Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way! |

How to Make Homemade Kombucha

Homemade kombucha is truly stupid-easy to make, and saves you a lot of money over store-bought.

Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way! |

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.

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.

How is Kombucha Made?

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.

Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way! |

How to Grow Your Own SCOBY at Home

One of the most common questions future kombucha makers want to know is where to get a SCOBY.

Get one from a friend or even better, grow your own at home.

Watch my tutorial and see how easy it is to grow your own kombucha SCOBY:

How to Flavor Your Homemade Kombucha

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. 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).

How to Start Your Next Batch of Kombucha

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.

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

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.

Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way! |

Homemade Kombucha Recipe

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Vegetarian, Whole30
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 48 kcal
Author: Steph Gaudreau
Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way!



  • 1 SCOBY grow your own or order online
  • 8 organic green tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar organic granulated white sugar
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 gallon Mason jar
  • 1 old t-shirt


  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 kombucha tea (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.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Kombucha Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 48
% Daily Value*
Sodium 11mg0%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Sugar 12g13%
Calcium 7mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way! |

Ginger-Mango Homemade Kombucha Tea

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Paleo
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 27 kcal
Author: Steph Gaudreau

Making homemade kombucha is simple and easy. Learn how to flavor your homemade kombucha with ginger and mango.



  • 1 cup mango fresh or frozen
  • 1 inch fresh ginger peeled
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds optional


  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 ¼ 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.
Nutrition Facts
Ginger-Mango Homemade Kombucha Tea
Amount Per Serving
Calories 27 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Potassium 46mg1%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Vitamin A 225IU5%
Vitamin C 7.5mg9%
Calcium 21mg2%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way! |

Blueberry-Raspberry Homemade Kombucha Tea

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Paleo
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 65 kcal
Author: Steph Gaudreau

Making homemade kombucha is simple and easy. Learn how to flavor your homemade kombucha with blueberry and raspberry.



  • 1 cup blueberries fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup raspberries fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds optional


  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 ¼ 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.
Nutrition Facts
Blueberry-Raspberry Homemade Kombucha Tea
Amount Per Serving
Calories 65 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 98mg3%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 20IU0%
Vitamin C 11.5mg14%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Have a question about this Homemade Kombucha Recipe? Leave it in the comments below!

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Making homemade kombucha is simple and money-saving! Click this tutorial to see the process from start to finish and you'll be on your way! |

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394 Responses

    1. 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.

      1. Hi! I just made a gallon last night. I used a scoby that i bought online. I’ve been looking online and a lot of websites say to use 2 cups of preview kombucha with the scoby or to use white vinegar. I used neither. Is my batch still good? Or should I add the white vinegar now?
        Thank you!

        1. Hi Andrea. Did your SCOBY come with ANY liquid? There will be cultures in that liquid and of course the SCOBY itself. It’ll ferment but may take a couple more days. Oh, white vinegar is only to rinse out your containers. Don’t add that to your kombucha.

          1. I have the continuous kombucha system which is a big porcelain container and all of me bottles to bottle in. I’m hoping someone in the kambuch a community wants it. I do not want to throw it out

    2. 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

      1. 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!

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

    3. 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.

      1. 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 🙂

        1. 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.

    4. Hi there, just wondering Do you leave your scoby in during the fermentation period with the fruit? Cheers!

      1. Hi Jules,

        No you pour the plain kombucha out of the jar with the scoby into smaller jars. Then you add fruit. Don’t add fruit to the jar with the scoby in it.

    5. Tracy, I’m about to bottle my first batch o’ booch from a home-grown SCOBY. Growing it was also “stupid easy.” It took about a month, and I used the instructions at Kombucha Kamp. They were really easy to follow. I used a bottle of store-bought plus the dregs from a bottle a friend brewed.

          1. I grew mine from ginger flavored from Costco , worked great. I see another post on here the user said they made it from apple cider vinegar ( with the mother). I might try that myself. I’m big in to home brew beer so this sparked my interest for the days that beer won’t do.

            1. Hi Roy, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  1. 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 😉

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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?


        1. 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.

    2. I am glad you mentioned not to use metal for bottling its also important when heating it up with tea bags etc not to use metal I use baked enamel dish

      1. That’s a very common recommendation, though I have to say, of all the times I’ve tasted my kombucha with a metal spoon, nothing bad has happened 😉 Guess I’m just a rebel!

    3. I use Mason jars jars for bottling and put a square of freezer or wax paper, wax side down, and don’t loose the carbonation under the plastic lids!

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

        1. 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

  4. 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! 😉

    1. 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 🙂


      1. 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!

        1. 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 🙂

          1. 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?

            1. 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.

        2. In regards throwing out kombucha, I use older kombuchas that are really vinegary which is a vinegar for hair rinse, facial toner and salad dressing, kombucha vinegar isn’t as acidic as acv I believe half of it. Google it and you’ll find info. I strain the vinegar and store in bottles for later, some form another scoby some not. Btw the hair/facial one I add herbs like sage, rosemary to get more out of it.

  5. 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

    1. 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!

      1. 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

  6. 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?

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  7. 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.

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

  8. 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 😉

    1. 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!

  9. 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!

    1. 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!!


  10. 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?

    1. 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).

  11. 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?

    1. 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 🙂

  12. 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?

    1. 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!

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

  13. 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.

    1. 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!

  14. 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!

    1. 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.

  15. 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!


    1. 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…

    2. 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.

      1. 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!

  16. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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

        1. 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.

          1. 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. 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.

        3. 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.

    1. 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.

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

  18. 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!

    1. 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!

  19. 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?

    1. 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.

  20. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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?

        1. 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 🙂

        2. 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.

  21. 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

    1. 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!

      1. I’ve started some gr8 scoby(s) from sugar cane: the gluconoacetobacter xylenii occurs naturally on sugar cane much the same way raw cabbage has lactic acid bacteria associated with it. Anyway, sugar cane can be picked up in most grocery stores that cater to the hispanic or chinese chefs.

  22. 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?

    1. 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!

  23. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

  24. 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 🙂

    1. 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!!

  25. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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 🙂

          1. 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!

  26. 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?

    1. 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?

      1. 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!

        1. 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.

  27. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

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

  28. 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?

  29. 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!

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

    1. 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).

  33. 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!!!!

    1. 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.

  34. 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?

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

  35. 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!!! 🙁

    1. HARDEST LESSON: I had an unusual occurence with my brew that may help. I brewed a batch of K from a new SCOBY for 11 days. I was actually feeling guilty that I had not made the 10 day mark. I failed to taste test the brew and even though there was a nicely formed baby at the top it was not through fermenting. I started a second batch that molded (green blue mold on top) by the 6th day. I was at a loss but upon tasting my first batch and research foundd that the mold occured because my starter was not acidic enough because the 1st fermentation was not complete. Harsh lesson because I lost my new SCOBY with no backups. Kombucha is exquisite. THE BEST EVER: I had a 16oz (Grolsch) of Kombucha that was pushed to the back of the fridge for almost 4 months. I wondered if it was any good but when I poured just 1/4 cup in the glass the natural carbonation efference rose to the top of the glass. It is without a doubt the very best ever….hoping to repeat this success if I can refrain from drinking it up. The very best champagne cannot beat great Kombucha!

  36. 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.


  37. 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?

    1. You can add sweetener after the fermentation process.

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

  38. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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!)

