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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 recipe with kombucha in a mason jar

How to Make Homemade Kombucha: Overview

This post will go into detail about each step in the process of making kombucha. For succinct instructions, scroll to the bottom where a recipe card lays out the basics of making 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

You can also click to jump to a few useful resources:

How to Make Kombucha Video

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.

Print the Homemade Kombucha Guide

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!

How to make homemade kombucha recipe flavored with kombucha flip top bottle

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 homemade kombucha recipe holding a kombucha SCOBY mother

Making a SCOBY Ingredients:

  • 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

Making a SCOBY 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 is it ready to work with (test by drawing out some water with a paper straw, using your finger to keep the ‘buch in the straw).
  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. 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 are 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 kombucha
How to make homemade kombucha recipe with kombucha and SCOBY in a large jar

2. Homemade kombucha: 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.

First Fermentation Ingredients:

  • 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)). Alternatively, use a glass jug with a built in spigot to make pouring the kombucha out easier!
  • Tightly woven cloth (coffee filters, paper towels, napkins, ultra fine cheesecloth)
  • Rubberbands

First Fermentation 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). 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 paper straw (using your finger to hold the tea in the straw, don’t use your mouth). 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)). The rest can move into the second and final fermentation.

Things to note about the first fermentation:

  • 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 homemade kombucha recipe with kombucha and SCOBY in a large jar

3. Homemade kombucha: 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.

Second Fermentation Ingredients:

  • 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
    • *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.)

Second Fermentation Instructions:

  1. Strain kombucha and funnel into bottles, leaving about 1 1/2 inches at 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 homemade kombucha recipe flavored with kombucha flip top bottle and mason jars

Favorite Kombucha Flavors

I’m always experimenting with new flavors of kombucha. Here are a few of my favorites (I’ll add more as I make them)!

Mango Kombucha
Blueberry Kombucha

Ginger Pepper Kombucha
Pineapple Basil Kombucha
Strawberry Kombucha
Kombucha Ice Cream Float
Peach Pie Kombucha

How to make homemade kombucha recipe flavored with kombucha flip top bottle

Supplies Needed for Making Kombucha

Below is a list of the supplies needed to make kombucha. The links are affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase (I’ve only included products I know and trust).

  • Black tea: Plain black tea lays the base for your kombucha.
  • Store bought starter tea: You’ll need a starter tea to get things going (but can use your home brewed kombucha to start the following batches).
  • Large glass or ceramic container: Aim for one that’s at least 1 gallon, but two 1/2 gallon jars will also work! I’ve also been using a large jar with a plastic spigot recently, and it makes pouring the kombucha so much easier.
  • Cheese cloth: Allows your kombucha to breathe while keeping dust and critters out.
  • Flip top fermentation bottles: These bottles have a tight seal specifically designed to keep the carbonation in (hellooo fizz!)
  • Starter kit: Want kombucha sooner than later? This bundle includes most of the equipment you need plus it comes with a ready-made SCOBY.
Hot to make kombucha

The Simple Guide to Kickass Kombucha

These instructions outline how to make homemade kombucha. For more in-depth instructions and tips, see the article above this recipe card.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Beverages (Non-Alcoholic)
Cuisine: American
Keyword: homemade kombucha, how to make a scoby, how to make kombucha, kombucha
Diet: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian
Time: 60 minutes or more
Servings: 16 cups
Author: Sarah Bond
4.85 from 40 votes


Making a SCOBY
First Fermentation
Second Fermentation
  • Homemade kombucha from the first fermentation
  • Sweetener


Making a SCOBY

  • Bring water to a boil in a clean pot. Remove from heat and dissolve sugar into it. Add the tea and allow to steep while water cools to room temperature. Only when water is at room temperature (test by drawing out some water with a straw), is it ready to work with!
  • Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour store-bought kombucha in (if you’re using two jars, pour ½ of the store bought kombucha into each).
  • Cover with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth and secure with a rubber band. Set somewhere dark and room temperature (70-75 degrees F, 21-24 C) for 1 to 4 weeks, until a ¼ inch (½ cm) SCOBY has formed.

First Fermentation

  • Bring water to a boil in a clean pot. Remove from heat and dissolve sugar into it. Add the tea and allow to steep while water cools to room temperature. 
  • With really clean hands, gently remove your SCOBY from the tea and place on a clean plate. Rinse out jar(s). Pour the sweetened tea into your jar(s), then pour in starter kombucha.
  • Gently place SCOBY into jar then cover with a few layers of the tightly woven cloth and secure with a rubber band. Set the jar(s) somewhere dark 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.  The longer the tea ferments, the more sugar molecules will be eaten up, the less sweet it will be.
  • Reserve 2 cups from this batch to use as starter kombucha for your next batch (just leave it in the jar with the SCOBY(s)). The rest can move into the second fermentation.

Second Fermentation

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

Can you get drunk off of kombucha? Most kombucha contains less than 0.5% ABV (for reference, beer has about 5% ABV), so it is not likely that you will get drunk from kombucha.

What are the side effects of kombucha? The high amount of probiotics in kombucha mean that drinking too much can lead to GI discomfort (bloating and in some cases diarrhea). Kombucha also contains caffeine and sugar, which may also effect you.

What are the health benefits of kombucha? Kombucha contains probiotics, which contribute to a healthy gut microbiome (and in turn, help regulate weight and obesity). It also contains antioxidants and polyphenols.

Can you put kombucha in the refrigerator? When you put kombucha in the refrigerator, fermentation slows down dramatically. You can therefore store it in the fridge if you need to take a break from fermenting, or to chill it prior to serving.

Can you use no-calorie sugars (like Stevia, Splenda etc.)? This is one of few recipes where you really cannot use sugar substitutes. BUT you won’t actually be consuming that whole 1 cup of sugar. The sugar is food for the bacteria and yeast. They’ll basically eat it all up and produce wonderful things like acidity and carbonation, and the finished kombucha will be much lower in sugar as a result.

How to make easy homemade kombucha, the fizzy fermented tea, with just 4 ingredients! All you need is black tea, sugar, water, and starter tea.

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 homemade kombucha recipe diagram

Print the Homemade Kombucha Guide

By popular demand, I’ve created a printable PDF with all the instructions from this post. Enter your email below and it will be sent to you!

Hi, I’m Sarah!

Showing you how to make easy vegetarian recipes, one ingredient at a time. Read more

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  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!

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. Kim says:

      Thank you so much!!

    5. 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! 🙂

    6. Kara Blain says:

      Thank you, would love a printable version.

    7. 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! ?

    8. Susan says:

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

    9. 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 🙂

    10. Suchinta says:

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

    11. 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

    12. 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 🙂

    13. 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

    14. 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 🙂

    2. 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?

    3. 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! 🙂


  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 🙂

    2. 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 ?

