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The Simple Guide to Kickass Kombucha

It’s a big day everyone! The day your intestinal microbiota have been begging you for. The day you say goodbye to expensive store bought kombucha. The day you become a brewmaster as I impart on you the secrets of homemade 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. 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 container (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, cheese cloth)
  • 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 kombucha (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 container (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, cheese cloth)
  • 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 unflavored 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 flip top fermentation 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. I’m always adding new kombucha flavors to this list, but here are a few of my favorites:

Mango Kombucha
Blueberry Kombucha

Ginger Pepper Kombucha
Pineapple Basil Kombucha
Strawberry Kombucha (perfect for a Kombucha Ice Cream Float)
Peach Pie Kombucha
Mojito Kombucha
Lemon Ginger Kombucha (great in a Kombucha Radler)
Apple Cinnamon Kombucha
Pumpkin Spice 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
Calories: 50kcal
Author: Sarah Bond
4.88 from 150 votes

INGREDIENTS

Making a SCOBY
First Fermentation
  • 14 cups clean water 3.5 quarts, 3.3 L
  • 1 cup white sugar 200 g
  • 8 bags black or green tea or 2 Tbsp loose leaf
  • 2 cups unflavored kombucha (from previous batch or store-bought kombucha) 470 mL
  • 1 or 2 SCOBYs 1 per container
Second Fermentation
  • Homemade kombucha from the first fermentation
  • Sweetener

INSTRUCTIONS

Making a SCOBY

  • Make Tea: 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!
  • Add Starter: 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).
  • Ferment: 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

  • Make Tea: 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. 
  • Add Starter: 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.
  • Ferment: 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.
  • And Repeat: 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

  • Flavor: 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.
  • Ferment: Let ferment somewhere dark and room temperature for 3 to 10 days.
  • Serve: If desired, strain out fruit before serving. Place in fridge to slow the carbonation process.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1cup (depends on fermentation length) | Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sodium: 13mg | Sugar: 12g
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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.

My SCOBY sank to the bottom! Is it okay? Yes! Your kombucha SCOBY may sink or float around the container. This is totally normal and nothing to worry about. It will likely float back to the top eventually, or a second SCOBY may form on top (which is also okay).

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!

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Recipe Rating




  1. Blanca says:

    I did exactly that, and it made the awesome recipe into an AMAZING recipe. Thanks!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Yay! Happy to hear it, Blanca! 😀

  2. Ravie says:

    Hi, I didn’t see jasmine tea anywhere on the list of best teas for homemade kombucha. What are your thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      I haven’t actually tried jasmine tea before, but have heard that it can work. Just avoid jasmine teas that have any extra flavors or oils added!

  3. Tobi says:

    Thanks for this guide! I’m currently on my first fermentation with the SCOBY in a 3l dispenser which should be ready in a few more days.

    I have some swing top bottles at the ready to start the 2nd fermentation so my question is after filling in the bottles can I just top up the dispenser with new batch of cooled down tea Instead of moving the SCOBY ?5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep you can do that! Just give it a good swirl to combine the starter tea and fresh tea that you add on top 😀

  4. Monique Minnie says:

    Hi Sarah, thanks so much for the recipe 🙂
    I tried to make my first SCOBY. I am about to do the first fermentation today, however I am little worried because my SCOBY is really thin. Will this be okay, and should I hold off on doing the first fermentation or follow the recipe for the first fermentation and leave it to stand a little longer?
    I am using a large cookie jar, so the jar is pretty wide, wonder if that could be reason? Or it may be that it wasn’t quite warm enough in the pantry. I might leave it in the cupboard where the warm water tank is this time around? Thanks so much 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      It should be fine, even with the SCOBY being on the thin side. Just be sure to add enough starter kombucha and keep it somewhere a bit warmer 😀

  5. Beryl says:

    I have a question. If the mother scoby and baby scoby are 2 separate entities, do I just use the baby scoby to resume fermentation? Or do I scoop out both mother and baby for the fresh batch of buch?5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      You can use both the mother and the baby in your next fermentations! Or gift one to a friend 😀

  6. Mary N says:

    Thank you for a thorough and concise recipe!

