How to Make a Big Batch of Kombucha

Picture of How to Make a Big Batch of Kombucha
Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage popular in Russia, China, and elsewhere.
The culture forms a leathery skin called the "mother" that floats on top.
This week's Instructables TV episode shows how to wrangle the jellyfish-like "Mother" and make Kombucha 5 gallons at a time. This method produces a fizzy carbonated kombucha that tastes very much like hard apple cider.

For background on this bizarre beverage, read Arwen's Making Kombucha Instructable and the Wikipedia Kombucha article. Some confusion arises from the existence of a Japanese kelp tea also called "kombucha".

Back to the blob:
For me it all started when my friend Anne Harley went to Russia, made herself fluent in the language, joined a band of gypsy musicians, and went on tour with them.
Did you know Russian Gypsies have a caste system that dates back to their origins in India?
That was news to me. So was the fact that Kombucha exists. Anne brought a very fine Kombucha culture back with her and taught me how to make it.

Since then I've made hundreds of gallons of Kombucha for my friends and myself. I've done a great deal of experimentation and had some serious mishaps. I've killed the culture several times, coaxed it back when it got out of balance, and had a couple of explosions that splattered kombucha far and wide and could have seriously injured someone.
Between the mistakes, mishaps and disasters, actual Russians and new-age fruitcakes have tasted my Kombucha and told me it's the best they've ever had. I work with my culture until I get it tasting like apple cider. So much so that you'll try to figure out what varieties of apples it's from. But there's really nothing in it but tea, sugar, and a festering mass of microbes.

We'll be going step-by step through the process later, but for reference, here is how to make the sweet tea to be fermented.

Anne's Recipe:
6 tsp tea
6 cups h2o = 1.5 quarts
1 cup sugar

same recipe for 4 gallons
64 tsp tea = 1.3 cups
4 gallons h2o = 64 cups
10.66 cups sugar

same recipe for 5 gallons
Just under 5lbs sugar
5 gallons water
1.5 cups dry tea

Here is part 1 of the Kombucha making video - tea brewing and mixing in the mother

And here is part 2 of the video - fermentation and bottling

You can download the .m4v ipod formatted videos from blip.tv
Kombucha Part 1
Kombucha Part 2

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ple7 years ago
any fermented product needs to be refrigerated once it is sealed air-tight unless you are absolutely sure that there is no more sugar for the culture to "eat". two weeks is a long time for the pressure in a bottle to build up if the kombucha is still fermenting...if you aren't familiar with the term "specific gravity" then you are best off playing it safe and putting your kombucha in the fridge after a week or so in the bottle... i would stick to glass though...plastic is toxic! good luck!

To add to "unless you're absolutely sure there is no more sugar".... at that point it will be officially "Vinegar" and you probably won't want to drink it. Even the lowest carbs form of drinkable Kambucha has sugar (The lowest sugar content you can really have and still have a drinkable product is about 1g/7oz at the time you drink it).

GeckoHiker1 ple10 months ago


fety ple5 years ago
*correction.. unless you're talking about glass bottles to "store" the already made Kombucha, yeah, you need to refrigerate them to stop fermentation or else they keep growing and producing CO2.
fety ple5 years ago
What? Did you seal the damn things?? They need air to breath.. and if you fill them too high the scoby will plug the top shoulder of the jar. I had that happen once but noticed it before too much pressure formed. I use a sun tea jar and I was able to relieve the pressure with the spigot. Glass is the only way to go.
dubanarchist9 months ago

WAYYYYYYYYY Too much sugar is this recipe... You only need like 1 cup per gallon any more will result in too much leftover sugar especially if ur continuous brewing weekly. Cmon now

thebigjoy1 year ago
hello friend, thanks for this.
I left my mother with an ex co-worker to take care of while I was away and the boss threw it out, and now for the life of me I can't get my hands on another mother mushroom lady.
Please help?
Could you?
That would be divine.
Thank you, in advance.
Have a fantastic day
They sell the mother on Amazon. I bought one as a gift. About $9.
Hello! Firstly, thanks for such an awesome tutorial! I have a few questions, if you have a moment.

My background is that I am a beer and meade maker, so I have all of the appropriate equipment for said productions and it is all pretty great quality stuff (glass). I have a 3gal glass carboy that is sitting around not doing anything that I'd like to use to make a batch of k'cha with.

1.) Can I not use it with a standard bubbler on top to allow for gas to escape? I have never noticed condensation forming with the production of beer or meade, so since k'cha requires a cool environment, I don't see how it would produce it with that.

- Or could I use the glass carboy with a coffee filter over the top instead of the bubbler?
- Is it the headspace that makes the difference?

2.) What sugars are considered good to use and in what form?
- Do any of them, like honey, need to be boiled for a certain time period to break the complex sugar bonds for the mother to process, or is it fine just heating it up?
- Can I use a mixture of sugars (namely thinking honey + light brown sugar)?
- If just using honey, what amounts would be suggested?

3.) Does the equipment used need to be sterilized like it does with beer making?

Thanks so much! =(^_^)=
lnwn2 years ago
That was awesome. I love your tips to avoiding champaigning k'cha all over the place. I had a chia seed booch splatter me in the face and all over my kitchen and the ceiling.
z_malloc3 years ago
I am brewing my 3rd batch of Kombucha and I have some serious concerns. After drinking a ton of the de-facto commercial brand for about 2 months I started having really bad headaches. I have completely stopped, and they have dissipated to some degree, but I've been pondering what happened. I'd like to mention that I own a copy of Alana Pascal's book 'Kombucha - How-To and What It's All About' thought by many to be the definitive book on Kombucha.

My first concern: Mobilization. It is my understanding that Kombucha is very effective at not only helping your liver process toxins much more effectively, but that if you have amassed a good deal of toxins in your system over the years that they can be 'mobilized'. This raises serious concerns for those who might have a sizable quantity of such things as heavy metals like mercury. After being mobilized, they may not be rapidly expelled from your body, as was the case that caused them to build up in the first place, subsequently redistributing in other soft tissue of the body such as the brain. I believe very little is discussed about this the average consumer has no clue just how effective Kombucha can be at mobilizing toxins and super charging your liver. Clearly this is a double edged sword and something that should be regarding in much the same way any sensible person would look at vitamins. Proper dosage is key. It bothers me that commercial products say little about the dangers of over consumption. Given that Kombucha mobilizes so well, it is highly recommended that you DO NOT drink it when pregnant or breastfeeding as the fetus/infant will be subject excessive toxins. It is also discouraged for use by children. I don't want people doing damage to themselves out of ignorance, and I don't want the drink I've grown to enjoy greatly to face regulation or worse.

