How to Make Kombucha Tea: Recipe and Tutorial

How to make Kombucha recipe and tutorialKombucha is a fermented sweetened tea that has been around for centuries. It has a tangy and sweet flavor and can be double fermented with fruit or juice to make a fizzy drink similar to soft drinks.

This ancient beverage has surged in popularity in recent years and is now available in many grocery stores and health food stores. Store-bought kombucha often costs $3-5 a bottle, so making it at home is a great way to save a lot of money.

If you’re a fan of this probiotic and enzyme rich drink, try brewing it at home for just pennies a cup!

Benefits of Kombucha

how to make kombucha easy recipe 300x163Kombucha fans attribute a wide variety of benefits to kombucha and claim that it helps with everything from joint pain to cancer. These claims are largely unproven, as there are very few studies about kombucha, but we do know that it contains a variety of vitamins and beneficial acids.

In fact, it is considered a good source of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid.

Kombucha Nutrition Facts

Downsides of Kombucha

Kombucha is brewed from sweetened tea, and the recipe contains a cup of sugar per gallon of tea. Understandably, some people worry about the sugar content.

Too Much Sugar?

During the fermentation process, the beneficial colony of bacteria consumes most of the sugar, so it has minimal effect on blood sugar. The sugar is simply the food for these beneficial bacteria and the beneficial acids, enzymes and probiotics are a result of the fermentation.

Caffeine and Alcohol?

If caffeine is a concern, kombucha can be made with caffeinated or decaf tea, and even with green tea or herbal teas. To protect the culture, it is good to use at least 20% regular black tea though.

Note: Kombucha can contain very small amounts of alcohol, typically around 0.5% or less, which is similar to an over-ripe banana. Some store bought brands contain more alcohol and are typically sold in a different section of the store and require ID for purchase. The longer kombucha ferments, the more alcohol it has, so strong home brews may contain more than 0.5% alcohol. These small amounts are generally considered safe, but if alcohol is a concern, it may be better to stick to drinks like water kefir or foods like sauerkraut for the probiotic benefits instead of this tasty beverage.

Why Make Raw Kombucha at Home?

As I mentioned, it is significantly less expensive to make Kombucha at home. Some store brands are also pasteurized, killing many of the probiotics and enzymes present in raw kombucha. Here are some of the reason’s you may considering making kombucha at home:

Great Soda Alternative

While the health claims about Kombucha aren’t backed by research, there is no denying that it is a healthier and lower sugar drink than soda. It has natural carbonation and provides some B-vitamins and beneficial enzymes that aren’t present in soda as well.

Easy to Customize

My favorite part about making kombucha at home is how easy it is to customize and make different flavors. Add grape juice or apple juice for a slightly flavored version. Add some fresh or frozen strawberries for a super carbonated tangy taste. Or even add some raisins and a vanilla bean for a taste similar to a leading soda that starts with Dr. and ends with Pepper.

Save Money

Store bought kombucha is expensive. Homemade is not. You can make an entire gallon at home for less than the cost of a single bottle in stores. Since you control the brew time and flavors, you’ll probably also get a more flavorful and more nutrient dense brew at home too!

Important Caution

The one potential problem with making kombucha at home is the possibility of a harmful bacteria or mold growing in the fermentation vessel. To avoid these problems, it is important to follow the correct procedures for brewing and to carefully sanitize all equipment before use. That said, I’ve personally made kombucha for over five years and have never had any problems with it!

How to Get a SCOBY

What is a SCOBY- symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeastThe Kombucha is brewed with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Yeast and Bacteria) that “eats” the sugars in the sweetened tea and creates an acidic, vitamin and probiotic rich beverage.

SCOBYs are living and thriving colonies of bacteria and unfortunately, you can’t just pick one up at your grocery store. There are several ways to acquire a SCOBY.

  • If you know anyone who already brews Kombucha, ask them for an extra SCOBY and they will probably be glad to pass one on. the SCOBY has a “baby” every batch or two and this baby can then be used to brew more Kombucha.
  • You can order a SCOBY from an online source. Just make sure the source is reputable. I’ve seen SCOBYs on sites like ebay or amazon, but prefer a trusted site like my friends and affiliate partners Hanna and Alex from Kombucha Kamp.
  • Grow your own. This can be done using a pre-made bottle of Kombucha that you can get from a health food store. Food Renegade has a good tutorial, and see my instructions below.

How to Grow a SCOBY at Home

You can easily grow a SCOBY at home with a little time and a little patience. To do this, you will need 1 quart of brewed black tea sweetened with 1/4 cup of sugar and cooled. You will also need 1 bottle of raw and unflavored pre-made kombucha. You can get this from a friend who makes kombucha or from a store bought bottle (it needs to be raw and unpasteurized though).

For a few years, this method didn’t work with store bought kombucha because much of it was pasteurized. It is now possible to buy raw and unfiltered again so this method will work.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Make sure all work surfaces are clean and sanitized. Thoroughly clean a gallon size glass jar. I rinse it with white vinegar to make sure all soap residue is removed.
  2. Make the tea and add the sugar. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Pour into the gallon size glass jar.
  4. Add the kombucha.
  5. Cover with a cheesecloth or coffee filter and rubber band and leave on the counter for 2-4 weeks out of direct sunlight. Around 70 degrees is best.

During that time, this is what you should see:

Nothing for the first couple of days. First, tiny bubbles will appear.

After that, a thin film will appear. Many people mistake this for mold or mildew. It shouldn’t be, but you’ll know for sure in a few more days.

The film will get thicker and thicker and eventually become an opaque layer that completely covers the surface of the brewing kombucha. When it gets to about 1/4 -1/2 inch thick, it is ready to go.

Use this new SCOBY and 1 cup of the liquid to start a batch of kombucha with the instructions below. Note that the first few batches may take a little longer to brew.

How to Make Raw Kombucha: Batch Method

Once you have a SCOBY, the actual process of making Kombucha is very easy!

Notes: Make sure all ingredients, materials and your hands are clean. If you already ferment other things (kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, beer, etc.) in your kitchen, make sure all the jars are at least a few feet apart to prevent cross-contamination of the cultures.

Equipment & Ingredients Needed

  • a gallon size glass jar- make sure its really clean! I like to rinse with white vinegar to make sure.
  • 1 gallon of brewed sweetened tea (ratio: 1 cup of sugar per gallon of tea) – I use regular black tea, though you can use up to 80% green tea or even certain herbal teas
  • a SCOBY and 1/2 cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha
  • coffee filter or thin cloth and a rubber band

Kombucha Instructions

4.6 from 28 reviews
Kombucha Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A naturally carbonated fermented tea drink packed with enzymes, probiotics and beneficial acids. Make it at home for less than half the price of store bought.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 16+
Ingredients
  • gallon size glass jar (make sure its really clean!!)
  • 1 gallon of brewed sweetened tea (ratio: 1 cup of sugar per gallon of tea) I use regular black tea, though I've heard of others using green or herbal teas
  • a SCOBY and ½ cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha (I bought my SCOBY here)
  • coffee filter or thin cloth and a rubber band
Instructions
  1. Prepare the sweet tea. I use 1 family size tea bag or 8-10 small bags per gallon of water. Add 1 cup of regular sugar (organic preferably). Do not use honey!
  2. Let tea cool to room temperature and make sure it is really cool! This step is very important as too hot of tea can kill your SCOBY.
  3. Once tea is completely cool, pour into glass jar, leaving just over an inch of room at the top. Pour in ½ cup liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha or if starting from a dehydrated SCOBY, pour in ½ cup from a store-bought bottle of Kombucha.
  4. With very clean hands, gently place the SCOBY at the top of the jar of tea. It should float, though if it doesn't just let it fall and don't stick your hands in the tea!
  5. Cover the jar with the coffee filter or cloth and rubber band tightly (flies love this stuff!)
  6. Put the jar in a warm (around 70-75 degrees is best) corner of the kitchen where it is at least a few feet away from any other fermenting products.
  7. Let sit to ferment for around 7 days, though the length of time may vary depending on your temperature. You can test the Kombucha by placing a straw in the jar carefully (slide under the SCOBY) and sipping. It should taste tart but still very slightly sweet also.
  8. At this point, Kombucha is ready for a second ferment. If you aren't doing the second ferment, just pour the kombucha into another jar or jars with airtight lids and seal until ready to drink.
Notes
If making into soda, you'll also need:

-another gallon size jar or 5 quart sized jars
-about 1 quart of fruit juice- (we prefer grape or apple for this) or ½ cup frozen berries

If you’ve mastered the regular batch method, you may also consider the continuous brew method, which can brew larger amounts much more quickly.

How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha

For years I had been brewing with the batch system for making kombucha at home, and while I still really like that method, I’ve found that the continuous brew method is an easier alternative that removes a step. As the names suggest, the batch method is where kombucha is brewed in batches and re-started with each batch by using the SCOBY “baby” and some of the liquid from the previous batch.

The continuous brew kombucha method involves removing only some of the liquid each time and replacing with the same amount of fresh brewed sweetened tea. This yields a fresher brew (in my opinion), helps it brew faster (good when there are 6 people consuming it each day) and takes up less room on the counter. This article from the Weston A. Price foundation talks about the benefits of continuous brew:

Continuous Brew Benefits include:

  • There is less risk of mold and other contamination since once it is established, the liquid maintains a far more acidic environment. This means it is more hostile to outside invaders because of smaller amounts of free sugar and a greater population of good bacteria and yeast.
  • Less overall work to produce more overall volume as some can be removed and more tea added without reducing the pH as much. It can also brew much more quickly depending on the kombucha/new tea ratio.
  • More consistent supply of kombucha (a few bottles every day or every few days rather than having a large batch all at once).
  • A broader array of bacteria and other beneficial compounds in the final product.

How to Setup a Continuous Brew System

The main difference in the methods is that continuous brew uses a container with a spigot so some of the brewed kombucha can be removed without disturbing the rest of the brew. The most important thing you will need for this method is a continuous brew vessel.

Look for a vessel that can hold 1-5 gallons. It should be made of a safe material like glass, stoneware, porcelain, or wood.

It will also need to have a spigot near the bottom so that kombucha can be removed without disturbing the SCOBY or the rest of the brew. Make sure to test the spigot for leaks before using.

A continuous brew vessel should also have a breathable cover so air can escape. It should cover the entire top of the vessel and be sealed tightly so that insects can’t get in. Some vessels come with a cover, but a cheesecloth, clean towel or coffee filter and a rubber band work well too.

There are a variety of high quality continuous brew vessels available here.

