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The Simple Guide to Kickass Kombucha

It’s a big day everyone! The day I’ve been awaiting for months, since I began the whole homemade kombucha thing. The day your intestinal microbiota have been begging you for. The day you become a brewmaster and I impart on you the secrets of le kombucha!

The goal of this guide is to be your one stop shop for homemade kombucha brewage, from SCOBY-less to fermented perfection. No hopping around the interwebs (unless you want to learn some general nutrition-y kombucha stuff here). No fuss. No confusion. Because making homemade kombucha is so simple (albeit a bit slow), and I hope after reading this you’ll give it a whirl! Let’s hop right to it.

How to make homemade kombucha

The general order of things goes something like this (you can jump around this tutorial by clicking the links below):

  1. Make SCOBY (1 to 4 weeks) – to make the “mother”
  2. First Fermentation (6 to 10 days) – to make the actual kombucha
  3. Second Fermentation (3 to 10 days) – to carbonate the kombucha
  4. Print + Shop – download the printable and shop for supplies here

Before we start, here are some general notes that are consistent throughout the whole homemade kombucha process.

  • No metal or plastic containers. Metal can react with the acidic kombucha and hurt your SCOBY, while plastic can house nasty bacteria that you don’t want sneaking in.
  • Clean is key. A recurring theme in kombucha brewing is that EVERYTHING must be CLEAN! We’re creating the perfect environment for good bacterial growth, but if a bad bacteria slips in, it could ruin your batch (and make you pretty sick).
  • Temperature plays a role. Fermentation goes a bit quicker in warmer temperatures, and a bit slower in colder.
  • No mold zone. If you see any mold growing on your SCOBY or in the tea (which I understand can be difficult to discern from the hideous SCOBY, but will generally be green, white, or black), then toss your whole batch.

1. How to make a homemade kombucha SCOBY

The SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is the mother of the kombucha, providing bacteria and yeast to ferment the sweet tea, protecting the tea from outside contaminants, and providing a loose seal to keep a bit of the carbonation in. Yes, it’s scary and alien looking and Buzzfeed did a whole article about how ugly this mama is…but it’s the very essence of kombucha! It brings the love and flavor and magic!

How to make kombucha

To make your SCOBY, you will need:

  • 7 cups (1.6 L) clean water
  • ½ cup (100 g) white sugar
  • 4 bags black tea (or 1 Tbsp loose tea)
  • 1 cup (235 mL) unpasteurized, unflavored store-bought kombucha
  • A large glass or ceramic jar (I used two ½ gallon (1.8 L) glass jars to make two SCOBYs using this recipe, but anything holding at least ½ gallon will do)
  • Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, ultra fine cheesecloth)
  • Rubberbands

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a clean pot. Remove from heat and dissolve sugar into it.
  2. Add the tea and allow to steep while water cools to room temperature (a few hours). Only when water is at room temperature (test by drawing out some water with a straw), is it ready to work with!
  3. Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour store-bought kombucha in (if you’re using two jars, pour ½ of the storebought kombucha into each), making sure to include any little gunkies that may be at the bottom. These are good!
  4. Cover with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth (keeps out bugs and debris) and secure with a rubber band.
  5. Set somewhere dark, still, and room temperature (70-75 degrees F, 21-24 C), like a cupboard, for 1 to 4 weeks, until a ¼ inch (½ cm) SCOBY has formed.
  6. Keep SCOBY in its original tea until you’re ready to brew your first batch. The SCOBY should live and grow for years if treated with love. The tea you used to make the SCOBY, however, is very vinegary and should be tossed. Don’t use this tea as the starter to your first fermentation!

Things to note when making your SCOBY:

  • No decaf. The SCOBY doesn’t like decaf tea and will not grow as well if fed it (SCOBY = my spirit animal)
  • Only black tea. Similarly, the SCOBY doesn’t grow as well with green or fruity teas. By all means, once your SCOBY is big and strong you can use green tea, but for now stick with black.
  • No honey. So I saw this somewhere and I’m pretty sure this is because honey can contain botulism bacteria that, when grown exponentially as bacteria and yeast tend to do in kombucha, can be dangerous. You can use honey in the second fermentation, once there is a higher number of good bacteria to fight off the bad, but for now, stick to sugar.
  • Don’t mess with it! You won’t see anything but a few bubbles in the first few days. But then one day a thin, translucent layer will form, eventually thickening into a full on SCOBY. If it floats sideways or sinks, leave it! It’s just doing it’s SCOBY thang.
  • It’s all in the proportions. As I mentioned, I made two SCOBYs with this recipe, and you could probably make more. As long as you keep the proportions in check (7 c water : 1 c starter : 4 bags tea : 1/2 c sugar), you’ll be fine. Also note that this is the same proportion we’ll use in the first fermentation, but on a larger scale to make more ‘buch!
  • Got leftovers? Never throw your SCOBY away! Share the kombucha love by gifting it to a friend, or make it into a delicious gummy candy!