    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 [email protected]

    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 [email protected]. Thank you!


    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! ([email protected]) 🙂

  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 🙂

    2. 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

    3. 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.

    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! 🙂

    2. 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?

    3. 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…

    4. 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 (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 🙂

    5. 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!)

    2. 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

    3. 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

    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!


    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:

    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. They also have this article which shows you what is NOT mold. You’re also more than welcome to email me a picture and I can let you know what I think! [email protected] 😀

  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!

  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???
    [email protected]

    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.

    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. 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! 😀

  104. Terri says:

    Good morning, I’m making my bucha today! Very excited, have you used palm sugar or cane sugar? Or do you only use white? I used cane for first fermentation now I only have palm, should I hit the store for white?

    1. Sarah says:

      I’ve only ever used white sugar, but I believe you can use other types. 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 palm sugar 😀

  105. yonita Ward says:

    Thanks, it sounds great.
    Well it also sounds like making yogurt from a live white plant that looked a bit like a cawliflower that you had to wash once it had made the yogurt and it grew and became too big and one gave pieces away to friends. I think they make yogurt that way professionally > I did it for a while but gave it up eventually.
    I love the idea of trying to make my own and thank you in advance that I will get the recipe.
    I like the idea of the sweets. Where would I buy them. Do they still have the same effect on the gut as the kombucha drink has?

  106. Jennifer says:

    So I’m new to the Kombucha community. I acquired a beautiful SCOBY and am in the process of growing another. The question is where do I get starter liquid for the first fermentation? Articles I’ve read state the SCOBY liquid is too vinegary. Local stores only have flavored, pasturized teas. Any tips would be appreciated.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jennifer! I haven’t personally tried it, but I’ve heard of many kombucha-ers use vinegar as that starter tea with success. Or if you’re nearby the person who gave you the SCOBY, you could ask them for some of their tea from a recent batch!

  107. Lauren says:

    This was actually one of the more complicated guides to making kombucha that I have read. It’s not inaccurate though! Thanks! lol

  108. Birdie says:

    I’m new to the world of making my own fermented foods so am trying to make kombucha for the first time. Thanks for the great information. I had never tried kombucha before so I went to New Seasons. The guy there did a tasting thing with me and let me try several brands and favors. It was a lot of fun and I found out I love it. Trying to kick a soda habit and think this will help.

    1. Sarah says:

      Kombucha is awesome for kicking the soda habit! Let me know if you run into any questions as you get started! 😀

  109. Jacqueline Bellavance says:

    Thanks for the great info on how tomake kumbucha. I am looking forward to making my first batch. I have made the scoby, so will be doing the 1st fermentation.

    1. Sarah says:

      You’re very welcome and congrats on your SCOBY! Let me know if you run into any questions 😀

  110. Jeff says:

    Thanks so much for your simple recipe! Do I leave the tea steeping in the pot the entire time as the water cools to room temp? When do I remove the tea bags?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jeff! Yep, I just let the bags steep until the water is cooled to room temperature, then I remove them. If you’re very sensitive to bitter, you can remove them after 10 minutes or so 🙂

  111. Kate P says:

    Hi, I’m so excited to try this love Kombucha but not the price.

    I’m a bit confused on the size of the fermentation jars. You indicate to use a 1/2 gallon jar but a 1/2 gallon jar only holds 8 cups and you have that with the 7 cups of water and 1 cup store bought kombucha seems like there wouldn’t be any room for a scoby to grow. ????

    I was going to use my 8 cup glass canning jars to make my Kombucha.

    I also wanted to make two scobys. Do I make one batch and split between 2 half gallon jars or make two batches to put in two half gallon jars??

    Thanks for you help. Kate P

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Kate! I split the 8 cups between 2 1/2 gallon jars. If you want to make 2 SCOBYs, go ahead and do the same. You’ll make 1 batch (7 cups tea + 1 cup starter) and split it between the two jars. Let me know if you run into any more questions along the way or if this didn’t clear things up! 😀

  112. Darlene says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Awesome tutorial! I’m ordering my supplies now. I have seen SCOBYs

    offered for free pickup on craigslist and freecycle. What do I need to

    do to get one home safely? Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Darlene! Ah that’s awesome about the free SCOBYs! Ask whoever gives it to you to if they can put it in a ziploc bag with ~1 cup of the kombucha it’s growing in. This should keep it happy for the ride home (and then you’ll have your starter tea as well!) Really as long as you keep it clean (only touch with very clean hands) it should make it home just fine 🙂

  113. Cheryl says:

    Got a SCOBY from someone who was moving she even gave me the starter tea. I love GTs gingerade so I’m hoping with the candied ginger it’ll be a good likeness

    I’d love a printable recipe please!

    1. Sarah says:

      If you put your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  114. Sarah says:

    I am wondering if you refrigerate your scoby if you are not going to make another batch right away?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Sarah! If you’re not going to use your SCOBY right away, this article has a few ideas on how to keep your “SCOBY Hotel” happy. 🙂

  115. stephanie z says:

    Hi, im confused on the very first part to make the scoby. so does this :
    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 store­bought 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)

    make 1/2 gallon or 2 -1/2 gallson?

    1. Sarah says:

      This makes a half gallon of tea (which I split evenly into two jars). Does that make sense? 🙂

  116. Karter says:

    Hi there. This is such a great and easy explanation on how to make Kombucha. I have done it in the past and found it confusing. So, thank you. I have a question on the first fermentation. Can I use the “tea” that is in the batch that I used to make the scoby? Or should I go buy a store bought kombucha?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Karter! I recommend using new kombucha to start the first fermentation because the liquid from making the SCOBY is quite old at this point. 🙂

  117. Laura says:

    Can you send me your PDF file please. Thank You!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Laura 🙂 If you put your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  118. Vicky says:

    What is the skim on the top of the tea?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Vicky! Do you mean the thing forming on top? That should be the SCOBY! That’s what powers the whole process 🙂

  119. Ann Schlegelmilch says:

    Please send a printable version. Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Ann! If you put your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  120. Angie says:

    I’m making my first batch, it’s been sitting 7 days. My baby scoby that was given to me by a friend is at the bottom. Is this ok? Should the Kombucha be ready to drink or should a wait a few more days. Thanks for this great blog.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Angie! It’s okay if the SCOBY is at the bottom 🙂 You’ll know it’s ready to drink when you taste a spoonful and it’s a bit sweet and a bit acidic (and this can totally be to your taste preference, so let it brew longer if you tend to like it more acidic/sour)

  121. Rachel says:

    This is so much fun! My first batch is delicious. Three berry mint. I love these instructions! What a great project!!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Oh yum!! I’ll have to try a berry mint flavor this summer when we get blueberries!

  122. Angie says:

    Another question since I haven’t made the tea in over 15 years, I have stuff floating on the top, is that ok?

