Homemade Kombucha

October 22, 2013


Back in July, I decided to grow my own kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) from a bottle of raw, organic kombucha (method here), and the experiment turned out well. After just one month, I had a scoby that was mature enough to brew a whole gallon-sized batch of kombucha, which was ready to drink after only two weeks in the pantry.

But there was a problem.

My home-brewed kombucha was, for lack of a better word, puckery. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t something I’d want to drink every day, either, so I went through my process to see if there was anything I could change.

What I found was that most of the recipes I’ve encountered on the internet for homemade kombucha advise that you brew your tea for at least an hour, but for me, an hour is much too long. It brings out unpleasant flavors in the tea that linger long after the scoby has had time to work its magic. So, to see if I could improve the outcome, I decided to brew my tea bags for only 15-20 minutes instead. And voila, my next batch of kombucha was perfect.

I’m still new to the business of brewing my own kombucha, but I thought it’d be fun to share what’s working for me so far in my process, and to open the discussion for those of you who are interested. Now that I’ve got my basic recipe down, I think it’d be fun to add some extra flavor to the mix. Some ginger, perhaps, or pure fruit juices.


Basic Process for Making 1 Gallon-Sized Jar of Kombucha

1. Bring 3 ¾ quarts of water to a boil. Remove from heat, and add 1 cup sugar. Stir to dissolve.

2. Add 5 standard sized bags of black tea (caffeinated), and brew for 15-20 minutes. Remove tea bags, and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Pour in a gallon sized GLASS jar with a wide mouth.

3. Add SCOBY and ½ cup reserve kombucha liquid. Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 1-3 weeks, checking the flavor every couple of days after the first week has passed.

4. Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, strain the kombucha liquid minus 1/2 cup into a bottle and store in the refrigerator for drinking. Repeat the process for more kombucha.

Also, since you now have two SCOBYs, you can either give your extra scoby away, or you can start up another jar for double the amount.


A few important notes about making your own kombucha:
-Don’t let metal come in contact with your SCOBY. It will degrade the culture.
-Use white sugar or raw cane sugar only to ensure proper pH.
-If your SCOBY shows any signs of mold, discard and start over.
-You can substitute black tea for any other tea that contains caffeine, such as green tea or oolong tea.
-Once you’ve strained your kombucha into a bottle for refrigeration, you can add ginger, fruit, or fruit juices to flavor the beverage.


  1. Love the labels you used! I wish I could make myself like kombucha. I admire the dedication to making it though!

  2. I love the labels too..and the color of the kombucha.

    Perhaps I should go and buy some to see if I like it and then try a batch. I think I remember my son making some about a year ago but I didn't understand what it was. There is so much talk about how good it is for you. Thanks for the instructions.

    I looked up your pumpkin pie spice recipe yesterday and whipped up a batch to make my own pumpkin lattes, it turned out great. Thanks for sharing. xo

    1. @Sherri: I think I'm going to copy you and make a pumpkin spice latte too! Sounds really good right now.

      I would definitely start by trying a bottle of store bought kombucha first. Most people don't enjoy the taste right away. I know I didn't, but I've come to enjoy it over time, and making it at home is much more economical.

  3. If you don't mind me asking, where did you get your SCOBY? I love kombucha, but I've always been afraid to do it myself. This is a great post for beginners. Thanks!


    1. @Kimberly: I grew my own scoby from a bottle of raw, organic kombucha that I bought from the store. You can google it and find loads of links for instructions on the process. I also know you can buy them online I either dehydrated or fresh form. Most people seem to prefer them fresh. :)

  4. I haven't tried kombucha yet, but I'm starting to think I need to. (Also, your site is prettier every time I stop by.)

  5. Thanks Meryl! I'm never totally satisfied with how it looks, so I'm always playing with things. I just figured out how to remove the header on blogger last week, which has opened up a whole world of possibilities.

  6. What a beautiful post on Kombucha! I'm ecstatic to see more and more people seeing its greatness. I will mention that although the SCOBY will feed off of refined sugar better, raw cane sugar brings a deeper flavor at a lesser environmental cost. Its what we brew with here at Kombucha Brooklyn! Also, you can brew with raw honey by using our Jun kombucha, a special culture thats adapted over hundreds of years from the Himalayas.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kombucha Brooklyn. I'm excited to hear that raw cane sugar is a viable option. I really hate using the refined stuff. I'll add that bit of information to the post!

  7. Also, investing in good tea makes a world of difference. Try for whole leaf tea, and look up what is an appropriate brew time, some green teas only take a couple minutes, as well as enjoyed over multiple steeps.