How to make kombuchaHow to make kombuchaHot to make kombuchaHow to make kombucha

2. The first fermentation

So you’ve got a newbie SCOBY and you’re ready to get this komboo-choo train rollin’. This first fermentation is where you actually make the kombucha.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 14 cups (3.5 quarts, 3.3 L) clean water
  • 1 cup (200 g) white sugar
  • 8 bags black or green tea (or 2 Tbsp loose leaf)
  • 2 cups (470 mL) unflavored starter tea (either from a previous batch or unpasteurized, unflavored store-bought kombucha)
  • 1 or 2 SCOBYs (depending on how many containers you’re using, 1 per container)
  • A large glass or ceramic jar (two jars holding at least ½ gallon (1.9 L) each, or one jug holding at least 1 gallon (3.7 L))
  • Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, ultra fine cheesecloth)
  • Rubberbands

Instructions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a clean pot. Remove from heat and dissolve sugar into it.
  2. Add the tea and allow to steep while water cools to room temperature (a few hours). Only when water is at room temperature. Again, MUST be room temperature. Don’t risk killing your SCOBY in hot water.
  3. With hands AS CLEAN AS A SURGEON’S (really clean), gently remove your SCOBY from the tea and place on an equally as clean plate. You can rinse out the jar if you want (without soap), but it’s not necessary.
  4. Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour in starter kombucha (if you’re using two jars, pour ½ of the starter kombucha into each).
  5. Gently place SCOBY into jar then cover with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth and secure with a rubber band.
  6. Set the jar(s) somewhere dark, still, and room temperature (70-75 degrees F, 21-24 C) for anywhere from 6 to 10 days. Begin tasting the tea at about 6 days by gently drawing out some of the tea with a straw. It should be mildly sweet and slightly vinegary.  The warmer the air temperature, the faster the kombucha will ferment. The longer the tea ferments, the more sugar molecules will be eaten up, the less sweet it will be.
  7. Reserve 2 cups from this batch to use as starter kombucha for your next batch (just leave it in the jar with SCOBY(s) and make your new batch within a few days. The rest can move into the second and final fermentation.

Things to note about the first fermentation:

  • Note that in this step, unlike in the making of the SCOBY, you can use other teas besides black. Feel free to experiment with green, white, oolong, or combinations of them. Fruit teas should be mixed with a few black tea bags to ensure the SCOBY mama gets what she needs to thrive.
  • Once the SCOBY gets to be about an inch (2.5 cm) thick, peel off a few layers to create a second SCOBY (you can share the love and gift this to a friend!)

How to make kombuchaHow to make homemade kombucha

3. The second fermentation

The final step and negotiably the best part of the process! The second fermentation is where the real magic happens. It’s where you can play around with sweet, fruity flavors that will not only make your homemade kombucha taste better than store-bought, but will give those good bacteria the power to kick it into high carbonation gear, bringing everything together into effervescent bliss. Let’s finish this.

You’ll need:

  • Homemade kombucha from the first fermentation
  • Sweetener (fruit, honey, or sugar). Here are a few ideas per 1 cup kombucha:
    • 1 to 2 Tbsp mashed fruit or fruit juice
    • A slice of orange
    • 1 to 2 tsp honey
    • a piece of peppermint candy
    • a piece of candied ginger
    • This website has some unique and tasty flavoring ideas as well
    • *to add chia seeds, see below under “things to note”
  • A few fermenting bottles (bottles meant for fermentation have an airtight seal, which will prevent carbonation from escaping. If you don’t have these, canning jars will do an alright job, though they aren’t truly airtight.)

Instructions:

  1. Strain kombucha and funnel into bottles, leaving about 1 1/2 inches as the top (3.8 cm).
  2. Add your chosen sweetener and seal tightly with lid.
  3. Let ferment somewhere dark and room temperature for 3 to 10 days.
  4. If desired, strain out fruit before serving. Place in fridge to slow the carbonation process.

Things to note about the second fermentation:

  • Your jars can explode if the pressure becomes too high! For your first few batches while you’re still getting the hang of how kombucha reacts to your environment, bottle a portion of it in a plastic bottle. This will act as a gauge for how the others are doing. When the plastic bottle is rock solid, the rest are probably done. “Burp” them by opening each to release some pressure, then place them in the refrigerator to slow fermentation.
  • Carefully open bottles over the sink with a towel in hand.
  • The more sugar/fruit you add, the faster the kombucha will ferment and become carbonated.
  • Chia seeds are my favorite addition to kombucha. Rather than adding these to the ‘buch when we add the sweetener, we’ll stir these in at the very end after the kombucha has been carbonated. Use 1 Tbsp of chia seeds per 1 cup of kombucha. Stir in the seeds and allow them to do their absorbing thang for a few hours, stirring every once in a while to keep them from clumping.

How to make kombuchaHow to make homemade kombucha

Homemade Kombucha: Bringing it all together

I drew this way professional depiction of the whole process for the visual learners. If you have any questions or hesitations about brewing homemade kombucha, don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll help ya out! Happy brewing!

How to make kombucha

Print the Homemade Kombucha Guide

Printable Version!

By popular demand, I've created a printable PDF with all the instructions from this post. Enter your email below and I'll send it to ya!