  123. Chloe says:

    Hi Sarah! THANKS for all of your generous info and responses! I’ll be printing the pdf! My husband got me a nice brewing jug and it’s already already My favorite gift.
    Can you tell me anything about continuous brewing? Or do you think setting up for a new fermentation makes the best fizzy buch?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Chloe! Congrats on your new brewing jug, so exciting! 😀 I haven’t tried continuous brewing but I imagine it would work, it just may need some tweaking as far as timings go to ensure it’s not too sour. I would recommend just setting up a new fermentation because with these timings (about 7 days for the first fermentation and a few days to carbonate it), you should find that you almost always have kombucha to drink 🙂

  124. Kate P says:

    During the first fermentation my skoby dropped to bottom of jar and I think I have a baby skoby growing on top is this normal?

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep that sounds normal! 🙂

  125. Jenny J says:

    Oh Wow! great instructions Sarah. I think I’m going to give it a try and start this week. Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Happy they could help, Jenny! Let us know how it goes for you! 🙂

  126. Cheryl Rhodes says:

    I’m so excited to start making Kombucha. Thank you for creating an easy to understand recipe.
    Will you please send me a printable version?

    You’re the best!

    Cheryl Rhodes

    1. Sarah says:

      So excited that you’re giving it a go! If you put your email in the box at the end of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to ya! 🙂

  127. Amy Mitchell says:

    Can I get a printable copy? Not seeing the get printable box.


    1. Sarah says:

      Oh weird, sorry about that! I pasted your email into the box (it’s showing up on my end) so it should be on its way to your inbox 😀

  128. Alexis says:

    Is there a way to make the SCOBY without store bought kombucha or getting it from someone? Like from scratch???

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Alexis! While many website have had success with using vinegar in place of kombucha for that first batch, I am in the process of trying it now without much luck (though it could be due to the cold in my house!) You could give it a go and see if it works for you?

  129. Lyn Berry says:

    I used to make Kombucha over 25 years ago and was SO surprised to see it show up in the stores!!
    So I’m finishing up my 1st fermentation and just remembered that I only added about 1 1/2 cups of starter tea to it! (I was going to go get more at the store and…you know)!
    Do you think this will make a big difference? I really don’t want to start over!
    After 6-7 days looks like there is a baby SCOBY, so I’d think it was healthy and ready for 2nd fermentation.
    Thank you for All the info and wonderful instructions!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Lyn! I guess trends have a way of recycling themselves 😀 I think it’s probably just fine and healthy, especially if it is growing babies! So happy to help you get back on board with brewing!

  130. Lyn Berry says:

    BTW, after 6-7 days it is surprisingly Sweet!

  131. Jocelyne says:

    Hi! I would really like a printable copy of the kombucha recipe! Also, I bought some with hibiscus and rosehip and quite enjoyed it! Are these added during the second fermentation? Also, could I use the small store bought bottles to store my own . Thanks so much!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jocelyne! Yep, you’ll add those flavors during the second fermentation (the very last step!) Are you talking about the bottles that the drinkable kombucha comes in? They would be pretty ok, though twist tops aren’t the best for keeping in the carbonation (flip tops would be optimal!)

  132. Amy says:

    Hi Sara, I am SO excited; came across your info and started a scoby, which is now about 1/8 inch thick. I have all of my equipment and am ready to go (once my scoby is a wee bit bigger). My question is: for the second ferment, can I use just my one scoby, but double the recipe?

  133. aMY says:

    OOPS, my previous message should have said “for the FIRST FERMENT…”

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Amy! I actually haven’t tried this before, so I’m not entirely sure. If I were you I would probably do the first batch as just a single to ensure your SCOBY is hardy and healthy, then once your SCOBY is thicker try doubling the recipe on your second batch. And before long the SCOBY will be thick enough to split into two halves anyways! 😀

  134. Samantha says:

    Hi there! So i followed your recipe here and might quite a successful, large, thick SCOBY, but i have a few questions around the fermentation process, 1st and 2nd.
    My first fermentation seemed to go well, producing another giant scoby, but when i made the seconf fermentation where you add all the goodies to flavor and sweeten it, it got moldy on the top. :/ I had put a bit of honey and squeezed a clementine/tangerine into it also, with the pulp. However i did not have bottle, so i put the mixture to sit in a water jug dispenser with the lid on, closed but certainly not air tight. After just a few days i noticed the top layer of the brew was sligtly moldy from the tangerine bits.. and scrapped it off, but it made the film again the next day. The ‘buch didnt taste bad but to be safe i threw it out. So now we’ve made another 1st fermentation, to try again but im wondering what went wrong there and what i can do to make this last step work. It gained no carbonation really either, so maybe it was an air tight problem. Also, if you leave the 1st fermentation for longer than 10 days, say 18 or so, and its very vinegary now, would you use it to make a 2nd ferment to drink, or just throw it away and start a new batch? Wondering if it can be recovered from the vingary taste if the 2nd ferment is done right and sweetened more.
    And, how can you tell if your SCOBY gets moldy?? Will it be obvious? Is it normal to see some white spots on it and for it to be dark? Also, crater like?
    Thank you for answering these inquiries if you will! I appreciate it! 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Samantha, congrats on your big SCOBY! As much as it hurts, it’s always a good idea to throw out anything that seems moldy. Kombucha Kamp has a good article on what to look for here. They also have this article which shows you what is NOT mold.

      The container that isn’t airtight would definitely be a problem in the 2nd fermentation, where you need a relatively airtight seal to trap in that carbonation to make it bubbly. Also I probably wouldn’t use the extra vinegary kombucha in the 2nd fermentation (though it could be a matter of taste, especially if you can sweeten it a bit more than recommended). But you could use that kombucha as starter tea for your next round 🙂

  135. Chloe says:

    I made my first batch and it came out kick ass! Then my next 3 batches came out flat… I used GTs original for the first, and my own for the next ones. Could that be the problem? Any ideas?

  136. Regina says:

    Hi! Can you please email me a copy of the PDF 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      I just sent it to ya (by adding your name and email to the box in the post). Please check your email 🙂

  137. angela says:

    Hi can I use any other kind of store bought kombucha? The only gts I can find local is flavoured.


    1. Sarah says:

      Hi there! Just responded to your email but will answer here too in case other people have the same question 🙂

      If you can find plain kombucha in the store, any brand will work (I just love gts). If you can only find flavored, you can use it as a last resort (but unflavored is best for growing and maintaining the SCOBY).

  138. John says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Please send a copy to the recipe PDF please!
    Thanks so much!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi John! I just sent it to ya (by adding your name and email to the box in the post). Please check your email 🙂

  139. Nicole says:

    Hi Sarah,

    So I’m a kombucha making first-timer and amidst the 1st fermentation right now. One of my SCOBYs has sunk to the bottom of the jar. Am I just being paranoid or does that mean something’s wrong?


