink instead of my pantry!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Yay! I’ve had okay luck with it on top of the fridge just because it tends to be a couple degrees warmer up there :)

      Reply
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  35. Jennifer

    Hi this is my first time making kombucha. It’s been fermenting for the first process now 10 days. First it’s still really sweet, more so than store bought, so is it suppose to be? And second, it doesn’t have any carbonation at all, when should that occur? Thanks so much for any tips :)

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Jennifer! It’s probably not ready yet. During the winter it can take longer to ferment than normal. I like it to be kind of half sweet, half sour. Just let it go longer if that’s what you’re after.

      The carbonation really occurs during the second fermentation (when you add fruit and cap it for an extra 1-3 days). Beware though..some store brands are artificially carbonated!!

      Reply
  36. Serene

    So I grew my SCOBY just the way you said – one bottle took off and grew a great one, the other is slowly getting there, but it’s kind of a dud. I haven’t had time to brew until now, so I have an extra large scoby – I think it’s a double by now. I named him Scooby. I started the Kombucha a couple of days ago, and I am sooooo excited!! I would love to hear about more flavor combinations you have tried!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Serene! I had one that I thought was a dud and then, seemingly overnight, it really took off. Haha…love the name!! My favorite is lemon ginger for sure, but I’ve done so many others: apple is quite nice and light and blueberry-raspberry was deep and rich. I really want to love turmeric but I find it kind of bitter and oily tasting.

      Reply
      1. Serene

        So I have completed my FIRST round of kombucha brewing, and it turned out FANTASTIC! It took 21 days to come to the right balance, but that’s probably because I live in arctic Michigan. Im hoping as the weather gets warmer, it won’t take as long. The gallon produced enough liquid for 3 of IKEA’s flip top bottles, so I did 3 different flavorings. Blackberry lime, lemon ginger, and apple cinnamon. All three turned out FANTASTIC, although I will use 3 ice cubes of flavoring in all 3 next time for a little extra push.

        The only issue I had was that when I poured the flavored kombucha into cleaned out GTs bottles, I lost most of that awesome carbonation I had achieved. I only filled them to about 2 inches from the top – instead of a 1/4 inch like in the flavoring stage. Is that why?

        Im HOOKED! I set up 2 jars for my second batch. That just wasn’t enough to last me for the next 3 weeks! Especially since I shared quite a bit because I was so excited.

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          Serene, it sounds like you have achieved kombucha nirvana :)

          Want to know a secret? A LOT of brands artificially carbonate their product so it’s normal to not have a ton of carbonation with homebrew.

          Happy fermenting :)

          Reply
          1. Serene

            Ahhh so that’s their secret. But in all reality, if I just leave it in the big bottles, the carbonation was great coming out of those. Or maybe if I am transferring, I shouldn’t leave so much space for the bubbles to go. I just started my flavor stage for my second batch – only 14 days this time. So excited to try new flavors as the weather gets warmer, but right now the apple cinnamon is my favorite!

  37. Britt

    So, I tried homemade kombucha once and it just turned out kinda watering. So I’ve been too lazy to try again and have continued to buy the $4 GT bottles for a while. I think I’m up to trying again. My questions is, I’ve had the SCOBY from the first try sitting in my fridge for a few months now. Do I need to get a new one? Or should this one still work? And do you have any tips for making sure the kombucha comes out strong and flavorful? I steeped the tea for quite a while. Maybe I didn’t use enough? Or not enough of my flavoring?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Britt…what was your ratio of water to tea bags?

      You can use the same SCOBY from the fridge. I just found that the one I used after it had been refrigerated was just slower at fermenting the kombucha compared to my fresh / new one.

      What type of tea did you use? White? Green? Black?

      Reply
      1. Britt

        I did a green ginger tea and I can’t remember my ratio, it was a gallon of water and probably about 3 or 4 Tbsp of loose leaf tea. Maybe I need to use more this time around. Glad to know I can use the same SCOBY!

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          Hi Britt…I use one tea bag (or equivalent amount of tea) for every 2 cups of liquid. That would be 8 tea bags for a gallon. Hope that helps.