Continuous Brew Kombucha Instructions

Follow these easy printable instructions for continuous brew:

4.6 from 28 reviews
Continuous Brew Kombucha
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A great way to brew Kombucha so you have a continuous supply without the need to constantly re-make and clean containers.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: varies
Ingredients
  • One kombucha SCOBY (rehydrate first if you order a dehydrated one online)
  • Tea (I order in bulk here)
  • Sugar
  • Starter tea from a previous batch of Kombucha or vinegar (distilled white vinegar or pasteurized apple cider vinegar)
  • Filtered water (preferably free of chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride- we use a Berkey Filter to filter the contaminants but keep the minerals)
Instructions
  1. Prepare the sweet tea. I use 2 tablespoons of loose tea, 2 family size tea bags or 8-10 small bags per gallon of water. Add 1 cup of regular sugar per gallon (organic preferably) Do not use honey!
  2. Let tea cool to room temperature and make sure it is really cool! This step is very important as too hot of tea can kill your SCOBY.
  3. Once tea is completely cool, pour into glass jar, leaving about 20% of the room at the top. Pour in the correct amount of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha or if starting from a dehydrated SCOBY, pour in ½ cup from a store-bought bottle of Kombucha. If you don't have starter liquid, vinegar can be used instead.
  4. With very clean hands, gently place the SCOBY at the top of the jar of tea. It should float, though if it doesn’t just let it fall and don’t stick your hands in the tea!
  5. Cover the jar with the coffee filter or cloth and rubber band tightly (flies love this stuff!)
  6. Put the jar in a warm (around 70-75 degrees is best) corner of the kitchen where it is at least a few feet away from any other fermenting products.
  7. Let sit to ferment for around 7 days, though the length of time may vary depending on your temperature. You can taste test the Kombucha to see if it is done. It should taste tart but still very slightly sweet also.
  8. At this point, Kombucha is ready for a second ferment. If you aren’t doing the second ferment, just pour the kombucha into another jar or jars with airtight lids and seal until ready to drink.
  9. For continuous brew, we dispense in to several quart size mason jars with plastic storage caps (don't use metal!), leaving about 20% of the room on top.

If you want a fizzy and flavored final product like the kind in stores, you’ll also want to do a second ferment:

How to Do a Second Ferment (How to Make Soda!)

Just as with water kefir, using fruit juice can make Kombucha carbonated and slightly sweeter, which is often more appealing to kids. It is an easy second step too!

  1. kombucha soda drink recipeGet another very clean gallon sized jar or 5 quart sized glass jars (I prefer this).
  2. Pour 1 quart of juice of your choice into the big jar or divide between smaller jars, filling each jar about 1/5 full.
  3. Pour the finished Kombucha into the smaller jars until about 1 inch from the top. Make sure to leave about 1/2 cup brewed Kombucha in the jar with the SCOBY.
  4. Once the Kombucha is poured off, pour the SCOBY and remaining juice into a clean bowl.
  5. Repeat the steps above for the first fermentation to start another batch.
  6. Tightly cap the smaller jars with the fruit juice added and leave at room temperature for another 2-7 days until carbonated to your taste.
  7. Refrigerate before drinking or pour over ice.
  8. Enjoy!

My Favorite Flavor Add-ins:

  • Minced ginger root and blueberries
  • 1/2 organic lemon (quartered) and 1/2 tsp grated ginger (tastes like Sprite)
  • Minced ginger root and citrus
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen berries
  • Mango
  • prunes and vanilla (Dr. Pepper/cream soda type taste)

How to Make Kombucha - Picture TutorialEver brewed Kombucha or other fermented drink? What’s your favorite? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Timely post! I have been buying kombucha from Harvest Health and wow! It’s expensive! When you figure the cost by 100 calories it is the most expensive smoothie ingredient in any of my smoothies!

    I am working with someone else who is going to do a how to video/post on my blog so I will have to compare her methods with yours 🙂

      • Hi, I’ve successfully grown my own scoby from some kombucha I bought at the store. It’s delicious!! We now have a continuous brew container all up and running. My question is how to pour the cooled tea in to the continuous brew container without “upsetting” the scoby? It’s pretty tricky because I don’t want to remove the scoby, and I don’t want to sink it.
        Thank you

        • Eventually you may need to remove it… they just keep growing, and you might have to take it out and cut it up and share with friends 😉

          • When you add the store bought Kombucha does it have to be at room temperature or can it be cold?

          • I inadvertently added pasturized cranberry juice to my new batch of homemade kombucha; I also added about a tsp of lemon juice…..then I read where I was supposed to add this when I bottled it, did I just royally screw up a whole batch ( 1 gal.) of kombucha?!

          • I recently started brewing at home, and I used a SCOBY and starter tea that I purchased from a local shop that makes Kombucha. I’ve seen on some other sites that you should use filtered water, since tap water might have enough chlorine to upset/kill the SCOBY. Do you know if that’s totally true or not?

            Also, I’m three days into brewing and my SCOBY has sank to the bottom, and I believe a new one is growing on top, but it is brownish/black and quite loose, as compared to the original SCOBY which is yellowy and thick. Is that bad?

            Thanks!!

        • I never worry about sinking or upsetting my scoby, I just pour the cooled to room temp tea over it and it rights itself after a day or so.

          • If it has no mold on it.. don’t worry about anything else 🙂 Sometimes they sink and come back up, sometimes they are vertical for a while but as long as the new scoby forming is healthy with no mold. It’s all good 🙂

      • When adding fresh tea to your CB do you just pour tea over the scoby ?

        • I take the scoby out, add fresh tea then re float the scoby on top.

          • by any chance are you the amanda who bathes in kombucha ?

      • I have a question, the recipe says you can use frozen berries, Do I pour the berries frozen into the brew? (This is to make the fizzy soda) or do I let them getto room temperature.

      • Here (under continuous brew system) you say ceramic is NOT good to use, “Material. Kombucha should be brewed in glass or porcelain. Ceramic, plastic, crystal, and metal are problematic and generally should not be used.” Then in the last paragraph of that same heading you say, “Really any glass or ceramic jar with a spigot works as long as the spigot isn’t metal though you can also replace the spigot with a plastic version to make any jar work.” Is ceramic good or bad?

        Also, can sun-tea be used instead of regular brewing/steeping methods?

        • Did anyone ever answer this posted question?

        • You have to be very careful with what ceramic you use because lead can leach into your kombucha. This is because of the acidity of kombucha if I understand correctly.

    • I look forward to seeing a video on how to make Kombucha

      • Don’t think you need one…
        The instructions are very clear.

        • Geez Fiona. Chill

  2. Is it okay to drink kombucha while nursing?

    • I’ve read some sources that say no, but most agree that as long as
      you start with small amounts like 4-6 ounces when you are first
      drinking it and work up slowly, it will not cause you to detox too
      fast and won’t be harmful to the baby at all. I am currently nursing
      and drink it now and did while I was pregnant also.

      • Hi! Just say the post and was wondering how could kombucha be harmful for the baby or even cause a ‘too rapid detox’?

        By the way, very nice explanations about the how-to-brew, I’ve been looking for nice and neat step-by-step! Thanks!

      • This is exactly what I was looking for in the thread. Did you drink kombucha all throughout your pregnancy? Also would it be better to not ferment it for 30 days so there is less alcohol or is the alcohol content the same regardless of (say 15 days vs 30 days). Help…freaking out!

        • I would not drink too much Kombucha tea while nursing, or give it to babies, because, after all, it is black tea, full of lots of caffeine! I get shaky when I drink coffee, so I am pretty sensitive to caffeine, but Kombucha tea does not affect me that way. I hadn’t made Kombucha tea for years, but I started buying it at Health food stores for the past two years. I really liked the carbonated type taste with the fruit flavors, but didn’t know how very simple it was to make! wow, thank you so much for this recipe. I stopped making Kombucha when we moved, and missed having it. It really works wonders settling my stomach after a spicy or very filling meal, and helps my digestion. I drink some first thing in the morning with a probiotic, and it gets my day started with a great pick me up. It is wonderful.

          • I was concerned about the caffeine as well but after some research I have discovered that during the fermenting process the sugar AND caffeine are “eaten”. I have also read that you cannot use decaf tea to make kombucha because it will not ferment properly. I am very sensitive to caffeine and have not noticed a jolt from the kombucha. Happy brewing! Good luck!

          • I make it with decaffeinated green tea and it works just fine.

  3. I already make water kefir every 3 days (I have to keep my son constantly supplied – he’s hooked.)  Is there any reason to do BOTH?  Do they provide different benefits?  I might try it just because I’m adventurous, but I wonder if I really need to if the water kefir is going over well.

    • Kombucha also has probiotics but is also very supportive to the liver and has a lot of enzymes

  4. Do you use fruit juice from the store- organic, 100% juice, etc. or do you juice a bunch of grapes or apples yourself and use homemade juice?

    • You can use either one, but I usually just use store bough juice

      • I am thinking to make fresh juice, can you use any kind? I noticed you mentioned no citrus or pineapple? I recently bought a kombucha at the store that said it used lemon juice for the flavoring.

        • If its a pasteurized and strained juice, it won’t cause a problem, but most citrus and pineapple juice still has the pulp, and that creates a nasty stringy slime in the kombucha.

          • The first time I did a second fermentation I just added fresh pineapple and frozen blueberries and it was delicious! Fizzy and yummy after 3-4 days, I just strained it before drinking. 🙂

          • I just started the second ferment using juice from fresh fruit that I processed in my Breville juicer. It doesn’t get all the pulp out, but when I tried to strain out the pulp with a fine-meshed sieve, the juice wouldn’t flow. So I added it just the way it was. The pulp is so microscopic though and evenly distributed throughout the juice, I’m crossing my fingers that it turns out drinkable! The internet doesn’t really define the type of juice that should be used for kombucha, and that clear fruit juice is preferred. Next time, I’ll more seriously consider using whole pieces of fruit. Wish me luck 🙂

          • The fresh juice I made with my Breville juicer worked really nicely, no mold and all my kombucha had a great flavor.

            But I now mostly use slices and wedges of fresh fruit because it is much easier to prepare.

          • I have use organic volcanic blood orange unpasteurized juice in my water kefir and the result was amazing, really really tasty. Why not in the Kombucha ?

          • You can try it, some people don’t like the texture with citrus juice though…

      • Can a ginger bug be used for the second ferment?

        • you can just add some cut up ginger slices to the jar and add the finished Kombucha…let it sit out for a couple days to do the second ferment, and it will be a nice ginger flavor. You don’t really need the “bug” part, because the kombucha is already live, so you can just use fresh ginger.

          • I love ginger ale but haven’t been able to get a ginger bug going so I’ll have try adding ginger slices to my kombucha brew. I didn’t realize it but I think I’ve already been doing a second ferment. I ordered the grains from Kombucha Kamp. They arrived in great condition. Anyway after a few days I pour the liquid off into a glass jar. I add some frozen mixed berries and put it in the fridge. This second ferment is much tangier and tasty then the first batch.

        • I cut pieces of ginger and put them through the garlic press and I love it… It does put a small amount of pulp in it but not enough to notice.

      • They were great instructions. at which stage wld you add ginger to the recipe please!

  5. Thank you for your wonderful post. I’ve been making kombucha for a few years now, and sometimes the mother doesn’t produce any babies. Can you tell me why this happens? I wonder if I am doing something wrong. I’ve been doing it the same way…

    • Is it getting a cloudy, white layer on top? If so, and the kombucha
      is still fermenting well and tasting less sweet, it is likely that
      the baby just hasn’t detached yet. Leaving it a little longer can sometimes help, or you may actually have to pull them apart.

    • I had the same problem then one time, I didn’t have the foresight to make/cool my tea in time to start my next ferment after bottling. I left my SCOBY (who never made a baby) to sit in my fermenting container with some leftover booch and VOILA a few days later I had a MASSIVE baby. I use it as my mother now since it’s the same shape as the jar, unlike the cut up piece I was using from a friend before. Hope it works for you too!

  6. I brew my tea along with slices of fresh Ginger (always keep ginger root in a zip-locked bag in your freezer, as it grates beautifully for recipes and will not rot).

    Once brewed (or double brewed) the ginger flavor greatly enhances the pure deliciousness of the Kombucha!