  39. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

  40. 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.


    1. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 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!

  43. We love GTs kombucha and have our very own first ferment going right now. It should be ready in about 4 more days. Can’t wait! Curious because I’ve never bought it what type of taste or texture do chia seeds add? Are they chewy? Seedy?

  44. I’ve been trying to grow my own scoby. I followed your instructions and have had zero luck 🙁 what am I doing wrong? The mason jar of kombucha has been in the corner of my pantry since the beginning of march. Help! Thanks 🙂

    1. Every once in a while you’ll get a bottle that has very little culture in it and it won’t grow. I’ve done this at least 6 times with success each time. Also if your pantry is really cold it can retard the growth. My suspicion is you got a dud and you’ll need to start over.

    2. Although Kombucha tea is the new rage; after some research i realized draft style ginger ale and draft root beer are made with a scoby(also called gingerbeer plant GBP). Here are some other thoughts on cultivating a scoby: hunt up an unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s) or take a small piece of raw sugar cane and soak it in sweet tea (sugar cane has the vinegar generating bacteria growing on it).

  45. Finally found some original kombucha so I could grow my SCOBY! It’s coming along just fine and I can’t wait to get cracking. I tried it with the citrus kombucha but the SCOBY wasn’t forming properly so I tossed it.

    Is it necessary to use green tea? Or can you use black tea?

  46. I am thrilled about all of the information you have posted. I am getting ready to bottle my first batch is a couple of days! I am going to dry your fruit puree recipe and had a couple of questions.

    1). How long can I leave the fruit in the container (if I pull it out after a couple days and re-cap it, won’t I lose my carbination?)

    2). How long will my fruit/chia kombucha last for in the fridge using mason jars?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Cory…I sometimes leave the fruit in indefinitely but you may want to strain it out. If the cap is on tight, you won’t lose much carbonation. However, over time, carbonation will still escape the jar even if it’s tightly capped, so just keep that in mind.

      I keep my kombucha in the fridge for up to a month or longer, but again, keep in mind it will become more flat (less carbonated) the longer it sits.

  47. Thanks for all the great info on your blog, I refer to it often.
    I just started making kamboocha when a friend gave me her supplies because she is moving away so I am a novice. Should the scoby float? I started a second batch because I had 2

  48. Does unsealing the mason jars to taste it during the 2nd fermentation decrease the carbonation? Do you store it in the mason jars? Have you ever had one explode?

    1. It does a bit, yes. Keep in mind that commercially made kombucha is often artifically carbonated at the end. I store mine in Mason jars or flip top jars with a very tight seal. I have never had one explode but I check them carefully especially when the weather is hot because the 2nd fermentation can go quickly.

  49. Just started my first batch after growing my own SCOBY from a bottle of GTs. Hopefully I will be successful as I’ve become quite addicted to the stuff.

    1. Even though I did grow my own SCOBY from a bottle of GTs, I neglected the step of adding an amount of sweet tea. Will this be ok? Do you think the SCOBY will be fecund enough to ferment?

      1. I’m confused, Dave. Which step are you on? If you grew your own SCOBY, that’s fantastic. But now, you need to make a batch of sweet tea, then add the SCOBY to that or you won’t get any kombucha.

        1. Sorry for the confusion. Ive read on several websites the in order to grow your own SCOBY, you need to add a cup of sweet tea to the store bought. I must have glossed over that at the time. It still grew, just took a bit longer than stated on the blogosphere. Its healthy looking enough. None of the mold issues.

          1. It’s okay…just wanted to make sure I was understanding you correctly. I’ve grown a SCOBY from a bottle of store bought each time without adding more sweet tea.

            1. Great! Let us celebrate the occasion with the adding of chocolate to milk! I didn’t think there was much need for the S. T. as I try to grab the bottles with the most strands of goodness. Thanks! Keep up the great work!

  50. Thank you for providing so much great info! I now have two beautiful scobys using your starter exciting! For my first batch I made a gallon but I only had a cup and a half of starter (instead of the two that was suggested in a recipe). Is that okay?

  51. I’ve grown my own scoby and have brewed 3 batches of kombucha so far. I’d like to have more on hand so how do I split the scoby? Horizontally or vertically?

    1. Hi Deb…you can split it either way. It tends to be easier to cut it vertically (with a clean knife) than it is to separate the layers horizontally but either is okay.

  52. Stupid question…if I want to add flavor to my kombucha, do I add it (the fruit) to with the a scoby in or should I strain it out first?

    1. Hi Rachel! If you want to add flavor, wait until you’ve done the first fermentation with plain, sweet tea and the SCOBY. Then, you transfer the kombucha to small containers and add your fruit or flavor, separate from the SCOBY.

  53. I’m a bit confused, sorry! In the instructions for the first fermentation you say to do the tea in a pot with 8 cups (64 oz) of water and then to add it and another 64oz of water to the jar you’ll be fermenting in. So 16 cups, 128oz of kombucha to ferment.

    But then, in the fruit instructions it says to transfer the kombucha to a 32oz jar and add the fruit.

    Am I missing something? Or reading it wrong?

    1. Hi Shannon…you’ll need four 32 oz jars to pour off the first fermentation (which you are correct would be about a gallon or 128 oz).

  54. Hi Steph!

    Well good news: I watched your video and after 8 days, I GREW A BEAUTIFUL SCOBY! 🙂 I’m so excited! I will leave it for a couple more days while I get my 7 empty GT Kombucha bottles ready (I guess you could say I like Kombucha, lol). I’m glad I’m trying this at 16 years old, now I can save money and drink homemade Kombucha for many healthy years to come!
    I did have one question. Instead of using cane sugar, would it work if I used coconut sugar?

    Thanks for this awesome recipe!

    1. That’s awesome! I am so stoked to hear that! Keep me posted on its development. 🙂

  55. I went on vacation for 8 days, and the kombucha wasn’t ready before I left, so I let it keep brewing. Now it seems I overdid it because it is really clear (I’ve never seen that before), and it smells like it may be quite vinegarry. Is there anything I can do to save this batch?

      1. Thank you!! By the way, I also tried elderberry syrup from IKEA, and lime juice. It turned out fantastic – like a cocktail!

  56. Do you have to use cane sugar or can it be coconut sugar or maple syrup?

    I’ve had my scoby growing for 9 days and I just checked on it and it is at the bottom of my mason jar. Is that bad?

    1. Hi Annick,

      Sometimes the SCOBY sinks…it should be okay. You can try coconut sugar…I’ve not tried it before and I know most sites recommend against using liquid sweeteners such as maple syrup.

  57. Hi Steph!

    Any issue with using an acrylic jar for the brewing? I am desperately searching for a big enough glass jar and just came across an acrylic one. What do you think?

    Thanks for posting this and your scooby video – mine is on day 10 and I’m looking forward to checking it when I get home.


    1. Most sites devoted to kombucha brewing do not recommend acrylic. Have you tried online through Amazon? I have found very large (1 gal+) mason jars at Target and my local Ace hardware.

      1. Thanks Steph. From the UK so unfortunately no target here, but there are some other places I can try so I’ll check them out.


        1. Ah, didn’t realize you were there! John Lewis (I think) had some when I was there (lived in Scotland for 4 months last year). Other than that, Amazon might be your best bet.

    2. you can get 4ea 1 gallon jars from for under $15. (the minimum order is $50 but you do not have to order every month) but they offer alot of healthy grocery options.