    Just wondering why only 4 tea bags are used for developing a SCOBY, but six tea bags are used for the first fermentation. I ask because I accidentally used 6 tea bags to make the SCOBY, and I am concerned that this may “ruin“ my Scoby somehow.

    Thank you!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      It’s a half recipe to make the SCOBY, which is why we use 4 there. When it comes to the first fermentation, you’ll need 8. It shouldn’t ruin the SCOBY though, just be sure to use the correct amount next time to make sure it turns out as it should 😀

  7. Deirdre says:

    Hi! Another question – my final product is not sour enough for my taste. I let the first fermentation sit a couple of weeks but it didn’t seem to get more sour. Not sure if I need to let the 2nd fermentation sit longer? I had one 2nd fermentation bottle taste “off” when I left it 9d at room temperature, so I’m nervous to leave the 2nd fermentation too long at room temp.
    Any advice? I like my kombucha pretty fermented (sour) with a little fruity sweetness.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Sarah says:

      You could try adding a bit more starter to your first fermentation to give it the kick that it needs to get more sour. The flavor isn’t going to change all that much in the second fermentation though.

  8. Liz says:

    Sarah, thanks for the great recipe. I am into day3 of my first fermentation. For the second one I have some screw top bottles. Could I tape them around to become air tight so I can ensure it gets bubbly?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Liz! That could work. It probably won’t have quite the same carbonation as with flip top bottles, but you never know!

  9. Aves says:

    Thanks for this, wonderful instruction. I am just wondering, How often do we need to ‘burp’ the bottles in the second fermentation process? Once a day? I just don’t want any mishaps happening, could be dangerous.

    Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      You can burp them once a day, and if you notice that the bottles aren’t that carbonated then just burp them less frequently. Happy brewing!

  10. Debbie says:

    Hi again. My last batch final fermentaion done on sunday. Most seems and looks ok but 1 bottle had some white dots which i thought may be mould, it didnt appear to be start of a scoby. Anyway i have ditched the one bottle. The other bottles look ok? Is itnpossible to just have 1 contaminated bottle? It was an old gin bottle…washed of course. Any thoughts please?

    1. Sarah says:

      It’s definitely possible for only 1 bottle to get mold, but mold in the second fermentation is actually pretty rare. Mold needs oxygen to grow, which we take away in the second ferm. Feel free to drop a photo in our Facebook group to get some brewer opinions on it!

  11. Holly says:

    Hi!
    Thanks for this article, it had some great tips I haven’t thought about. I’ve gotten a jar of kombucha in its first phase of fermentation from a friend and my scoby has grown beautifully in it! It’s a small jar though, just 16oz, with I’d say about 12-13oz of liquid in it. I’d like to transfer it to a larger jar, I recently bought four 32oz jars, but I’m not sure what the correct ratio of new sweet tea would be to add. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Holly! I would make the same ratios as listed in this recipe (first fermentation section), and just combine it all in a big pot or bowl. Then you can portion it individually into your 4 smaller jars (with a piece of SCOBY in each). Happy brewing!

  12. MillyL says:

    Can I use the liquid from when I made the scoby as my starter for the first fermentation or do I need to buy another bottle of raw and unflavored Komucha?

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep, you can use that liquid!

  13. Jessica says:

    I am so excited to be trying my hand at kombucha. Your instructions are reader friendly and very straight forward. However, I am a little confused as to how to properly store my scoby after the second fermentation.

    1. Sarah says:

      Happy to hear it’s all making sense! The SCOBY is reused in your next batch. So after the first fermentation is over, you’ll bottle that kombucha and then start another batch of first fermentation (essentially having two batches going at the same time). For a longer break, follow these instructions.

  14. Amber says:

    I’m working on my second batch of kombucha! I used a store bought scoby. My family and child love the kombucha I have made! Thanks for these instructions! It has been a lot of fun!