    • I keep ginger root, sliced into 1/4 pieces, in a ziplock in the freezer to add to smoothies also. It keeps beautifully that way!

      • Is there any need to peel ginger root before using in Kombucha or smoothies?

          • I put ginger in a bottle with a coffee filter on top and now I notice a mucous you film on top that looks almost like the start of a scoby. Is it possible to develop a scoby with ginger in it?

          • Apparently second fermentation do grow scobies but not of the lasting kind. You can eat it or share with pets, chickens love it

  7. I grew my own SCOBY (using the tutorial from Food Renegade) and made my first batch of kombucha as directed above (brewing for seven days). I sampled it and it was quite delicious. I followed your directions for a second fermentation using organic grape juice from the health food store for seven more days using smaller bottles. I actually used a little less juice than you suggested–2 oz. juice per 16 oz. bottle of kombucha. I sampled it this morning and it smells a lot like wine (and tastes a bit like a sparkling wine). Is this how it is supposed to be or did I do something incorrectly?

  8. At what age would you give Komubcha to your kids? We don’t give our son juice but one week we bought some raw kombucha and let him drink a total of about a cup within a couple of days and then noticed a ring worm diaper rash (he is almost 2). I Instantly assumed this was from the juice. We eat a low carb diet. Is he just too young for it? Could there be something else and not the juice that caused the ring worm?

    • Ringworm is caused by a parasite, what did your pediatrician/dermatologist say?

      • FYI, in case anyone reads this, ringworm is not a worm but a different form of the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot and jock itch. 🙂

    • My daughter developed horrid yeast while being on probiotics. The doctor put her on a strong dose due to constipation problems. She goes back for more testing to have foods in her diet checked. The doctor suggested she had an extreme bacteria imbalance in her gut and the probiotic was causing her system to go into extreme detox. We cut the probiotics down for a while (just this 2 weeks ago) and will be gradually increasing. That has seemed to help with the rash. They did prescribe nystatin to help clear it up. I used it for two days, then just applied a bit of coconut oil after that. It has gone away so far.

      • May I recommend reading “Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)” by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride. There are many well-researched and well-supported treatments for bowel irregularity in children. She also explains specific steps and approaches that you can take to control die-off so that it is tolerable for the child.

  9. When you referment with fruit juice the second time around, does the natursl sugar in the fruit juice ferment out too, or does it stay in (thus impacting the caloric or carbohydrate levels?)

  10. Hi Katie, I was told making kombucha is dangerous because if it is fermented in too warm a temperature, it can grow bad/dangerous bacteria as well. Now I’m worried about trying it. What do you think of this?

    Is there an imperative temperature range for making kombucha?

    Thanks!!!

    • From what I’ve read if you are fermenting inside, you don’t really have to worry about the bad bacteria, but you could call or email Cultures for Health to ask them. The woman who owns it, Julie, is super helpful!

      • Thanks for responding so quickly! I appreciate it 🙂 and for the resource suggestion!! Thanks. Im very excited to try this.
        Jen

  11. I have 2 jars brewing, one is slightly sweet and the other tart, can I mix them to even it out, or do I need to let the sweeter one sit longer? Also what can I do to not have it so vinegary/tart?

    • It gets vinegar like when it sits too long but you can definitely mix them to even it out…

      • If I let it sit to long and it does get vinegar like, what can I do mellow it out, can I add water for example??

        • You can add water or just more of the tea/sugar mix, or any fruit juice. If you add the juice, cap it tightly and you’ll get kombucha soda in a couple days

          • Great, Thank you!!

  12. What happens if I forgot to keep 1/2 cup of the brewed kombucha for the next batch? Did I just ruin my SCOBY if I just put it directly in the next batch of sweet tea with no 1/2 cup of previous kombucha?

    • If it’s a strong SCOBY, it should be fine… do you have any extra kombucha you could add?

      • you can use 1/2 cup of any vinegar other than balsamic if you didn’t save previous kombucha! 🙂

    • I’ve also read that you can pour in a bottle of organic raw kombucha from the store to restore the balance (this also helps if your brew has started to take on a flavor that you don’t particularly like).

      • I agree with Emily, but be sure the store bought kombucha is not flavored…just plain kombucha brew.

  13. I just made my first batch -(2 gallons!) but somehow thought it was supposed to go 11 days – it seems carbonated already! I tasted it and it tastes okay- I look forward to making it ginger flavored (I am only familiar with the flavored ones in the store). Do you foresee any problems with a mature kombucha like this? I drank about a 1/2 cup and then got nervous…but that was this morning and I am not dead yet! Funny, it really filled me up…How long is it storable in the fridge do you think? People do mention exploding bottles… any experience with that?

    • I’ve left mine as long as a month. It will just be slightly more sour, but fine. Storable indefinitely in the fridge. The bottles only tend to explode if you make it really strong and then add a lot of juice and a tight fitting lid for a second ferment and then leave it out too long…

  14. YES! I kept wondering why my kombucha wasn’t fizzy like the ones I get at the store. Thank you!

  15. HI Katie,
    I’ve been brewing booch since the summer. I usually flavor the 2nd ferment with ginger juice and black cherry juice. I really like the lavender falvor that GT sells but I’m not sure how I would make it at home. I did some internet searching and saw you can add 2TBS lavender flower while the water boils and tea seeps. But my concern is when I do the 2nd ferment. Don’t I need to add something with a little bit of sugar, like the fruit juice? Do you have any ideas?

    • I throw fresh lavender from my herb garden directly into my second fermentation.

    • I would make a lavender “simple syrup” like bartenders make, and add that for the 2nd ferment, along with some lavender flowers. I love GT’s, but their lavender kombucha always makes me cough. The sediment from the lavender flowers gets stuck at the back of my throat! My vote is for a room-temperature lavender syrup. 🙂

    • I just made a batch of kombucha using lavender green tea as my base tea. It has a wonderful flavor and I don’t even add any juice to it. You could give that a try.

      • According to Cultures For Health, you should only be using black or green tea—any variety that doesn’t contain oils (Oolong, English Breakfast for instance, preferably organic for obvious reasons). Any other type of tea that may contain oils (such as Earl Grey or an Orange Spice) can cause the kombucha to mold.

  16. Great article! I’m doing the continuous brew process described by Kombucha Kamp and I find it so amazing, I really recommend checking it out. I’m brewing kombucha in one of those big 2 gallon ceramic crocks with a tap on it, and it is so convenient! So easy to transfer into bottles for the second fermentation as well …

    • I have read that the ceramic glaze can be problematic, are there any glass crocks that you can use? Kombucha is very acidic and I have heard that it can leach materials out of even food-safe ceramic glaze. Not sure if that matters to you, but I thought I’d mention it.

      • The most economical glass container I found was a glass fish bowl. It makes about 2 gallons per brewing batch.

    • Hi everyone I had a question, I’ll be starting my first kombucha brew ing at home in a 2 gallon jar but I am not sure if I need to purchase 2 Scoby’s or will 1 be good. ??? I’ll be ordering from kombucha Kamp

      • One will be good and will grow to fill the container.

  17. Have you ever made it with raspberry leaf tea for when you’re pregnant? Do you think it would work well? I am hoping to knock out two good things with one drink.

    • I haven’t yet but have been meaning to. I would think it would work, but I’d probably keep an extra scoby baby just in case…

    • You can probably add raspberry leaf tea, but I have always read that kombucha requires at least 50% black tea in order to brew correctly.

  18. Question: I prefer unsweetened tea (true yankee :o)) Can I make this tea with out the sugar, or is the sugar nessesary??

    • The sugar is necessary to feed the beneficial bacteria, but it does ferment out and the longer you leave it, the less sweet it will be…

      • Hi, sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you know the nutritional info/sugar count of the kombucha after the first fermentation? I’m kind of a sugar freak and try to keep it low. Does the SCOBY eat all of it, Or is there still quite a bit? Thank you so much for the recipe

  19. I am just about to make my own kombucha, but I only have organic coconut sugar…will that be okay?

    • I havenlt tried it but I think it has to be real (organic) sugar

    • I use plain white cane sugar and my results have been awesome. You can buy sucanat or organic white cane sugar too, but it is expensive.

    • ha, I was just going to use organic coconut sugar… glad I read this

    • What do you do w the extra scoby that is in the jar after the first ferment? I have original and now the new one.

    • I only had organic coconut sugar in the pantry the last time I went to brew my Kombucha, so I risked it, it was fine.

      • Just read some info on coconut sugar, its not recommended for Kombucha as it may harm the SCOBY. Woops, mine seems fine and has had a baby! Wont use it again though!

        • Coconut sugar is sucrose, just like table sugar. I doesn’t affect the fermentation process.

  20. My first batch of kombucha is ready but I didn’t know to flavor it at second fermentation. Is it too late to add flavoring in now? Also, does it have to be in glass jar?

    • Glass jars for brewing and bottling are best because they are nonreactive. Never use metal, plastic, or ceramic, the acidity of the tea leaches material out of the vessel. I peel and cut up chunks of ginger to add to mine (never add ginger or flavorings in with the Scoby, it will impair/kill the Scoby).

  21. Can u do a second ferment in bottles?

  22. I have well water and if I allow my tea to sit out over night it grows mold.Will the scoby prevent the mold from growing or do I need to purchase filtered water? Thanks!

    • I have heard that well water is great for kombucha, but if you are having this issue I would use filtered water. If that is not an option, boil the well water uncovered for 10 minutes before starting your sweet tea.

  23. I left my kombucha on the counter too long, and ended up with vinegar. Yuck. Have I killed my scoby?

      • Thanks

      • Do you start a completely new batch or do you just add fresh sweet tea to your vinegar brew? Mine’s literally been sitting for about 7 months.

  24. Ok, I have a question. I bottled for the second ferment in flip top, clear, glass bottles. There is something growing in one of the bottles, and it’s pretty big. Can a scoby grow in an anaerobic environment?

    • How much headspace did you leave when you did your second ferment? 1″ to 1.5″ headspace is ideal when you fill your bottles. As they ferment, there will be strands of culture in the bottles, it can even look like a “brain” or something out of Halloween! I also recommend sterilizing your bottles in the dishwasher before brewing. If none of the other bottles have it, depending on how it looks, I might throw it away?

    • In almost all of my second brew bottles (I’ve done 3 gallons, now on 2 more), a scoby began to form. When I used juice, the new scoby formed at the top of the bottle; when I used fruit pieces, the new scoby formed attached to the fruit. These mini scobys have been clear and rubbery-ish.

      I also get some large yeasty growths that float, but those have formed in the first fermentation and they are brown and stringy.

      I’d say if your “growth” is any color besides clear or tan, be cautious as it could be a bad mold. Some things to consider: Have you been sealing the jars tightly (in your case, your bottles need to have a rubber gasket)? How long do you leave them out for second fermentation (I believe the recommendation is 2-3 days, tightly sealed before moving them to the fridge)?

  25. I am gathering my Kombucha ingredients! What kind of tea should I use?

    • Black tea! Or my favorite, a mix of half green, half black. I love Taylor’s of Harrogate Assam black, but even Lipton will work. Avoid flavored tea because it can kill your scoby or impair the brewing process.

      • I use oolong tea for mine and get a great flavor.

    • I bought some white tea, what I didn’t realise was it had vanilla in it. It’s made the most wonderful flavoured KT yet and is lovely and fizzy.