  58. I made my first SCOBY based on your video and I’m ready to go. Got two 1.1 gallon glass jars off Amazon and was about to boil the water when I realized I didn’t understand the first step. Steep for 20 min while boiling or boil, turn off heat, steep for 20 min, stir in sugar and then come to room temp? Thank you!

    1. Hi Ira…I usually boil the water, turn off the heat, steep the tea bags for 20 min then stir in the sugar. Let it come to room temp then combine it with the SCOBY. You can also boil the water, turn off the heat, add the sugar and tea bags and let that steep for 20 min. I just find that pouring sugar into the hot pot sometimes causes some to stick to the bottom.

  59. I’ve been making kombucha for several months now. After the first fermentation I put 1/4 juice into a beer bottle with flip top lid and then add the kombucha. I let it ferment 2-3 days on the bench and then it goes in the fridge till I need it. I am amazed that you use mason jars – all that I have read indicates you need a jar/bottle that has been made specifically to handle carbonated drinks due to the possibility, otherwise, of explosion. BTW mine are nice and bubbly after the 2nd ferment. Have you ever had any of your jars explode?

    1. Oh, interesting, the reason that I’ve never used mason jars is because I heard that they were not airtight and therefore did not contain the carbonation…leading to less fizzy end product. I use the flip top Grolsch-style bottles also (Ikea!!) but Mason jars would be so much cheaper/easier when giving away samples or even testing out new flavours in smaller quantities.

      Steph, how do you burp mason jars without losing all the carbonation and/or having a mess?

      The flip tops burp so easily, I’m curious about the masons?

      1. I have flip tops, too. The tutorial here is more intended for people who are brand new and maybe don’t want to invest in any special bottles or equipment until they know they like it. I’ve found that if the Mason jar lid is old and the rubber isn’t new, they leak more than new ones.

        I burp the jars by unscrewing them a tiny bit, and I don’t fill them all the way to the top.

        1. Oh, that makes sense! I used your tutorial to get myself started and I absolutely LOVE it! I have a continuous brew system going now and bottle 4 x 32oz every 6-8 days…which is actually not enough and I’m looking at getting another large jug to have two going at one time, LOL! I have three flavours in the fridge right now; tri-berry banana, cherry vanilla and blueberry lemon. All SO GOOD!

          I owe my KT addiction to you! Thanks!!


  60. Hello. Thanks for your great instructions. My question is (and I apologize if this was already covered). How do I know when 1st fermintation is ready. Its only day 7 and it has a very subtle fizz, still tastes a little sweet, I can taste the green tea, but theirs no sour taste. What do ya think?

    1. Hi Kristin! It’s completely up to you when the 1st fermentation is ready based on your taste preference. I sort of like mine on the sour side, so I’ll let it go a couple more days to make sure the dominating flavor isn’t one of sweet. If you like it a bit more on the sweet side, you don’t have to let it go as long. If you aren’t tasting anything sour, I’d suspect another 3 days or so.

  61. Oh…..and do I keep that snotty goob there with the second fermentation? Not the scoby itself, but you know, the snot. :o)

        1. Someone says she puts wax paper under the lid. You could try that. Honestly the ones in the store are often artificially carbonated so don’t be mislead about what’s natural.

  62. hi!
    This is so interesting i have never tried kombucha before but I really want to try making this
    i still have a few doubts im hoping you could help me with!
    first off i just saw your video on making your own SCOBY what happens to the SCOBY after the first batch of kombucha? Do i have to make a new SCOBY every time i make a batch? How long does the kombucha last after making it? Where do i keep it? I wouldn’t want to make the SCOBY from scratch and then kill it because i didn’t know how to store it take care of it etc!


    1. Good questions! The SCOBY continues to live on in the kombucha, and it multiplies every time you make a new batch (this new SCOBY is often call the baby). That way, you don’t need to make a new SCOBY every time you make a batch.

      Kombucha lasts a long time (up to a few months…though the carbonation will diminish the longer you store it). Store it in the fridge.

      Hope that helps!

  63. Thank you so much for all the great info! I grew my own scoby after watching your youtube video – it worked great! Within the next couple of days I’m hoping to start on the 2f. I’m really excited to try the mango. I saw some different flavors of organic juice and one of them was coconut, has anyone tried that with a 2f? Also I can hardly wait to make coffee kombucha. But I’m going to stick with this for a while till I get comfortable. Thanks again for all of your help!

    1. Hi Melissa! You’re so welcome. I haven’t tried coconut water (I’m assuming that’s what you mean by juice)…I bet it would work! If you try it, let me know what happens. Oh wow…that coffee kombucha sounds gooooooood!

      1. It actually says ‘coconut juice blend’ It’s made by Lakewood. Next time I’m at the store I’ll check the ingredients and see what’s in it. I will definitely be trying the coffee kombucha, I’ll let you know how it is. I have a quick question – I have a baby scoby growing how big/thick does it need to be before I can pour off the kombucha to do a second ferment? I’m afraid that if I let it go too much longer it will be too tart for me and I’ll have to start over. Thanks!

        1. Hi Melissa…hmmm, I’m not sure about that particular brand.

          I would base your transition to the 2nd ferment by the flavor of the kombucha (how sweet / sour it is) and not necessarily by the baby’s size. If you wait too long for it to catch up, you run the risk of ending up with vinegar. Hope that helps!

          1. That’s exactly what I needed to know (and what I wanted to hear!) I’ll check it tomorrow and probably go for 2F. Then I’ll use one of my scoby’s to do a coffee kombucha – I’ll keep you posted on that! Thanks again for all your help.

  64. I am about two days away from taking the kombucha out of my pantry on day 7, I guess this is the 2nd fermentation with the green tea… I know you said you have to save a cup to start the next batch, but I have a question. Do you start the process over completely here with that cup of KT? And does the scoby stay with what you’re drinking or does it go with the second batch and you have to make a new scoby again? I’m just really unsure how to start the second batch. Sorry I don’t know all of the technical terms 🙂 I grew my own scoby, per your awesome tutorial! I hope this turns out good because I now live an hour from a health food store and I love KT!!

    1. Hi Hannah!

      When you start your new batch, the ingredients will be:

      1 cup leftover KT from your old batch + SCOBY from your old batch + new batch of sweet tea

      That way, you never have to make the SCOBY again (until it gets really old and less productive)…it just keeps going with your new batches.

      I’m super glad it turned out! Please let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  65. Hi! If I was to do a secondary fermentation and strain it (thinking of using frozen berries versus puree or juice), could I put all of the liquid into one big container, similar to the initial fermentation? It seems like a ton of work to ferment, ferment again in smaller jars, strain, and put BACK into small jars…which may be why you don’t strain 😉

    I wasn’t sure if I could do the 2nd in one jar because it’s so much more appealing, time-wise.


    1. Hi Carleigh! If you have a big jar with a tight fitting lid, I say go for it. I know the limiter for me was finding a jar with a lid that would screw on tightly enough to not lose the carbonation.

      1. Gotcha. We have a glass crock with a lid but I3RS not airtight…I guess I worry about it exploding too…we shall see!

        1. There’s nothing wrong with less carbonated kombucha so if it’s not airtight, you could always just try it and see how it comes out!

  66. I make my Kombucha with rice syrup instead of sugar – good for anyone who is fructose intolerant. It works just as well but you’re left with a much less sweet end product!