    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Nicole! It’s totally normal for the SCOBY to swim around in the kombucha. It will still do its job from the bottom, and will probably float back up eventually. No worries!

  140. Mary Boyer says:

    hi id like the pdf version if possible, thank you, Mary I’m not seeing anything at the bottom to give-you our email to send the pdf

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Mary! Please check your email, it should have just sent out to ya 😀

  141. Colleen Poole says:

    How long (after the second fermentation is complete) can you keep the tea in the jars before drinking?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Colleen! As long as your store them in the fridge, the kombucha will stay good for quite a while (I haven’t personally tried anything over a few weeks). It will continue to ferment (though slowly), so you may notice it becoming more sour as you store it for longer.

  142. james hebbe says:

    please send instructions
    thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      I entered your email into the box at the top of the post. Please check your email 😀

  143. holly wall says:

    could i get the pdf for brewing sent to me?


    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Holly, you can get the PDF by entering your email where it says “Print the Homemade Kombucha Guide” at the top of the post! 🙂

  144. Becky says:

    I’d love to print this

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Becky, you can get the PDF by entering your email where it says “Print the Homemade Kombucha Guide” at the top of the post! 🙂

  145. Chloe says:

    I just wanted to answer my own question from about a month ago. I used some local Kombucha as a starter and it was just the kick to get mine going again. Ive found that as long as my batch from the first round of fermentation is good, it keeps the next batch going strong!

    I’ve shared a few bottles with friends and they’ve all said it was amazing!

  146. Shannon says:

    I have two SCOBYs nearly ready for their first ferment. However, I do have a question! Can I use 2 cups of the tea they are growing in with my first ferment or should I use store bought Kombucha?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Shannon, congrats on your SCOBYs! I would use storebought kombucha to begin so you have a starter that’s fresh with the good bacteria and yeasts 🙂

  147. Abbie says:

    Hi! I would love a pdf to be able to print off all these instructions, thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Abbie! If you put your email in the box at the top of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to ya! 🙂

  148. Lori says:

    My scobies grew perfectly! I am starting my first fermentation now and I noticed two things — one, my scoby floated to the bottom (which I read was normal) and two, a thin coating has started to grow at the top of my jar – similar to my original scoby in the early days. What do I do with this one?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Lori! It’s totally normal for scobys to swim around and float to the bottom. The thin coating is likely just a baby scoby starting to form. You can just leave it there 🙂 It will probably eventually join forces with your other scoby when it floats back up.

  149. Taylor says:

    Hi! I hope you’re still reading this!
    I’ve followed all your steps, made my scoby (turned out beautifully) and then did the first fermentation. My scoby sank to the bottom when I first put them in my jars. Well today is day 6 and I went to check on them… The scoby are still at the bottom and there is a questionable looking layer on the top of both jars. I followed all the instructions to a tee. Everything was super clean. I don’t know what happened! I’m afraid to try it as I’m worried its mold on top. Could it be a new scoby forming since both of mine in both jars are at the bottom? I really don’t know but I’m extremely heartbroken. Perhaps I could email you a picture.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Taylor! So happy to hear you got beautiful scobys! I think it’s probably just another scoby growing on top, which is totally normal. This article has some photos to help you to determine if it’s mold. They also have this article which shows you what is NOT mold. Feel free to email me a photo if you still aren’t sure and I can try to help 🙂

  150. Nadine says:

    HI, Would you please send me a printable option of your recipe/method please.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Nadine! If you put your email in the box at the top of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  151. Marci S Thorsen says:

    Hi Sarah, how can you calculate how much sugar is in the finished kombucha? I drink it daily, have been brewing for several months. My belly fat is getting worse. Sugar seems to be my kryptonite.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Marci! That’s a really great question and one I’ve never been able to quite figure out. Some googling is telling me that you can expect there to be 2 to 6 grams of sugar (in 1 cup of finished kombucha). The longer you let it ferment, the less sugar there will be in the finished drink. Hope this helps some! 😀

  152. Carol Marini says:

    Looking for the printable PDF version please

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Carol! If you put your email in the box at the top of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to ya!

  153. Kake says:

    I have a question.
    How many scobies do I need to use if I want to use one gal glass jar for First Fermentation? The recipe says one scoby for one jar but I was wondering if I need more than one for a big jar such as 1 gal.

    1. Sarah says:

      1 SCOBY should be enough to brew 1 gallon! 😀

  154. Kake says:

    First, Thank you for great informations.I have two scobies growing nicely:) but I think I am going to use only one of them for first fermentation. How can I keep another scoby? I will use it maybe two or three weeks later..

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi there! If you plan on using it in just a few weeks, I’d recommend making the base tea as described in the post (black tea + sugar + starter tea) and letting the scoby hangout in there. This will keep it healthy and growing! 🙂

  155. Bryan says:

    Thanks for the pdf recipe!

  156. Morgan says:

    Hello! So I didn’t see any anything in the instructions about how long to steep my tea bags in the water and ended up forgetting them for 2.5 hours while the water was cooling. I added the scoby and am letting it ferment, but I am wondering if my batch will be ruined because of this? Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Morgan! They should be fine, I usually leave the tea bags in until the water cools to room temp, so 2.5 hours shouldn’t be a problem at all 😀

  157. Cornelia says:

    Hey, I was so excited to see the scoby develop. However now when I am making the tea, my scoby won’t stay afloat. Is that bad/ will it surface later?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Cornelia, that’s fine! It will float around and probably resurface soon enough 🙂

  158. Audra Prier says:

    PDF Printable Recipe for Kombucha please =)

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Audra! If you put your email in the box at the top of the post (where it says “Get Printable”), a PDF will be emailed right to you!

  159. Carly says:

    I followed the recipe but my scoby isn’t floating and settled on the bottom of the jar. Did I do something wrong? Do I need to start over?

    1. Sarah says:

      It’s fine if your SCOBY doesn’t float to the top right away. It is still fermenting even from the bottom, and will probably float to the top eventually 😀

  160. Kristen says:

    I have made a few batches of Kombucha with pretty good success. My last batch, I forgot to add sugar to and didn’t realize it until about 7 days into the first fermentation process. I will just throw out the tea, but do you think this did anything to harm my scoby?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Kristen, I don’t think this would hurt the SCOBY too much, especially if you put it in some sugar tea now. I would feel confident still using that SCOBY 🙂

  161. Winora Kunselman says:

    Someone gave us some but we don’t know what steps were already done? So please go ahead and send me the pdf!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Winora! If you enter your email address in the box at the top of the post, the PDF will be emailed right to ya.

  162. Jan says:

    Great information! Thank you so much!