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Comments (125)

  1. Katie says:

    This is PERFECT! I love Kombucha and have been dying to make my own! Can’t wait to use your guide and get going! 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Let me know how it goes!! If you love the store-bought you’re going to fall in love with home brewing. It’s so tasty and rewarding and the possibilities are endless!

      1. Kim says:

        Do you have a way I can print off the instructions? I work better that way 😀
        I can’t wait to try this.

        1. Sarah says:

          Hey Kim! This post was too long for my usual recipe formatter (which has a printing option), but I’m totally with you on needing things printed for cooking! I’ll email you a PDF I put together just now with all the text from the post, and in the coming weeks I’ll try to get a nice PDF with pictures posted on here for those looking to print this out.

          Edit: For anyone looking for the printable PDF, please enter your email in the box at the bottom of the post! This is how you can get the printable now.

          1. Kim says:

            Thank you so much!!

          2. Sarah says:

            Hi Stephanie! If you scroll to the almost-end of the post, just above my cartoon depiction of the whole process, you’ll see a form to enter your email. Just enter your name and email there and I’ll send it out to ya! 🙂

          3. Kara Blain says:

            Thank you, would love a printable version.

          4. Sarah says:

            Hi Kara, just enter your email in the box at the end of the post where it says “printable version” and a PDF will be sent to you! ?

          5. Susan says:

            Thank you,
            I too would love a printable copy of the recipe

          6. Sarah says:

            Hi Susan, if you enter your email in the box at the end of the post where it says Get Printable a PDF will be sent to you 🙂

        2. Suchinta says:

          I love Kombucha. I will definitely try this. Thanks!

      2. Kate says:

        Hi Sarah I need your help I followed your instructions have a beautiful Scoby just completed the first fermentation day seven tastes good but I cannot understand what to do next do I strain all the liquid (al but two cups to keep my Scoby alive) into my bottles now add my honey and that is it? Doesnt see, like a lot of liquid … But my Scoby is beautiful…s

        1. Sarah says:

          Hi Kate! Okay so you have your SCOBY and you’ve gone through the first fermentation, so you’re close! You just need to do the second fermentation now to make the kombucha fizzy. So you’re correct, you reserve 2 cups of that for your next batch, then strain the rest, pour into bottles, add your sweetener, and ferment for just a few days until fizzy. It should end in about 14 cups of finished kombucha 🙂

          1. Kate says:

            Hey Sarah! Thank you! Completed the 2nd fermentation! OMG refrigerated a bottled and tried it today…super fizzy and delicious I love it. No more store bought for me. Started another batch. Delicious. I refrigerated my bottles as per store bought kombucha is this correct? Thank you Sarah

          2. Sarah says:

            Hi Kate! Yay for completed kombucha!! Yep once your ‘bucha is carbonated, keep it in the bottle and just store in the refrigerator. This will dramatically slow the carbonation so that it keeps that perfect fizzy level for a while 🙂

  2. This is so interesting. To be honest, I’ve been scared of trying until now, but this makes it seem really simple. Off to the shops!

    1. Sarah says:

      I was scared for the longest time! People seem to think it can go terribly wrong but after quite a few batches I’ve found that it’s pretty fool proof, so long as you keep it clean and consistent! 🙂 I hope you’ll give it a go!

  3. Renz says:

    Hahaha. This is great. Didn’t realize it was a “process”. I had my first kombucha last week actually and really liked it.

    1. Sarah says:

      Haha yes, it’s a process in that it takes a fair amount of time. But each time you actually have to work on it you only spend a few minutes in the actually-making-it phase. If you liked the store-bought I think you’d really like it home-brewed! It’s certainly not everyone’s taste.

  4. Sarah says:

    Love the detailed instructions! I’ve been thinking about making kombucha and you make it look so simple!

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh it is SO simple! You won’t even need instructions after your second batch. I hope you’ll try it out!

  5. Wow this really looks like an awesome project! I never heard of Kombucha before! Now trying to convince my wife I need to make this too haha!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sarah says:

      It’s so much fun!! It’s such minimal effort (compared to many of my projects) and in the end you feel like you’ve just accomplished the feat of all feats, it’s great. Definitely try out a few store-bought versions first so you know what taste to aim for, and after that it’s all up to your imagination!

  6. Carina says:

    What a great post! I am just getting into fermentation and will certainly refer back to your post, I just need to start!

    1. Sarah says:

      This was my first experimentation with fermentation and it’s so great. Kitchen magic, really. But definitely just start! 4-6 weeks from now you could be sipping your own homemade kombucha 🙂

  7. Mary says:

    Fermentation is so fascinating. I’ve never tackled kombucha (though I’ve done sourdough and kimchi). Now I know where to start. Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Isn’t it? I was going to have a whole “fermentation week” and do sourdough and kimchi as well…until I realized that each of these is very deserving of its own week. So much to learn and talk about when it comes to fermentation! If you made those then this will be cake for you. Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions 🙂

  8. Glad I ran across this! I’ve only had the storebought, so I can’ t imagine how delish the homemade version is! I had no idea the whole process, but I KNOW it turned out amazing!! Bravo!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Whitney! You should give it a try! Each batch of ‘bucha is as unique as the person who makes it 🙂

  9. Wow, what an awesome and totally comprehensive guide. I love making kombucha, but I’ve never done it without a SCOBY. I am totally going to try your method. Beautiful work!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Sabrina! Let me know how it goes 🙂 A lot of websites I was finding said you needed to acquire a SCOBY from a friend or buy one dehydrated online (eek!), but that’s just so unnecessary!