My second concern: Carbonation and storage. In Alana Pascal's book, she informs that when Kombucha is capped, and anaerobic fermentation occurs, toxic by product is created namely in the form of acetone (think paint thinner or nail polish remover). Acetone is a ketone that is very destructive to the kidneys. She indicates that Kombucha should not be stored capped in the refrigerator for more than an astonishingly conservative 3 days or there is the risk acetone production. This is troubling. Most people will tell you, Kombucha is much more palatable when carbonated. This is where I am uncertain. Small amounts of acetone are present in commercial foods we consume and such trace amounts have been deemed relatively safe. Thinking back, I purchased dozens of bottles of commercially available RAW Kombucha. That means, unpasteurized and while I know there are chemical compounds that can be added which do not kill the culture but prohibit it from continued fermentation, I have serious doubt those would have been used. Of those many bottles, several were near there expiration date, and even more of them when opened exhibited vast over-carbonation. This would seem to indicate that shipping and handling practices during the life of that product did not include continuous refrigeration. Suspecting heavily now that this may have contributed greatly to my headaches. To pasteurize or not to pasteurize. Many of the health benefits remain after pasteurization but it certainly isn't the most desirable option. I'd love to hear thoughts on carbonation options, and the risk of prolonged anaerobic fermentation.
Headaches can also be caused by your pH being off. Drinking lots of kombucha could do that.
Foaly75 years ago
How do you keep it from building up too much alcohol?
preed4 Foaly73 years ago
The only thing you can do is ferment it for less time. Make your batch for about 5 days. It'll have less alcohol, but also less of the beneficial acids that we want. It really is such a little amount of alcohol, anyway, I say just make it how you like the taste. http://goo.gl/35zcT
preed43 years ago
I believe I have written the simplest and easiest to follow instructions for making kombucha from store-bought kombucha. Check out my instructions on http://goo.gl/35zcT
majjuss3 years ago
Hi there!

Thanks for your great instructable! Your videos really helped me make my first kombucha. I got the starter culture from a colleague and started with green tea. The taste is really interesting and nothing like the kombucha I bought at our supermarket. The kombucha tastes a little bit like peach, what I didn't expect at all.

I will make the next batch with black tea to see what it tastes like.

Greetings from germany,
sageo7 years ago
I really like the aesthetic of those wide-mouthed jars.
Anyone know where I could get some.
I like the Big Mother potential they have too.
I bought mine at Walmart. I tried to get one at a locally owned department store but they've changed their product lines and had to go there. The glass jars are under $13 and i put a dish towel over the top secured with a big rubber band.
yanggers sageo5 years ago
Looks like Anchor Hocking 1 or 2-Gallon Heritage Hill Jars. Check it out at Amazon.com.  Anchors happen to be USA made in this day and age, nice and cheap too.
thunder1 sageo7 years ago
Smart and Final has great wide-mouth jars.
fety thunder15 years ago
FYI, Smart and Final is ONLY in CA, NV & AZ. You're better off mentioning Target because they're in all 50 states.
natvlegl4 years ago
Check out the clothes that a British designer "grows" from yeast, bacteria & tea .. sounds like scobies to me. I see no reason why it couldn't be flattened when wet, pressed together to dry in sheets & then material cut. They call it BioCouture. The site with the pictures of the jackets is at :


I think MOV would work as well. I've used them interchangeably for bandages & they both turn out like leather when dried. The pics show it looking to me, at least, like native brain-tanned leather. It can be dyed with natural dyes they say.
Yes , Kombucha can be made into a "leather" alternitive , but production methods as of now are still only able to produce a very water soluable version of leather , meaning , as previous comments about the scobys here " Slimy when wet" ...
So not too good if your motercycle jacket would met when you splash in a puddle :) . hope somebody combines it with beeswax or something like that to improve water resistance
TahoeGal5 years ago
To add to "Chard"'s comments about adding sugar to the bottle to increase fizz... Intead of sugar I thought I would compliment the natural apple essense of KT by adding unfiltered bottled apple cider when I bottle.I have been having really good results adding about an inch to a 16 oz glass bottle and leaving about an inch of head-space and then put the bottles back in the "incubator" at 75 F for 4 days or so (no explosions-the re-used plastic lids did expand a bit.) Also, a mix of the cider and a small amount of ginger juice with the bits from pressing through a garlic press (a little goes a long way). I love both these flavors ...sparkling apple cider and the ginger/apple cider. I think the ginger/apple mix is especially good if you have a cold or during colder months. I was nervous about using a non-pasturized juice because of mold/contamination/etc (the bottled cider is pasturized) but I went ahead and made fresh mango juice/puree and added an inch of that to the bottling. All I can say is wow on the fizz! It was a very tasty batch, if very hard to get into the glass! I would have to guess that the alcohol content is higher since the raw juice will ferment, but not real sure. I took samples of the Mango to my local health food store and they swore it tasted just like GT's Mango KT. My next trial is going to be with fresh peach juice/puree because they are on sale this week at Safeway for 49 cents a pound! So, there you have it. My fizzy flavor taste trials ;D Contact me with what you have been trying! Christine Peace and Love!
Chanio TahoeGal3 years ago
Good perception with the blendings!

I would try adding some STEVIA leaves to the bottle as a sugar substitute that would increase the fizz.. Stevia leaves are good because, though not as sweet as sugar work well as a natural substitute and helps diabetic persons with their illness.

I noticed that when preparing any sweet fruit juice with water and stevia leaves, after bottling it and keeping it for a week, it starts fermenting and becoming alcoholic. As if stevia would be eating the sugar of the fruit and transforming it into alcohol...

I must try kombucha!

jhanger Chanio3 years ago
I'm not sure you would be able to use stevia. The sweetness from stevia doesn't come from sugar, but from something else.. Unless it's a carbohydrate of the sugar strain it won't ferment. Starches as an example are a carbohydrate but won't ferment without being broken down into sugars ..
While it's a great idea, i don't think stevia would be an adequate fermenter for adding fizz... sweetness yes, fizz no...
Though it can't hurt to try and prove me wrong ;)
ilpug3 years ago
I gotta say, this stuff looks like the most disgusting thing ever. My friend gave me five bucks to try it, and I was pleasantly surprised. I Still don't entirely trust home made kombucha though.
melanyrae623 years ago
slimy when wet - sounds like the perfect material for a snow saucer for sledding. Hmmm, might have to try the swimming pool idea in time for sledding season.
cloclo594 years ago
Lorsque la boisson kombucha est acide, à l'odeur et au goût :
Peut-on la boire ? Peut-on s'en servir comme d'un vrai vinaigre ? Si oui, se conserve-il comme un vrai vinaigre ?

When the kombucha beverage is acidic, smell and taste:
Can we drink it? Can we use it as a real vinegar? If yes, will keep it as a real vinegar?
Bonjour. Oui, on peut la boire quand elle est acide, s'il vous voulais.
Aussi, on peut l'utiliser comme d'un vrai vinaigre quand elle est devenu comme ça.

J'espere que je vous ai aidé! (Je suis desolé que je suis un peut rouillé avec le français)

Hi. Yes, you can drink it when it has become very acidic, if you want.
Also, it can be used as real vinegar when it has become as such.