  26. How do you make your 1st batch when you need a 1/2 cup from a previous batch?

    • You can buy a bottle of UNFLAVORED kombucha at the health food store; you can buy a Scoby online, or you can make your own Scoby with a bottle of unflavored kombucha from the heath food store.

  27. “1/2 cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha”
    If you’ve never brewed Kombucha, how do you get liquid from the previous batch?

    • Figured it out, buy live SCOBY 🙂

    • There are tutorials on how to make your own Scoby if you don’t want to buy one off the internet. Previously i had bought one on Etsy with good results. This time, I bought one bottle of GT’s Synergy original kombucha (unflavored), and poured it into my brewing vessel, covered, and let it sit in a warm place, undisturbed. After a couple of days, I poured in one cup of room-temperature sweet tea, and a couple of days after that I had a 1/4″ thick Scoby plus enough liquid to start brewing.

  28. Hi there,
    I’ve been making kombucha and water kefir for a while now. One problem I always run into, and haven’t see addressed on any blog, is what to do with the last bottle that isn’t quite full. Could spring or distilled water be added to fill it?

  29. I just brewed my first batch. Your instructions were so concise and easy to follow. The best, over all others I read. Thank you for taking the intimidation factor out of the process, which had prevented me from trying this before. Between your great recipe, and my wonderful friend, Cyndye, coaching me along plus providing me with the SCOBY… I’m hooked. Healthy living, made affordable, and FUN! Thank you…

  30. I am trying my first batch im worried about the temperature I don’t keep my house that warm I have put my batch on a plate on a warmer burner on low but im worried that it will keep it to warm so I turn it off during the day im not sure what to do what happens if its to cold or to warm and which is better

    • Using a warmer, hot plate, or crock pot is not recommended because the glass jar gets too hot, which will kill the culture and Scoby. You want an undisturbed place that is warm and out of direct sunlight.

      Some people who like a cold house go so far as to do a weird setup with a warm-water aquarium to immerse the jars in 74-degree water for warmth without danger of overheating. 74 degrees is the perfect temperature for kombucha to brew. My house is at 68 degrees, but with the lights on in the kitchen, my brew spot on top of the cabinets gets up to 74.

      If your house gets too cold, you may only be able to brew in the summer months. I put mine on top of the cabinets in the kitchen (on top of the refrigerator jarred the kombucha and prevented the Scoby from forming), which is the warmest place in my house and also out-of-the-way. If you can keep that area between 68-74 degrees F (I bought a thermometer to sit next to my brewing vessel), your kombucha should do fine. I just turned my thermostat to 68 when I’m home (it goes down to 50 when I sleep or am gone, to save energy) and the kombucha still brews.

      • I set my brewing jar on top of a aquarium rock heater. Like you use for reptiles to sun & warm on in a terrarium.. Keep it plugged in and it works just fine. Never gets too hot. Just keeps things warm.

        • I have recently made my first batch of kombucha and we are enjoying it greatly. I was having a problem with temperature, the scoby just looked sad and only partially floating. I decided to put the jars on a warming plate that we use when making wine to keep the carboys warm. The 2 scobys are not only floating but making babies. The original ones I received were really big, can I cut these and give away pieces or will it damage the Mother.

          • I wish I could have some of your scoby Fran, but I’m here in Richmond BC, Canada. Been searching for a store that I could pick up a scoby. If anyone knows please tell me. I would love to make my own kombucha. Thanks.

            Ophelia

      • My husband, a chemist, reminded me that the fermentation process produces heat, so it should normally be warmer than your room temperature. The first time I brewed it, I checked it the next day and then relaxed. I also have in the cupboard next to my fridge. (My cupboard next to the stove is even warmer, but my jar didn’t fit there).

        • I honestly don’t think there is any heat produced by the fermentation. I have been making Kombucha for years and the temperature has never changed. I don’t think a cupboard is a great idea as air circulation seems to be important but really; whatever works for you.

          Room temperature is fine.

          • Fermentation is an exothermic reaction (meaning that is produces heat). This occurs when sucralose (table sugar), breaks down to glucose and further to pyruvic acid (glycolysis). That chemical reaction produces heat.

  31. If you use herbal tea or flavored teas, you will not have a successful batch. People sensitive to caffeine (like me) can drink kombucha because the brewing process gets rid of most of the caffeine. Plain black tea is the best, or a blend of half green and half black. You can use herbal teas, as long as you use at least 50% black tea. The caffeine content in brewed kombucha is negligible. Using flavored teas, like ginger, can kill your Scoby.

    • So I brewed my first batch of kombucha
      ( bought a good sized scoby from farmers market)… I had a natural ginger concentrate to make tea with so I mixed that with darjeling tea… Did I ruin my scoby or is it possible that it can pull through my scoby parenting ignorance?

      Thanks for helping

  32. Hello, I will be very grateful for advice: I just opened my first batch of kombucha and found a tea bag that I had missed and had obviously stayed there for 10 days. Do you think I should throw away the SCOBY and the kombucha? I threw away the original SCOBY because the tea bag was logged into it but kept the new SCOBY and the kombucha tea. Please, anybody who has any feedback, I will appreciate it – I am new at this and still trying to figure out what is acceptable and what not. Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  33. So I think my second ferment produced new SCOBY’s when it was only 2 days old….is that normal, or do you think I am growing something else?

  34. I want to make this in my glass lemonade/ice tea jug that has a spigot on the botton, but the spigot is plastic… Can I use this jug???

    • I have always used exactly the same thing, and I never eve thought about the plastic piece! It’s never seemed to bother mine 🙂

  35. Started my 1st Kombucha batch on New Years Day. I’m not sure about doing a 2nd ferment and am confused by these directions? Step 4 says to take the SCOBY and remaining juice? So you make the 2nd batch of kombucha with juice? I’m on a low carb diet. Does the finished ‘soda’ have a lot of carbs?

    • Flowering Soul, do you mean the second ferment or making another batch once your first batch is finished? The second ferment is simply flavoring your kombucha with juice. You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to but it does taste nice:) if you were asking about making another batch, you make each new batch with your scoby and a cup of kombucha leftover from your last batch as a starter ( you wouldn’t want to add juice in with your scoby) so for each new batch your ingredients are: scoby, kombucha starter and your sweetened tea:) I hope that helps?:)

      • Oh and as for carbs. I wouldn’t think so? But I don’t know….. The scoby eats most of the sugar and I have heard of people using kombucha tea in their weight loss diet….

  36. Oh and I have a question for Wellness Mama or for anyone who has experience with using loose leaf tea? I have been using Tetley tea and my kombucha ferments really fast but I wanted to use organic tea. So I ordered the oolong loose leaf tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. My scoby is growing very slowly, and the tea is fermenting very slowly, it’s flat tasting and very sugary, it’s just not bubbling up like it usually does with the regular Tetley tea. Does anyone know why? Has anyone used loose leaf? I read the package from MRH and it says their oolong tea has been partially fermented. Could that be why it’s not making a good batch of kombucha? I really thought using the loose leaf organic tea would be far more healthier than the regular Tetley….

    • Apparently Tetley – loose or in bags is grown using pesticides.

  37. When you do the second brew, is it ok to use the metal lids that come with mason jars?

  38. I have made kombucha before, but I am curious about something. Do you steep the tea for the amount of time called for according to the directions on the tea box, or do you steep the tea for the entire time the water cools from boiling to room temperature? Just curious, especially if this might make a difference in flavor/quality of my kombucha.

    • You can just steep for the time recommended. THere are a few schools of thought but some teas can contain fluoride so it is better not to steep for too long.

  39. Can I ask why no to pineapple juice?

    • It is fine to add right before drinking but it will become stringy and nasty if added earlier

      • For the second fermentation, I have added frozen pineapple to the jar and makes a wonderful kombucha. For each 2 quart jar, half a can of frozen pineapple is added. Coconut flavoring is added when serving.

  40. I have some questions about the second fermentation process. First of all, what’s with Step 4 in the instructions, pouring the SCOBY and juice into a bowl? What do you do with it after that? And — perhaps related — do you put the SCOBY back in for the second ferment, or leave it out? Thanks!

    • You put the scoby in a new batch of tea with about a cup of the already brewed kombucha added and do a secondary ferment with the rest of the brewed kombucha

  41. Just finished by first batch of kombucha. It has a white film over the top. The jar was very clean and i never handled the scoby. What could I have done wrong?

  42. Im in the process of making my first batch of kombucha soda and so far all is going well. I’m at the part now where you have added the grape juice and you are letting it sit a few more days. I was looking at it tonight and I see that at the top of my sealed grape juice/tea blend there is a small disk forming. It looks like what happened with my SCOBY in the first fermentation. Do I put the jars in the refrigerator with that still in them or should I open and strain. Will I loose the carbonation if I do that or should I just wait and strain when I open it to drink? Its my first try and I’m a bit confused.

  43. This sounds interesting. people mention giving it to kids. what is the alcohol continent. I have been making whine for years 14% alcohol, so i understand the basic process. this sounds more like making a beer. what is the difference. I never tried making beer. also the yeast to fermit. can it be in a dried package like Champagne yeast. Thanks Jim

    • It is a different bacteria and a much shorter process so it is less than 0.5% alcohol so considered safe for kids

      • Love your site – user friendly. Hubby loves the Kombucha – BUT he has been in recovery for over 30 years – would be sad if it triggered falling off the wagon. Yes it is .05% but where would I go to find more info? Can not find anything ANYSITE that talks about alcohol content in relationship to alcoholism.

        • I too am in recovery from alcoholism as well, and I know some people in the recovery community can have mixed feelings about drinking kombucha. I personally drink it, because the probiotics help a lot with my digestion, and this is a good way to get them with out dairy involved i.e. yogurt (I think I might be lactose intolerant). I always check to bottle to see if it smells like alcohol, if so I chose not to drink it. I haven’t had kombucha set off any cravings or cause an issues with me. I also work closely with a sponsor and just try to stay honest with myself and how I’m feeling! I personally love it, but again just up to the individual!

          I hope this can help out some!

          • I’m really impressed by the honesty and integrity of your comment, Alyssa. The best of wishes to you.

          • I LOVE YOU GUYS. ONE OF THE BEST SITES OUT THERE.

        • Even fruit juice has some alcohol in it (also due to fermentation) so I don’t think it would be a problem.

  44. Is it totally necessary to do the second fermentation? I like to drink it after the first without juice added, or add grapefruit essential oil to it. Isn’t it as good for you if you don’t do the second ferment?

    • It is definitely as good for you, but most people just like the carbonation. you can absolutely drink it without it.

  45. If my SCOBY sinks, will the entire jar of tea become Kombucha (or only the tea that is below the SCOBY)?

  46. My batches have all had a slightly “beery” taste. Am I not using enough sugar? 1c/gal sounds… Big.

    • You should just use 1 c a gallon. the bacteria eats the sugar so it needs it.

  47. I see that you use the mason jar lids during your second fermentation. Is it a problem if the tea comes in contact win the lid? I thought it was bad for metal and kombucha to touch?

  48. On the Cultures for Health website the ratios for brewing are 1/2 cup starter for 1 qt. tea, 1 cup starter for 1/2 gallon tea and 2 cups starter for a gallon of tea. Your page here says a 1/2 cup of starter is fine for a gallon of tea. Has that worked well? I was planning on making a whole gallon today but I had only saved 1 cup of starter from the last batch and thought that I couldn’t, so I ended up only pouring a half gallon of tea. If I can make a whole gallon from a 1/2 cup of starter that would be awesome! I’m wondering why the difference in ratios? Just preference, or what?

