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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 (226)

  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! 🙂

  53. Karen says:

    Would love to get my hands on the PDF!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Karen! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post where it says “Get the printable”, a PDF version will be sent right to ya! 🙂

  54. PAM says:

    I would like a PDF copy, please.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Pam, if you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says Get Printable), the PDF will be mailed right to ya! 😀

  55. Paige Kramer says:

    Hi Sarah,

    My SCOBY’s have been growing for a month and are only about 1/8 an inch thick. They are in a 60 degree environment. Should I let them grow longer or can I start the fermentation process now? Because they are so thin could I use both SCOBY’s in one batch or would it be better to let them grow with each batch of kombucha? Love your website! Thanks!

    Paige

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Paige! Your SCOBY may be growing slowly because 60 is just a bit on the cool side, meaning everything may just take a little longer to happen. You should use both SCOBYs to brew your kombucha, and can separate them once they’re each around 1/4 of an inch thick. So happy to hear you’ve got through the longest waiting game! Now on to the fun part 😀

  56. Åsa says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    I just bottled my first batch using your instructions. I love that you’ve already converted everything into the metric system so I didn’t have to do it myself 😅 Just wanted you to know that your tutorial has reached as far as Sweden and ask a quick question. Do you know how low the temperature has to be to stop the carbonation? I’m thinking of store the ready to drink bottles in my cellar, 10-12 C, 50-54 F. Will it be cold enough?

    Happy brewing ❤️

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear you’re brewing ‘buch up in Sweden too!! 😀 I haven’t tried storing ready-to-drink bottles at that temperature, though my gut tells me that it may not be cold enough to completely stop the carbonation. It will certainly slow down, but unless it’s at around 4-5 C (the fridge), it will continue to steadily carbonate.

  57. Alison Gibson says:

    Going to have a go, printable copy would be good please

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Alison! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says Get Printable), the PDF will be mailed right to ya! 😀

  58. REGINA HUARACH says:

    My Kombucha is ready today. I read that I need to strain my Kombucha. I only have a metal strainer. Do I really need to strain it? or Can I use the metal strainer?

    1. Sarah says:

      So exciting, congrats on your kombucha! You can use a metal strainer for this part. Minimal contact with metal is okay, you just don’t want to be brewing it in metal. On the other hand, you can also skip the straining, you’ll just have a few floaties in there 😀

  59. Mavis Hintermeister says:

    I would like the printable recipe.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Mavis! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says Get Printable), the PDF will be mailed right to ya! 😀

  60. Valerie says:

    Please send me the recipe too

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Valerie! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says Get Printable), the PDF will be mailed right to you!

  61. Billy says:

    I always thought SCOBY was such a foreign thing to me – this helpful article does a great job at explaining it and how to make it. The drawing at the end is cute too! I love the effort you put into this article and recipe on kombucha. Thank you a ton! I’ll definitely have to give it a try next time I go down the road of a project for making my own fermented goods! Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy I could help, Billy! I figured I couldn’t be the only one tired of dropping $5 on a bottle of kombucha, ha! Let me know how the process goes when you start up, and if you have any questions I’m happy to help. 😀

  62. Anne Postma says:

    Thanks for offering it in print form

    1. Sarah says:

      You’re very welcome! Were you able to get it downloaded ok? 😀

  63. Carol says:

    Please send me the PDF. Thanks so much. Very excited to try.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Carol! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says Get Printable), the PDF will be mailed right to you! 🙂

  64. Aniko says:

    Hi I try your recipe for kanbutcha. I m making the scrub and now after 2 weeks I have a wetness showin on the top that ok or something went wrong? Thanks

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Aniko! As long as there are no colors growing on the SCOBY or noticeable mold then you are probably okay 😀

  65. Rhonda says:

    My kombucha always has a little mini SCOBY (slimy brownish glob) grow in it after 2nd fermentation. Is this normal?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Rhonda! Yes, baby SCOBYs are totally normal. They will continue to grow and could turn into a second SCOBY! 😀

  66. Aor says:

    That look so amazing! Can’t wait to brew one. I’m exciting how it goes!!