Hope this helps! (Sorry that my french is a bit rusty.)
cloclo594 years ago
Do you know these sugars used in France and Belgium? If so, can they be used in the production of Kombucha?
- Vergeoise blonde or brunette, or the link in French http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergeoise
- Brown sugar, brown sugar kind.

Connaissez-vous ces sucres utilisés en France et en Belgique? Si oui, peut-on les utiliser dans la fabrication du kombucha ?
- Vergeoise blonde ou brune, voire le lien en français http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergeoise
- La cassonade, sorte de sucre roux.
arsenius4 years ago
@deathpod : You can get a mother from another kambucha batch. When the tea is brewing , little baby kombuchas are formed and they can be given to anyone, then they will turn into the mothers. There's a full explanation on http://www.brewingkombucha.com plus there are some more photos for you to see of the brewing process.
deathpod5 years ago
How do I get a Mother? Can I get some from a bottle i buy at the store?
put out the word on CL i give them away as presents
loki11386 years ago
Plastic is NOT toxic. Silly.
Soda has the same PH as Kombucha and it will not WILL NOT leach killer chemicals into the brew. http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/petbottles.asp
no its fine for storage but the mother doesn't like it
better safe than sorry
Skai wenpherd5 years ago
yeah plastic just scares the bejesus out of me in many applications
I have a question about this. I saw this instructable and was really fascinated by it, but never got around to doing anything. (considering I don't drink...) Anyways, I've been working on a project to brew tea at work (TONS of it) and we bottled a few gallons for reference. well... a week later (this is unsweet tea) I realized they needed to be thrown out. needless to say, at least one has stuff growing in it. most didn't look great, but one... well I looked at it and said "by gosh, is that a mother?" (see picture) Anyways, what do you think. I didn't add anything, the jugs were sanitary, and the tea was brewed at 202 degrees. it SHOULDN'T be mold. Now, (I'm working at a fast food HQ) this is a kitchen, so there could be some yeast in the air. so i thought it may be possible this is actually a mother. They have been working on bread products a lot recently. What do you think? do you think it'll turn into kumbucha? it is a skin, it's new, but it looks like the pictures above. I added sugar to see what happens, this really facinates me, even if I won't drink it (maybe I can find someone who will IF it's safe ) what should I look for to let me know if it's poisonous or if it's the real deal?
Well sure you don't drink, but Kombucha really doesn't have that much alcohol in it at all. It's legally classified as a non-alcoholic beverage because it has less than perhaps 1% alcohol when it isn't fermented for too long. I think there's a little bit of alcohol in some things that we drink everyday and we dont even know. Try drinking it and see if you can even really taste the alcohol, but i mean, i don't even know what it tastes like so ... but this is just what i've heard
Foaly75 years ago
So you can make this stuff from coffee?
abadfart Foaly75 years ago
no but you could mix it, i might have to try it  thanks for the idea 
Foaly7 abadfart5 years ago
But he says in step one that coffee works to brew the Kombucha.
abadfart Foaly75 years ago
thanks i didn't see that ill have to try
abadfart Foaly75 years ago
thanks i didn't see that ill have to try
abadfart Foaly75 years ago
thanks i didn't see that ill have to try
Doctor What7 years ago
Why so much sugar??? can you use less??
The sugar is eaten up by the whole fermenting process. The longer you let it brew the less sugar is left. It gets really acidic though! Gotta figure out that right time by tasting it every day, usually takes 12 days at 84 degrees. Keep your sugar measurements consistent. One time I added about a 1/4 cup more sugar per gallon and it tasted kinda like ketchup. I didn't like that.
The general recipe is 1 cup per gallon. I once made it with 1.5 cups and it came out tasting kinda like really sweet ketchup. So I brought it back down to 1 cup.
the sugar feeds the bacteria and yeast. less sugar equals less food for the bacteria and yeast, the sugar gets eaten and expelled by the scoby and it becomes something else - the end product after fermentation happens wont have as much sugar
i have some questions!!!! help! soooooo.....my kombucha is about ready for bottling....(last time i made it, we simply drank it from the jug--there were a LOT of us then) ANYWAYS, do i fill the kombucha to the very top of the bottle/s? ( i've heard this before) also, are the bottles stored outside the fridge until right before drinking and then refrigerated? how long should i leave them sit to get fizzy, are we talking a day or 2, or a week? or ... longer. . . ? basically, how long before they blow up??!! THANKS! this is helpful.
even though this is an old comment, I'll reply for anyone that wants to know. Usually when your Kombucha is ready for drinking (by tasting it along the way to your liking). You bottle it in EZ-Cap bottles and to maintain the fizz you put the bottles back in the warm spot you brewed the Kombucha in. I myself made an incubator for mine. I usually leave them there for a day then put them in the fridge. If you leave it too long pressure will build and they can explode.
So I have most of the materials ready to make my own kombucha, but I have a couple questions. First, is it possible to use beer bottles to bottle this stuff? I drink more beer than I do anything that comes in PET bottles. How long would I let it pressurize before putting it into the fridge? Second, can I use other sweeteners such as honey? Third, what would happen if I add baker's or brewer's yeast to the kombucha culture? Would one kill off the other? Would it make more alcohol?
 I use the 500ml german beer bottles for mine, using a bottle capper to seal them when refrigerating. Good for a year or more and still fizzy. I don't use sugar, since I am diabetic, but rather agave nectar in the same measure as sugar. You can leave it at room temperature for a week before refrigerating. That will ensure some fizz. You can't use honey, since it is antibacterial. No need to add yeast, unless you want beer. It would probably kill the mother. You can keep a mather without brewing for a year or so by periodically adding sugar and tea to the jar.
I brew 2-3 gallons at a time and always have leftover that needs to be bottled. I went to my local brew shop and bought a box of 12 1 liter EZ-cap swing top bottles for about $39. Be careful when filling as it will fizz some so hold the bottle at an angle. Use a fresh drinking straw to suck out the bubbles (don't cough) then keep filling it up. Cap it and leave it out for 12-24 hours to build pressure and keep the fizz, then put them in the fridge. NEVER use honey, it inhibits microbial growth and will harm the scoby. They say only to use plain jane processed sugar. btw, the typical recipe is 1 cup sugar per gallon, any more and it tastes like sweet ketchup to me. I would say don't mess with it by adding other yeasts and what not. I would only think it MIGHT BE ok to add some pro/pre-biotics from pills but who knows... Cut your scoby in half (haha, good luck) and start a different jar for experimenting. Drink at your own risk!
jaydedman5 years ago
I've been toying with the idea of making things out of dried SCOBYs. Couldn't you grow the SCOBY in a container that was in the shape of the thing you want to make? For example, why not create a "wallet" sized container for the SCOBY.
Or why not a "jacket-shaped" container.

