How to Make Kombucha Soda

how to make kombucha easy recipe How to Make Kombucha SodaKombucha is a fermented sweetened tea that has been around for centuries. It is slightly tangy and slightly sweet, and a great treat on a summer day. Just as with water kefir, Kombucha can be double fermented into a fizzy soda with a slight fruit taste.

Kombucha contains high levels of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid. It has been reported to have a variety of health benefits including:

  • liver detoxification
  • improved pancreas function
  • increased energy
  • better digestion
  • improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
  • kills Candida (yeast)
  • helps nutrient assimilation

Kombucha is brewed from sweetened tea, though most of the sugar ferments out, so it has minimal effect on blood sugar. It can be made with caffeinated or decaf tea, and even with green tea or herbal teas.

The 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.

How to Get a SCOBY?

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 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 Kombucha Kamp.
  • Grow your own. I tried this and didn’t have great success with it, but I know other who have. It 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.

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

How to Brew Kombucha

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

Before you start, make sure you have:

  • a 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 1/2 cup of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha
  • coffee filter or thin cloth and a rubber band

How to Make Kombucha Soda
 
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

 

carbonated kombucha how to make kombucha soda How to Make Kombucha Soda

For 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. Get another very clean gallon sized jar or 5 quart sized glass jars (I prefer this!)
  2. Pour 1 quart of juice of your choice (not citrus or pineapple though!) 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 of Kombucha
  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!!

kombucha soda drink recipe 300x300 How to Make Kombucha SodaEver brewed Kombucha or a fermented drink? What’s your favorite?

Reader Comments

  1. says

    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 :)

      • Kimber says

        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

    • says

      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.

      • Laurianne says

        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!

  2. Bree says

    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.

  3. Kilty says

    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?

      • Tia Thompson says

        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.

        • says

          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.

          • says

            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. :)

          • Tracy says

            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 :)

          • Tracy says

            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.

        • Edie Brennan says

          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.

  4. says

    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…

    • says

      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.

    • Kate says

      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!

  5. says

    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!

  6. Kristin says

    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?

  7. Amy says

    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?

      • Meghan says

        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. :)

  8. Julia k. says

    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?)

  9. Jen says

    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!!!

    • says

      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!

      • Jen says

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

  10. Sheri Napier says

    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?

  11. Amanda L says

    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?

  12. Phoebe G says

    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?

    • says

      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…

  13. Elizabeth Leon says

    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?

    • Ana says

      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. :)

  14. Willow Carver says

    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 …

    • Ana says

      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.

  15. Rosa DeVoe says

    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.

  16. Ally Huang says

    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?

    • Ana says

      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).

  17. Christy says

    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!

    • Ana says

      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.

  18. Beth Frampton says

    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?

    • Ana says

      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?

    • Tracy says

      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)?

    • Ana says

      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.

    • Ana says

      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.

  19. Donna says

    “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?

    • Ana says

      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.

  20. Shawna says

    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?

  21. Tiffany says

    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…

  22. mischele says

    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

    • Ana says

      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.

      • Paulaine says

        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.

        • Fran says

          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.

  23. Ana says

    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.

  24. Vesela Georgiev says

    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!

  25. Carrie Poulson says

    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?

  26. Caitlyn Baldo says

    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???

  27. Sheila says

    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?

    • Ashley says

      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?:)

      • Ashley says

        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….

  28. Ashley says

    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….

  29. Andrea F. says

    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.

  30. Mary says

    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!

  31. Stacy Ransom says

    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?

  32. Brandi says

    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.

  33. Jim says

    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

  34. Debbie says

    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?

  35. Jenn says

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

  36. Rai says

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

  37. Sharnell says

    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?

  38. Meghan says

    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?

  39. Shayne says

    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?

  40. Caroline says

    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!)

  41. John Wesley says

    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! :)))))

  42. Lana says

    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;)

  43. Melinda says

    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!

    • Melinda says

      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

      • Melinda says

        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!

  44. Dee says

    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

    • Barbara says

      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.

  45. Barbara says

    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.

  46. John says

    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.

    • Barbara says

      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.

    • Tracy says

      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!

      • Barbara says

        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.

        • marcia says

          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!

    • Forex Taurus says

      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.

  47. Gabriela says

    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?

  48. Tilly says

    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!!!

  49. cynthia says

    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!!

    • vicky says

      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.

    • Rose says

      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!

  50. Chris A. says

    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.

  51. VIKKI DRENNAN says

    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?

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