          Reply
  38. Linda

    I just stumbled on your page and found it fascinating. I watched your video of how to grow your own scoby, went and bought two bottles of GT’s kombucha, came home and sent up my own kombucha production. (Growing an extra scoby for my daughter). Thanks for making it look so easy and inspiring me! …and for answering all those questions! I’ve learned a lot and am excited for my own SCOBY’s to grow so I can make my own tea. And looking forward to trying different flavours. Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Linda….I’m so happy I could be of help. I need to get my own kombucha operation back up and running since I am finally back home.

      Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      It can have a small amount of alcohol in it, so you’ll have to make that judgment call for yourself!

      Reply
      1. Linda

        I would think that it would be good for mothers who are breastfeeding to drink kombucha as the probiotics would strengthen their immune system and the baby will certainly benefit from that.

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          I know a lot of pregnant women avoid non-pasteurized foods, so that would be my concern. Probiotics are definitely a good thing, though!

          Reply
  39. charity

    I just bought my first jar of Kombucha from a local farm. It tastes like vinegar to me! It has a clump of stuff floating in the lower part of the jar, is that enough of a SCOBY to do a second ferment do you think?

    Reply
  40. Robert O. Phillips

    Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer,
    it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!

    Other then that, fantastic blog!

    Reply
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  42. Tracy

    I made my own scoby from a bottle of GT’s, brew cup of black tea, add 1 cup sugar and put in mason jar for a couple weeks.

    Reply
  43. Linda Roden

    I’m doing a continuous brew and the cloth with the rubber band tended to roll off the top. I solved the problem by getting an embroidery hoop big enough to fit over the top of my crock. Put the covering cloth in it and trimmed the excess material away. Not it’s easy to handle, stays in place and looks a lot better sitting in my kitchen.

    Reply
  44. Tina

    Thanks for the info on making Kombucha and your flavor choices. I am making my first batch of Kombucha now, I think it is ready. Looking forward to trying some different flavor options. I just recently got started with cultured foods, I started with Kombucha, but decided I wanted something that was quicker so I also started Water Kefir. I also make Greek Yogurt.

    Reply
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    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Wendy. You need to add the fruit to the kombucha and then let it ferment for 1-3 days at room temp. After that, store in the fridge to stop the fermentation (or you’ll end up with vinegar).

      Reply
  48. Diana

    I am ready to start brewing my own kombucha but I have a question on the cleaning sanitizing part. What steps do you take as far as sanitizing your jars and tools? I have read only hot water with vinegar because soap will kill Scoby others say soap is ok. I am bit confused. Thank you!!!!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      I use white vinegar mostly. Every once in a while I’ll empty the jars completely, wash with soap and water, rinse well, and then rinse again with vinegar. It hasn’t harmed my SCOBY at all.

      Reply
  49. loretta

    Question: My kombusha already brewed (new mother) and I made a quart of blue/raspberry tea and a quart of mango/ginger tea. Somehow I thought that the pureed fruit would mix with the tea but it is sitting at the top. Is this right? Will it mix or do I take it out at the end?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      Hi Loretta…remember there is some carbonation going on in your kombucha and that is usually enough to make the fruit float.

      Reply
  50. Jennifer

    How do I figure out why my bucha batches keep molding? The only time it didn’t mold was my very first batch and now they keep molding and all my scobys are gone. I just can’t figure it out.. Help!!! :(

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      1) Are you rinsing any utensils and / or the new jar with vinegar before you start?

      2) Are you keeping it covered?

      Reply
  51. Raquel

    Steph-
    First of all, thank you for being so badass. The content of your site is not only meaningful and educational, it’s cute and fun. I admire your vast knowledge and desire to put “real” stuff out there. Not just chocolate this and doughnut that. Anyways, I made your kombucha after maybe never following a recipe word for word before. It turned out so delicious and perfect. Coming up with flavor combos was pretty fun. My favorite was Grapefruit. I’m yet to try my Pomegranate Ginger. I even tried Apple Celery. Thanks for the post. I look forward to many more great recipes to come.