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Aor! 😀

  67. Aniko says:

    Hi Sara, this process is really fun, I started my first fermentation, I just wondered is there anything I can do with the liquid the scrubby grow in. I tasted is like vinegar, have you tried to used it like making salad dressing instaed of bought vinegar?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Aniko! I haven’t tried using that liquid for anything edible before because it’s so acidic. You can, however, use it for cleaning! 😀

  68. Aniko says:

    Hi Sara, on my first fermentation start to grow a membrane is that ok? I live in Florida and it is 87-89 every day and i kept it outside. Thanks Aniko

    1. Sarah says:

      Does it look a bit like the SCOBY? My instinct tells me that 87-89 might be a bit too hot for kombucha. Though I’ve never tried it at these temperatures, I’ve read that it could cause some imbalances in the yeast and bacteria. Is it possible for you to move it inside, perhaps to a cupboard or closet?

  69. Karen says:

    Hi,
    What sweetener and flavors are your favorite.

    1. Sarah says:

      I love strawberry and ginger (separate or together!). And it’s not exactly a flavor, but chia seed ‘buch is my FAV! 😀

  70. pm says:

    Can you show some examples of unwanted mold? I’ve got some pretty weird looking stuff on my developing scoby that I’m not too sure about. It started out as mostly white and light brown, but now after 7 days it’s developed a big hilly area that’s way darker than the rest. It’s not black, but I’m not sure if it’s safe. Thanks

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi there! Kombucha Kamp has a good article on what to look for here: https://www.kombuchakamp.com/kombucha-mold-information-and-pictures. They also have this article which shows you what is NOT mold: https://www.kombuchakamp.com/kombucha-brewing-pictures/young-normal-kombucha-scoby-yeast-growth. You’re also more than welcome to email me a picture and I can let you know what I think! sarah@liveeatlearn.com 😀

  71. Shirley philipp says:

    I am a new to making kombucha. I am trying to get that great taste of gingerade like the sell in the store.
    I tried the fresh ginger and lemon, but I’m still not there on the flavor. Any thoughts?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hmm its hard to say without tasting it. Did you add anything to sweeten it? I think a bit of honey or table sugar could help liven up some of those gingery/lemony flavors! 🙂

  72. Linda says:

    Thank you for the printable version. I’m excited to get started!

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy you’re giving it a go! Let me know if you run into any problems along the way 😀

  73. Cindy says:

    HI Sarah! This looks great. I have a beautiful, but I have not been able to start the first fermentation and it has been since the first of May. It is not moldy or anything, but in looking at your diagram (love it!) when you say the 14 C of water, etc., and you say 2 C of starter tea, do you mean the liquid that is in with my Scoby?

    Also, I have saved tons of the bottles of the same brand that you show here. Can I use those and fill them?

    Thank you for your help”

    1. Sarah says:

      Hello again! 😀 No, the starter tea will be plain store bought kombucha. Once you have been through the whole process, you can use the tea you make as starter tea, but unfortunately the liquid left from making the SCOBY will be too acidic. Sounds like a little misstep but you have the SCOBY so the hard part is over! Just use 2 cups of store bought kombucha when you restart 🙂 And if the bottles are like the ones I mentioned, feel free to use them! Just wash them well with hot water before using.

  74. Cindy says:

    I love this! Could I please get the PDF?!

    Thank you! I especially love the diagram. #visuallearning!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey, Cindy! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “get printable”) the PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  75. Marc says:

    maybe you could add these infos, 1-how long can you keep a SCOBY in kombucha ”waiting for the next batch” …let say you leave 1-2-3 weeks on vacation, if you leave the SCOBY in 2-cups kombucha in the fridge, will it be fine when you return ? about how long does it last ? and 2, how long can you keep Bottled Kombucha in the fridge.
    Thank you 🙂 my first scoby is growing slowly but surely 😛

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Marc! If you’re leaving for an extended period of time (less than 4 weeks), just leave the SCOBY at room temperature in the usual ‘buch tea mixture. When you get back, if the tea is too strong/vinegary just throw away the tea and start a new batch. And as for how long to store the bottle in the fridge, they’ll last for months. They’ll continue to slowly ferment in the fridge so the flavors will continue to change and develop.

  76. Pm says:

    Hi again, I guess the brown stuff on the scoby ended up being ok. The color balanced out and I’ve made (3) 1 gallon batches now and everything tastes fine.