    1. Thanks Leila! You can also control the amount of sweetness by simply letting the kombucha ferment longer. Thanks for letting us know!

    1. Hi Madeline…No, keep the SCOBY in the gallon jar. There will be enough cultures in the kombucha you pour off to get the fruit fermented.

  67. I am geting my fisrt scoby tomorrow! I have the tea ready and will have it in a safe, dark place but I leave for vacation on sept. 28th th… so I won’t be able to tend to it… should I have my husband put the jar with the scoby and tea in the fridge on the 24th? irt will be sitting out 8 days by that time. I won’t return until October 11th, Or what should I do with it to preserve it? and what should i do upon my return?
    Thanks for any help!

    1. Hi Brenda…my best recommendation is to leave your brand new SCOBY out the whole time you’re gone. You can feed it a couple cups of sweet tea while you’re gone and just use that as the starter tea for your next batch once you get home after the 11th. Refrigerating the SCOBY won’t destroy it, but it can retard the SCOBY’s growth and just make it not as productive. SCOBYs are very hardy when kept at room temp and it’s okay to leave it in the tea it comes with or just make it a small batch of a couple cups to tide you over your vacation time.

  68. OK, I am a kombucha newby I got a mother from a friend and made the black tea/sugar/mother- I let it ferment for 14 days as I was out of town, I removed the mother and two babies- I put the kombucha mixed with apple juice into 8 glass bottles…. should I seal them with the tops for the second fermentation out at room temperature? and for for how long? When do they go into the fridge and what should I do with the scoby’s? I have the scobys in a glass pitcher in black tea/ sugar combo in a dark corner- is this how I store them?

    1. Hi Brenda, Yes for the second fermentation at room temp, you’ll generally want to seal the tops. It really depends on how sweet you want the final product to be, but I find anywhere from 1 to 4 days to be sufficient.

      You can store the SCOBYs in a little bit of plan kombucha (what you have described sounds perfect).

  69. Hi Stephany! I m having some trouble getting a scoby since i dont live in the US but i found some organic kombucha at a farmers market yesterday! I asked then if it had any baby scoby s but they said no, is there a way to get a scoby from that bottle? They suggest to refrigerate it, its plain kombucha they used green tea! I also wanted to ask you whats the best way to drink it to get all of its health benefits! Plain in the mornings before breakfast or can i mix it with juice? How much should i drink per day? Can i still flavour it? Thanks!!

      1. Steph,
        You are amazing and wonderful! Thank you for making the utube video on how to make a scoby from the bottle of kombucha! So exciting! Thank you

  70. Hi Steph, I lwft my new scoby out the entire time and it made a baby! The tea is now on it’s second fermentation and I am holding th coby and babies in a new glass pitcher with new sweet tea an ready to make more! I took the tea from the original batch and poured into bottles with some grape juice and one bug jar with tea and mango, kiwi and raspberries to flavor it…. the bottles are already after 34 hours tarting to bubble a little….. I may refrigerate in another 24 hours….
    Thanks for all the help!

  71. Hi. This recipe uses refined sugar, and from everything I’ve read that is something that is excluded from the Paleo diet as people in the Paleolithic period would not have eaten it. Just wanted to throw that out there. What is it possible to use instead of the sugar please?

    1. Hi Alison,

      Sugar is used because it feeds the bacterial mushroom “Scoby”. Honey isn’t used because of it’s anti-bacterial properties that would kill the Scoby. You are correct that sugar isn’t Paleo, however Kombucha is a beneficial health tonic containing probiotics and can assist in digestive assimilation. The sugar essentially disappears reducing it to a very low amount. You have do what works for you. There are things that may not be technically Paleo, but they are healthful. You have the freedom to choose whether or not you want them to be part of your definition of Paleo.

      1. Fair enough. I thought I’d ask, but if the sugar does actually disappear then that is OK. It looks an interesting recipe, but I may leave it for now. Thanks for your helpful response 🙂

  72. Ok, I’m excited…..going to make my first scoby this evening. I live in the Midwest and it has already gotten cold so I think my process will take a bit longer. Before I begin I have a couple of questions. I plan on making the mango/ginger flavored tea. When I begin the second fermentation and add the fruit am I to store it in the refrigerator or back on the dark shelf? I like the carbonation, any suggestion on how long I should let it set? I’d like to continue making Kombucha, How am I to store the scoby for future use? Did I mention I’m excited? LOL Looking forward to hearing back from you.

    1. Hi Krista!

      When you add the fruit for the second fermentation, keep it on the counter or back in your cupboard.

      I find the time it takes to get decent carbonation varies with a lot of factors like ambient temperature and the type of fruit used (juice vs. puree vs. whole pieces) for example. Two or three days will usually do it, but I live in a fairly warm place.

      For future use, just store your SCOBY in a jar with some plain kombucha. Every once in a while you can feed it more sweet tea if the liquid level drops too far.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      1. Thanks for the prompt response! So, for my “future use scoby”… I just return it to the warm dark shelf covered with the cloth? And another thing (sorry…) the fermentation w/ the fruit….that’s covered with cloth too right? The only time I place the tight lid on my jars is when I store it in the refrigerator, right?

        1. Correct…just store your “future use SCOBY” on the counter at room temp, not in the fridge.

          For the fruit fermentation, use a solid lid like a Mason jar lid. If you don’t the carbonation will just escape 🙂

      2. Hi Steph! I have a quick question! I managed to make a scoby grow from a kombucha bottle its kinda cold where i stored it and i noticed it keeps sinking and a new one starts to form on top that happened twice now i have like 3 separete layers! The liquid theyre in isnt much like 3 fingers haha if thats any way to measure .. Do i need to “feed them” how do i do that i just bought some organic green tea yesterday but the only one i could get was mild caffeine would that be ok? My mason jar isnt that big either so how can in calculate how much tea i make? It still smells like when i bought the kombucha so i dont think i got bad or anything but its been more than a month since i started growing it and i dont find it thick enough any advice ?? Thanksss

        1. Hi there!

          So, when you feed your SCOBY you always want to give it sweetened tea…the sugar is what the SCOBY ferments into the acids. Caffeine or no caffeine is okay, but it needs to have sugar in it.

          Mason jars typically have markings on the side to tell you the volume, so check there.

          So, you want to determine if your kombucha is done by tasting it, not by the thickness of the SCOBY. They don’t necessarily relate to each other directly. If your SCOBY sinks, that’s okay.

  73. Hi Steph,

    I was super excited to begin my own kombucha brewing and jumped right into continuous brew, using your recipe to start (doubled) in a 2 gallon jar with a plastic spigot.
    It’s been 12 days now and my brew smells yeasty, but it’s not fizzy and has little black bits floating in it. Not brown and stringy like I would expect, but not fuzzy like I would assume mold would look. I’m worried and don’t know if it’s safe.
    I used a hydrated SCOBY and added the small amount of liquid that it was packaged in. Some recipes say to add vinegar though? Did I not ferment properly?
    Please help! :/

  74. The only other time I tried making something at home by fermenting it in my pantry, it was elderberry wine. Within a week fruit flies were plentiful, and it took me more weeks to get rid of them after I threw out the wine batch. I don’t know where they came from….I had none when I started.
    So my question is, does fermenting kombucha create/attract/sustain fruit flies?