Of course the SCOBY will shrink when it dries, so maybe it's better to just make big sheets. Would a SCOBY grow in a small child's pool so you have a 5' SCOBY?
idea: vegan sausage skins 
vegan chamois gloves, grips, polishers,...
We were looking to make shoes from the dried KT.  The culture is very tuff, however if it gets wet it is very slick.  It would work for the upper but not the soul of the shoe.  There's an artist on the net that makes human size scalptures out of big sheets of KT.
What is the name of the artist? I wonder how you make a large sheet of KT? Do you just put the mother in a child's pool? Would it grow that big?
TimAnderson (author)  jaydedman5 years ago
I read somewhere it was used to make shoes in wartime, but haven't seen any pix or more details than that.
I keep hearing everyone say its incredibly dangerous to make this stuff as mold and stuff can grow on it.......is that overrated or is it a real danger even if you take proper care of it?
waa waaa waaaa... it's overrated. You just have to be clean when preparing it from the start. Don't use your bare hands. Use fresh gloved hands (rinse them then coat with distilled vinegar) Be quick about it! Don't forget to wash your dust covered hairy arms too! Don't dry yourself with a dirty dish rag. Shake dry only! BE ANAL and you'll be fine!! haha!
yanggers fety5 years ago
Tim is seen here using his clean bare hands because his cultures are large and healthy, and so can fend themselves from unhealthy microbial invasions. It's also why we can cover the jars with cloth only and not worry about stuff in the air much. Some addition of species that make up the SCOBY must have been from chance introductions of compatible organisms. Guess how the symbiotic mashups  started, and still happening?
nepheron5 years ago
 All that kombucha appears to have driven the poor man insane!
Mmmmm.... festering microbes. Tasty.
please come check out the "kombucha party" on facebook - the ONLY conceptually-sound, holistic, green, beverage-based political movement around!
triplenine5 years ago
 Sorry to keep commenting on an old Instructable but it is a good one and I want to offer a few things. :)
If I were making this I would use a hydrometer (cheap at $8-10) or refractometer (more costly at $60-75) to keep an eye on the fermentation of the sugar. When the specific gravity stabilizes for a period of a few days, you can then add 3 to 5 ounces of dextrose (corn sugar available at all homebrew stores) and bottle in glass. Easy as pie and you don't have to worry about bottle grenades. This is the standard practice for brewing beer at home and bottling.
 Although, I am taking full attenuation into account. Some people may not like a fully attenuated kombucha and then you may bottle earlier than I would with my mthod to retain some sweetness and lose control over the carbonation. Typed faster than I thought on that first one. ;)
triplenine5 years ago
 It should be noted that yeast are fungi. Nice friendly fungi.
triplenine5 years ago
 It is a safer bet that any ropy strands are related to the formation of pellicle compounds by Pediococcus sp.
SeanPatrick5 years ago
 I've always wanted to make clothing patches out of my dried SCOBY, but it gets slimy when wet so I'd have a problem every time I tried to wash my clothes
How alcoholic is this? LIke 21 years and up grade?
since it is an open air brewing no alcohol of any quantity is produced.
The "synergy" brand I tried said on the bottle .5 % or less alcohol. I dont know how to determine the strength of my own batches (I've only made one so far) but I'm guessing that it could get pretty high if done right.. My reading has indicated that the yeast makes alcohol and the bacteria eat it to make the various  vinegary acids.  I find they taste like wine coolers to some degree with a cider like  taste.
I'd reqally like to find out where to get those big glass jars for the fermenting! I got a gallon pickle jar and wish it were thicker.
Tim is not saying add the Honey to the brew. He's talking about his previous batch that he's consuming while brewing his new batch.
TimAnderson (author) 5 years ago
My kombucha mother is dead! I guess I went too long without brewing and it totally dried out. Does anyone have some of my kombucha (the Anne Harley strain from Russia) that I could borrow some mother from?
sabetts7 years ago
From my beer brewing research, the strands may be lactobacillus. Here's a reference: http://www.skotrat.com/skotrat/Howtobrew.html
fety sabetts5 years ago
no, they're harmless strands of yeast cells/tea tannins.
fety sabetts5 years ago
no... they're harmless.
used8 years ago
Never tried this drink, but if your worried about bacteria, just make it a lil stronger, bacteria dont do to well in alcohol, s'why people drank beer instead of water in the middle ages.
fety used5 years ago
This doesn't create much alcohol. You can see trouble brewing before it's done.
Linco8 years ago
mhhh, tim, does a mother can be made without one in the pot, just by letting the beverage sit?
fety Linco5 years ago
It needs green tea to feed off of.. so it won't do much in the store bought bottle alone. But homemade stored in a bottle will keep growing at room temp. Must refrigerate to stop the fermentation. But bringing it back out to room temp it will start again.
newbrewer7 years ago
I've been make the "continuous" brew for a few weeks, pulling off a few bottles (after the first 7 days) every 2-3 days. I've tested letting the bottles sit for as long as 5 days...It's tastes right, but just won't get fizzy. Here's what I've tried: - filling the bottle to the top - letting it stay longer Like I said, the tast is OK, but I miss the fizz. What could I be doing wrong?
fety newbrewer5 years ago
Continuous brewing is too disruptive. You should have 2 or even 3 gallon sun tea jars that you cycle between if you want a constant supply with some extra, you can bottle it up with EZ-cap bottles. Use green tea instead of black tea to get more fizz. Bottle when ready then let them sit sealed up out in the open for a day then put in the fridge. Fresh is always more fizzy. Cold isn't as much. 1 liter EZ-Cap bottles are perfect! Make yourself an insulated box with ventilation to make a incubating temp of 85 degress for fast growing. Ready in about 12 days! ...or set it on top of the water heater.
try putting a couple of raisins in the bottle while it ferments (post jar, pre fridge)
marien137 years ago
this cool but i don't want to eat it because t looks gross
fety marien135 years ago
You don't HAVE to eat the scoby, just drink the goodness that it makes.
I have been brewing kambucha tea but I can not get mine fizzy most of the time. Every once in a while but for the most part its flat, and I like the fizz what do I do?
ok i have never made this before (im planning to when i have finished a few other projects) but i know a bit about brewing. the likely reason for the no fizz is that your leaving it in its 1st stage of fermentation for too long and all the sugars are used up. this means that when you put it in bottles theres no sugar to turn into CO2 (and alcohol). its the same with brewing beer. 2 ways to avoid this are to bottle it a few days earlier than usual so theres still some sugar left or you can add more sugar before bottling. this second method is called 'charging' in homebrew speak and all you do is add 1/2 to 1 tsp of sugar per pint or so of liquid into the bottle before you pour in the liquid. then give it a swirl to mix it in and seal up the bottle. hope this helps / works
arhodes186 years ago
I bought a bottle of this from a neat little food store that sells harder to find things like this and it was DISGUSTING!!! I am sorry, but it tasted and smelled like rotten apples, and it tasted slightly alcoholic, is all that normal?
That's fairly normal for the store-bought varieties, but the 'home grown' is simply delicious.
Krommos5 years ago
I've been making gallons of Kombucha over the past several months, and I have continued to do so from the start without any problems or encountering deadly innoculations. My children drink it, I drink it, and I give some to our regular guests. Everybody likes it and nobody gets ill. Today, for the first time, I actually had to toss one of my vats that had grown mold - and that only because I checked it about ten days ago and apparently introduced some little nasties. Otherwise, it is pretty damn fail-safe. Follow the directions Tim gives, don't be fraidy-cats, and enjoy!
Toxicity6 years ago
LOL The kombucha mushroom people, sitting around all day .
come on. am I the only person that listens to System Of A Down???
Lemon Toxicity5 years ago
Oh..... I finally get that lyric now. Lol SOAD \m/
becauseican6 years ago
did u ad the yeast or does it make its own.
briackman6 years ago
lol, working your teabag, haha, sorry just had to do that but was that giant pancake like thing put there or are were they really made by the tea...
monaloka6 years ago
people have been drinking this and other fermented beverages for centuries... why not giving this a try?
saludos desde Chile!!! =D
wenpherd6 years ago
it looks like........................beer
randint6 years ago
What are those vats in the photo? Where does one get them? They look perfect for the fermentation that produces kombucha, given what you said about it being aerobic and the need to prevent mold growth. Are they made of glass?
Duality6 years ago
Ok, I have to say, even as somebody who loves tea and goes through about a billion cups a day I think this is the most disturbing things I've ever seen. I never, ever, ever want to make this stuff. I'm sure this instructructable is great for people who want to make Kombucha, but I've just stumbled upon this and I think I'm going to be having nightmares about it tonight. Also, why'd they name that gross fungus slab 'the mother'? O_o Way to make the whole process even more freakish. It sounds like it's going to spawn hell beasts fueled by many kilograms of pure sugar...
Duality Duality6 years ago
I meant to say, 'one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen'. Sorry about that.
Ward_Nox6 years ago
voted the #7 grossest drink on cracked.com
tercero6 years ago
I've been brewing Kombucha for about 2 years. And stopped drinking it after the first month. Let's be honest. It's not that good for you. It has a look of sugar, and one hell of a lot of acid (oxalic). And I doubt the veracity of its health benefits when you consider what it might do to your kidneys. Right now, my mother (culture) has been brewing undisturbed for exactly 18 months.
DeborahN6 years ago
I just watched your video. It was funny and informative. I want to know where you found those glass jars. How much does it hold? They look perfect, and we are having a difficult time finding anything like that. Thanks. Deborah in Texas
Jupitane6 years ago
i still dont get what this kombutcha stuff is..... is it sweet?, i like sugar. =)
it sort of taste like fermented apple juice, except not as sweet, but sweeter than apple cider vinegar, its delicious, and the most economical health drink there is if you make it at home, especially if you buy the sugar and tea in bulk. the 20oz bottles in the store cost 3-4 dollars.
meowzebub6 years ago
Howdy Tim - love the detail & commentary. by far the best kombucha instructable. especially appreciate the "play-by-play" of k'cha development. thanks! my 1st batch is in the closet; bubbly, but still smells like sugar. thanks to you, I know that is just right!
abadfart6 years ago
I use old salsa jars when i make anything like this. you just need to bleed it every once in a while
Jupitane6 years ago
Copy and paste this if kombucha tastes good!
loki11386 years ago
Honey will kill the SCOBY. Honey has anti-microbial properties and can imbalance the culture. Just use sugar (white and brown)
hors3girl6 years ago
Why use BPA when making a Kombucha drink? Don't you think she'd prefer glass throughout the process? Why not pamper yourself and respect your mother by omitting plastic altogether? This way anyone can drink it safely.
I have a bird named Earl, she's Grey. My dad said i might not like this. Think so?
This is silly. You absolutely must use glass because as harveyparadox says: plastic IS toxic. The acidity from the kombucha will actually eat through layers of the plastic and toxic chemicals will leach out into the kombucha. Metal is also a no-no. To solve the problem of exploding containers - it's simple! After bottling, (fill to the brim) just refrigerate the brew. This greatly slows/stops the fermentation process. I have been brewing/bottling kombucha for months and never once had a container "explode." Also, you don't have to bottle it just before it's ready. Wait until it tastes just right, and the refrigeration will keep it at that point.
This 'acid-based' comment is completely unfounded. The chemistry of PET is more complicated than that. Do a little research to understand why, before you post. Coke for instance as a pH that is often lower (meaning more acidic) that Kombucha. The comment about metal is true for most metals available (gold is one example of an exception, for instance).
Kiteman said plastic IS not toxic.
Caya8 years ago
Folks might want to check these two links out before they consider making this stuff:



From what I have read, the stuff IS easily contaminated, and YES that can be very dangerous. I wouldn't do it.
maker12 Caya7 years ago
yes it can grow fusarum a VERY TOXIC mould! and all sorts of microbiologal fun. NOT.
maker12 maker127 years ago
it can grow 'Aspergillus, Candida, Cryptococcus, and Fusarium' 'all are Very dangerous Fungi'
nthmost maker127 years ago
Yeah, and if you leave raw chicken out on the table for 4 hours, it CAN grow E. coli and Salmonella. The alarmism of this society when it comes to microbes seriously alarms me.
Don't you think being alarmed by alarmism is a touch ironic..
generator Caya6 years ago
the first link was informative. though, i've heard it is dangerous to touch any metal to the kombucha colony because the bacteria and yeast will react in a toxic way... the article mentions removing pieces of kombucha with a fork. the second link was just crazy. They're referring to a strain of kombucha contaminated with anthrax that some people died from. and then the article goes on to recommend that people "pray to God" for healing instead of seeking out some crazy dangerous fermented miracle drink. it DOES look scary. I'm in the 3rd day of fermenting my scoby, and it looks gross. thanks for the instructable. very helpful. i've got those apple flavor blobby things floating in mine. so i guess thats a good sign.
Like milk? Like Cheese? Or even yogurt? If some big corporate kokakola giant thought they could profit, the FDA would be reassuring us about how safe it is. BTW the "blob" article actually includes a recipe; article is over 12 years old and is more ominous about not providing claimed health benefits.
nthmost Caya7 years ago
Kombucha is as "easily contaminated" as a grilled cheese sandwich is "easily made carcinogenic" (i.e. charred and burnt). There are simple causal relationships involved -- it's not microbial roulette. It takes some know-how to avoid burning your food on the stove; likewise it takes knowledge and skill to understand the kombucha brewing process such that it produces a proper healthy culture and product. That said, it's really pretty easy to get a proper healthy culture going. The first 4 days with a new culture is where it's most vulnerable to contamination, but once it starts getting nice and acidic, the culture and even the medium itself are extremely resistant to infections. (That's sort of where the grilled cheese analogy falls apart, I'm afraid.)
Actually, even from the start, there is TOO MUCH SUGAR for the K-brew to be easily contaminated! The vast majority of bacterias don't like to be overwhelmed with sugar. That's why SCOBY/starter is usually necessary, because it takes bacteria and yeast working symbiotically to start. Sometimes you can use vinegar (old-fashioned or homebrew, not white or balsamic) to start, but vinegar uses a similar SCOBY called Mother of Vinegar
maker12 Caya7 years ago
Rishnai Caya7 years ago
However, beer is easily contaminated, but a very carful sterilization process for all of the stuff involved eliminates almost all of the contamination problems in homebrew. Following the same painstaking procedure when brewing combucha makes sense, and would greatly reduce the risk of nasty mold.
bytowneboy Caya7 years ago
Kombucha is off my list of 'neat things to try.' Thank you.
NOW I know what's been happening when I'd make myself a cup of super sweet tea and leave it in my travel mug over a weekend in my dorm... Obviously I threw that stuff away because it wasn't remotely sanitary, but it's interesting that I accidentally got the concept right (several times I had about a 1/2 inch thick gelatinous wad. )
Derin6 years ago
t��rk robot.gif
wupme6 years ago
If you use a sieve, before you use the coffee filter, it doesn't clog up that fast.
generator wupme6 years ago
i would have made that mistake if you hadn't mentioned it! Thanks!
wupme generator6 years ago
I made that mistake a couple of times. But today, i even use 3 stage filtration process. First comes the sieve, then one of those metal coffeefilters (the ones you wash and use them again) because they are not as fine as the paper ones, but still filter out some stuff, then a paper coffee filter for strong coffee (for strong coffee because they are finer then the medium or light ones) But i think a sieve and a normal coffeefilter also works quite well. I just love to make things more complicatet then they need to ;-)
BobCat8 years ago
It is quite easy to grow harmful bacteria by accident. Like ANTHRAX. Cutaneous anthrax associated with the Kombucha 'mushroom' in Iran. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1567-8 But go ahead, you loopy new-age Darwin award candidates, drink your poison.
vapoking BobCat8 years ago
If sanitary measures are followed, brewing your own alcohol is safe, no matter what 'loopy-new age' ingredients you make it out of. And I agree with Tim, I'd love to read an instructable you wrote (about anything). I'm leaning towards penicillin. If you used refridgeration it might even be "peni-chilling." ;)
BobCat vapoking8 years ago
This isn't about brewing alcohol, though, it's about culturing something your sister's friend's yoga instructor gave her. Yeah, my sister did the kombucha thing. Has someone done a still yet? I've got the parts waiting for me to get around to it.
antirem BobCat7 years ago
Dont eat yogurt either it too is formed by rampant bacteria you cant control... you wouldnt want a spoon full of anthrax.. would you? Also only granola crunching hippies and yoga instructors eat this sort of thing. The only reason you would culture this is to buy into that leftist fad (it came from commie russia!!), not for any health benefits which I know dont exist since I havnt looked for them.
my experience with drinking kombucha has been beneficial. It tastes so much like apple cider vinegar i'd image the health benefits are similar. also the probiotics brew vitamins. it came from china more than 2000 years ago. theres even a passage in the bible referring to a drink people think was a similar fermented kombucha like vinegar beverage. hardly a fad.
vapoking BobCat8 years ago
"Kombucha is a fermented tea." Fermentation means yeast. Yeast make alcohol (and c02, and more yeast). This recipe is about making alcohol. It's about culturing yeast ;)
mce128 vapoking7 years ago
dude... fermentation is not only by yeast (it can be of a bacterial or of a non-yeast fungal nature), nor is it only related to alcohol. There are acidic fermentations too. Think pickles, sauerkraut, kimchee, soy sauce... for some examples... :)
BobCat vapoking8 years ago
Alcohol content, a product of yeast fermentation, ranges from .5-1.5%.