    • It takes less time if you use more starter

  49. I’ve been making kombucha for the last month using rooibos tea and I love it. The only problem I have is that the SCOBY is reproducing too fast, in a month I’ve got four new SCOBYs !!! Fortunately I am loving this stuff even if no one else is so I am happy to make more. My only question is is it safe to drink during pregnancy?

  50. Hi, I just had some kombucha for the first time on the weekend (my bday) after carefully reading the label to make sure it didnt have any sugar in it. It was yummy, gingery, fizzy kombucha and Ive been craving some since. It was pricey so I looked it up online. Problem is, the recipes call for sweetened tea (I understand that’s what the kombucha eats). Does this mean I cant have it (Ive been on a sugar-free diet for over 10yrs!)

  51. I’ve been brewing my “fizzy lifting drink” for a while now and have used fresh pineapple and the juice, as well as other fruits and 100% juice. I’ve grown new scoby’s from previously bottled batches. But the killer has been doubling the sugar and making an alcohol rich Kombucha! Oh, and I use only green tea! :)))))

  52. Thank you for your wonderful site! Do you happen to know if store-bought kombucha has added CO2? Just curious why it is so much more fizzy than mine;)

  53. Can you use herbal tea to make kombucha? I want to use Celestial Herbal Lemon Zinger tea bags, but I read on another blog that you can’t use herbal tea. Just wondering if you had any insight…. Thanks!

    • Actually I had already been brewing the kombucha for about 7 days before I read that. My SCOBY seems to be fine….
      This is the ingredients list from the tea box :
      All Natural:
      This product contains all-natural herbs and flavors, and no artificial colors or preservatives.

      Ingredients:
      Hibiscus, rosehips, roasted chicory, orange peel, West Indian lemongrass, lemon peel and whole dried lemons, natural lemon flavor with other natural flavors (contains soy lecithin) and citric acid.

      Caffeine Status:
      Naturally Caffeine Free

      • I’m not sure where my first post went…. Anyway the first post stated that I read in another blog that you cannot use herbal tea to make kombucha. I had already had a batched sitting for a week in tea made from Celestial Herbal Lemon Zinger bags. Will this work? My SCOBY still seems to be doing fine. The post above lists the ingredients from the tea. Thanks!

  54. Hello Melinda. I am a first-time Kombucha maker and have just started a tea using half black tea and half Celestial Raspberry Zinger. I read a blog saying that we mustn’t use flavoured teabags. I am hoping it will be okay because, as you mentioned, the box says it is “all natural”. Please could you let me know if your Kombucha was okay, or so you think I should start again?

    Many thanks,
    Dee

    • It’s recommended that any herbal teas not be used in kombucha fermenting. The herbs can have an effect on the health of the scoby. If you want the flavor of Red Zinger tea, you can make a strong batch of it and add it to the finished kombucha.

  55. My brother told his wife that Kombucha becomes alcoholic as it ferments (like wine I guess) is this true?

    • Not really… It is very very mildly alcoholic, but we are talking trace amounts. Nothing that would be harmful.

  56. I’ve made kombucha since the 80’s. (Yes, I am THAT old.) I use decaf tea (not herbal, but regular black tea, decaffeinated version) and it works just fine. I like a glass of it in the evening so I don’t want caffeine in my kombucha. Thanks for spreading the word, Katie.

    • What do you do with the baby? If I don’t know anyone who wants it, do I throw it out?

      • I give them away in the ‘free’ section of craigslist and kijiji. NEVER charge….its against the whole natural food way of life….met some great people this way.

      • I’ve read that the scoby is good to feed to chickens, dogs, or compost. The kind woman who got us started with our first scoby feeds pieces to her dog and this helps regulate the dog-smell. When we have an extra scoby I’m going to cut it up to feed to our chickens.

  57. I’ve been brewing kombucha for going on a year now. On the last batch I did, there is a tan powder growing on top of all of the scobys. It isn’t green or black but more of a tan color, definitely a powder.

    I took pics and can post them somewhere. Some amplifying info on this batch:

    -4 total 1gal glass containers
    -brewed for 13 days in the same location I always keep it (dark pantry with wash cloths covering the tops held on with rubber bands).
    -black tea with white tea mixture (I usually use black tea and oolong tea instead of white tea).
    -regular white dominos sugar
    -used extremely well developed scobys
    -Added at least 1 cup of starter liquid from last batch to each container

    I’m assuming this is mold even though it doesn’t look quite like other mold pics I’ve seen online. I’ve heard anything fuzzy should be thrown out. We like brewing it for at least 10 days to eat up a lot of the sugar for a less sweet flavor.

    Trying to figure out why this has happened so it doesn’t repeat. The two ideas I’ve had are: using the same kitchen cloths from previous batches to cover the tops. And the only other idea I’ve got is using the white jasmine tea vice oolong.

    Any ideas would be appreciated! I have pics I can post somewhere but not sure how to put them on this forum.

    • You should throw out the scoby and the tea. If there’s something fuzzy, it’s mold. Your batch could have been contaminated from spores in the air or something that was on a glass vessel or the covering cloth.

    • Hi John, I use 1 cup starter for half gallon containers. I believe you should be using 2 cups of starter for gallon containers. That could very well be what allowed the mold to grow, your solution wasn’t acidic enough to begin with. Good luck!

      • I use 1 cup sugar to make a gallon of tea (actually 15 cups of tea fermented in a 1-gallon jar). I do not use any liquid starter from a previous batch. It’s always delicious and never tart. I’ve never had a mold or funky problem after hundreds of batches. I ferment it for 6 – 7 days. Then I refrigerate it.

        The scoby should be enough of a starter without any liquid. But that’s the way I’ve produced a kombucha I like. The ones I’ve sampled from stores taste terrible to me — vinegary and strong.

        • Thank you so much for saying the store bought kombuchas tasted too vinegar-y and strong! I am brewing my first batch from a store “distilled” SCOBY – and I wasn’t thrilled about the way the store bought kombucha tasted. But still want to try homemade. We shall see!

    • I’m in Thailand and for the first time I have had mold. Before I was in Canada and never had mold, ever. I’m guessing the humidity and heat has something to do with it. So what I do now is double up on the cotton cloth I use to cover the Kombucha, of course secured with rubber bands. Plus I add a little white vinegar to the top of the Kombucha before closing it. Apple Cider Vinegar I’m told shouldn’t be used. You also need to make sure your area is well ventilated.

  58. Hi Kathy, I got a scoby from a friend but I don’t have 1/2 cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha. Can I just start it the first time without previous Kombucha?

  59. I just found a tea bag I missed in my kombucha. It’ll have fermented for 7 days tomorrow! Is the batch ruined? Absolutely LOVE your blog!!!

  60. I’m confused. You said use small bottles and fill 1/5th way with fruit juice then top with the kamboocha til 1 inch from top then tightly seal and let sit 7 days. Can I instead add the quart of juice to a new gallon glass jar and fill it with kamboocha and tightly cap it and let it sit 7 days and can the cap be metal? And how much head room would it need? And if I’m going to use the small bottles – are we talking like bottling jars? or what kind of bottles? And what size? I’d like to make sure I buy the right equipment. If I use canning jars does the metal on a canning jar react to the mixture? Or does it need a plastic lid? Sooo confused lol. I really want to try this but would not like to get sick doing so – but rather well instead!! And thank you so much for all you do – the wellness convention thingy was GREAT!! I have a friend with leaky gut and adrenal problems who is likely going to buy the series. Thank you so much for putting that in motion – you are a fountain of knowledge and resources!! Great job!!

    • Hello cynthia, There should not be a problem with using a large gallon jar to hold the second ferment. I think the reason most people use smaller jars is because they pretty much have to be glass, and they like to grab it from the fridge and drink from the bottle. As long as you have a glass gallon jar with an airtight plastic lid, you should be in good shape. The problem with metal in contact with the tea is that it can leech things into it over long periods of time that can be bad for your health, so if you only have jars with metal lids you can put plastic wrap between the lid and the jar. But if your tea came into short contact with metal I would not worry about getting sick from it right away, it is more of a precaution from what I read. Enjoy!
      P.S. If you plan on buying jars for the second ferment, it is usually just as cheap to buy bottles of kombucha or Grolsch beer and reuse those bottles, instead of buying empty ones.

    • Hi Cynthia,

      For my kombucha, I store it in either 750ml (my favorite – gives more bubbles) or in 1L mason jars (still good) as for the lids, I normally use the plastic canning lids (don’t buy the plastic regular lids where you don’t need the metal rings, those let all the bubbles out). I put saran wrap on the opening of the jar, then press down the plastic lid, and use the metal rings (they don’t touch the kombucha). That gives me the best bubbles, if I skip one of these steps, I lose most of them. However, if I don’t have any plastic lids available, I just replace them for the metal ones (with the saran wrap underneath), although it isn’t as fizzy as my usual method (the plastic lids press the saran wrap deeper, therefore tighter and make an airtight seal. When I open it you can hear it pop). Another good method is buying the airtight swing-top bottles. You can find 1 liter ones for about 6 dollars in wine brewing stores sometimes.

      Ps. Unfortunately for me, if I out my kombucha in the fridge, it loses ALL the bubbles, so I leave it out and just add some sugar if it turned vinegary. Also, for the first two brews, I didn’t have any bubbles, which is normal because the scoby has to get used to it’s new environment. Experiment until you succeed!

  61. Can you over-indulge in this beverage? How many ozs of this can you have in a day?

    Thank you!!

  62. I prefer to make my Kombucha with about half Black Tea, half Earl Grey (Black Tea with some added Bergamot Flavor that I heard was used to try to imitate the more complex flavor depth of higher quality Chinese Black Teas), and one bag of White Tea (I like to use White Peony, a high potency White Tea made from young leaves from the source of White Tea in China, rather than White Teas associated with India), and one cup of white sugar once the tea has cooled down enough (eight tea bags total). Black Tea has antioxidants and helps with circulation (increases blood pressure) and helps cardiovascular disease, but taken with milk it prevents these vascular protective effects as milk should not be heated, [steeps for 3-5 minutes]. White Teas generally have the most antioxidants (can be similar to antioxidant content in Green Teas depending on comparative quality), is a high anti-inflammatory, good for cardiovascular disease, and is anti-bacterial (helps slow virus and pathogenic bacterial growth, and even dental plaque, [steeps for only 1-2 minutes]. The only time restraint I use for letting it sit with the bacterial colony with pervious Kombucha liquid is after at least 24 hours to 36-48 hours (is good on the second day), then I put it in the fridge (or you could stain out the bacterial colony and some liquid to start a fresh batch right away, it would probably help the bacteria colony grow faster and the Kombucha ferment more). I know some people let it sit for a week or even a month, but I’ve never let it go that long. I drink about a quart a day and make it every few days. I don’t do the double fermentation with it, but I sometimes add a lemon (peel removed and cut in half or more) to kefir water after the Kefir Grains are stained out with a BPA free sprouting lid and then put in the fridge for added Vitamin C (this tastes really great), then I stain it again before drinking to get any lemon pieces out. Kefir Water doesn’t need old liquid like Kombucha, or tea, and ferments in 24-48 hours. I usually let that sit in the fridge for less than a day to just a little bit with the lemon and generally try to drink it before 48 hours of being refrigerated. I use two half gallon jars for Kombucha, each with their own bacteria colony and liquid, and a quart sized jar for Kefir Water and usually split it with someone. I also juice Wheat Grass (an oz, or two if I didn’t have lemon or something else with Vitamin C like red lentils) which has crazy high amounts of all B vitamins and other nutrients, expect it doesn’t have folate, which I think helps you assimilate and make use of the B complex (which Kombcuha has the highest amount of out of its 6 B vitamins) and it doesn’t have a lot of B12 because it is only found in the healthy bacteria that grow on it. I also use kefir milk at a pint a day in a smoothie, which has the same 6 B vitamins as Kombocua with good milk. I am vegetarian so I get most if my B vitamins from these things and some old world soaked/germinated and/or sprouted grains (spelt is very high is folate). I don’t really drink caffein tea or use white sugar not fermented. I heard from a Chinese health care practitioner that Green Teas were usually not used in traditional Chinese Kombucha.