    1. Any kind of sugar will attract them. I’ve had a few in the warmer months but they haven’t been too bad. The kombucha definitely doesn’t create them. Often the eggs come in on fruit and then hatch when it’s in the home.

    2. I definitely had fruit flies this summer and some were on my Kombucha cloth that topped my brew jug. The absolute most successful fruit fly “trap” that I’ve ever used was Apple Cider Vinegar in a little dessert bowl…mixed with a drop of dish soap to break the surface tension. We trapped and killed 60 flies in 10 hours, 30 the next day and then only a few here or there. I will never spend another summer without that little bowl on my counter. That said, Steph is right, the kombucha doesn’t bring them on, they flock to it no differently than they do to a banana or a plum on the counter.

        1. As I was typing it out, I *thought* it was you that told me about it, haha! Ya, best trap ever! We did a test of three different traps side by side last year and the ACV ruled them all!

      1. Shannon,
        on your ACV trap, did you also put a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the little bowl and poke holes in it? The trap instructions I used said to also do that, because the flies have to get trapped under the plastic (they said) so they can’t get out.
        But I wonder if that is why my “catch” was far less than yours……..

        1. Angie, we don’t use a plastic cover. Add a drop of soap to the acv and it breaks the surface tension so the flies fall in.

        2. Hey Angie, nope you don’t need the plastic. Just stir in some dish soap, a couple drops. This breaks the surface tension of the vinegar so that they can’t just stand on it and eat…they fall in and drown the second that they come for a peek. Try that and see how you do!

  75. Hi Steph! Ok so i have a quick question about my Scoby! This is the second batch of kombucha i ever make. The first time my scoby gree a little but wasnt really thick and then around 2 weeks later the scoby sank and a new layer started to form on top so i ended up having like 5 scobys that where really thin swimming around in my kombucha, the first batch was made in november and i read that the cold made them sink
    Then the second batch i made it december like the 20th and left it there until today and i finally say a Scoby on top that is really tick looks really good actually but i still have the other ones in the bottom well they re more like floating in the middle of my jar so my question is what do i do with them? I have s second scoby that didnt sink in another mason jar and the one fron the big jar
    Im kinda lost! So any ideas would be great thank youuu!! I love making my kombucha and im currently doing a whole30 so its perfect timing ☺️

    1. Hi Anna,

      If you have more than 1 SCOBY you can give one to a friend, start a separate jar of kombucha or just throw it out. You may want to fish out the older one and throw that one away or give it to someone.

      Yay! Hope your Whole30 is going well!

  76. I’ve been making kombucha for about 9 months following your wonderful instructions, even growing my own scoby. The last batch I made got mold on the top. Could this be because it’s winter and the house is about 65 degrees?

  77. Steph, my batches have come out quite well as I’ve followed the instructions you provided a few months back. My scoby is big….and quite thick…almost spooky thick. I see where you’ve suggested separation….. I’m going to do that after this fermentation is over.
    I like a more sweeter than vinegary kombucha. The longer it sits in the 64 ounces of sweet tea an 64 ounces of water the more vinegary it becomes right? I’m in the midwest, I store my kombucha on a warm dark shelf in the pantry. The first time I waited a solid two weeks, then tried your ginger mango recipe. It was was absolutely delicious. But I’m not feeling the vinegary taste so I only let my next batch sit 10 days and did the second fermentation for only 2 days. It tastes pretty much the same. The bottled variety that I enjoy the most are the Citrus, Guava and Gingerade GT’s……those aren’t so vinegary. Mine are close but not quite. I know it’ll be impossible to match but can I do to get my ‘vinegary levels’ around one of those?
    Looking forward to your response.

  78. Hi, new kombucha brewer here. I got a healthy scoby from a local friend, set it up as directed, and left if on the counter covered by a cloth for 14 days, checking periodically. It’s baaaarley starting to get the kombucha flavor. The top of the scoby that is under the mouth of my gallon jar is getting a little dry, but a towel is secured over the opening. What went wrong?

    1. Hi Sara…first, are you in an area that’s currently having cold winter?

      Second, how big was your jar? I’m not quite understanding what you mean by “the top of the scabby that is under the mouth of my gallon jar is getting a little dry.” The SCOBY should be floating so if the top gets dry, that’s okay. Let me know and I can help you out.

  79. Hi Steph!! I love this recipe! i have been using it to make my kombucha for almost 4 months now and i can’t honestly say i loveeee it! i drink it every morning and i just feel so much better! its also my go to medicine when my stomach hurts i haven’t had medicines for my digestive issues ever since!

    the last time i made kombucha it was so good and so were the previous batches they all had the same taste and where delicious however the last time i made a batch i “cleaned” my scoby and by that i mean i took it out of its liquid for the first time, and cleaned the glass jar where i made my kombucha i then put the tea in (it was already room temperature and added my scoby back in.. i used the interior of a ziplock bag to story it while i cleaned the jar the whole process took less than 20 min .. and today i tried it and it tasted really strange, i have two scobys one in a small mason jar and the other one on a larger glass pitcher, the small one tastes really vinegary and the second one just tastes vinegary plus kind of funky, but i could see the fizz and everything and the color is as normal.. but somethings off and i don’t know what is, they are both undrinkable for sure but i have no idea if they went bad or if i could just throw that batch and make a new one.. i really don’t want to drink it i don’t know if its bad.. but the scobys don’t have any sign of mold , what should i do?

    1. Hi Anna,

      I have no idea what may have happened. My question is why are you drinking tea right from the main kombucha fermentation container? As the kombucha continues to sit in there with the SCOBY it becomes more and more like vinegar which sounds like what you are smelling.

      My advice is always: when in doubt, throw it out.

  80. Candace! Noo i didnt! Well it was more like i grabbed the zipploc bag and turned the outside inside? I dont know if that makes any sense but i mean i took the inside and flipped it over so thw scobby would stay on the clean and maybe sterilized side of the bag but i didnt close the bag it just sat there until i finished cleaning the jar and added the tea for the next batch it was no longer than 15 min

  81. Hi Steph!
    Successfully grew my own SCOBY via your directions (yay!) and about to make the kombucha now. I just added the SCOBY to my sweet tea mixture. Should I have added all of the liquid from my SCOBY jar to my 1 gallon tea jar as well? Hopefully I didn’t mess things up! Thanks!

    1. Hi Meg,

      It’s better if you can add the liquid from your SCOBY jar but it should be okay without it 🙂

  82. I’ve been wanting to do this forever and just saw your post on Instagram. Maybe it’s time! Question – maybe I missed this but when do you remove the scoby… After first or second fermentation? Thanks! Can’t wait to try your flavors and make up some of my own, too!

  83. I saw your post on Instagram and started making the scoby from a bottle of GT Classic Kombucha. It has only been about 8 days but looks like the scoby is almost 1/4″ thick already. Should I go ahead and start brewing or should I let it develop more? I’m in Southern California and it’s been warm as you know.

    Thank you so much for all the great tips. I love your site.

  84. This might end up being a dumb question, but how does the fruit not go bad after sitting out for three days? Does the kombucha preserve it? Also, where do you store the kombucha (both plain and flavored with fruit) after it is done? Can you still keep in your pantry or do you need to put it in the fridge? And how long does a batch stay good in general?


    1. It becomes fermented. Think of it like a fermented vegetable like sauerkraut. The cabbage doesn’t go bad.

      Store it in the refrigerator. It lasts for up to 3 months.