    Cheers,
    Raquel

    Reply
  52. Diane

    I’ve got my first scoby growing and it’s ready to go after a couple weeks. I just poured a bottle of plain GT’s in a mason jar, covered with a piece of t-shirt and rubber banded it and put in a dark cupboard. Working like a charm. I’ve been collecting the GT’s bottles a little at a time as I’ve bought and tried different flavors. Removing labels and getting them ready to use to bottle my buch when I make it. I’ve hear red oolong tea is really good for buch as well. This may have been answered but there are so many comments I couldn’t read them all. If it turns out too sour…referring to my son in particular who doesn’t care for the vinegar taste…can sweetener be added after the fermentation process as long as it’s refrigerated? And is honey a big no-no? Will it kill the bacteria in the culture?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      You can add sweetener after the fermentation process.

      I did a little research and honey should not adversely affect the bacteria in the culture.

      Reply
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  54. Ashlyn

    How do you store your SCOBY? Do you leave a little unflavored kombucha with it and refrigerate it or keep it out at room temp?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      I store it at room temp with a couple cups of plain kombucha. I don’t refrigerate it. Since the SCOBY is a living organism, refrigerating it retards the growth and in, my experience, when you take it out of the refrigerator, it doesn’t seem to do as well.

      Reply
      1. Ashlyn

        THANK YOU!! You are seriously awesome. So knowledgable and always taking time to respond and converse with your followers!! Love your page! (and IG page!)

        Reply
  55. Linda

    How do you know when your SCOBY is getting too thick and it’s time to separate some “babies”? And after you separate some, do you keep the newer smaller layers from the bottom to brew with or the old original layers from the top?

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      I’ve seen them several inches thick. I tend to separate mine once it’s more than 2″ thick. The newer layers form at the top, so I would tend to halve it and keep the top half.

      Reply
      1. Linda

        Oh, mine seemed “old” on the top and newer or fresher on the bottom, but I’ll take your word for it…I’m sure you know better than I do! But any layers could be used for new batches, correct? Will the “age” of the SCOBY affect the brew? Is it better to start with newer layers at some point? Thanks for taking the time to respond…appreciate the help.

        Reply
        1. Steph Post author

          Correct…any layers can be used for new batches. I find that when the SCOBY gets old, it just sort of slows down: it doesn’t produce as much carbonation and it takes longer between batches in my experience.

          You can certainly start with newer layers!

          Reply
  56. RoxAnn

    Looking for some advice. Trying to make my first Scoby to make homemade Kombucha as seen in the Stupid Easy Paleo video. It has been one week and no scoby has formed. Wondering if I need to restart.
    3 thoughts:
    1) Before I read the label I shook the bottle of GT really well to get the stuff on the bottom mixed in. Did that ruin the mixture?
    2) I live in MN and we turn our heat down to 55 at night. Is this too cold for a Scoby to form or will it just take longer?
    3) The GT I used was Original Enlightened not the Classic. Maybe this one doesn’t have enough fermentation in it. Not sure if my health food store sold the classic because of the alcohol content.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Steph Post author

      RoxAnn…it takes far longer than one week. Patience, my friend.

      1) No, including the culture at the bottom won’t hurt it.
      2) Yes, that could be far too cold. You may want to wrap it in a kitchen towel and put in on top of the fridge.
      3) It should be okay.

      My SCOBY takes up to 2 weeks to form using this method.

      Reply
  57. Cynthia

    Hi Steph,

    I subscribed to your ecourse and made my first scoby from a bottle of GT. Left it a little too long, I guess, so I got a mother and a thin baby, as well. Have started my first half gallon batch, so am excited. However, I cannot find my email with my link to the ecourse. How can I get access to it again? Thanks much!

    Reply
  58. Cynthia

    Sorry, Steph, but when I click on your link, this is the message I get:

    Oops! This Content is Members Only
    The content you’re trying to view is for members only. Please register in order to access this content.

    The only registration available was for the site updates. Am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks very much!

    Reply

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