Kombucha Making...Made Simple!

Hey there, kombucha lovers! I hope you're enjoying the long weekend. Me, I'm doing great - except for the fact that I haven't had a kombucha in 2 days. That's pretty much a world record for me, considering how addicted I've become! But, my little glass bottles filled with kombucha are fizzing up and should be ready to drink within a day or two. Ah, sweet relief.

Lately, I've been getting asked this question fairly often: "How do you make kombucha?" Followed by "Is it hard? Do you have to tend to it several times a day or week?" So, I've decided to just write out the instructions as simple and directly as possible. I'm a keep-it-simple kind of girl, and I find that far too often instructions give you t.m.i. (too much information) and confuse you right into giving up. But, the truth is that making kombucha couldn't be easier! And, for those who are new to this wonderful beverage, kombucha has been associated with everything from anti-aging benefits to curing cancer to just plain rejuvenation. Whatever your reasons for drinking kombucha may be, I think you'll find that it feels great in your system and is a fantastic, healthy beverage to incorporate into your life.

Tess's Kombucha 101

1. Score a scoby. What's a scoby, you ask? It's a starter mushroom that you'll need. I find that if you ask, you'll very often receive. So, just put the word out in your community (and at your local health food store) and see if anyone has a starter for you. They probably will. You should also receive a little liquid with your scoby. This is your starter liquid.
2. To make a gallon jug of kombucha: Boil 3 quarts of water. Add 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon of organic black or green tea. Add one cup of organic sugar to the hot tea, stir, and let cool. Remove the tea bags.
3. Wash your hands very well (it is very important that every step of the kombucha-making process be clean and sanitary - and the containers you use should always be sanitized as well). Place the kombucha starter (scoby and liquid) in a gallon size glass container. Add the cooled sugar-tea mixture.
4. Cover the opening with a cloth or organic paper towel. Place a rubber band around it to secure. This is to keep air flowing through to the kombucha (and it will also prevent any bugs from entering). Place in a cool (room temperature), dark place for 10 days. Don't move or disturb it, as it's pretty antisocial during that time. It will also start forming a cute white baby scoby on top of the mixture. At first, you might even think it looks like mold. Leave that baby alone and go about your business.
5. After 10 days, you'll want to check it every day or two to see if it has become perfection. What you're looking for is the perfect sweet-sour flavor. If you want really sweet kombucha, you can let it ferment for less time. However, the longer you let it ferment, the less sweet it will become (and healthier, in my opinion). However, don't let it get too sour or you'll end up with kombucha vinegar! Find that fine line. And, of course, you'll want to be sanitary about testing the kombucha. Enough said.
6. Once your kombucha is at just the right level of sweet-sour-ness, you'll need to take immediate action. With your very clean hands, remove the scoby(s) and wash well under room temperature water. Place in a clean glass container along with about 2 cups of the kombucha liquid. That will be your new scoby starter and starter liquid.
7. Do you have several old GT (Synergy) kombucha bottles that have been sanitized (run through the dishwasher, for example)? Good, you'll need them. Place the rest of the kombucha in your old GT kombucha bottles this way: Fill each bottle with the kombucha liquid, leaving about two inches of space at the top.
8. Now for the fun part! The fizz part. Place another one inch of juice in each bottle (so that you still have one inch of space at the top). You can try grape juice, cranberry-pomegranate juice, fresh berry juice (blackberry, strawberry, or blueberry), and/or ginger juice. Or any other kind of natural, organic juice that sings to you. Finally, cap each bottle tightly and set aside in a cool dark place (at room temperature) for several days. Personally, I find that four days is the perfect amount of time to let the kombucha become fizzy paradise. However, if you prefer your kombucha less fizzy, you can let it sit for less time. From there, place the bottles into the fridge. Once cold, follow your bliss and drink up!
9. Do it all over again...and once you get too many scoby starters, spread the love!

I hope that helps, and be sure to let me know how your kombucha adventure goes!


  1. super win! i need to get on this. one of connie's/LF's friends brews and makes some tasty stuff. i should bug her to get a scobi and get going on this!

  2. I tried the whole kombucha brewing thing but quickly got over it since I could never get mine to taste as good as the GT stuff... And watching that gross looking scoby float around in my tea kinda creeped me out... Looks like I am back to buying it from the health food store. I am glad your brewing is going so well!

  3. I keep giving my number to local health food stores and no one around here seems to brew kombucha :( It is hard to find anything healthy in the part of Indiana that I live in! I think I am going to have to give in and buy it online!

  4. That certainly takes the scare out of brewing my new scobi you gave me today! Thanks again and I'll let you know how it goes.

  5. This is a great post, Tess. I'm going to read through it more thoroughly later today, as there is too much going on around me right now.
    By the way, have you noticed anything notably different in your own health after regularly drinking Kombucha? I'm skeptical about anything that has such a high bacterial count along with 'high hype'...
    Curious over here (smile)! Stella

  6. thanks, Stella!

    Good question. Personally, I don't find that kombucha makes a huge difference in my overall health, as I too feel like it's not just one thing but what you do overall that makes for good health. However, on a daily basis I do enjoy the boost and health benefits of kombucha. I find it gives my immune system a boost too. I'm a "go by feel" person and really enjoy how it feels in my system.

    Hope that answers your question. :-)

  7. What sort of 1 gallon containers do you suggest?
    Do I need to go out and buy kraut pots? What is the best?

  8. Any glass gallon container would be fine. You can also order them online through frontier.com.

  9. We've used a giant pickle jar and a big glass pitcher. Also, you can make your own SCOBY if you really can't find one. http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-grow-a-kombucha-scoby/

  10. Tess, thanks for the great set of instructions. I love making my own kombucha and just started another batch on Monday. I've never added juices either, so maybe I'll experiment with this batch!

  11. Sweet!
    Sonya ("sharway") directed me to Your blog when I posted about starting my own batch of kombucha.

    A friend of mine gave me two SCOBYs, one of which had been sitting (tightly sealed) in her fridge for at least a year, and the other was almost as old. I started my first batch four days ago (based on tips from various websites, including a blog by "Kombuchick" which is incredibly thorough), and my SCOBY already has yeasty strands coming off of it. Yay!
    ....my only concern is that the SCOBY was folded up in its old container, and hasn't fully spread out in my big jar--it's kind of floating about an inch below the surface, all bent up, and apparently peeling off into two layers. *shrug*
    I don't know if any of that matters, but it's my first batch, and I don't know everything about it.

    Thanks for the great instructions. I only wish Your page had shown up in the first couple of pages of google search results!

  12. This is fantastic, I'm one of those kombucha lovers, since I discovered, it has been my favorite.