Home Kombucha Brewing

Kombucha is basically a mushroom that grows in caffeinated tea.  Its origin is unclear, but it has been consumed all over the world for hundreds of years at least.  Kombucha has become folk medicine, with claims that it can treat anything from cancer to diabetes.  While its specific benefits are largely unproven, it is known that fermented foods do offer a wide variety of health benefits especially for digestive issues.  What is undisputed about kombucha is that buying it from Whole Foods is not healthy for your budget.  The good news is that you only need to do it once to easily brew your own kombucha at home, again and again.  Here’s how…


You will need:

  • 1 bottle of kombucha from the store
  • 1 quart canning jar
  •  1 gallon glass container with a spigot
  • 8 bags of black tea
  • 2 cups of white sugar

First start by growing your SCOBY.  SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.  To get one simply pour a bottle of kombucha into a quart canning jar (you might want to take a sip first if you haven’t tried kombucha so you know what yours should taste like when it’s finished).   Then cover the jar with a cheese cloth or two, or a paper towel, use a rubber band to make sure it is held tight to the top.  Put it in an area that it will not get direct light and will remain at room temperature.  Let this sit for about a week, you should notice a firm film develop on the surface, this is your SCOBY.

Second, brew your black tea.  Stir in the sugar while it is still hot and then let it sit until it has reached room temperature.

Third, pour your room temperature tea and sugar into your clean gallon container with a spigot.  Then, gently pour your SCOBY into the tea being careful not to tear it.  Pour the whole contents of the SCOBY jar into the gallon container.  The extra liquid will help prevent other bacteria from colonizing and ruining your brew.  Cover with a cheese cloth and put in a dark room temperature area just like your SCOBY.

Finally, let this mixture sit for 1 week.  At this point you should see a new, larger SCOBY growing on the surface.  You can taste test your brew now.  If it tastes like your original kombucha but not quite as strong, you can let it sit another week.  If after 2 weeks it does not taste like kombucha, then something went wrong.  To improve your luck next time, try to ensure that your containers are very clean, make sure that they are covered in a way that prevents contamination, make your tea a little stronger, add a little more sugar, and try adding some apple cider vinegar into the mix with you pour your SCOBY into the tea.

Next time, you can reuse your full-size SCOBY by just adding room temperature tea and sugar to your gallon container, or by carefully transferring it to another container.


Even if you don’t receive all of the disputed health benefits, at least you will be saving tons of money compared to buying your kombucha from the store.


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13 thoughts on “Home Kombucha Brewing

  1. Actually the SCOBY “eats” the sugar, so you are left with a tangy fermented probiotic drink. I use organic sugar from Costco. The longer you leave it, the less sweet it becomes.
    Also, when making your 2nd batch, reserve about 1 cup of the previous batch of kombucha along with the SCOBY as a starter for the next batch.

      1. Found this on another website: YES! You can use honey to brew Kombucha. However, you may want to avoid raw honey as it does contain its own colony of bacteria that could adversely affect the culture. To use honey, substitute 7/8 of a cup of honey for every 1 cup of sugar.
        Maple syrup is the concentrated sap of the maple tree. It is high in trace minerals such as zinc and manganese. These trace minerals will be passed on to you in your KT. It will add depth to your brew. Use 1/2-2/3 cup of maple syrup per 1 cup of sugar. Avoid commercial brands that also contain corn syrup. B Grade Maple syrup is less processed and may be a better choice.
        Molasses is a by-product of sugar cane processing. It contains more iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium than table sugar. It may take the SCOBY a bit longer to break down the components of molasses before it gets to the sucrose. But the resultant brew will also have the extra minerals present. It can be substituted for sugar in a 1:1 ratio. The higher mineral content may also cause the brew to sour more quickly. It may be best used in combination with other sugar sources so the flavor doesn’t dominate – unless, of course, you enjoy that flavor!

        1. In response to the grades of Maple Syrup, all grades are made the same way – by evaporation.
          Maple sap from the trees is boiled down to the correct consistency. This can only be done in the Spring when the weather conditions are right. Darker syrup, such as grade B or C (now called dark amber) has a stronger maple flavor with fancy or A less so. They all contain the same amount of sugar and are made the same way. It is incorrect that B is less “processed” and, in my opinion, “processed” isn’t even relevant to properly made Maple Syrup. My knowledge comes from “sugaring” (making Maple Syrup) in excess of half a century. Also, Pure Vermont Maple is know worldwide as the best made. I wish I could leave my email so I could help you get the best there is!
          Good luck!

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  2. Made and used this back in the 90’s fun to make and a great conversation topic however it wore out its company quickly could not get all to keep drinking it as for myself I didn’t mind the taste but don’t rennet if it helped or not am glad to see it make a come back maybe I will give it another try thanks for listening.

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