    1. Sarah says:

      Happy to hear, Jan! Let me know if you run into any questions

  163. Diane T says:

    After the first fermentation, you say you can use some of the SCOBY for a second fermentation and leave the rest in the tea from the first. How long can it be stored this way? Do I need to feed it?
    Basically, I’m wondering if I can preserve it if I don’t want to constantly have batches going.

    Thank you for the detailed instructions!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Diane! You can keep it for a few weeks like this, but it will stay healthiest if you feed it with fresh sugar tea (in the proportions mentioned in the instructions) every other week or so 🙂

  164. Angela Boudreau says:


    I’d like the printable PDF please.

    Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Angela! If you enter your email in the box at the top of the post the printable PDF will be emailed right to ya 🙂

  165. Mae says:

    I’m so excited, I bought everything last night. My only questions are below:

    Making the SCOBY Phase:
    “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.”

    Just to clarify, it’s okay to keep the SCOBY in the original/starter liquid until I start the first fermentation, correct? Once, starting the first fermentation that’s when I toss the original “bitter/vinegary” liquid.

    Also, how do I store the SCOBY after the second fermentation? Meaning what liquids do I keep it in to make sure it is healthy/thriving? Do I ever need to change the liquid?

    Sorry, I thoroughly read through the printable version and still have these question. Thank you in advance!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Mae! All good questions and I hope I can clarify.

      -Yes, keep the SCOBY in the liquid it grew in until you start the 1st fermentation, then you can throw out that liquid. If you plan to keep it longer (a few weeks after the SCOBY has fully formed), it could be beneficial to “feed” it with a little more sugary tea.

      -If you’re not going to start a new batch immediately after you brew your first, just put the SCOBY in sugary tea (in the same proportions as listed in the instructions: 7 cups water, ½ cup sugar, 4 bags black tea, 1 cup kombucha). This will give the SCOBY enough to stay healthy and thriving for a few weeks if you want to take a break.

      I hope this helps but definitely let me know if you still have questions!

  166. Sarah says:

    Hi there, I am interested in keeping it on tap – I have a kegerator and empty Keg. Do you have any advice or warnings? Can put it straight in the keg before the second fermentation?

    1. Sarah says:

      That sounds so delicious and amazing, Sarah! I’ll admit I haven’t tried keeping it in a keg so I’m not sure what differences there would be, but this article may be able to get you on the right track. Would love to hear how it goes! 😀

  167. Diana Hess-Fisher says:

    thanks so much !

  168. Michelle says:

    About to transfer my new SCOBY to start my first first-fermentation. It’s going great. You made the instructions very easy to follow. Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Michelle (and congrats on the SCOBY!)

  169. Emily says:

    Thanks for this! About to start the process today, so I’m jumping the gun a bit with this question, but when it comes time to bottle it, along with adding a fruit or fruit juice, can I also add a capsule of spirulina powder or blue majik powder?

    1. Sarah says:

      So exciting, have fun brewing! I haven’t actually added powders before, but I would probably treat them similarly to chia seeds and stir them in just before serving (or after the sweetener/fruit carbonation stage, so when you go to put them in the fridge). Let me know if you have any questions along the way!

  170. Gina Stafford says:

    I own a coffee shop and would love to add this to my menu. I have a couple of question: The recipe calls for:

    (2 cups unflavored starter tea (from previous batch or store-bought kombucha) 470 mL)

    Does the starter tea come from making the SCOBY?

    And when I use loose tea do I put the loose tea in a bag or just take a tablespoon of loose tea and add to the jar. Sorry for the questions, but I just want this to come out kick ass:)

    1. Sarah says:

      Such an exciting addition to the menu!! If this is your 1st batch, your starter tea should optimally come from a store bought kombucha (the tea used to make the SCOBY is quite old/acidic). After you get your batches going you can use starter tea from pervious batches 😀

      And I would put the loose tea in a bag so you can strain it out before fermentation.

      Let me know if you run into anymore questions, happy to help! 😀

  171. Kayla Calix-Hestick says:

    How can I get a copy of this in PDF form?

    1. Sarah says:

      Enter your email into the box at the top of the post and a PDF will be emailed to ya 😀

  172. Suzanne Humpleby says:

    What if you can’t find unflavored Kombucha at the store?

    1. Sarah says:

      Great question Suzanne! Unflavored is really best because it is 100% kombucha (opposed to containing juice) and will therefore give you the best shot of success. If you can’t find it anywhere, I would suggest starting with a kombucha that has as minimal flavoring as possible (and be sure you see some “floaties” in the drink, these will help catalyze the process).

  173. Monica Carter says:

    I was given a SCOBY last week. I’d like to start using it. I went and got everything I needed yesterday, except for the starter tea. I struggled to find it anywhere, all the Booch sold where I live is flavoured. What would you suggest, is there a substitute? Not much liquid came with the SCOBY.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Monica! Unflavored kombucha seems to be harder to find these days. I would suggest using all the tea (what little there is) that the SCOBY came in + whatever minimally flavored kombucha you can get your hands on. Just be sure to look for “floaties” in the tea. These are a sign that the tea will stimulate the SCOBY growth. Happy brewing!

  174. Amanda H says:

    Hello! I’m starting to make my first batch of tea with a SCOBY I got from a generous friend who has been brewing for a while. I am going to be brewing in some 1 gallon glass jars, but he was brewing in big, wide mouthed 5-gallon buckets, so as you can imagine, the SCOBY he gave me is huge! I want to cut it down to fit into my jars, do you have any tips on this? I know a lot of places say to avoid using metal when brewing, but would cutting the SCOBY with a steel knife hurt it in any way? Also, should it fit perfectly in the jar or can I cut it a bit smaller and let it grow to the shape it needs? Thanks for all of your help!

    1. Sarah says:

      Great question, Amanda! You can cut the SCOBY in half/squares and add it to your smaller jars. It will grow into the shape of your jars. Metal should be avoided for long term exposure, but for cutting it’s perfectly fine to use a metal knife.

      Happy brewing! 😀

  175. Karen says:

    Hi, can you send me the pdf? I’m excited to try this 🙂


    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Karen! If you enter your email into the box at the top of the post the PDF will be emailed right to ya 🙂

  176. Charlie Pribilski says:

    I can’t wait to try this myself, but I do have one question? When you are making the scoby, do you pour in half of 16 oz store-bought kombucha, or half of 1 cup into the sweetened black tea?

    1. Sarah says:

      You’ll need 1 cup (8 oz) total. If you’re making it all in one jar, it can all go in that. If you’re splitting between two jars then pour 1/2 cup into each 😀

  177. Salim says:

    I just started brewing my kombucha and I am doing fine with my first two batches. I read somewhere if we don’t handle the process correctly it can be dangerous to health, do have any additional info? Also my son is autistic and suffer gut issues. Could Kombucha help him, and it what proportion. Thank for your time and answers.