There is yeast and assorted random other beasties in it. Quite possibly some that are harmful, according to the JAMA article I pointed to.
TimAnderson (author)  BobCat8 years ago
Can you expand that into an instructable? "Grow your own Anthrax at home" or maybe just "make your own penicillin" for starters. My impression is that homebrewed beer kills lots of people with botulism etc. but I don't have any references. Stats on food deaths would be interesting. Here in the states we overeat and get so little exercise we manage to make almost any food harmful, but infectious stuff is pretty rare. When I get something from a trip the doctors are pretty useless.
Isn't Roquefort cheese a symbiosis with penicillin fungus?
Any bleu cheese is a form of penicillin.
bleu cheese wikipedia
"make your own penicillin" would be amazing being able to make your own medicines in general is something I've never thought about, but is a beautiful beautiful idea
BobCat prank8 years ago
Would they allow someone to even post that? I'd think they would be nervous someone would poison themself. But it might be useful to do extractions from medicinal plants, that would be useful and fairly safe.
Homebrewed beer has not killed anyone from botulism. I have heard that there are no known pathogens that can live in beer...
We don't tend to have anthrax in this country. It is frequently found in articles made with goat hides or goat hair, and from just such countries as Iran. Even then, I suspect that if you were to wash your hands frequently and can keep yourself from being tempted to use an old goat skin as a bottle cover, you would probably be safe, at least from that particular contaminant. :-)
You should know that "Kombucha" is not Slavik word(tea beverage popular in Russia...., it came from Japan). Here in Ukraine we use word "kvass" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kvass

Kombucha is "Tea mushroom kvass" but we call it simple "kvass" :)
There is actually a disambiguation of the two terms, as Kombucha is the english spelling of both. If taken from slavik and not changed it comes out more like what we read, but the Japanese "kombu-cha" means "tea of kombu" which is not fermented in any way, it's just a form of tea.
ALWAYS.7 years ago
Has anyone made it with juice like GT's? I would really like to know, because although they are having a special on kombucha 2 for 5, I'd much rather make my own.
I may be incorrect but GT's uses regular tea and sugar then adds a fruit puree during bottling to increase carbonation and add flavor.
nattles6 years ago
thanks sooooo much for posting this Instructable with videos. seeing the lax attitude reassured me that I wouldn't screw it up. I'm now on my third batch. I still have a little left from my first batch (black tea) in the fridge and it keeps getting better and better. i tried the green tea and brown sugar version and the new mother grew twice the size it did in the first batch! i made the tea too strong in that one, but watered down it is delicious! try a squeeze of lemon if your end product is too sweet. so good!
Bilal and I got brave yesterday and tried some store bought kombucha. After I choked on it we were told we should try yours. :P
amy27307 years ago

This video shows you how to get rid of fruit flies!!! wooo hooo...
amy2730 amy27307 years ago
ok... so I am seriously thinking about getting a kombucha culture -- they are a little pricier, so I wasn't sure what other peoples experience is with this site?

any feedback would be appreciated.. thanks!