    1. Sarah says:

      So happy to hear it! Enjoy! 😀

  15. Jeanne L Miller says:

    So, I have a scoby, but purchased flavored store bought kombucha to start my first batch, not unflavored. Can I still use it?

    1. Sarah says:

      I highly recommend unflavored kombucha. If your SCOBY came in some liquid, you can use that!

  16. Jen says:

    Hi!
    Do you have to pull out the SCOBY after the first fermentation before pouring out the kombucha into jars for the 2nd. Or can you the SCOBY in the jar and pour/ use a measuring cup to scoop out the booch?
    Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      You can do either! I like to just push the SCOBY down then pour the kombucha out to prevent contamination of the SCOBY.

  17. Stacey says:

    Hello. In regards to 1st step process of ‘Making the Scoby’ you instruct to use 1 cup/8oz of store bought plain kombucha but clearly in the video it shows you pouring the bottle into the tea and most store bottles are appx 16oz. Sorry, but please advise on exact amount? Thank you.

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Stacey! Use 1 cup (8 oz). 😀

  18. Adelina says:

    Hi! I’ve just prepared my kombucha for the first fermentation and I realised, too late, that I had just 250ml of kombucha starter for 3.3L of water. Everything is mixed so there is anything I can do?5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      If you can get your hands on another bottle of unflavored kombucha, pour it in there. It’s important for kickstarting the reaction and preventing mold.

  19. Milan Hayes says:

    Great recipe! Found that the second stage takes a little longer in order to get the fizz that I like.5 stars

  20. Petya says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for the great article!
    I did the first fermentation and then I put my kombucha for second fermentation right away. I didn’t have bottles and I used jars with lids as I left 2 inches space and I added mashed Strawberries. I opened the jars 4 days later and scobi is forming in them 🙁 I noticed a white warm also. Do you know why this happened?

    Thanks,
    Petya

    1. Sarah says:

      This is totally normal! SCOBYs will form at all stages of kombucha fermentation because it’s a natural biproduct. You can just throw them away (or into smoothies!)

  21. Elsa says:

    I have tried fermentation many times before but not as I expected. Your guide was helpful. Now I can do it easily. I wonder how to preserve it well? Do you have any advice for me?5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Kombucha will last for a very long time (months or even years in the fridge). More on that here!

  22. Rebecca says:

    Hello,

    When making my “first fermentation”, can I use some of the juice from my “making scoby” instead of store bought kombucha? I haven’t made kombucha at all, just the scoby…

    Thanks you

    1. Sarah says:

      Yes you can! 😀

  23. Jen says:

    I was given a scoby by a friend! Just wondering how do you recommend we clean our 1 gallon vessel before use?

    1. Sarah says:

      I do boiling water then distilled white vinegar. My whole cleaning process here!

  24. Allison says:

    My kombucha has gone too acidic for several batches. Do I need to start completely over? Can I keep my Scoby? Should I keep any of the acidic kombucha to use as ‘starter tea’ for the new batch?
    Thanks!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Definitely keep the SCOBY, and the liquid can be used as starter tea! Sounds like you just need to run the first fermentation for less time 😀

  25. David says:

    Hi Sara!
    I’m a great fan of your site.
    Can I use filtered tap water, or should I buy spring water.

    Thank you

  26. Nathalie says:

    Hello Sarah, thank you for an amazing and easy to follow recipe! Quick question, could I make a second SCOBY with the 2 cups of starter tea I kept aside? Or could I simply use that leftover starter tea, black tea, and sugar to start brewing another batch of Kombucha? Please let me know ways to use the leftover start tea because I am not sure what’s the best way to utilize it. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep you can use that starter tea to make a new SCOBY or start a new batch. Keep in mind that your SCOBY will grow as you brew, so I would just start brewing kombucha with that starter tea 😀 I like to bottle extra starter tea and put it in the fridge just to have on hand in case I ever need it!

  27. Jimmy E says:

    I have used roibos tea –it doesn’t have caffeine–for the entire process and it seems to have worked well.
    any thoughts? Why is the caffeine important. Maybe I should add it on the next brew?!?