    1. Sarah says:

      Happy to hear your first batches went well! Indeed, if you don’t ensure things are very clean then it could lead to bacterial growth (which is why we use very clean hands/equipment). But by just keeping things clean, the acidity of the kombucha will also do it’s part to kill off any other bacteria that may slip in. And with that said, you will generally know if your kombucha has gone bad (for example, mold growths on the SCOBY).

      I honestly don’t know much about the autism/gut connection so I don’t want to give you any false information. I searched a bit and I think this could be a good starting point for your with some scientific references. Hope this helps some and enjoy the kombucha! 😀

  178. Charlie says:

    Thank you so much

  179. Charlie says:

    Will 2 “Ball Wide Mouth Half Gallon 64 Oz Jars with Lids and Bands” do for the second fermentation, or what do you recommend?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Charlie! I would recomend something with a flip top lid. The lids on mason jars are decent, but they won’t hold in as much pressure as flip tops (meaning your finished buch might not be as bubbly, or will take longer to get there).

  180. Paula says:

    Hi Sarah, thank you for these great instructions. I purchased a Scoby and have started the process. Today is day 6 and I’ve tasted the tea. It’s still fairly sweet so I think a I should leave it and taste it again tomorrow. The Scoby that I purchased is floating in the middle of the jar but guess what? There is another Scoby that is covering the top of the jar. It is thin but I had to move it aside to get a straw in there to extract some tea. Is that normal?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Paula, you’re right on track! It’s totally fine if it floats around and if a small one forms on top. Soon you’ll have 2 SCOBYs 🙂

  181. Raj says:

    Hi Sarah, I looks like my Scoby is ready (I will know tomorrow) when I start my first fermentation. You said to save two cups with the Scoby. Do I keep it in a dark place like the Scoby at 70 plus degrees and for how long can I keep it before it gets too vinegary? Second if for some reason the Scoby gets mold is there some way to rescue it or is the only option to start over? Third can I add a capsule of probiotics to the first fermentation so I make the bacteria more diverse and add lactobacillus to the culture or will this ruin the scoby?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Raj! Congrats on the nearly finished SCOBY!

      If you’re starting the 1st fermentation tomorrow, just throw away all the liquid the SCOBY is currently in and replace it with fresh tea. Store the same way (70/dark) for about a week until it’s ready. If you let it go past a week it will become vinegary, which isn’t dangerous for the SCOBY, just not nice to drink.

      If you find mold on the SCOBY, it’s always best to cut your losses and throw it away. You don’t want to risk drinking anything contaminated.

      And finally, I’ve honestly never thought to add a capsule and my gut tells me (haha…get it?) that the SCOBY would not appreciate it. It’s quite a balance you have going on in those jars and the SCOBY keeps it all churning and under control. I would probably avoid adding anything to the SCOBY (if anything, add it in the 2nd fermentation when you won’t risk hurting the SCOBY).

  182. Raj says:

    Thanks Sarah, keeping the starter for a week, means the cycle repeats every week? I would prefer to re-start the cycle every two or 3 weeks in which case the starter gets too vinegary? What are my options?. Also, I am mostly organic (including wine) so my tea is organic loose leaf tea from Assam (the lower the elevation the tea is grown the stronger it is and I like strong tea) and my sugar is raw organic florida cane sugar crystals. I will update on the results so others know whether this combination works or not. Tea bags are not a good idea for those who are picky about such things as I am. I grew up in Sri Lanka and when I was growing up they would dump the tea dust as piles of future compost. Then they invented tea bags and guess they no longer dump the dust, it goes in the tea bags. It’s not bad but its not tea leaf.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Raj! Yes the cycle will restart every week. You can put your SCOBY on “pause” a bit by just making the usual tea mixture (black tea + sugar + starter kombucha) and setting your SCOBY in there. It will turn to vinegar but that’s okay, your SCOBY will be happy and when you’re ready to start again 2 or 3 weeks she’ll be ready for ya!

      I would be curious to hear how it goes with your loose leaf tea! 😀

  183. Raj says:

    Thanks for perfect instructions Sarah!! The Scoby was perfect!! Based on your suggestion to throw out any Scoby that goes bad, I hedged my bets, cut it into 3 pieces and made 3 batches. I also tasted the vinegar that was with the Scoby and it tasted fabulous for a vinegar. We consume Apple Cider vinegar with the mother and rice vinegar and unless I hear from you not to consume it, this looks like a 3rd favorite vinegar for us.
    Also, the jar I used was a Bed, Bath and Beyond glass tea kettle for $9.99 (less of course the 20%). It was a fabulous choice as the size is just right for half a batch and it’s so easy to sterilize (just boil some water) and its easy to use as it has a handle and a lip for pouring. I have a total of 3, one for the Scoby and the other two for the 1st fermentation.

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Raj! From what I’ve read, it’s okay to consume the vinegar (I’ve just never tried it!) Also loving the idea of using a kettle. You’ve got a whole operation going it sounds like! Happy brewing 🙂

  184. Elley says:

    Thank you for your post.
    Just put my first batch to grow a scoby on a shelf.
    I used GTS original to get it started. There was already a little scoby in it!
    Hopefully all will go well.

    1. Sarah says:

      Yay, happy kombucha-ing! Let me know if you run into any issues along the way 😀

  185. Charlie Pribilski says:

    Do i leave the two scobys with the 2 reserved cups of starter kombucha, from the 1st “1st fermentation”, and save the scobys to make a whole new batch, for another 1st fermentation?

  186. Terry Demers says:

    please send a printable copy of Kombucha recipe. I have a scoby. Thank you.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Terry! If you enter your email in the box at the top of the post, the PDF will be emailed right to ya 😀 Happy brewing!

  187. cher young says:

    Have made several batches so far. Use less sugar now because it was too sweet but I suspect I should lengthen days in 1st and 2nd fermentation? Also, have you figured out nutritional values? Thanks

    1. Sarah says:

      Indeed, if you let it brew a little longer the sweetness will be reduced. Nutritional values are a bit hard to calculate for this exact reason. Depending on the length of fermentation, there will be different levels of sugar in the brew. You can get a general indication using the info from store bought.

  188. Santini says:

    I love how detailed and informative you wrote the recipe! Definitely going to try this someday! Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much, Santini! 😀

  189. Raj says:

    It’s been a great success Sarah!! Thanks!! I have 8 of previously bought and consumed 16 fl Kombucha bottles going in the second fermentation. I am going to halve the quantities for next time, as 4 bottles at a time will work better for me. I am opening them a fraction of a second to release the pressure every day or so. Waiting for it to get a little bit more sour before I put them in the frige’. Maybe it came easier for me as I have made fermented foods before. The bottles I added the probiotic powder taste the same as the others so I will continue doing this as good quality probiotics are so expensive and once they are in the Kombucha I can keep the capsules for a long time (I used 1 capsule across 3 bottles). The vinegar tastes great and I use it at the same time I use my Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (this has a slightly milder taste and some say it has even more benefits than Apple Cider vinegar). I split the Scobys into 4 batches so if I lose a few I have a back up instead of starting over. One of my scobys had a blue patch (not sure if it was mold). Instead of throwing it away, I washed it in white vinegar, let it soak for a while and put it with another starter. I will throw it away if it turns blue again but it looks great so far.