  63. I got my scoby that has been doing this for a while but with organic green tea and honey. I saw somewhere not to use honey. Is this true and why?

    • Honey, especially raw honey, is anti-bacterial, so it is probably best not to but in with your scoby.

  64. Where and how do you store the scoby in between batches? Does temperature matter about where you store it? We keep our house pretty cold in the winter, around 63 deg. I know when you brew, it needs to be above 70, but what about when storing the scoby? Thanks!

  65. Hi there,

    I started making my first ever Kombucha a week ago. I checked it this morning and it’s still very sweet so I might leave it a few days more. However, it doesn’t seem fizzy? Will the fizz only occur once i have bottled it?

    Also, I’m not sure if it has a baby that has attached itself to the underneath of the mother? Do I pull them apart if this is the case? Will the baby grow very quickly as it seems to be the same size as the mother?

  66. I have made my first batch too vinegary, I flavored it with lemon ginger and apple, put a bit in blender added a bit of sugar. [and set it back in the dark cupboard tight bottle] turning carbination and tasty, the other 2 bottles from first batch plain very strong vinegar smell are not turning carbination, a film is growing on the top.(is this a scoby) or should i toss these 2.
    Also when is the right time to flavour the batch, when we put the scoby in the first time or take it out?

  67. I am starting my first Kombucha. I have a friend waiting to give me a healthy scoby. I would like to know if the color of the jar will effect the brew in any way? I found a 2 gallon jar it is blue and would look nice on my counter. Does jar need to be clear?

  68. Coupla things;

    I saw a report on ‘Marketplace’ about tests done on tea to see if it had been sprayed with pesticides while growing. Almost all teas tested positive for poisons including many Chinese teas. The only brand that had no pesticide traces was Red Rose tea.

    Also, just a sidebar, while I was decanting my latest batch of Kombucha, I accidently spilled some on the floor. It took about 2 mins before I wiped it up as I had to finish with the decanting. When I did, I found this was probably the best grout cleaner I have ever seen! It was pure white again – and no scrubbing…

  69. If you’re making this for the first time, how will you get 1/2 of previously made Kombucha that the recipe calls for? Did I miss that somewhere?

    Thanks!

    • sometimes liquid will com in the bag with your scoby thingy, if you need more look for a GT Daves organic raw kombucha, the original flavor or similar raw one with no added juice.

    • You just need to reserve between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your brew when it is finished and transfer your SCOBY to it. Then you can continue making new batches by adding fresh tea and sugar.

  70. BTW – If anyone in the Greater Vancouver area wants a free scoby – I’d be happy to give it to them.

    • I wish I could have some of your scoby Fiona, I’m here in Richmond BC, Been searching for a store that I could pick up a scoby. I would love to make my own kombucha. Thanks.

  71. I am new to making kombucha and just finished my first batch. What do I do with the SCOBY if I am not starting another brew today? And, now I have 2 SCOBY’s…the original and the new one…is that the way it works? Any help appreciated.

  72. Hi, I have been wanting to make sugar free kombucha by fermenting the tea until the sugar is gone or almost. But I have been running into issues with the Kombucha starting to smell a bit off after about 3 weeks. Any suggestions. Is there any way to test how much sugar is left? thanks.

  73. I’ve started flavoring my kombucha so that it goes through a secondary fermentation, but it seems as though a baby SCOBY forms each time I bottle the kombucha with the flavoring (usually ginger), even after only a few days of sitting at room temperature. Instead of it just being strands of bacteria/yeast, it forms a circle the size of the bottle. I don’t think it’s unsafe (so not mold), but it’s kind of gross to want to drink an entire piece of SCOBY at one point. Is there any way to prevent this from occurring? Should I be worried that this is unsafe to drink?

    Also, if anyone is in the Philadelphia area and is in need of a SCOBY, I’d be happy to give you one!

    • I just moved to Philadelphia and would LOVE to get a SCOBY from you!

  74. Thanks for the great information! I’ve made a couple batches now and started a scoby hotel a few days ago, but now I realize I forgot to add starter kombucha. So my extra scobies have been in sweet tea only. Is this a problem? Should I do something now or will they be fine?
    Thanks so much!

    • I think there is no question they will be fine. You could just add some more tea to the ‘hotel’ now if you’re concerned but these little babies are surprisingly resilient and are probably happy as clams just hanging out in the hotel together waiting for a new home.

  75. I tried a second ferment for the first time ever. I made a bunch with ginger and grapefruit, and one jar per my daughter’s request (she doesn’t like the ginger) with a couple ounces of POM pomegranate/pineapple juice to about 20 oz komucha. We left it for 3 days, then she really wanted to try it. She tasted it and said it tasted good but smelled weird. I smelled it and it smelled like throw up to me with a sulfery smell, so I told her not to drink any more. She went to bed and about 3 hours later woke from a sound sleep with a projectile vomit all over (she is my kid who always makes it to the toilet), violent shaking and weakness. She finally fell back asleep and seems fine (if a bit weaker) this AM. It seems pretty clear to me that the kombucha was what caused her symptoms. My batches with the ginger in them smell fine. What did I do wrong? Would the bromlain in the pineapple have killed the good bacteria allowing it to spoil? Could it have been some preservative in the POM juice? Thanks for your help. I am a bit scared to try again!!

  76. Thank you for all the wonderful tips!

    I made my first batch of Kombucha, but it taste more like a wine then a tea. Did I ferment it too long?
    Is it safe to drink?

    I know they say stick to specific instructions and I did use coconut palm sugar and apple cider vinegar to start–is this where I went wrong?

    Thanks,
    Amber

    • No, I think you probably did it right – it sure shouldn’t taste like tea when you’re finished and it certainly has an alcohol content. I’m assuming you had a nice strong scoby and you used the apple cider vinegar instead of previously brewed tea?

      Congratulations on your first brewing. Hope you enjoy it as much as we all do.

    • I have read several places not to use apple cider vinegar

  77. What type of probiotics are in this drink? If you have a high candidae count from yeast how is drinking something with yeast help and what is a scoby what does it look like? You can tell i’ve never made this but would like to as long as it does not give me more yeast. I have been on a candidae diet which was really hard on my body as I went at it very strict which made my body detox fast which in turn made me very sick. So do not want to add any extra yeast to my body. Thanks for any information.

  78. I look forward to trying this. I have a question. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup liquid from previous batch. I am starting from scratch. I have no previous anything. How do I make it initially? Or, where can I get some? Thank you for everything, as always, your posts are great!

  79. Thank you for all the good info. you really helped me starting my kombucha adventure 😉
    But I was wondering, I have a SCOBY in a few cups of tea on the counter. I want to make a new batch of kombucha so can I just add the fresh sweet tea over the SCOBY or will I need to remove it, place it in a glass dish with some tea, add my fresh sweet tea to the jar and afterwards replace my SCOBY into the jar? I really do not want to harm my Mother Culture 🙂

    Namasté!

    • I have found that the scoby is much more hardy than you think unless you subject them to heat or other environments that they don’t like. I just make new tea and dump it over the top when cooled. The scoby does not need to be on top but will find it’s own way there anyway.

      New ‘parents’ are often a little over protective of their ‘babies’. Don’t be scared of it – just treat it with respect and it will reward you with many years of health.

      • Thank you Fiona! 🙂

        It’s true that I am over protective of the SCOBY, it’s kinda weird.. hahaa!! 🙂

        Namasté!

        Martine

  80. Does it matter if the tea is decaf or caffeinated? If it’s caffeinated, will the caffeine stay or decrease? I am nursing so I am watching my caffeine intake…
    And if I am making it for the first time, how can I have a half cup of kombucha from a previous batch?

  81. I just made my first batch of Kambucha, is it ok to leave it sit on my counter and drink it on a day to day basis? I actually have been feeding it about 1/4 cup of sugar a week to keep my scoby alive. But, I brewed 2 Gal to begin with & think it was a bit more than I needed. Thank you ahead of time for any info you can give me. And thank you for all your wonderful information I use many of your suggestions & recipes.

    • I’m new at this too and wondering the same thing….I figured I would make the new batch of tea for the scoby and just pour off the batch just completed and drink from it … I did put some of it in a mason jar, put on a lid on the counter and it looks like it may be forming a new scoby without a mother…am going to see what transpires and if that is the case, this may become my scoby hotel… I’m guessing I may need to continue to add some finished KT to keep alive???? The first batch didn’t seem to separate into a new baby so I just put the whole thing in for the new batch of tea.. Will the tea in the mason jar produce a viable scoby???

  82. Martine … Your SCOBY should be fine if you just add the sweetened tea to it. The less you handle or expose your SCOBY to air the healthier it is. Been brewing since the 1970’s and tried most flavors. Our favorites are fresh strawberry, fresh pineapple, goji berry, and a brew made with raisins and vanilla that tastes just like cream soda. Kombucha Momma over at Kombucha Kamp is very knowledgeable I think. She has lots of good recipes.

    • Thank you Donna for the info. I am thinking of buying a auto-syphon to remove the kombucha from my jar without having to remove my SCOBY all the time 🙂 Afterwards, I could just add the fresh sweet tea onto it?

      Thank you!

      Martine

  83. I am making my first batch of kombucha. It has been fermenting for 3 days. When I looked today, it had a film on top. Without knowing that this is the “baby” forming, I kinda disturbed it. Will it continue on as it should? Thank you.

  84. Jewell,
    I believe you won’t have a problem with the SCOBY as long as you didn’t disturb it with anything metal.
    Good luck with your batch.

  85. So I am going to do the second ferment but what exactly does the following equate to? I want to add fruit juice to the quart jar, 1/5 full has got me stumped? What does 1/5 full equate to? HELP!

      • Thank you!

      • Dang. I took 1/5 to be literal, and put 6 oz of juice each in the five quart jars. Do you know how this will affect the 2nd fermentation?

        Thanks!!

        • Also, apparently I suck at math.

  86. I have a question regarding the 2nd fermentation, are we suppose to put a scoby in that too? I divided it up into quart jars with blueberry juice and ginger. Wondering if I am suppose to put a scoby in those jars too. Thanks,

    • for the 2nd ferment, you do not put any scoby in it. This process is to make your kombucha fizzier 🙂

  87. This is my first time brewing. I added the juice for second ferment but didn’t read the instructions carefully and continued just covering with a tight fitted cloth instead of sealing the jar. It was left like that for about a day and a half. i t looks a bit cloudy on top. Is this ok or do i have to start over?