  10. What an awesome, detailed post! I used to have a roommate who made kombucha all the time, but I’ve never attempted it myself. I’d love to give it a go one of these days and will be sure to use your guide. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks, Marissa! You should definitely give it a go! Be sure to let me know if you have any questions or troubles 🙂

  11. I have been wanting to make kombucha, thank you for this wonderful, complete guide, pinning!

    1. Sarah says:

      You’re very welcome! I hope you’ll try it out!! 🙂

  12. Amara says:

    Hi! I am giving this a try later today. I had originally bought decaf black tea, but have been reading that the tea needs to be just black tea. Do you have any experience with this? I was thinking of going back to the store to buy caffeinated black tea since I don’t want to mess it up! Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Amara! I’ve never tried it with decaf tea, but after doing a bit of research it looks like you’ll be better off using caffeinated tea for our first go at it. Some articles (here and here) say that you can make caffeine-free kombucha, but you would need to ensure the tea was decaffeinated naturally (i.e. not treated with chemicals to remove the caffeine). My suggestion would be to go with caffeinated for your first few rounds until you’ve got the hang of it and know what to expect from your kombucha and SCOBY, then start experimenting with decaffeinated teas 🙂 Happy brewing!

  13. Suzy says:

    WOW! I’m SO totally excited for this – I may be back with some questions though 🙂

  14. Mama2one says:

    I was gifted a mother and two babies. Do I start in part two? Is two cups of tea starter available everywhere?

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh lucky you! Yes start at part 2. Kombucha is becoming more popular so you’ll find it in many stores, namely the healthy food stores (Whole Foods, local organic stores, possibly Trader Joes). If you can’t find any, Cultures for Health says you can use 2 cups distilled white vinegar in place of the starter tea (I haven’t personally tried this though). Best of luck and feel free to come back with any questions!

  15. Heather says:

    So what are the benefits if Chia seeds in kombucha? doesn’t it get thick?

    Ready for my second fermentation with my gifted scoby. So happy I didn’t kill it.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Heather! Aside from a little nutrition punch from the chia seeds, I just really love the texture of the seeds once they’ve become a bit gel-y. We don’t add so much that the entire liquid thickens (like in chia puddings), but just enough for the chia seeds to be well-dispersed. Try making a small glass of it to see if you like it! And I’m so happy to hear you’re on to round 2! Your SCOBY will get stronger and less kill-able the longer you keep brewing 🙂

      1. Heather says:

        So it was a little bubbly, but after I added fruit or juice for next fermentation, it has no fizz, no burping needed. What did I do wrong?

        1. Sarah says:

          Oh no I’m sorry to hear that, Heather! So you did the 1st fermentation with the SCOBY, poured the kombucha into bottles/jars, but then didn’t get any fizziness from the 2nd fermentation? Some things that could have an impact on fizziness at this stage:

          -What bottles did you use? Mason jars do an okay job, but fermentation bottles with a clasping lid are truly airtight, meaning none of the precious carbonation can escape. Perhaps your lids weren’t on tight enough?

          -How full did you fill the bottles? They should be nearly full, as this creates less room for the gasses i.e. more pressure.

          -The bottles should be somewhere warm. The yeasts won’t carbonate as quickly at cool temperatures (like in the fridge).

          -Did you taste the tea during the end of the first fermentation? I’m thinking maybe your tea fermented too much, in which case it would have tasted very vinegary and wouldn’t have had many sugars left for helping with carbonation.

          -Final thoughts, maybe just let it sit a few more days. Sometimes I feel like nothing is happening with my kombucha, but then one day I’ll wake up and it’s worked magic overnight!

          I hope these help and I’d definitely urge you not to give up! Everyone’s kombucha is a little different and I’m sure it’ll work for you soon! Please don’t hesitate to come back with anymore questions 🙂

  16. Emily says:

    There are so many “How to make kombucha” posts out there, but yours is so simple to follow, plus your drawing is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sarah says:

      Aw thanks so much, Emily! When I was trying to learn there were just so many different articles and instructions out there. I wanted to make this a one-stop-shop to show how easy it is 🙂 Let me know how it goes for you!

  17. Josie says:

    Thanks for this, I’m trying it out as we speak! Could I use the tea from the “making a scoby” first phase as the starter tea for my first batch?? Or could I use a premade bottle of kombucha instead? I can’t seem to find starter tea. Also, what is the best way to make a ginger flavored batch – candied ginger or fresh? Thanks!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Josie! The tea from making your SCOBY fermented for a long time so it’s going to be very sour, which is why you shouldn’t use it as a starter tea. A premade bottle of kombucha would work perfectly (something like this).