    1. Sarah says:

      Rooibos works well, but it’s best to use it in combination with black tea (more on best tea combos for kombucha here).

  28. Kimberly says:

    Your swing top bottle link is no longer working fyi.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much for letting me know! 😀

  29. Anne says:

    HI, i followed all the steps but my scoby is very thin and breakable. I made the first batch and it was fine after the second fermentation. The second batch i tried did not get very carbonated at all. Maybe the scoby is too thin and therefore not strong enough? Is it still safe to drink if there is not much carbonation after the second fermentation? Thank you

    1. Sarah says:

      It’s still safe to drink without carbonation 😀 Sounds like your SCOBY just needs to grow a little more. You can always add a little extra starter kombucha to get the fermentation moving faster. And here are some tips to help your carbonation issues!

  30. Don't buy those bottles says:

    Hey I realize this is all for affiliation money, but the glass fliptop bottles linked on this page DO NOT keep ANY carbonation in. I’ve got the rubber pieces and everything on. Was wondering was was going on then I reused an old kombucha bottle with a screw top and the thing almost blew up with the ones linked here had zero carbonation. Figured I would comment incase anyone is wondering what is going wrong.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much for letting us know! We’ll look into changing that recommendation.

  31. Jen says:

    Can I grow a SCOBYs using flavored kombucha from the store? I have not been able to find original raw kombucha anywhere.

    1. Sarah says:

      You’ll need unflavored kombucha to get the most reliable results. Here are some places you can find it!

  32. Coco Boretto says:

    Sarah Great information. I wish there was an easy guide on PH for Scoby Hotel and then one for Brewing Kombucha.

  33. Kristy D'Angelo says:

    Easy to follow recipe and tastes amazing!!
    I didnt have any flip top bottles so I used canning jars but my final fermentation is still flat after 4 days. Do I just keep waiting or should bubbles already be there?5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Kristy! It’s probably not carbonated because you’re using canning jars. The carbonation is all leaking out due to the poor seal. Here are some tips for getting more bubbles!
      Here are some tips to help your carbonation issues
      !

  34. Priscila says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Once we’ve bottled our booch from the second fermentation do we make more of the sweet tea/unflavored and unpasteurized kombucha mixture in order to feed the SCOBY? And if so how often do we feed it?

    (Thank you for this detailed recipe!)

    1. Sarah says:

      Yep exactly! I just feed/start a new batch it every time I bottle. For longer breaks, follow these instructions 😀

  35. ~Kim says:

    Excellent article! I’m picky about the F1 jar selection and am dying to find out what is the product pictured in your post? The large jar with a leaf motif?5 stars

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Kim! I bought the jar at a little shop when I lived in the Netherlands. Did some researching and I think it’s only available over there. Sorry! There are quite similar ones on Amazon though! 😀

  36. Christy says:

    So my question is, is there a way to make a homemade Scobys without using store bought kombucha? Cause I’m sure the first batch ever brewed started from nothing more than water, tea, sugar and yeast but I never see any recipes that don’t call for adding someone else’s kombucha…..I want to make my own not add more of someone else’s. Id there a recipe for this?

    1. Sarah says:

      You really do need starter kombucha to get it going. In theory you could make it totally from scratch with wild yeast, but it’s going to be very hit or miss. The good news is that after your first batch, you’ll be making your own starter each time, so you’ll only ever have to buy 1 bottles to start the whole thing off.

  37. Filippa says:

    Hi! My question concerns the fact that the kombucha baby grows a lot. Do I have to separate the growths in order for there to be enough “food” in the recipe for the next batch? Is there a risk that I starve and slowly kill it by keeping it together as it grows?

    1. Sarah says:

      They won’t starve unless you neglect them for many months, so don’t worry about that. Just remove a few layers when it becomes to thick (over 1 inch) so that there’s room in your jar for the kombucha!

  38. Jodie Zahner says:

    Hi Sarah. Why is a plastic spigot a problem?

    Thanks, Jodie

    1. Sarah says:

      Most plastic is porous and can house bacteria and mold. The one exception would be food grade, fermentation safe plastic spigots.

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