  85. Hi Steph… and everyone else! I’ve just spent a hour skimming through all the posts on Kambucha and I am so happy I finally found this site…
    However, in my skimming, I only saw 2-3 mentions of mold growing on the SCOBY and never a fix for it. Obviously since there was so few mentions of mold, it must not be too normal…
    But… I have made 2 Kambucha batches and both times the SCOBY grew mold on top. WHY??

    1. Hi Traci,

      I’m not 100% sure why it grew mold. Do you still have the SCOBY? If so, can you take a photo and send it to me? Have you used the exact correct amount of sugar? Did you boil the water and only handle with clean hands? If I have to start over for some reason (or I’m cleaning the jar) I rinse with white vinegar.

      Let me know!

  86. I did not take a picture of the mold. I started over with a new SCOBY and after a week, no mold. I did clean everything like you suggested and I rinsed everything with vinegar before trying again. I also moved it to a different place in my kitchen. I was worried about not keeping it warm enough so I had it beside my refridgerator, but now it is about 5 feet away from anything heat producing. I still have the original SCOBY and I am just letting it sit in a cup of kambucha like when it arrived. Since I made several changes, and I’m having success, I may try again with the original.

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Yes, I have. Basically, you blend ginger with enough water to make the blades move freely, then strain the juice. Then I mix it with lemon juice to your desired level of flavor 🙂

  87. Hi, I have made my first brew of kombucha!! i am so excited and wanna do everything perfectly. I can see the baby scoby floating on the top of the ‘tea’ and covers it totally. On the 7th day, what can i do with it? Do I need to filter the brew before I serve it into jars? CHeers, Andrea

    1. Hi Andrea,

      Sounds like you have a healthy batch! You’ll know your kombucha is done because it will be pleasantly tart. You can pour the kombucha through a strainer to filter out any smaller pieces of scoby or pour it right into smaller jars and cap them.

  88. If you can get sugar cane at a mexican grocery ; stick a six inch length of sugar cane in a jar of sweet tea. The mother;of vinegar grows on
    the surface of sugar cane. 😉

  89. I was just wondering if you put the Mason jars with the fruit and kombucha in the fridge to let ferment for 1-3 days longer or if it goes back in the pantry? Thank you

    1. Hi Jamie,

      If you put the fruit/kombucha right into the fridge it won’t really ferment because the temp is too cold. It goes into the pantry. I would recommend placing them on a rimmed baking sheet because sometimes Mason jars can crack.

  90. I was wondering… I just started second fermentation 24 hours ago in two have gallon mason jars. I used quite a bit of fruit, mainly because I’m trying to get my son to drink them and I heard the fruit will really increase the flavor as well as make a little sweeter. I have a few questions. One, I keep reading not to use metal (I bought plastic but didn’t seem to seal as well)…however if I don’t fill to the top and the liquid does not contact it, it should be ok correct? Second, The lids on the jars are not going to hold as they are already bowed up quite a bit. My plan is to try to make one more day then strain and put in 16 ounce swing top bottles and let them sit for a couple more days before putting in fridge. I’m concerned about those bottles as well. I really like the carbonation (big reason I love this stuff, help get rid of soda) but I also dont want bottles exploding. Would it still be good idea to add one or two raisins the the 3 rd process (in the swing top bottles). Also, can you do anything with the fruit you used to flavor. Would it be safe to eat or blend and drink?

    1. Hi Brett,

      You can use metal lids. It’s recommended to not stir / taste your kombucha with metal spoons or utensils which is what you’re referring to I believe.

      Just let it sit for a day or two. I wouldn’t let it sit out in summer for more than 1-2 days.

      I’m not really sure what the raisins would do. What do you mean?

      I would probably just throw the fruit out unless you want to eat it right away.

  91. Hi Steph! Thanks for the recipe, I just started my SCOBY making process and am now waiting to start making Kombucha. I had a question which is driving me nuts! To make Kombucha, you pour a LOT of sugar into tea… But when I look at the ingredients list on GTs for example, sugar is not an ingredient. Does the sugar disintegrate? Am I missing a basic concept here? Please help!

    1. They get away with it on a technicality because they list “kombucha” as an ingredient. The sugar is fermented, chemically changed by the bacteria and yeast into organic acids. It doesn’t disintegrate. The microorganisms metabolize it for energy. You can’t make kombucha without adding sugar / sweetener.

  92. hi, I was wondering if it is necessary to do it using a gallon mason jar? I bought the quart mason jars for making the scobi and sauerkraut but I don’t have a gallon mason jar. If it is necessary, does anything happen if I began the scobi process 15 days ago? should I put it in the fridge?


    1. You can do it in smaller jars but you need a SCOBY for each one.

      You never want to refrigerate the SCOBY. Just keep it on the counter in a jar of sweet tea. Are you growing a SCOBY from scratch? If so, you need a SCOBY for every single quart jar you intend to use.

  93. I am just wondering about what to do with the scoby when I put the fruit in. Should I leave the scoby in while the fruit and tea ferment together?
    Also, I accidentally bought two scobies at the same time and put them both in my tea. I didn’t know what to do with second one as this is my first batch. lol How do you store extra scobies?


  94. I just listened to you on one of my favorite podcasts – Modern Farm Girls – and couldn’t believe you are in San Diego, too!! I am eager to become a fan!

    I started my kombucha about 4 months ago….and it is still sitting on the counter, growing things without my assistance or adding sugar etc. I am scared to taste it, or drink it, or throw it away, so it sits. There is no mold, but I am not sure what i have grown is a new scabby or just yeast or what it is exactly.

    Do you have advice on how to proceed??


    1. Hi Frauntene,

      If it’s 4 months old, it’s going to be quite sour. I would start a new batch (make a gallon recipe), add 1-2 cups of this old kombucha, then start over.

  95. Thank you so much for making my first Kombucha so easy!! The plain was great and made raspberry/ginger which was fantastic! Do I just keep adding the sugar/tea mixure to my scoby for a second batch?

  96. Hi Steph, I recently started brewing at home, and I used a SCOBY and starter tea that I purchased from a local shop that makes Kombucha. I’ve seen on some other sites that you should use filtered water, since tap water might have enough chlorine to upset/kill the SCOBY. Do you know if that’s totally true or not?

    Also, I’m three days into brewing and my SCOBY has sank to the bottom, and I believe a new one is growing on top, but it is brownish/black and quite loose, as compared to the original SCOBY which is yellowy and thick. Is that bad? Is it mold? Can I send you some pics?


    1. I use tap water all the time and have never had a problem.

      Sinking is fine and the coloration doesn’t sound problematic. Yeast grows on the underside of the SCOBY and it can get quite dark.

      1. Thanks so much. I sent some pics about an hour ago. I can’t tell if it’s just a lot of yeast or mold. If you can take a look, that would be awesome. Thanks!

  97. Hello! I just recently became interested in making my own kombucha, and I’m so glad I found your site. I just finished reading all the above comments and feel I have learned so much! One question I still have… after the batch goes through the first fermentation (and the kombucha goes into smaller bottles for the second), do I simply leave the SCOBY in the gallon jar with 1-2 cups of the kombucha and then start a new batch? Or should I take out the SCOBY and liquid and clean the jar before the second batch?
    How often do you clean the gallon jar you use for the first fermentation? Thanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Laura,

      Most people opt to just leave the SCOBY in the gallon jar and start a new batch. Cleaning the jar after every batch isn’t necessary but some people will after several batches if the yeasts build up a lot on the bottom of the jar.