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear, Raj!! Thanks for the updates, sounds like it’s going beautifully! 😀

  190. David says:

    Great presentation, Sarah! Just started our SCOBY brew last night….

    I’m an avid homebrewer and when bottling newly fermented beer one must be meticulous about not introducing air, otherwise the beer will get an oxidized, “off” flavor shortly after bottling. So very careful siphoning is required, ideally into bottles that have been purged with CO2. Do I need to be concerned about this with kombucha, or just funnel into clean bottles and no worries? Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi David! From my experience (and after Googling around a bit to confirm), oxidation shouldn’t be a problem with kombucha (one of few fermentations where oxygen is ok!) Happy brewing! 😀

  191. Paula says:

    Hi. I am doing my second batch. The first batch came out really good but not much carbonation. I didn’t sweeten it during the second fermentation, could that be why? With this second batch I smashed blueberries and put about a tablespoon in, juice and all and it fizzed up right away so maybe this one will be fizzier. Is it going to be okay to have those blueberries in there sitting at room temperature on the counter for all that time? They won’t go bad?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Paula! Yep, during the 2nd fermentation you need to add a sugar sweetener (i.e. fruit, juice, honey, sugar) in order for the kombucha to carbonate. The bacteria/yeast are basically eating the sugar and producing carbonation from the sugar 🙂 The fresh fruit should be okay, just be sure to use fairly new/fresh fruit (nothing on the brink of molding). With that, the acidic kombucha will help prevent it spoiling as well.

  192. Jules says:

    Hey Sarah,

    thanks for the awesome guide! My friend just gifted me some SCOBY so I’m super keen to embark on this kombucha journey! Just a few questions and im sorry if they’ve already been asked there’s so many comments!

    1) can you alter the quantities? Like 14 cups of water seems like a huge amount, was hoping to start with a smaller amount for my first go since I don’t have jars big enough for all that water!!

    2) how long can you keep your kombucha in or out of the fridge after the second fermentation? You mentioned that the fridge slows the fermentation, how long after it’s “ready” can I keep it before it’s no longer good to drink?

    Again sorry if these questions are repeats 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Jules! So exciting you already have a SCOBY to start with 😀
      1. Yep, you can reduce the amount. Just keep the proportions the same.
      2. Kombucha will last a few months in the fridge after bottling (don’t keep it out of the fridge or it will keep fermenting).

      Let me know if you have any other questions and happy brewing!

  193. Anne says:

    Hi Sarah
    I’ve just did the 2nd step this morning, but in reading all the comments above I realise now I didn’t have any starter tea, there were only a very small amount of tea in with the scoby I was given and it had string like stuff in it, so I tipped it out. Does that mean the kombucha won’t ferment as it’s supposed to?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Anne! You’ll need to get some starter tea in there to keep the acid balance correct. If you can’t find any, you can also use distilled white vinegar for this first batch (until your SCOBY starts producing tea to use as a starter). Let me know if I can answer anymore questions! 😀

  194. Emily says:

    Hi Sarah! So I just made the SCOBY Mama and I’m ready to do the second fermentation. I have two questions! The first fermentation to make the Mama, I know we use store bought kombucha as starter tea and normal sugar to ferment it. But for the second fermentation, instead of using store bought kombucha as starter tea, can I just leave some of the tea from the SCOBY making fermentation ? And my second question is can I use smushed up fruit and or juice in place of sugar? And if I can, will my kombucha taste like strawberry if I use mushed up strawberry? Thank you !!

  195. Paula says:

    Hi Sarah, can’t figure out how to reply to your answer on my prior post but anyway, second batch, still no fizz. I added some crushed blueberries during the second fermentation. Great flavor but no fizz. It initially fizzed when I poured the tea in with the berries. Maybe my jars aren’t sealed? I’m using the glass bottles from The Container Store with the stopper that you clip in place so I thought they were super air tight.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hmm strange! I would try a few things:

      1) add more sugar (maybe even just try adding pure sugar or honey to see if it’s a sugar problem).
      2) try carbonating a bit of it in a plastic bottle (like a disposable water bottle). You’ll be able to feel when the pressure it building up and know if it’s carbonating (So if the bottle becomes rock hard, the kombucha is indeed carbonating but your bottles aren’t airtight. If the bottle doesn’t become hard, there’s no carbonation happening and the kombucha either needs to be warmer or to have more sugar).

      Hope this helps! It’s a bit of trial and error but once you figure it out you’ll be on your way to great, consistent kombucha! 😀

  196. Amanda says:

    Hey Paula, I can relate to your post! Where did you get your scoby from? Did you make it or did a friend give it to you? I personally got my scoby from a friend and theirs was relatively old. I made my first batch and even though it tasted good, I had no fizz at all. I troubleshooted and made my second batch with sweet tea, one cup of my original batch kombucha, and one cup of a plain, raw, store bought kombucha (I used GT’s original). I let that go through its process and I just checked my bottles yesterday and they are super fizzy, just like you get at the store! I DID sweeten by batch with 1 TBS honey and powdered greens (you need that extra sugar to keep feeding the brew). It’s worth a shot for you, I know it worked for me! FYI – I am brewing in gallon sized glass jars.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much for the tips, Amanda! 😀

  197. Karen says:

    I let a first fermentation go 4 weeks. Ph good to proceed. Should I do a 2nd with added sweetener/fruit or just dump it & start over? Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Karen! I would taste it and see. If it tastes good to you (good balance of sweet and vinegary), go ahead with the 2nd fermentation (it may have brewed slower with it being winter, so might not be a loss!)

  198. Mike wilson says:

    Help! I was successful at making 2 scobys, but after the first ferment the Scoby I made with green tea looked clean and “normal”, the one with black tea had a brown stringy slime on the bottom and there were brown particles in the liquid. What I read: this is either normal yeast coloring or toss it out. Advice?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Mike! The brown stringy bits are normal yeast growths, totally fine! You should only be concerned when things start getting fuzzy/blue/green/dry looking. From the sounds of it, your SCOBYs are healthy! 😀

  199. Mike says:

    Sweet! Thank you! This is all so very exciting!