    Another question for you: do you burp only once before putting into the fridge? I’ve been burping a few times during the 4-7 day second fermentation, and there always seems to be plenty of fizz. ALOT. I also taste it here and it has serious bite, which I like.
    But when I put into the fridge, the carbonation almost disappears. The bite is gone and it tastes almost flat, which I don’t enjoy at all.
    Should I stick to one burp at the end of second fermentation?

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear!! 😀 And yes, you should reduce the amount of burping you do a little bit. This part is very much a balancing game that depends on your bottles, temperature, and sweetener. So make sure you have some good sturdy bottles with tight seals and burp a little less. I hope this helps! Let me know 🙂

  77. carolyn says:

    I accidentally let my first fermentation go for 21 days. What should I do now?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Carolyn! Taste the tea. If it’s too strong (it probably is), just throw away the tea and start over. The SCOBY should have grown a decent amount in that time, so it’s not all a loss! 😀

  78. Jan Quilliam says:

    PDF please 😃

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey, Jan! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “get printable”) the PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  79. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve been wanting to make my own kombucha, but I actually hate carbonated drinks and always buy a non-carbonated version at the store. How could I alter your recipe to eliminate carbonation?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Sarah! You can just skip the second fermentation (the step where you bottle and let it sit for a few days). You can just add in your sweetener and drink it after the first fermentation 😀

  80. Paul McGuire says:

    I’ve been home brewing my kombucha for 5 months and stumbled on your post while looking for ratios for secondary fermentation. Your instructions are great and really clear.

    I have been secondary fermenting in the same bottles I drink from after, because I was mostly adding juice, but now I just started doing a secondary fermentation in a larger container and will see how that goes. I’m doing 1gal batches so I got a 4L glass container with a flip top and silicone lid for fermenting so I can add fruit and easily remove it before bottling.

    I started doing it that way because I did a batch with ginger in the bottles and it was quite annoying to get the ginger out after the fact. I ended up pouring some bottles through a strainer into the glass. I also want to eventually start doing larger batches at some point. If you are interested i can post an update after a while to let you know how this ends up for me.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Paul! I’d love to hear how it goes for you with the larger batches! It’s such a balancing act, getting the kombucha to container ratio perfect (because you don’t want too much/little space between the kombucha and lid), so I’m sure your findings will help a lot of folks out who are in your same situation! I had to stop brewing since moving to the Netherlands (very small house), but we’ll be moving into a larger house soon and I may well try out your big batch idea! 😀

  81. Sheila says:

    I received a scoby and finished through what I think would be the first fermentation. Then I started a new batch after 2nd fermentation. Now I’m ready to make a new batch. Question: Do I start over like the first fermentation or pickup with second step.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Sheila! So did you completely finish the steps (i.e. get drinkable kombucha?) If so, you’ll just start at the first fermentation (6-10 days to make the actual kombucha) followed by the second fermentation (to carbonate it). I hope this answers your question! If not I’m happy to help 😀

  82. Lindsay says:

    Would LOVe the Printable PDF version! thank you !! So excited to try

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey, Lindsay! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “get printable”) the PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  83. Paul McGuire says:

    Hi Sarah! I just bottled my batch of blueberry kombucha after four days in the larger container. Because of the amount of starter I remove, there is a fairly good amount of room for air in the brew, which gave it a fairly low level of carbonation on its own though there is plenty of time for it to carbonate further.

    For now, I am satisfied with how this batch turned out and will try some other fruits for the next batch to see if I get a similarly low carbonation. Because the opening of the bottle is smaller than my brewing vessel, I have to pour the kombucha into a larger-mouth container before using my plastic ladle to fill the bottles.

    I’m satisfied with the amount of flavor I got from the blueberries and may try a stronger flavor berry for the next batch to see how it works now that I am not so much worried about excessive carbonation.

  84. Tonya Shadwell says:

    So I don’t know of anyone near me who make this so I ordered a scoby online. It arrived today. But I didn’t know I needed two cups of kombucha to start it. We can’t get it locally. If I have to order some, how do I keep my scoby alive till it arrives?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Tonya! While I haven’t tried this before, many people have had the same problem of not having starter tea and had success with using distilled white vinegar in place of the starter tea. If you can get your hands on vinegar you can start brewing now 🙂

  85. CS says:

    Thank you so much for putting this all together! It explains the whole process, unlike other sites I’ve checked out. I look forward to trying it!