      1. Thanks so much!
        Also, I had a thought yesterday as I picked up 12 pack of Snapple at the store (not a usual purchase… it was on a crazy sale 🙂 ), could I reuse the Snapple glass bottles for second fermentation? Would the metal lids that come with them be tight enough?
        Ordered my Scoby and excited to get going!

        1. Hi Laura,

          Hmmmm I’m really not sure about the tightness of the seal on the Snapple bottles. You could give it a shot!

  98. Steph,

    I love your site and your recipes. I recently made kombucha based on your recipe and it came out great. the one thing it was missing was the carbonation. I let it sit for 14 days. any idea why it wouldn’t be carbonated?

    1. Hi Yanal,

      Very important to know that since commercial brands are made in extremely controlled, industrial environments, they tend to be more carbonated. Some brands are also carbonated after the fact!

      Homemade kombucha can vary in carbonation due to outside temperature, the age of your SCOBY and so on 🙂

  99. I just made a batch with whey but now going to make a batch with my brand new scoby. I have read you should add some (from a bottle if you never made it homemade) Kombucha your recipe doesn’t call for that. Do I just do what your recipe says? I just want to double check before I start a whole batch. THANKS

    1. The recipe states: “Add 64 oz more water to the jar and place the SCOBY (along with any KT it came with) into the jar.”

      Did you buy a scoby? It should have come packed in liquid / kombucha tea. Use that liquid. If there’s barely any (you should have about a cup), then use a cup of plain store-bought kombucha.

  100. I made my second batch, first one didn’t turn out good and I was scared to drink it so I threw it out and made another, yesterday I put it into individual bottles and added my fruit juices. I checked it today and some has some odd sort of mold looking stuff on the top. To me it looks more like scoby particles. My question is did it go bad? Should I throw it out and start over again or just stain it of the top and go ahead and drink it.

    Or am I doing something wrong. When I added the fruit I didn’t put the kombucha in the fridge, just back in a dark place, it’s been there about 50 hours. Should I of put it in the fridge????

    Thank you

    1. Unless it’s green, blue or black, it’s probably particles of SCOBY. Can you email me a photo of it?

      Nope, you didn’t do anything wrong. The second fermentation should happen outside of the fridge.

  101. Greetings!
    Well … I’ve taken the plunge and am going to try to ‘grow’ my first SCOBY. I’ve watched many videos and yours was the first one that stated that all you need it a bottle of GT Original Kombucha. So, it’s sitting in my jar, in a dark cupboard …. hopefully, growing. (Do you know why 99.9% of all the other videos that talk about starting a SCOBY all mention brewing tea with it as well?) Yours was obviously the easiest, so I’m giving that one a try. I can’t believe I’m even doing this! Thanks!! 🙂

    1. Hi Di….I’m not really sure why the other videos tell you to brew tea as well. You won’t be able to use it for weeks! I just made a new SCOBY this month using the technique in my video. Worked perfectly. Have fun with it 🙂

  102. I am new to kombucha brewing and am experimenting with using flavored simple syrups for my second ferment. Has anyone else tired this? With what results? Thanks for any help.

    1. I haven’t tried this approach yet, but in theory it would work similarly to using fruit. The scoby will use the sugar provided in the second ferment to produce more carbonation, so providing them with simple syrup would, in my mind, work pretty much the same. If you try it and get a result either way, let us know!

  103. Hi Kombucha growers. I live in Sydney Australia and our health food stores have just started selling Kombucha. We have to pay $10Au a bottle so when I noticed a jelly like blob on my 1st bottle I decided to try making my own – I was buying a Kombucha every week (1 litre). As my Kombucha is ginger flavoured I’ve added the last little bit of each bottle to the thing I think is a Scoby . We went on holiday for a month and now it has filled my container to about 1/2 inch thick. Will I need to use all this Scoby to make my first batch or can I cut it into a smaller piece.You certainly make it sound simple.

  104. Hello,
    I just want to make sure I’m doing this right. I followed your video using the GT bottle to start your own scout! Done it’s great, even got a thinner one. Poured it all into a batch of green sweetened tea. Here’s my question on the second fermentation. Is this where I flavor it? Do I keep the t-shirt on it and allow it to brew with the green tea? I’m a bit confused here.
    Thanks and looking forward to getting this right!

    1. Hi Sheryl,

      Since you grew your own SCOBY, let’s not count that as part of the process.

      Step 1: Sweetened tea + the SCOBY + a little bit of the liquid from the previous batch (in your case, whatever was in the jar with your brand new SCOBY)
      Step 2: Pour the fermented tea into smaller jars without the SCOBY + add your flavorings + cap

      When you do step 2, keep the SCOBY in the big jar from Step 1 and start again if you prefer.

      If you’d like a full visual coverage of the process, check out my ebook:

  105. I’m currently brewing my first kombucha batch! I purchased a mother SCOBY online and added the starter liquid it came with as well as a bottle (2 cups) of flavored store bought kombucha. The mother disk is floating on the bottom but as of day 3 there are more and more stands / cultures / bacteria growing from the top of it and I’m assuming this is a good thing that means it’s starting to grow the baby SCOBY which will float on the top? I’d like to make a flavored brew and have a few questions… 1. During the second fermentation process… does that happen at room temperature as well or do I refrigerate it? 2. I’m separating the tea into individual mason jars so I can grab it and drink it on the go. Do I add the fruit to each jar and leave it on the counter / fridge to ferment? Or do I add the fruit into the large jar that the tea is currently in right now? 3. Also, during the second ferment do I remove the SCOBY?

    1. Hi Leigh…I’m a little confused. Your bottle of store bought kombucha should have been plain for best results. Introducing fruit flavor can cause unpredictable results in the first fermentation. In regard to your questions:

      1) Always do your fermentations at room temperature. Refrigeration will retard the growth of the SCOBY so it inhibits fermentation. Quite the opposite of what you want to achieve. Refrigerate only AFTER your 2nd fermentation is complete.

      2) I would bottle into bigger jars and then once the 2nd fermentation is done, portion it off.

      3) Yes, you pour the tea from the 1st fermentation off into smaller jars, keeping the SCOBY in its original jar with some of the fermented tea leftover so it doesn’t dry out.

      You can see how I make the whole process step by step here if you’d like some extra guidance:

  106. Hi Steph,

    I have brewed kombucha a few times at home and I always have the same issue when I flavor it. When I open a bottle of flavored kombucha I always have this undesired little baby SCOBY that grew during the second fermentation, as well some sediments from the fruits. Is there any way to prevent that from happening?

  107. Is it ok to use refined white sugar?? I avoid sugars and was thinking of using coconut sugar instead. Or does it remove the sugar anyway? I’m trying to think of the healthiest solution.

    1. The sugar gets metabolized (“eaten”) as the SCOBY ferments it. There’s not much sugar left once the process is complete. Most kombucha sources recommend plain white sugar.