  200. Angela Hennen says:

    I just ordered all the supplies to start making my own Kombucha, but I ordered the loose tea. I’m a bit confused now! I wish I would have ordered it in the bags. Do I just use a strainer to pour it into the gallon containers? And do the same when making my own Scooby?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Angela! It’s not a problem, just strain out the loose tea (or brew it in a tea infuser like this.) Happy brewing! 😀

  201. Debra says:

    this recipe is so easy to do i loved it more than store bought but i have run into a question i dont know how to keep the mother happy and healthy when not making kombucha

    1. Sarah says:

      Great questions, Debra! You can make a SCOBY “hotel” of sorts with the same sweet tea solution from Step 1 (tea + sugar + starter), then just let it sit in there until you’re ready to brew next. This article has some helpful tips.

  202. Barbara Hall says:

    Love your recipes. Just wanted to let you know if you have extra SCOBY the chickens love it and it is good for them too. Unfortunately I don’t know anyone to give extra SCOBY to so my chickens get a treat. Thank you for the easy way to make Kombucha and the how to on making fizzy Kombucha. I always get a little fizz but not much. Now I see what I am doing wrong. Thank you, will use your recipes from now on.

    1. Sarah says:

      Aw, thanks so much Barbara! I’m considering getting chickens, so this is great to know! You can also make a REALLY tasty candy with leftover SCOBYs.

  203. pete says:

    thanks , can you please send me a printable format

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Pete! If you enter your email in the box at the top of the post, a printable PDF will be sent right to ya 😀

  204. Sarahann Pease says:

    I would love to have a printable PDF Thanks so much, I’m excited

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Sarahann! If you enter your email in the box at the top of the post, a printable PDF will be sent right to ya 😀

  205. Hannah says:

    Thank you for this! I have been making my kombucha for about a month but I’m finding that after I bottle it (in glass bottled), baby scobys are forming! Each one has jelly bubbles that are either clear or black. I can’t figure out why! Any suggestions?? Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Hannah! Those baby SCOBYs are totally fine (you even see them in storebought bottles of kombucha). Keep an eye on the black ones to make sure they’re not mold, but if everything has been clean and your SCOBY looks good, it’s very likely just healthy baby SCOBYs.

  206. Robert Hathaway says:

    Sometimes our kombucha isn’t clear and has lots of floating material suspended. A friend says it looks moldy and suggested we throw it out. Is it supposed to be clear? What are your thoughts
    Also, when we add juice to get the fizz, is it best to use juice from concentrate or not from concentrate? Thank you

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Robert! It’s okay for there to be stringy brown floating bits; this is very likely just yeasts and baby SCOBYs (you’ll also see it in store bought bottles of kombucha). Mold will look dry and discolored. As for the juice, you can use either!

  207. Dominic says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge here – Someone asked about continuous batch Kombucha a year ago – I wonder if you’ve had a chance to experiment with it? I’m picturing a wide mouth glass beverage dispenser where you can add some amount of input ingredentes per some regular time interval (i.e. 1/2 tbspn sugar, and 1 cup brewed tea each day). I imagine that the amount of stuff you would need to add would be a function of your scobe (i.e. a larger scobe would consume more raw ingredents in one day than a smaller one)…. Also I wonder if the Kombucha ‘separates’ – sugar water is denser than alcohol, for example, so you could expect that at the BOTTOM of the container you have more fermented product and at the TOP (near the scobe) you have more UNfermented product – knowing things like this might help design a continuous kombucha process. Any Thoughts or experience you can share with us?

    Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Dominic! I haven’t actually tried this but really want to. The only think I’m unsure about is the beverage dispenser nozzle, which is usually plastic and could harbor bacteria. Otherwise it sounds like it could be pretty great!

      I also haven’t experience kombucha separating. The alcohol content is so small that I don’t think this would effect it much (and I would imagine when you add the fresh tea, pouring it in would be enough to mix things up).

      Happy brewing and experimenting!

  208. Kade says:

    Have followed your instructions and they have been awesome!
    I’m currently in the “first fermentation process” and I transferred my SCOBYs to the gallon jars. I checked on them today and saw that there was a brown/black glob at the bottom of one of the SCOBYs. I took a pic, but how do I know if it’s mold or just a weird blob from the starter tea I added?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Kade! It’s pretty normal for there to be dark stringy globs hanging under the SCOBY, mine also has it! I wouldn’t be concerned unless you start noticing blue/green, dry looking spots on the top of the SCOBY.

  209. Aileen Hnidy says:

    I am so excited to try some kick ass kombucha!

    1. Sarah says:

      Yay! Would love to know how it goes! 😀

  210. Lisa says:

    Hi Sarah ,

    Thanks so much for all your information!
    I am hoping to try brewing my first batch of kombucha soon and would love the PDF version of your hints and recipe ….thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Lisa! If you enter your email in the box at the beginning of the post, the PDF will be sent right to ya 😀

  211. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for this! Most kombucha instructions I’ve seen have been a bit complex with all of the jugs and tubes, so it’s great to see one that doesn’t require so many tools (I have a tiny kitchen!). Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Sarah says:

      Aw, so happy to hear Christine! Happy brewing! 😀

  212. Lynne E Gaylor says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      Let me know if you run into any questions 😀

  213. Melia says:

    I’m really excited to do this! Is it ok if I carbonate my kombucha in mason jars?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Melia! Mason jars don’t have a completely airtight seal, so some of the carbonation might slip out (meaning it will either be less carbonated or will take longer to carbonate). Flip top bottles are best, but you can use mason jars if you need to.

  214. Melissa says:

    One of my teabags broke open while brewing, and I didn’t notice until after scoby was in the jar. Now there are tea flecks stuck to scoby. Will this hurt or damage her?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Melissa! While I haven’t had this happen before, I did a little digging and it looks like you can run the SCOBY briefly under tap water to remove the tea leaves (with clean hands of course). If you’re not sure about tap water, you can also boil some water and allow it to come to room temp, then use that. SCOBY should be just fine 😀

  215. Jenn says:

    Thanks for sharing! I plan to go buy a bottle and create a scoby some time this week 🙂 Your instructions are super easy to follow. I’m excited to taste/try this. I’m hoping I like Kambucha. I just recently started making homemade wine, and came across info. about Kombucha, which I didn’t know anything about before. I used to drink a lot of pop, but am trying to lose weight and cut it out, but I like carbonation. The flavoured waters, I am not a fan of, so I am hoping I like this & it would replace my carbonated pop/soda. Plus I have a ton of teas in my cupboard I’d love to experiment with on this! I also like that you can make it sweeter, being homemade. Most people I’ve asked about Kombucha say it’s sour/tart.

    1. Sarah says:

      So exciting that you’re getting started with kombucha! It’s so much fun 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions along the way, happy brewing!

  216. Ruth says:

    Excellent detailed kombucha guide! You rock!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much Ruth! 😀 Have fun!

  217. Diane Baldwin says:

    I made my own scobby and have made two successful batches. But the third I wa