      I haven’t tried ginger-flavored kombucha before, but I think you could use either freshly grated or chopped candied ginger. I love the kombucha tutorials from The Kitchn, and they have a great one here about making ginger kombucha.

      Good luck and happy brewing!! 🙂

  18. Amanda says:

    Great post, Sarah! I found it so helpful and can’t wait to try it myself. I am a bit confused about one part – do we add the scoby itself to the first fermentation batch or just the starter tea? And is the starter tea the liquid that has been hanging out with the scoby for a couple of weeks?
    Thanks – sorry this is probably so obvious to veterans 😉

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi, Amanda, thanks for stopping by! So you’ll add both the SCOBY and the starter tea in the first fermentation. Starter tea can either be a bottle of flavorless store bought kombucha (example) (if it’s your first batch ever), or kombucha that you made previously. Starter tea is not the liquid that your SCOBY has been hanging out in for a few weeks. That’s going to be really sour and no good for drinking. Really great questions and I’ll amend the instructions to clarify as well.

  19. Christine says:

    It is so warm in my house this summer. Should I wait until fall to start brewing or maybe just shorten the fermentation time?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Christine! You can brew good kombucha at up to 80 degrees F, so if your house is cooler than that (or if you can find a relatively cool, dark pantry), you can make kombucha, just shortening the fermentation time like you said 🙂

  20. JM says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I loved your post so much, I decided to try it myself! But then… I accidentally left my first/Scoby making batch unattended for a really long time. Now the Scoby is REALLY thick and the tea that was in it is very sour, almost like vinegar. Do you have any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this? Thank your lovely post and help!

    1. Sarah says:

      I’m so gad you tried it out, and this is definitely fixable! As long as there are no moldy spots on your SCOBY, just gently separate the layers in half (or thirds if it’s really thick) so you have a few SCOBYs! If you’re not ready to use them right away, this article by Kombucha Kamp has a few ideas on how to keep your “SCOBY Hotel” happy. I hope this helps and happy brewing! 🙂

  21. Sarah says:

    Are you on Instagram?! I’m about to make my SCOBY and wanted to tag you along my first kombucha journey!

    1. Jeong-min says:

      My instagram is @jmlee789

      Looking forward to your pictures! 🙂

      –JM

  22. Michelle says:

    Terrific blog post! Thanks so much. I got my starter tea and SCOBY from a friend yesterday, and I’m off to brew my sweet tea.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks, Michelle, have fun brewing!! Let me know if you run into any problems along the way 🙂

  23. Carrie says:

    So thankful I came across this! I’ve been wanting to make my own buch for a while now. I’m just wondering, since the SCOBY isn’t necessarily needed for the second batch, where do I keep her? Do you usually change out the tea from first batch or how do you keep her alive and happy? Thank you so much!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Carrie! Once you’re in the fermentation stage and don’t need the SCOBY anymore, I just start a new batch! So take 2 cups of the kombucha you made in the first fermentation + the SCOBY and use them to start another round of first fermentation. The rest of the tea from the first fermentation goes into the second fermentation, where it’ll get carbonated 🙂 So in effect, your SCOBY is always happy because it’s always in use.

      If, for some reason, you need to take a break from brewing for a little while, you can put your mama in a SCOBY hotel. This article from Kobucha Kamp does a great job of explaining to to upkeep a SCOBY hotel.

      I hope this answer your question, and definitely let me know if you have any problems!

  24. Amy says:

    Newbie here…..what do I do with my scoby after the first fermentation? Can I reuse it for my next batch or do I have to throw it away ?! Thanks for the kickass directions…made it all so much easier!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Amy! Definitely do NOT throw out your SCOBY! She’s one valuable mama and should last for many months or even years! I answered a similar question in one of the comments above so I’ll just copy it here:

      Once you’re in the fermentation stage and don’t need the SCOBY anymore, I just start a new batch! So take 2 cups of the kombucha you made in the first fermentation + the SCOBY and use them to start another round of first fermentation. The rest of the tea from the first fermentation goes into the second fermentation, where it’ll get carbonated ? So in effect, your SCOBY is always happy because it’s always in use.

      If, for some reason, you need to take a break from brewing for a little while, you can put your mama in a SCOBY hotel. This article from Kobucha Kamp does a great job of explaining to to upkeep a SCOBY hotel.

      I hope this answer your question, and definitely let me know if you have any problems! So happy I could make the process easier for you!!

  25. Ashley says:

    Hi there I was going to double the recipe for the scoby to make two scobys. I have two large jars, the same ones you suggested from amazon. I literally doubled your recipe and bought the two raw same kombuchas you suggested to use for the scoby mother. Would this be correct. basically double the recipe to make two mothers? thanks

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Ashley! That’s correct! If you double the recipe and use two 1-gallon jars, you’ll make two SCOBYs 🙂 I’d love to hear how the process goes for you!

  26. Ashley says:

    Thank you Sarah! I will let
    You know how it goes! So far I just have the floaters forming and I’m very excited to start
    my first batches soon! Thank you! Do you have Instagram or faceback?