    1. Sarah says:

      You’re very welcome! Let me know if you run into any questions along the way 😀

  86. Patricia Stutz says:

    Hello, what if this is your first batch and you do not have the 2 extra cups of brew from the 1 st batch to add…what do you use ? And can you use raw organic sugar.?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Patricia! You can either use storebought kombucha (just a small bottle, usually from health food stores like Whole Foods), or white vinegar. As far as sugar goes, I haven’t tried this kind, but this article has some handy information that may help you decide which sugar to use! https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/kombucha/kombucha-ingredients/#sugar

  87. PM says:

    Hi Sarah,

    So I switched to actual fermentation bottles with the flip top lids, filled close to the top, burped slightly only once, and the end result was spectacular!

    I had been using the GT Dave’s bottles to do the second fermentation, and it was hit or miss, mostly miss. I guess too much air was escaping over time.

    Since using the real fermentation bottles, the kombucha maintains a “head” after opening and through to the end of the bottle. It tastes great and has the perfect fizz and bite to it. Thanks for the tips!

    Now that autumn is approaching, it will be interesting to see how the colder weather affects my brewing. Much slower I would presume.

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy you were able to narrow down the best method for you! It definitely changes by the season, but now that you have the foundation set I think you’ll be getting a lot more reliable brews 😀

  88. Barb says:

    I have a beautiful large scoby but the second fermentation does not have any carbonation. Any idea? Barb

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Barb, can you give more details about what you did? The second carbonation won’t include the SCOBY. In this last step, you just pour your kombucha into bottles and let it carbonate, and reuse the SCOBY for another batch.

  89. Karma says:

    Can you please email me the printable version

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey there! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “get printable”) the PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  90. Pam says:

    My kamboocha tastes like vinegar. Is there something I can do? Should I though out the batch, buy keep two cups and start again?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Pam, sorry to hear that! It sounds like it may have brewed too long, which generally makes it taste less sweet and more vinegary. You’re probably best off throwing out this batch, though you could use two cups of it to start a new batch 😀

  91. Lisa Cain says:

    I would love the pdf. Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Lisa! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “get printable”) the PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  92. Teresa says:

    Have loved Kombucha for years now but, not the high cost nor do I love to cook or anything slightly related to aforementioned labor. Obviously have not tried making my own. However, my daughter-in-law is a die-hard Kombucha brewer and kick-ass cook and baker of all things organic-she finally convinced me that I won’t die if I do this…so sent me home from Portland with my own mama scoby. My first batch is ready, (and I love it) and am making my second. Thanks for the instructions and to my dtr-in-law for giving me the shove and the ‘mutha’ I needed to get brewing! Will be sharing my scoby with friends soon!

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy she got you into the world of kombucha!! The high costs are what turned me over to making my own too. I guess it’s a good thing for frugality and good friends (and dtrs-in-law) for keeping the kombucha train rolling 😀

  93. Yvonne Mc Cullagh says:

    Want to make kombucha and have been looking at several articles with directions but yours is the BEST. Love your tips in the comments section.
    Can’t wait to taste my very own Kombucha. Where I used to live two places had it on tap but here it is rare and too expensive .

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much, Yvonne! So happy I could help! Kombucha on tap sounds amazing (though you’ll get to that point soon enough!) Let me know if you run into any problems along the way 😀

  94. Alexis says:

    Hey Sarah! I’m in the process of growing a scoby right now. For the “starter tea” for the first fermentation can I use the liquid that is left after my scoby is done? Is it considered a starter tea?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Alexis, I haven’t actually tried using liquid from making the SCOBY as start tea before. My gut tells me that it could work (because it is quite acidic an should be potent enough to stop any bad bacteria from growing), but if you do have access to kombucha (for instance, in a grocery), then I might use that just to be safe. I would love to hear how it works out for you though!