  108. Hi Steph! How much of the Kombucha should you add to the 32oz jar with the 1/4 c of fruit?
    We use homemade Kombucha regularly but am I excited to try it with the fruit 🙂

  109. I guess my biggest question is if you use white sugar to make this how is it Paleo? Ive been paleo for only about 8 months, Im still learning/failing but I wouldn’t mind trying this, I just don’t understand the white sugar. Thanks

    1. Jessie, the sugar is used to feed the bacteria and yeast in the scoby and virtually all is converted into acids. This is how the type of fermentation in kombucha works. There is very little sugar left in the final product, especially if you let it ferment until the tea is quite tart. Other types of sugar don’t work as well or could harm the scoby. Many many articles have been written by kombucha experts about how the process works and the types of sweeteners that are safe to use in fermentation.

      If you’ve been paleo 8 months I really encourage you to move beyond black and white rules and eat what works for your body. The question should be more of “Is kombucha right for me to drink?” for a variety of reasons. And are you drinking it in 4-8 oz servings as a tonic…which is what it’s intended for…not in 16oz+ servings a day as a soda replacement. Here’s an article to get you started:

  110. Should I store my scoby in the refrigerator (“scoby hotel”) until I’m ready to make more Kombucha? I’m not clear on what to do with it after my first fermation (which came out amazing, by the way) 🙂

  111. Hi Steph – I’m just about to try making my own scoby per your tutorial, but have a couple of questions: what is the required temperature for making the scoby? I live in Bermuda and temps at the moment average around 79oF or slightly lower. And once I have the scoby I would like to emulate the GT gingerade but how much ginger will I need, and should it be ginger juice? (I can do this with a garlic press but I’m not sure how much). Thank you…

    1. You should be fine there. The warmer it is, the faster your SCOBY will grow.

      As for the second question, I have no idea. Experiment around until you find the right blend!

  112. I have been making my own kombucha for a bit under a year now and have found it to be quite forgiving. Sometimes I will use 12 tea bags/ gallon, other times maybe 9 bags. This last batch, I poured off about 1 1/2 cups to keep the scoby in, then added another two cups of fresh tea to the remaining kombucha and it worked just fine. I like to let the first ferment go about 7 – 10 days, sitting on top of the refrigerator. For my second ferment, I pour it off through a strainer and funnel into used, rinsed .5 liter plastic pop bottles, add about 1/2 teaspoon of additional sugar / bottle and whatever fruit I want, usually fresh squeezed lime or orange juice, pulp too, some cranberries and whatever I have laying around that sounds good. Make sure the cap is on tight to hold that carbonation. Once the bottles get pretty firm when squeezed, it is ready to drink and enjoy!

  113. Hi,
    Awesome tips, tricks and ideas on this site – thank you!

    Ive been brewing a continuous brew of 6qts for almost a year now, after my friend Lori put me onto it.

    Started from nothing:
    Bought 1 bottle plain organic unflavored commercial Kombucha, coffee filters, rubber bands, 2gallon glass jar, a pack of organic white cane sugar, a box of organic black tea bags, a food grade funnel, a 2 gallon simple pitcher, a sieve, a glass measuring jar to 1 cup, a set of measuring spoons from 1/4 tsp to 1 tbsp, a hand food grator, a ginger root and a 32oz bottle of mango juice, and 36 flip-top 16oz glass bottles (clear). That was a cartful, but i have since made 100’s of 16oz bottles of plain and flavored kombutcha and started my son-in-law and his friends off on kombucha loving and brewing too.

    Steps/events/call it what you like 🙂
    I boiled 6qts water in my pasta pot, and added two cups of white cane sugar, stirring it in well.
    When the water boiled, I took the pot off the heat, left the lid off, added 10 organic black tea bags, and let it cool.
    Once cooled, I poured the tea in my glass jar and then poured the whole bottle of organic plain commercial kombutcha into the tea.
    After tasting a little teaspoon of the brew periodically, I came to day 13 when I decided its ready to bottle and flavor/second ferment. At this point a very thin but clearly present SCOBY floated at the top.
    I poured 3qts of the brew into the pitcher and added 19oz of mango juice, and stirred well. I peeled and grated ginger root. I added 1/4 tsp of grated ginger root to each of 8 flip-top glass bottles, and then, using the funnel, poured the flavored brew from the pitcher in equal quantities into the 8 bottles, and closed them up. Each bottle gets filled to slightly above the shoulder to leave air on top.
    I left the bottles in my pantry for 5 days and then placed them in my refrigerator.
    Immediately after taking 3qts of tea from the glass jar, I boiled 3qts water, added 1 cup of sugar, and when it boiled added 5 tea bags.
    Once the new tea was cooled to room temperature, i poured it in with the remaining 3qts in the glass jar where the SCOBY was floating, and 5 days or so later repeated the bottling process, experimenting with different flavors. In other words the commercial kombucha was only needed for the very first start, and never again after that.
    The day after I placed my 5 day old bottled kombutcha in the fridge, I started using it. Freaking delicious. I drink it as is and swallow the mini SCOBY that forms in the bottle and ginger bits. For my wife I strain it through the sieve into a glass because she doesn’t care for the “bits” in the liquid.
    When a bottle is empty, I rinse it, and when I have 7 empties I sterilize them by filling them with water, place them in the pasta pot (7 fit perfectly) and have the water level in the pot around the bottles up to 4” below the rim. I then heat it to boiling, let it boil for 10 minutes, empty the water, and keep them ready for next bottling.
    On occassion I bottle 6 qts, and I have trimmed my SCOBY by cutting an inch around off a couple of times.

  114. Hi 🙂 can’t wait to try it! You have the simplest recipes.
    My question is regarding second fermentation – when adding fruit puree…
    You mention using lid versus fabric… can it be a plastic lid? Or metal lids that come with mason jars?
    Thank you

  115. I am currently growing my own SCOBY (using GT’s Gingerade as one commenter claimed he successfully did [I could not find unflavored]). In the video tutorial you suggest using the whole bottle with the SCOBY to make the first batch. I assume that this is part of the second 64 oz? For subsequent batches, how much of the batch should I save for the started liquid for the next batch? Thanks for the help.

  116. If the blue razz kombucha starts growing a SCOBY is it okay to use that for a new brew or it is just a biproduct of the brew and should just be discarded?

  117. Hey steph! I have a jar of homemade kombucha that i bought at the farmers market that looks like it is growing a scoby on top but it was pomegranate flavored…. Would it be ok to use for my own kombucha? Thanks!

  118. Thanks for great tutorials and recipes! I’ve just brewed the tea and poured it into a big 6litre kombucha jar with a tap with sugar and cold water. Will be waiting for it to cool overnight before we add the scoby (we grew our own using your “simple” recipe from a bought kombucha bottle). Question: the glass jar with a tap is something we wanna keep sitting out cos it’s decorative and we want the kombucha “close by” so we drink it often. If we wanna brew more when the existing batch is starting to decrease- do we do the procedure from this recipe again and put away this big jar for 7-14 weeks or could we just add some more tea “as we go along”? Or should we keep the scoby in a different jar where we constantly brew more kombucha and pour the finished batch into our decorative jar? Is it possible to just “top off” the batch constantly or does it have to have a “pure” process separate from the “drinking batch”? Thank you for your awesome information!

  119. I need to know if you throw the Scoby out too when your Kombucha molds? My first batch did just fine, but the 2nd one molded.

      1. Hi there, thanks for the information, is it wise to take kombucha when expecting a ababy/ pregnant
        Second question is can you save or keep this scoby minus use for over a year or two, if so how best can I do so cause I don’t want to loose it, is it also okay to keep it in the refrigerator?

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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