check out "MAKING KOMBUCHA by arwen", there is a comment by "dammanders" about don't need to buy a starter, it worked for me, I just made my 4th batch today.
harleyxx7 years ago
I finally got two mothers from Kombucha.com since no one was willing to share theirs. I started two batches, one with green tea, the other with black tea. After three days, the mother in the green tea sank to the bottom and it looks like the beginnings of a new mother are forming on the top..I hope its not mold. The mother in the black tea is still floating on the top. I have several empty kombucha bottles I am going to use when it is ready to bottle.
how did it go harleyxx? I got a mother from a friend recently and i'm on my 4th day (of fermenting?) I used a blueberry green tea, i hope it doesn't matter that i didn't use black tea. the mother sunk and nothing is growing! Just not sure what to expect here. My friend always uses white tea and rasperry tea and is out of town right now and can't look at my batch. shockhits@yahoo.com
I let my first batch ferment for 9 days. the New mother was very thin. I just kept the the old mother & the new one when I made my 2nd batch, in fact I didn't start with a fresh mother until my 4th batch. Make sure that you never put your mother in HOT tea. That will kill it. I always made sure my tea was room temp before I added the mother. It was then that I peeled off the old mothers and started fresh with the newest layer.
I've been drinking a bottle of my Kombucha everyday at lunch. I can't say that I feel any better from drinking it, but it tastes good. The local health food store sells this stuff for about $4.00 a bottle. I have about 2 weeks of my own brew bottled so I am way ahead of the game. I had to throw some of the mothers out since none of my friends were willing to try it. This was a great Instructable!! I bought the containers at Target. They were really cheap. They both have a valve at the bottom so it makes filling the bottles a breeze. Here is a picture of one of the mothers.
I am on my sixth batch of Kombucha!!. I stopped using green tea and just stuck to Black tea. It has really worked out good. I haven't tried to infuse any flavors yet, I like it just the way it is. Everyone else in the family are afraid of the Mother so I get it all to myself. :) I substituted Orange Blossom Honey for sugar in the last batch. It's only fermented for about a week but it tastes pretty good.
This looks cool. So this is alcoholic?
Yes, mildly. Depends on how you brew it. The yeast part of the symbiotic collection of bacteria and yeasts is responsible for the alcohol content, and there are ways to manipulate the brewing process such that the yeast activity is either suppressed or emphasized.
egreen7677 years ago
Aren't mothers used for making vinegar from wine too?
yeah, probably a different bacteria though... "A Mother from another planet" if you will...
What about apple juice? Anybody try this?
harleyxx7 years ago
I'm all stoked to make my first Batch. Anyone in the Daytona Beach area willing to donate some mother. Nice Instructable.
I'm pretty interested in making a batch of this, but I'll probably build one of the HEPA flow hoods from MAKE 09 in order to avoid any spore contamination. Also, I hear if you purchase a bottle of Synergy brand kombucha at Whole Foods, you can simply dump in the bottle as the starter, because pieces of the commercial mother are still at the bottom. Can anyone verify?
I'm curious, did you find out if you can just use GT's Synergy to start a mother???
Yup, it worked. Not too badly, actually (considering I had transfered all of the nasty lactic acid producing bacteria over to my first batch). I made a small batch in one of those POM tea jars, now I'm on to a huge gallon-sized jar. Nice. Oddly enough, the tendrils I was so excited about either shrunk, fell, or died off. There were only a few of them left when I decanted/harvested/whatever. This might have been because I was curious, so I kept rotating and inspecting the jar daily, and also tried putting it in the fridge for an hour or so (as Tim says cold seems to favor the tendrils).... I'm leaving this batch untouched, in the dark, in a cabinet to see what happens. Hopefully the results will be better than last time (there was a little flavor development, but mostly it tasted slightly better than a dilute apple cider vinegar.
I meant to add that the tendrils present when I harvested the tea were MUCH smaller in size than the ones I had seen mid-week. Weird.
Just tried that today. Didn't want to go and buy a starter online, so I called my local health-nut store and they had Synergy. I bought the strawberry flavor because I figure strawberries would have a lower likelihood of killing the culture than ginger. We'll see what it does in a week. So far it looks promising.
Well the mother appears to be growing. There's a lot of the icky stuff on the bottom (that Tim says makes it sour) as I handn't read this particular instructable in its entirety before I transferred as much of the mother as I could get out of the GT bottle. But there are some of the good "apple-flavored tendrils" growing. We will see what later this week brings.
surfreak7 years ago
Pressure cooked tea? THAT"S more my style! Nice. I'll definitely be trying this sometime soon.
my mom used to make this stuff, but she didn't do it right and it smelled like.......rotten vegetables is a close example....I never dared to taste it, but it did wonders for my mom's health.
michaelkaer8 years ago
I love this tea. I used to make it a few years ago, but I moved and I lost the starter. The first bit was a gift from a friend in Toronto( Now deceased) and I do not know where he got it. Do you know where I can get a starter "Pancake"? Thanks.
You can get a good quality starter here, and whatever else you need for tea.
I used to make kombucha, and miss it.