  88. Great instructions! For those who are interested in growing their own scoby, I grew my own scoby by following the tutorial on http://www.createitathome.com/?p=15 and it turned out great.

  89. I understood that for the 2nd ferment we were to use air tight bottles such as the ones used for hone brewing. Not canning jars & the plastic cap. Are they air tight?

  90. Wow lots of comments going on, on here. I couldn’t keep up! I thought Kombucha was a new thing but its been going on for ages. Theres the health benefits of drinking Kombucha but is there any bad points too it? Everything has side affects. Now is it best to buy a scoby or to grow your own? How do you know if a bought one is clean?

  91. Not sure what you mean by ‘clean’. Bacteria? Yep, there’s lots of that.

    The only down side for me has been the alcohol content. I get a buzz if I drink too much of it and that’s not always appropriate.

  92. I love kombucha! have been drinking it regularly for about 4 months now, not sure if I can say that I see any benefits but I am sure it’s doing something 😉 hihihi!! I still can’t figure out why it ain’t fizzy after my second fermentation tho, I leave it out in bottles (Grolsch bottles) for about 3-4 days and then pop it in the fridge but they’re never that fizzy 🙁 still good tho!

    Any advice?

    • Hi Martine, What are you adding for the second ferment? Pieces of fruit/juice/?

      • I usually add a few pieces of giner and sometimes a lemon slice 🙂

        • ooops ginger I meant 🙂

  93. Probably not enough sugar….that’s why it’s not getting fizzy.

  94. can you make kombucha with coconut sugar

  95. To make kombucha, you are only to use refined sugar (raw organic cane crystals is the best choice to eliminate any chemicals). This is an important step to making kombucha. It is important for the Scoby (the symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to FEED off of the sugar. So there is no need to worry about using sugar as it will not be present in its original form once the kombucha is finished. Any other form of sugar (coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup) will not have the molecular structure to do what is needed. USE ONLY SUGAR. You can go to Culturesforhealth.com and get more info on how to make kombucha (they also have a video on YouTube).

    • Have put two ginger tea bags in with the mix, will it affect the scoby.

      • Cultures for Health advises that it is best to use teas that do NOT contain any oils, such as Orange Spice Tea or Earl Grey, as these oils may encourage mold growth. They say it is best to use a variety of black or plain green teas (Oolong or English Breakfast), again, any that don’t contain oils. Not sure if your ginger tea contains oils. If you’re wanting a gingery flavor, you can always flavor your kombucha with fresh ginger at the end, once your brew is done—BEFORE putting it into the refrigerator. You can always search Youtube on “how to flavor kombucha” (Cultures for Health also has a video on “how to flavor kombucha”). Hope this helps.

        • Dana, thanks for the info. Bob

          • You’re so welcome … hope it all works out for you. 🙂

  96. Have put two ginger tea bags in with the mix, will it affect the scoby.

  97. Hi, I have a question regarding the warm weather for a scoby? We are currently experiencing a heat wave here in Canada and my house is around 30 degrees Celsius and I am wondering if this will affect my kombucha being made?

    Thank you!

  98. I followed this recipe, but I bought GT Dave’s original kombucha in my local store (the first time they ever had it locally in any form). I made sure to grab one that had a lot of floaty bits and was able to grow a nice scoby from it in about three weeks! I was able to split the scoby and make two quarts of kombucha this past week. They both sank in the jars. One stayed at the bottom and one resurfaced by the third day. Both began growing a new scoby on top, but it is still relatively thin at this point. Harvest for me was about 7 days. It has this tart yet slightly sweet flavor. This brew yielding lots of brown yeasty stringy bits. I reserved a cup of each quart because I am doubling the batches. I made two quarts cut with juice today and capped them (I used a bit more juice as an online friend said she mixes half buch with half juice) . I did not get the plastic covers for the mason jars so I am using the metal screw caps. I place an upside down coffee filter over the jar and then throw the screw cap over it to prevent flies. I will note, I suddenly have fruit flies hanging around since the last batch of bananas I bought–they do seem to love this buch. I did leave a bit of brew out to catch them, but they haven’t flown into the trap yet. I did use a regular lid for this second ferment to make it a bit more bubbly. I made sure the brew did not contact the lid and will be left undisturbed for a few days. I honestly thought I had killed the scoby when it sank, but it still worked it’s magic. I was also worried about the brown floating bits. At first they looked really dark and I thought I had mold growing, but as I brought it into the light of the kitchen I realized it was just the yeast strands. I still looked at other photos to ease my worries, lol. I am very excited to be brewing my own especially where this stuff is about $5 a bottle (it was supposed to be on sale for $2.99 but someone I ended up paying full price and didn’t have time to argue with the cashier that day). Best $5 investment though! I may try the continuous brew next, but I worry if the scoby sinks it will block the flow of my container. Any suggestions for this?

  99. Well done…looks like you have done everything right. Wish everyone would follow the instructions with the smarts that you have. I wouldn’t worry too Mich about the scoby. It will probably work its way back to the surface – its a living organism and doesn’t always do what its supposed to at first – just like us. If it blocks the spout , just move the bad boy.
    Yes the fruit flies love it!
    Hope you have many happy kombucha years…

  100. Hi Everyone..I love this site and was hoping someone could help me. I am looking for info on 2nd Ferment Kombucha…On one of the FB groups they mentioned literally putting a flavored tea bag into the Kombucha to Second Ferment it. I did put a Double Ginger Tea Bag into mine and it was quite good. But..Question is..How good is that for you? Most Tea Bags are only in water for short time..this would have your tea bag in there till you drink it…so any thought on this would be appreciated.

  101. I’ve posted this comment on the 17th (not sure you read it). You need to be careful if using teas that contain oils. Here is what I posted:

    Cultures for Health advises that it is best to use teas that do NOT contain any oils, such as Orange Spice Tea or Earl Grey, as these oils may encourage mold growth. They say it is best to use a variety of black or plain green teas (Oolong or English Breakfast), again, any that don’t contain oils. Not sure if your ginger tea contains oils. If you’re wanting a gingery flavor, you can always flavor your kombucha with fresh ginger at the end, once your brew is done—BEFORE putting it into the refrigerator. You can always search Youtube on “how to flavor kombucha” (Cultures for Health also has a video on “how to flavor kombucha”). Hope this helps.

  102. So I made my first batch… 8 liters.

    4/8 of my bottles just exploded and shattered glass everywhere after 2 weeks of second ferment – whoops.

    I guess I should check them daily? I put mashed blueberries in and at 8 days they hadn’t lost all their color, so I let them keep fermenting.

    How should I judge when I should put them in the fridge to stop fermenting/exploding? I have swingtop bottles so I can open to check?

    I like to get as much sugar out as possible, as I’m on a very low carb diet.

    thanks…!!

    • FYI the whole story:

      My starter batch was in very warm weather and is VERY acidic – basically vinegar.

      A friend who has been making kombucha for years told me to add about 15 blueberries mashed to the bottom of my 34 oz bottles, then fill about 1/4 full with the acidic kombucha, then brew fresh sweet tea and fill the rest of the way. I filled to where the neck of the bottle begins to narrow.

      at 7 days, like I said, the berries had not lost their color entirely and it didn’t look very bubbly, half the bottles had the berries floating on top and some evidence of fizziness. the other half they were still sitting on the bottom, so I left them another week.

      My friend told me he has left kombucha like this for months at a time with no explosions.

      My possible theories are:

      1. bad quality bottles (ordered ikea brand my friend uses online, now, to use instead of the Bormioli Rocco ones I used first – one or two reviews on amazon reported kombucha breaking them, too! )

      2. filled bottles too full. will stop before the narrow end next time, to allow for more gas.

      3. the combination of sweet tea’s sugar AND fructose from the fruit was overkill and caused too much activity.

      Trying to decide if next time:

      – I should just put the starter 50/50 with sweet tea and let it ferment out more sugar on its own, THEN add fruit

      OR

      – Don’t add more sweet tea, just add fruit.

      4. left too long, but judging by other’s reviews this should not be a factor.

      Help troubleshooting appreciated! don’t want more explosions…!

  103. Hi,
    To bottle the Kombucha do you go thru the ”canning” process? (add full containers to boiling water for 10 minutes, remove and lid seals)

    Or do you add the lids and it seals itself to last?
    If you don’t go thru the ”canning” process then how long will your bottled tea last? refrigerated?

  104. No boiling water baths …this is not a canning process. Just add a lid to make it fizzy. Don’t seal it in case it explodes. It won’t spoil…you’d probably drink it first anyway. Its no longer really tea by now – its a fizzy, slightly alcoholic, fermented drink.

  105. I have a question, I have been brewing Kombucha now for a month and a half, my scoby is beautiful and healthy, kind of large. I have been brewing using the same fermented Kombucha tea inside my 2 gal container as my starter. I was keeping about two cups in there and added my new batch of tea and sugar. About one cup sugar per gallon of tea (in filtered water). My Kombucha sits in a quiet place in our basement. It has been fermenting within 2 to 3 days and when it is like 3 days it tastes like Kombucha but kinda of no flavor, bland. I save it by second fermenting with candied ginger or blueberries/strawberries or ginger syrup and it is fizzy and great after another two days. But why does it ferment so fast, should I add more sugar for taste or start over with maybe GT’s original as a starter instead? This last batch I left only a cup of starter/less than usual and still two days later it is tart, yet no sweetness at all. I can’t understand why it is fermenting so fast? My first batches tasted great without second fermenting.. Anyone understand if I may be doing something wrong? Thank you and love your site, I use all your information here and i appreciate all you do for us! Chris D

    • I found out you need to clean out some of the brown stringy yeast on your scoby and that collects on the bottom of your jug if you continuous brew. That can make your Kombucha imbalanced which left mine tasting bland/odd and fermenting too fast. I separated my scoby, cleaned him off and cleaned my jug, made a new batch of sweet tea and used GT’s original for starter instead of my odd tasting tea, put back in my clean and thinner scoby and now my brew is tasting great! It has been 5 days and should be ready in a couple of days. So, if anyone runs into this problem where your Kombucha begins to taste odd and ferments too fast in a normal climate environment, this could be the solution, it was for me..

      • I think this is a very valuable and useful comment so thanks Chris. Strangely, I have always felt my scoby was a ‘she’, though.

        • Thank you…Hee hee, yes, ‘ he.’ It worked. Hope it works for others too. I truely believe this was the cause of the imbalance, my tea tastes just like it should(to me) now. I did this to another batch of green tea i was brewing that did the same thing, though this time I used the starter tea from its batch & seems to be fine. So i recommend cleaning your he or she scoby from time to time. 😉

  106. Hi 🙂 I have a question regarding my scoby that has been dormant for a few weeks… Can I use the fermented tea that it’s sitting in in my new batch of sweet tea?

    Thank you!

  107. I have a scoby that has been in the refrigerator for about a month in its original kombucha. Is it still alive and can I start a new batch of kombucha? Should I use some of the old liquid in the new batch if I do?