  95. caryn says:

    Can i get a printable version???
    caryn.mcalister@yahoo.com

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Caryn! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “get printable”) the PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  96. Rose says:

    Hi Sarah! Just came across your site today but I tried making lemon kombucha for the first time this summer. I was afraid to try drinking it because I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to look when it was done. Therefore, I let it sit for so long, I think it turned into wine. I do not drink alcohol but I may try using it in cooking. It has sediment (dregs?) on the bottom and the stuff (mold?) that was on top completely disappeared. The liquid itself is slightly cloudy. Do you think It’s safe to use in cooking? Thank you! You have great stuff on your site!

  97. Rose says:

    A little correction to my first comment. The drink I was making was from a recipe for fermented lemonade. I did not use any tea at all. I did not use any type of “starter” either. Not sure if you would call that kombucha or not. But it definitely smells like wine. Thanks again!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Rose, I’m honestly not sure if this is safe to consume because I’m really only familiar with traditional kombucha (i.e. tea with a starter). Kombucha doesn’t usually smell or taste like wine; it’s acidic and slightly sour but not nearly as alcoholic. When in doubt, I would recommend not drinking it!

  98. Sherry Kristmann says:

    Please email a printable version.
    thanks,
    Sherry

    1. Sarah says:

      Hey Sherry! If you enter your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “get printable”) the PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  99. Heather says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I have a question, I’m in my 4th day of the second fermentation and I used store kombucha bottles, they are not getting fizzy and are growing scobys, is this normal? If not, can I save this batch and what did I do wrong?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Heather, so sorry for the delayed response! Just to check, did you add a sweetener, like honey or mashed fruit? If tightly sealed, at room temperature (warmish), and with enough sugar, the kombucha should be be carbonating. If it is growing SCOBYs it may be getting too much oxygen (i.e. the jars aren’t sealed tight enough perhaps?) Regardless, it DOES sound like it’s healthy!

  100. Heather says:

    No worries Sarah! I did add sweeter, one honey, one candied ginger and one smashed blueberries. Today I cracked them open and there was a tiny bit of fizz, but not much. They taste ok, so I will probably enjoy them and try again with the next batch making sure the lids are super tight.

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh good! So you’re on the right track. Yep, next time just try to make them as tight as possible and perhaps finder a warmer place to put them if possible 🙂 Happy brewing!

  101. Jenny says:

    Hello there and Thank you for this awesome step by step instructions. I am making my 1st batch. My Scoby is about ready and I will be onto my next step. The question I have is for the last step when putting the kombocha into individual bottles. Can I just put it all into a large glass jar too? To just make 1 large batch. For a party. Thank you again for sharing!! Happy Day to you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jenny, great question! As long as the bottle is meant for carbonation (like these 32 oz growlers) then it should carbonate just fine! Any bigger than this and you run the risk of it not carbonating properly (though you could carbonate them in these then transfer to large pitchers right before serving).

  102. Surabhi says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for such a detailed recipe and beautiful presentation. I tried your recipe with an older SCOBY and grew another! I’m always fascinated with growing cultures, but this is my frist kombucha attempt. I had some questions but most of them have already been answered in comments above. But, what happens if I do not add fruit juice or candied ginger?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Surabhi, happy the comments could answer your questions! If you don’t add fruit juice or fruit the kombucha won’t carbonate as well. It needs a little extra sugar so the carbonation process can take place 😀

  103. Dave says:

    Awesome instructions!
    I grew a beautiful SCOBY! I wasn’t expecting the texture!
    I must have had a problem with my 1st fermentation. Everything was going great but on my 7th day I noticed a film on the top of the tea. It almost looked like a new scoby but it was white with a slight blue tinge. From what I could decent, I figured it must have been mould & best to start again.
    I kept things very clean but apparently not clean enough!
    Any tips would be much appreciated!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Dave! Take a look at some of these photos, it may not be mold: https://www.kombuchakamp.com/kombucha-mold-information-and-pictures. Mold is usually dry and fuzzy, but it sounds like yours is a wet film? Hopefully that article will help shed some light on it for you! And as much as it sucks, if you’re really in doubt, throw it out.

      Some tips that may help prevent mold growth next time: try to increase air flow around your kombucha and perhaps add a few tablespoons of distilled white vinegar (to increase acidity). Good luck and happy brewing! 😀

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