  27. Carrie says:

    Well, I started mine today and accidentally put in 2 cups sugar 🙁 I don’t know why my mind registered 2 instead of 1/2. Do I have to throw out this batch of tea, or can I still use this by chance?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Carrie! It may be easiest just to start again (unless of course you want to 4x the rest of the ingredients and make 4 SCOBYs!). Too much sugar could throw off the balance and lead to the growth of bad yeast/bacteria, and we want the healthiest SCOBY/tea possible. I definitely have those days too though, so don’t stress about it! I know it’ll go perfectly the second time around 🙂

      1. Carrie says:

        Okay, thank you so much for the quick and helpful response. 🙂

  28. Anne-Claire says:

    Hi! Do you know if there is a difference of health benefits between the first and the second fermentation ? Or is the 2nd fermentation is only a matter of taste ?
    Thanks.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey, Anne-Claire! The second fermentation’s main job is to make the kombucha fizzy, but there will also be slightly more benefits due to a longer fermentation time (i.e. more probiotics!). With that said, if you don’t like the fizz or don’t want to wait, the health benefits probably aren’t hugely different. 🙂

  29. Ashley says:

    Hi Sarah, can you email at Ashleychambers85@gmail.com

    I feel I may miss this reply and I check my email as it goes directly to my phone. I would appreciate it. I just wanted to ask you a few questions about fermentation.

    Thanks kindly.

  30. karen says:

    Hello Sarah,
    can you please email me the receipe? I always wanted to make a homemade version but was a afraid of the outcome. My email is vbrakle@gmail.com. Thank you!

    karen

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Karen! If you enter your name and email in the box at the end of the post where it says “Printable Version”, I can get the kombucha printable PDF emailed out to you 🙂

  31. Jennifer says:

    Hi I’m not sure I understand the first fermentation, THE two cups of water that I save is it for the second fermentation ?? And also do I use the tea of the first fermentation for the second one ??

    Thanks you

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jennifer! It can be a bit confusing at first 🙂 The 2 cups of tea you reserve after the first fermentation is so that you can recycle it into another batch (so for you very first go around, you’ll need to buy kombucha as your first fermentation “starter tea”, but after that you’ll be able to create your own starter tea simply by taking two cups of tea after the first fermentation is over.

      The rest of the tea that comes from the first fermentation (all of it except the 2 cups) will go into the second fermentation, where it will get carbonated and ready to drink! If this doesn’t solve the problem for ya feel free to email me! (sarah@liveeatlearn.com) 🙂

  32. Sarah says:

    I started a first fermentation batch tonight but I didn’t use 2 cups of starter tea. It was only about 1/2 cup. I got the scoby & tea from a friend but didn’t realize I needed 2 cups of starter tea. Will it still ferment or should I add some distilled vinegar? Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Sarah! You should go ahead and add 1.5 cups of distilled white vinegar to it to keep everything in balance 🙂

      1. Sarah says:

        Thank you. I will do that!

  33. Nancy says:

    I just made my second batch of Kombucha and want to Thank You for your recipe and tips, not to mention both your Instagram account and website (love your pictures and recipes) … I impressed myself with my Kombucha lol … It’s so much fun experimenting with flavoring…My Husband and I are about to engage in a Vegan/plant based diet…so happy to see your recipes 😉 Thanks again!

    1. Sarah says:

      Aw thanks so much, Nancy! Isn’t it so fulfilling when you finish a batch? 🙂 Best of luck to you both on your food journey! If you ever have any questions or recipe requests, feel free to reach out!

    2. Nancy says:

      Thank you so much for responding…Second batch was pretty sour but I believe it’s my fault…I put in whole raspberries and ginger…The raspberries were not sweet to begin with so I trust that didn’t help…I also think I waited too long to do the second fermentation …Trial and error and I am determined to master…Thanks again for responding

      1. Sarah says:

        It’s definitely a good bit of trial and error, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it! Perhaps a little bit of honey might rescue it 🙂

  34. Jodie Lynn Smith says:

    Please send me your printable brew guide! Can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jodie! If you scroll to the bottom of the post you’ll see a box to enter your email and get the free printable. Just enter your email there and it’ll be sent your way! 🙂

  35. Beckie says:

    Hi there!

    Please can you send me the PDF.

    Many thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Beckie! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post the PDF will be sent to you 🙂

  36. Kathleen Schedler says:

    Please Send me a PDF format

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Kathleen, If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post the PDF will be sent to you ?

  37. Dawn says:

    Would love to try your kombucha method, I always buy but can imagine homemade is better and more cost effective! Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      That’s why I started brewing my own! 🙂 The store bought is SO expensive, and with homemade you can make the exact flavors you want 🙂 Let me know if you start brewing and have any questions!