if it,s moldy 'doin,t cut the mold out get rid of the moldy kombucha. ALL OF IT, THE MOTHER AND THE LIQUID (TEA) AND THE JAR!'
maker127 years ago
this would be great to make in a class learning about microbes.
Doctor What7 years ago
That picture above looks like vomit, or organs, or something. but i'm not afraid to try it.
looks like cut brain,
The mother is actually a combination of Acetobacter xylinum bacteria and various yeasts in a cellulose matrix. The cellulose is created by the Acetobacter and is known as microbial cellulose. This microbial cellulose has been used to make paper for high end speakers. US Patent 4,742,164 shows a patent for the use of microbial cellulose in these speakers. Anyone want to do an Instructable on how to form the mother, dry it, wash it and make it into a speaker?
TimAnderson (author)  MrAutomation8 years ago
Great info! I've heard shoes were made of it, any chance you know the source for that?
Hi. Anyway I can get one of those Big fatty mother's from you for trade. I want to make a big batch and my mother is small, and my mother is also small. let me know. dougallen@ptallen.com
Llewner8 years ago
I would hazard a guess that just because it was traditionally done in Russia, doesn't mean that it is safe or smart. Traditionally Russians eat raw bacon, and use communal jam spoons that they all lick off after they're finished (I grew up with several Russian immigrant families and exchange students in Alaska). I mean Native American's can drink water from streams and not get sick, the rest of us however, probably shouldn't do that. I would suggest that if one wanted to try this that they use proper beer brewing sanitation techniques, use a proper beer yeast & wine additives (lactic acid, etc). The final output of this product is very similar to a Lambic. Lambic's are traditionally wild fermented, but ONLY in one specific region in the world where the proper yeasts are airborn. But if you bought a Lambic kit, you cold probably replicate this beverage and not end up with a massive headache and gurgling gut disease. Lastly, it would be smart to replace all of the sugar with corn sugar, or dry malt extract. In the US, brewing with white table sugar is a BIG No-No. In Europe & Northern Asia they don't use the same kind of table sugar as here in the US, so just because they do it there, doesn't mean that we can do it here.
Givies8 years ago
Anybody had good or bad results from this stuff? It sounds kind of cool- I brew beer also and am always looking for a good new project...
In 1995 it sounds like there were a few bad batches in a small Iowa town:
Llewner Givies8 years ago
If you brew beer, then you should know that you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER brew with regular table sugar. That's a hang over and a half waiting to happen. Toxic esters. You should always convert your sugar first. I might also mention sanitation, and perhaps usage of a laboratory created brewing yeast (Get a Lambic kit).
Dedi8 years ago
Be good and be healthy with kombucha tea. I have a lot of experienced with this magic things. And I can helped many people with this.
Ragman8 years ago
I read a magazine article about a guy who made drum skins. From memory, the guy dried out 5 SCOBY's (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast), layered them and rubbed leather oil into them before streaching the ply over his drum.
Darkman8 years ago
Hey, I was curious if the mother used to make this stuff is the same as the mother used to make vinegar. It looks similar except for a few things. From what I understand the mother in vinegar feeds off of alcohol and is what makes vinegar what it is instead of wine. It sits at the bottom until it has absorbed all of the alcohol and then rises to the top when there is nothing left. And you can propogate it just by cutting off a chunk and throwing it into a new batch. Since you say that it is fermented I was wondering if it has alcohol in it which would suggest that this mother is different. Any clues?
StuartG Darkman8 years ago
In this recipe the mother is natural yeast, the yeast acts as an enzyme on sugar and ferments it to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. The mother for vinegar is bacteria which will ferment alcohol (oxidizes it) to produce vinegar - acetic acid. This is the fast way to make vinegar, slow way is to expose it to air over a long period. There are a couple of posts on safety; starting with boiled water result in a cleaner starting point; alcohol (and vinegar for that matter) limit growth of many bugs. Pre modern water treatment this made drinks like this safer than most public water of the time. If your really concerned about safety, replace the mother with a wine yeast. Use a five gallon wine fermenter with an airlock. The brew you'll get will be stronger (wine yeast tolerates more alcohol than the natural yeasts in the mother). Wait until fermentation is finished (no co2 bubbles) after sediment settles siphon into clean container. The recipe my Gran used was similar to above plus 4 lemons and a pound of raisons. She called it wine - it was an OK drink but stronger than many commercial table wines. The higher alcohol content and sealed fermentation produce a more bacteria free product. Few bacteria do well in 20 proof liquid. The yeast is also ultimately killed by the alcohol it has produced (note: too much of a good thing). Mother cultures are also used in sour dough, ginger beer and don't forget the bacteria in cheese / other milk products. Hard cider uses natural yeasts in the apples this can produce both ethanol (good) and methanol (killer in large quanities over time - this is where the expression "blind drunk" comes from). Bacteria and yeasts are friend and foe. Humans have been making use of them since the stoneage - there are risks but commercial products have there issues too, even peanut butter .... If you decide to experiment respect your sense of smell, taste and start small .... Sorry Darkman - kinda replied to point on vinegar and safety in one plus a bit long winded.
charmrus8 years ago
so if I get my mother in a vat of tea she will convert it into something delicious? what will the russians come up with next? it's kinky enuff for Dad to enjoy thou
mhermannsen8 years ago
2 places to get Kombucha starters for free (pay for postage):


and the Kombucha Exchange


The first site is a Kombucha group of enthusiasts that can answer any questions you might have. They also have some brilliant resources like how to make a facial cream out of kombucha culture (really!).

BTW, if you're reasonably hygienic and follow the instructions, particularly to ensure proper acidity, Kombucha is perfectly safe. It's been brewed for centuries in Europe and apparently, there's never been a fatality associated with the consumption of Kombucha.

Enjoy it, it's rare these days to be able to create a food that tastes great and makes you feel even better!


SMAN868 years ago
I had the hardest time when I first started brewing. I got an awesome starter kit at GetKombucha.com Now its kombucha time all the time!
dartman8 years ago
hmm i was thinking of doing this but bobcats comment has me concerned is it really possibly to make some harmful strain of bactieria that is lethal? o and i also dont know the first thing about fermenting can somebody put up a simple fermentation exspiriment(o yea and i be a minor so something that is not beer if at all possible)
NaTeB1 dartman8 years ago
I recently posted a CO2 generator instructable http://www.instructables.com/id/EZ4E24YWU4EXCF9X8O/
infamoso8 years ago
Thanks for the the instructional vid. A couple of questions: 1. Can you use honey instead of sugar? 2. I have a batch of Kombucha that someone gave me. There's some strands of stuff at the bottom which appear to be the formation of the mother. Can i use this to start a new batch of kombucha? Thanks!
damaker8 years ago
Where does the mother come from for the first batch? Is it necessary?
NaTeB18 years ago
I have been interested in making this stuff but I've got lots of questions I take it sanitation is not even a issue here? IE guy says everthing is sterile than dunks his hand in the wash, takes a sip & pours the rest back. Would sanitary practices such as in homebrewing be advised against or would this make for a cleaner pure finished product? or is this more of a lambic type brew which is dependent on open fermentation. Could I use a glass carboy with air supply via aquarium pump & if so should I use an in line hepa filter? Also could I keep culture of the mother on slants or plates? & last how much fermentation is involved anybody know the ABV if any, I have a feeling the fermentation is not complete & using glass bottles would be advised against Well I'm off to do some research This looks like a promising new venture Thanks for the instructable
Kombucha is delicious! The culture that grows in the brew is called a "SCOBY" a "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast" Talk to folks on freecycle, or put up a nice note at a health food store, you're likely to find someone to give a starter to you.
enolraic8 years ago
cool i live in Pittsburgh and might be able to find the "mother" in any Russian food store. Couldn't you just heat it to kill of the culture and stabilize the mix?
Punkguyta8 years ago
I know a guy. Nick Anderson, are you related to any "nicks"?
trebuchet038 years ago
Hrmm... my post got lost or I forgot to post it :P

I've never even heard of this (I missed the other project too :P). As soon as I can acquire a mother, I'm gonna start making this :)

A few questions.
Is there a time limit on secondary fermentation? That is, will the drink go sour/foul or will the bottles blow their tops from excessive pressure?

Second, can dormant yeast from secondary fermentation be re-used during primary fermentation. You know, to tailor a strain of yeast just for making Kombucha :)

Oh, and anyone in central Florida with some mother to spare :)
Ndawg8 years ago
I am really interested in making this. I will have to remember to do this when I move out of my perents house :P 2 thumbs up
Shifman8 years ago
I got it on E-Bay for $9.95 with shipping.
Shifman8 years ago
my mother makes this all the time i love this stuff but it is pronounced kum-booch-ah
Wade Tarzia8 years ago
Ha! This scared the shit out of me when I saw it at Tim's MIT hangout. It reminded me of a 1950s SF film. Was I going to be "absorbed"??? I tasted it as a test of manliness, but yes indeed, it was surprisingly good, nor am I Russian or New Age freak (I don't think...) ;-)