    • I am not an expert here but I have been brewing for a little while and had some trials and errors that I learned from and did ALOT of research, my kombucha is fantastic now and I am really mastering it, my goal!
      I read many places that you could refrigerate your scoby, but one place(Kombucha Kamp) says DO NOT and gives a lot of back up information why not to. I do not refrigerate my scobys so what I would suggest and anyone else may jump in here is to make a small batch of tea and kind of try to wake it up. I would use fresh kombucha starter, but that is me, as I have always ran out to get GT’s Original to use as a starter when I screwed up my batch and used it to grow my beautiful scoby. Anyway Make a quart of tea and put part of the bottle of Gts in it (keep the rest for your next batch incase) and brew it for awhile and see what happens to the tea. Ferment it as long as you think, even if it turned to vinegar you know it is working then use that as starter and start over again to see if it will wake up. I myself wouldn’t drink it until I made a couple of batches with that scoby first. Good luck

  108. I just received my SCOBY from kombucha lamp a few days ago. I was getting ready to start brewing. Today, while at a local health food store, I was strongly discouraged from home brew kombucha. The store worker (appeared to be management) told me that several people became very ill after drinking home brewed kombucha. She went on to say it was a fad many years ago that was stopped due to illness. So now, instead of being excited, I’m a little scared. Any thoughts or suggestions so I don’t poison myself?

      • Thanks so much. The link gave me the information I needed to feel I could do this safely. I’ve ordered pH testing strips and a temp strip. I hope to start my brewing soon. Love your blog and all the wonderful ideas you share.

  109. And remember this person wants you to buy their product instead of making your own. Honestly, I think if you’re careful and clean, I agree with Katie, there should be absolutely no problem.

  110. On the beneficial bacteria – is there a difference between week 1 and week 3? If so – is there a big difference? Do they continue to increase in amounts over time? Or do they max out no matter how long you wait? I’m looking to ensure I get the most amount and willing to wait for it as needed. Any ideas?

  111. Alcohol content of Kombucha – does anybody know? Does it increase over time? I’ve seen a store version of raw kombucha at 0.5% – what about home made stuff – how do I keep it low; however, insure I’m getting plenty of the beneficial bacteria? Thanks!

  112. I started a new kombucha about four days ago, and I’m afraid I forgot to add the started kombucha/vinegar. Can I add it today w/o killing my kombucha?

  113. Someone gave me a Scoby in a ziploc, I believe it comes with some starter tea. I have had in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Is it still ok to use?

    • It should be, unless the lack of oxygen has gotten to it. I’d try it with the starter and see if it works…

  114. I just finished my first ever jar of kombucha. I removed the scoby with some of the liquid. It had a thin baby on top but I wanted to let it grow some more so I kept it attached to the mother. When I put them into the sweet tea to start another brew they sunk half way down. They came back to the top but now the baby is on bottom with the mother on top. Will this harm the new baby scoby? I didn’t know if I should intervene or leave it be.

  115. I had a piece of ginger in my tea, but I forgot to put it in the fridge. Now i have a scoby growing around it. Is this safe to start a new continuous flow of kombucha?

    • Absolutely safe…nothing to do with the ginger….just a new scoby forming – as they do.

  116. Hi , You know , I think that this “Organic” thing is a big rip off !!! You are not the only
    person that said they use plain white sugar in their kombucha and it turns out just fine .
    Have you checked out the prices on the different types of raw organic sugars that are
    out there ?? The prices of organic sugar would eat up what ever savings you hoped to
    get from making your own kombucha . I was talking to an Asian producer one day and
    he told me that a particular product he was selling was organic but he could not put that
    word on the package without having to pay a large fee for doing that . He said that the
    word “Organic” costs money .

  117. Hi Katie! Recently decided to incorporate Kombucha into our lives after reading your posts. Got a scoby and just did my first batch. But when I offered my brother my first baby scoby he researched further and pointed me to this (http://www.orawellness.com/blog/why-we-dont-drink-kombucha/) discussing the high amount of fluoride and sometimes aluminium in tea leaves. I would appreciate it if you could share your view on this as I am sure you have come across it before me. I thought of purchasing organic quality teas but is that enough to get the benefits of kombucha without the high fluoride or aluminium? Thanks!

  118. I would like to know the reason why pineapple should not be used.I have been brewing kombucha for 1 year now,and used fresh pressed pineapple and blueberry juice mixed with freshly grated org ginger (i keep it in the fridge for 2 days prior making the kombucha so the juice gets all the ginger’s goodness).I would like to say that the pineapple is amazing and all of my friends’s favorite.

    • Glad you’ve had good results with it. When I’ve tried it, it created stringy and nasty pieces in the kombucha and I’ve heard of others having this issue as well…

      • No stringy things in mine.Also, the pineapple is more fizzy than the others I’ve tried (orange,concorde grape,blueberry and black cherry).I always use ginger though.I have been doing it for 1 year now and the pineapple is the only one that I never changed.

  119. Thank you for all the blog and responses. Very informative. I’m interested of starting my own Kombucha brew. I will have to ask you though regarding the 2nd batch, I thought you have to put a cup of starter from the first brew and put the scoby back in on the new sweet tea. One person commented that you don’t put the scoby on the 2nd batch? So how is the kombucha brewed if that’s the case? Have I misunderstood the comment made? Also after 6-7 days do you just leave the scoby in your brewing jar when you put the brew in the fridge? At what point should the scoby be out? and how long can it stay in its container in the fridge? I live here in Richmond BC. Would you have any information where I could get an activated scoby rather than a dried one? Fiona said she can share one scoby from her supplies, will you be able to let her know that I need one please? Thank you very much.

  120. Hi Katie,
    After the second ferment, are the metal lids ok to use for the jars when storing? I am confused about when metal lids are ok to use? PLEASE HELP!

  121. Hi wellness mama! Wondering… Do you know if the starter kits at thrive are good? It’s called REAL kombucha..? Also.. If I use the frozen or fresh berries instead in the juice do I need to add something else to get that liquid you would normally be putting in if putting in fruit juice?… Also.. What do u do with the Scoby of not going to make a new batch right away? Can you store it somewhere and for how long?

      • Hi Wellness Mama. I love your blog. Do you suggest any store bought kombucha brands?

        • There are a lot of great brands now. I usually opt for organic ones without too much added sugar (even in the form of juice)

  122. I’ve been successfully making my own kombucha for two years. I now am avoiding fluoride as it was a significant contributor to my diarrhea. This now means I need to avoid bagged teas. I am using Yerba mate tea and it is working. The ph numbers are good, but there is a lack of the fizzy tang I liked and usually had with the green tea batches. Any suggestions? Thank you, Connie Heller

  123. I have added the ginger pieces to the brew with the skoby… is this dangerous for the skoby?

    • I would just add the ginger for a second ferment, as using it with the scoby for a long time may affect the bacterial strains in the scoby.

      • I ended up removing the ginger pieces before I put my ginger brew in the glass jar. I had a funny feeling about leaving the pieces in it.

  124. I am planning to start making kombucha but have never attempted anything like this so I wanted to check a few things first…

    When you move the scoby and 1/2 cup of your first batch to a clean bowl… How would you store that to use say in a week, month, etc if you didn’t want to brew a new batch immediately… Can the scoby ever die or can this grow mold?

    Also I’m super worried about actual bad mold growing !! How can I know if something is a new scoby, or something I don’t want like mold.. Will it be very obvious? Like I said I’ve never done this so I don’t know what a scoby even looks like yet, haha.

    Thanks to anyone who has any input!!!

  125. If I want to make my second firment like the “original” flavor from the store, what should I do?

  126. My wife is questioning whether the did on top of my first batch is scoby or some mold designed to kill her. Is there any way to be sure it’s safe? I’ve got pictures if there’s a way to upload

  127. Does anyone know how much sugar is left in the brew after only 5 days? I ready that until the 7th day the Scoby doesn’t use the sugar but minerals in the tea. My KT brews fast but I don’t want to drink all of that sugar.

  128. I use a continuous brewing process and with a 3 gal vessel, with a pouring spout. I recently moved it to the garage where it gets plenty of warmth in the summer and after 7 days there is little to no residual sugar, it has all been converted. I am taking 3 qts out per week. So it all depends on the temp the brew is kept at and the health of your scoby. It sounds like you have good activity – so my recommendation is to taste it. If its sweet let it sit.

  129. For medical reasons I am unable to tolerate carbonation. Is there a way to make non-carbonated Kombucha?

    • Without the second ferment, it is not carbonated technically, but I’m curious what specifically in the carbonation you can’t handle since this is an entirely different process than that used in carbonating sodas.

      • After a gastric bypass. Carbonation is a no no, but I loved kombucha before the surgery.

  130. Oh no! I am brand new to the brewing & misunderstood a friend that told me about putting fruit in it. I accidentally put it in at the beginning of the brew process. I am figuring now this ruined my scoby for future use, but is the whole batch bad? Do I need to throw it out & figure out how to start again?

  131. What kind of sugar do you use in your Kombucha?

    • I use plain white cane sugar, from what I have read it is the easiest for the scoby to work with and I have had great results.

  132. Hello Wellness Mama!

    Can Stevia be used in place of sugar?

    • Unfortunately not in ferments like kombucha. The cultures need to sugar to ferment and become inactive without it.

  133. THIS IS SO PERFECT TIMING! JUST MADE MY OWN SCOBY AND MY FIRST BATCH OF KOMBUCHA. I PUT IN QUART JARS FOR A SECOND FERMENTATION. THE TASTE BEFORE SECOND FERMENT WAS WONDERFUL AND A LITTLE FIZZY. MY SCOBY HAD A WONDERFUL NICE ROUND FORMATION ON TOP OF A LOT OF SCRAGGLY, STRINGY BUNCHED UP JUNK UNDERNEATH SO I SEPARATED THE NICE SCOBY ON TOP AND PUT IN MY NEW BATCH OF KOMBUCHA. I WASN’T SURE SO I PUT THE OTHER PART IN TOO. NOW I’M WONDERING IF ALL WILL BE OK FOR MY SECOND BATCH OF KOMBUCHA OR IF I RUINED MY SCOBY. EXCITED TO TRY THE QUART JARS TODAY. I LOVE THIS STUFF. I ALSO MAKE MY OWN SOURDOUGH BREAD AND PIZZA DOUGH. LOVE ALL THIS HOMEMAKING STUFF!!
    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR INFO. ALSO HAVE YOUR COOKBOOK!

    • All you need is the white part of the scoby…I usually get rid of the stringy bits as they serve no extra purpose. As long as you follow a few basic rules, the scoby is difficult to contaminate or kill.
      Good for you for making the fermented bread too.
      (Probably best not to comment in capitals …..it’s not super polite)

  134. Just curious why you say don’t use honey. Another site said it was ok and ive been using it for months. Works fine, Tastes great. Better than store bought raw brands. Also use green and or white tea.

    • Raw honey can kill the culture because of its natural antibacterial properties. It won’t always kill it, but it can. It is also a lot more expensive. Green and white tea don’t have the same composition and can wear down the culture over time.

  135. I have tons of SCOBY if you’re in the KC area! Just tossed a 2 inch thick set of them from my 2 gallon jug. This may have been covered, but I bought a 2 gallon glass jug with spigot from Amazon so I can drain the KT to a certain point each time without disturbing my sweet, slimy SCOBY so often! I can also just make half the batch if I have too many bottles stored up. I reuse the store bough kombucha bottles and they have been working well for about 3 years now. I remember how excited I was to make my first fizz; I felt like a mad scientist. Pear juice and ginger is awesome; fall brings me to add a few whole cloves and allspice to apple juice and KT; ginger, berries, whatever fruit is going bad soon except maybe bananas.

  136. I have just brewed my first batch and I don’t really want it to be any more tart or have any more fizz (1f lasted 15 days). Is it required to do a 2f or can I just add fruit etc. and go straight to the fridge with it?

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