  38. Jackie says:

    I would like a copy of the recipe to make the kombucha Scoby in pdf. Can I make it from scratch instead of using the store bought kombucha as its show the expiration dated is getting old and tasted vinegar. I kept buying it but it cost a lot.
    Thank you Jackie

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jackie! If you enter your email into the box at the bottom of the post, a printable PDF will be emailed to you 🙂 To make the SCOBY you will need to have a small amount of already-made kombucha, which you’ll need to buy just to get you going. If your store bought kombucha is a little old and vinegary, that should be okay for make the SCOBY, just as long as there are no moldy bits in it. Happy brewing!!

  39. susan carroll says:

    please send the PDF thank you!! Kombucha is in first ferment,

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Susan! You can get the printable by entering your email in the box at the bottom of the post 🙂

  40. Janyce Clark says:

    Seeking printable kombucha recipe

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Janyce, if you enter your email in the box at the end of the post, the printable version will be emailed to you 🙂

  41. Sarah says:

    I recently brewed a batch of kombucha and bottled it. I added a small amount of fruit juice for the second fermentation and left the airtight bottles sealed at room temp for about seven days. I refrigerated them after that, but they are not carbonated. If I take them out of the refrigerator, will they continue to ferment and carbonate?

  42. Carol says:

    I’m excited to make my first batch of kombucha!! Please send me the PDF so I can print out the particulars. Thanks for demystifying the process for me!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Carol! I’ve changed things up a bit, so now you can just enter your email in the box at the bottom of the post and the printable PDF will be sent right out to you 🙂 Happy brewing!

  43. Sandy says:

    Hi – love your instructions! Started brewing a couple of months ago and love it. So tasty and way more economical than buying in a store. Would you believe someone was selling kombucha in Hawaii for $8 a cup!

    Anyways, just started a new batch and used starter tea that was vinegary…from my last batch that had to sit for 4 weeks while I was away. Will it be okay or should I scrap it? I used 8 tea bags and 1/2 cup of sugar. My scoby is nice and large, probably a 1/2″ thick and 7″ wide circle.
    Thanks

    1. Sarah says:

      Isn’t the store bought just SO expensive? I got hooked on kombucha in Hawaii, not sure how I ever saw past that price!

      As long as there is no mold/weird bits in the starter tea, I think it should be okay to use. Some people even use straight vinegar as starter tea, because it’s really the acidity in the starter tea that you need to prevent bad bacterial growth in the beginning.

      Happy brewing! 🙂

  44. Courtney says:

    Hi there! Thank you for this very descriptive post! I’m about to start my second fermentation and I’m just a little unclear about adding flavor. My original thought process was to take fruit, I’m using cranberries and raspberries, and blend them in a food processor. Then I planned to strain them through cheese cloth into the kombucha and then ferment. Is this correct? Or should I put it all in and strain after it ferments? Or should I not bother blending it and cook them instead? Or none of that lol sorry! This is my first time so I’m not really sure what the best approach would be. Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Courtney! Blending and cooking aren’t really necessary. You can just mash them a little with a fork to expose more of their juiciness, then add them to the kombucha and let it all ferment. After it has fermented, strain out the fruit pieces and you’re good to go! The first go around can be a bit confusing and overwhelming, but you’re almost there! 🙂

      1. Courtney says:

        Thanks for the info! I had some already cooked fruit that I used and I also did a batch with cranberries. I just slightly boiled them enough to pop them and mash them up.
        So, now I have another question. I did them in 3 flavors and 4 containers. Three are the flip top glass jars and one is a mason jar. I read elsewhere to ‘burp’them so they don’t build up too much pressure. I did this on the second day at the end. There wasn’t really a ton of pressure in any of them. Then, this afternoon (the third day), I did it again and one exploded out the top all of the fruit! The others barely had anything. I put the exploded one in the fridge and the rest I tasted and aren’t super fizzy so I left them out. I’m curious if I’ve done something wrong or if this is just part of the process. I’m planning on straining the exploded one tonight but I’m not sure what to do with the rest. I’m also really nervous about how long to leave them.
        Should I get some different containers?
        Also, the Mason jar one seems to be growing another scoby and doesn’t look very good. Is that normal?
        Thanks!
        Courtney

        1. Courtney says:

          Okay, I just strained and tasted the one that exploded and it’s not very fizzy and a little thick! It must be my bottles…I don’t think I did anything else wrong. I’m not sure…

          1. Sarah says:

            Hi Courtney, it doesn’t sounds like you did anything wrong! The process has a lot of factors affecting it.

            -The mason jar doesn’t provide a completely tight seal, so you might expect that one to take longer to become fizzy. It may grow some little doodads, but as long as there is no mold or colored bit, it should be ok.

            -Different fruits have different sugar contents. I’m guessing your bottle that exploded had a more sugar-y fruit than the rest. Burping can certainly help relieve some of this extra pressure, but burping before the bottles need burping will cause for less fizziness. A trick I like to use is use a plastic water bottle, in addition to a few glass jars, for this step. When the water bottle is pretty hard, you’ll know that the glass jars are also pressurized and probably ready to be burped or refrigerated.

            -I haven’t encountered thick kombucha before, so I did a little research. If you kombucha is also a bit “slimy”, this article may be able to help some: http://kombuchahome.com/what-to-do-if-my-kombucha-is-slimy/ (though I think it may just need a little more fermentation time + regular burping for the sugary ones!)

            I hope this helps! Definitely keep trying. Once you get the hang of it and get a few successful batches under your belt, it’s cake 🙂

          2. Courtney says:

            Awesome, thank you so much. After straining and tasting them all the Mason jar one was the fizziest…probably because I was less worried about it exploding without a tight seal so I let it sit longer.
            The thicker one had raspberries and cranberries and is not slimy.
            I’ve got another batch going right now and definitely have plans to do things differently a little bit. I’ll do the plastic bottle this time, too! Thank you for your help!

  45. Sue Sheehy says:

    I’m so excited to get started. I’m looking for the printable version of the instructions Thank you so much.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Sue, just enter your email in the box at the end of the post where it says “printable version” and a PDF will be sent to you! 🙂

  46. Elizabeth says:

    My Scoby never gets thick. I bought a thick Scoby and used that in my first batch. The new baby scoby was created at the top. I fermented it for about10 days and then removed the mother and the baby. Then the second batch I put the mother and baby into the tea with starter tea. It made another baby. The babies are really thin. How do I make a thick scoby like my original mother scoby? Also am I suppose to use the mother and all the babies in the next batch? Thanks for any help you can give.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Elizabeth! You can split up the mother and baby SCOBYs and they will all ferment separate batches. This should help the babies grow, because they won’t be competing with each other. Besides that, it will just take time (a few weeks/batches) for the babies to get thick, but they’ll get there! 🙂

  47. Sol says:

    I am actually following your recipe/method and already am on the second part of fermentation( started today ;)! I feel my scooby is little for the amount of tea but looks like it is working so far! Thank you for taking the time to share! You make it looks so simple and actually made me feel confident enough to try!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Sol! I’m so happy to hear you’re giving it a go! The process definitely seems complicated at first glance but is easy once you get going, so I’m happy I could convince you to try 🙂 Your SCOBY will thicken up with each new batch you make, so I wouldn’t worry about the thickness now. If it doesn’t start to reach about 1/2 inch thick within a few batches, you may need to adjust a few things to make sure you’re brewing in the right atmosphere (i.e. make sure temperature is not too hot/cold, make sure you’re not using antibacterial soap in the container, or try a different brand of tea) (but I have faith that it will all work out just fine!)

      1. Kate says:

        HI Sarah into my fourth batch and my Scoby is over an inch thick what should I do now and how lol. Thank you

        1. Sarah says:

          Hi Kate! If you have more SCOBY than you can handle, as long as there are no moldy spots on your SCOBY, just gently separate the layers in half (or thirds if it’s really thick) so you have a few SCOBYs! If you’re not ready to use them right away, this article by Kombucha Kamp has a few ideas on how to keep your “SCOBY Hotel” happy. I also like making SCOBY candy with my excess mamas 🙂

  48. Jennifer says:

    Hi there! Your instructions are amazing, I’m just confused on one thing, after I set aside the scoby and 2 cups to move on to the 2nd fermentation, what do I do with the scoby? Is it back to the start in trying to make another scoby? Sorry, I’m a bit confused lol

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jennifer! No problem 🙂 So once you move onto the second fermentation (carbonation), recycle that 2 cups + SCOBY into the first fermentation again (the one that takes 6 to 10 days). Now that you have a SCOBY, you shouldn’t have to repeat the SCOBY-making step again, you can just keep repeating the 1st and 2nd fermentations to always have ‘bucha brewing. Does that make sense?

  49. Thereasa says:

    I would like to print this off to make it too, if you don’t mind. Can you please send me a copy of the PDF ? I can’t wait till I try this. Ty
    Thereasa

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Thereasa, if you enter your email in the box at the end of the post the PDF will be emailed right to ya! 😀

  50. SHARIQ says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your easy to follow Kombucha
    Did my first fermentation and bottled it and added lime and ginger

    been 3 days or so and hopefully i will get more fizzz

    Have started another batch with a baby Scoby with 2 litres of water
    Hope for a good batch as this is only my 2nd time trail and error

    ONCE again Thank you

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Shariq!! 😀 The lime + ginger combo sounds delicious. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you!

  51. SHARIQ says:

    Just a quick Question Please Sarah,

    Do i have to use White sugar or i can use Organic Raw Sugar which is very light Brown color???????????
    Also i saw some suggest mineral rich Evaporated sugar juice crystals????????????

    Thank you

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey again! I’ve only ever used white sugar, but I believe you can use more than just white sugar for kombucha. Kombucha Kamp has a really handy article about the kinds of sugar you can use here, and it looks like they’ve had success with both raw sugar and sugar juice crystals 😀

  52. julie says:

    Hello there~ my friend just gave me a scoby in a jar of some of her already made kombucha. Her recipe called some vinegar in addition to the sugar and water and tea. Yours does not call for this. I already have a scoby in there.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Julie! Congrats on your new SCOBY! Some recipes will use vinegar instead of the starter kombucha like we do here. You can use whichever you like, and just begin at the 1st fermentation since you already have a SCOBY! 🙂

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