Making Kombucha

Picture of Making Kombucha
Kombucha seems to be the new "it" drink (although I live in the Bay Area, so this info may be biased). Of doubtful origin, this fermented tea has a passionate following who claim all manner of health benefits for it. I just like it because it tastes good.
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Step 1: Obtain Kombucha starter

Picture of Obtain Kombucha starter
You can buy the yeasty starter on the web (sometimes misidentified as a mushroom), or get it from a friend. You might also try looking on message boards of health food stores.

The starter replicates itself in each batch, so one is enough for your lifetime. Soon you'll have enough for everyone you know!

Step 2: Make sun tea

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Add two to five tea bags (black or green) to three quarts of water. Let it steep for 8-24 hours, depending on how black you like it.

Step 3: Add sugar

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Add 1 cup of sugar to the water (the starter feeds on sugar, so the final drink will not be as sweet as the original).

Step 4: Stir well

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Like I said, stir well until all the sugar is dissolved.

Step 5: Add kombucha starter

Picture of Add kombucha starter
Add the starter to your tea, along with any remaining liquid from the last batch of kombucha.

Step 6: Cover and store

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Cover with a clean tea or paper towel and seal around the rim with a rubber band. Store in a spot out of direct sunlight for 7-14 days (depending on who you talk to).

When its time is up, start all over again! Your starter will have grown another layer, which you can peel off and use for a second batch (or give to someone else).
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ofmay IvanJM5 years ago

I do not use white sugar if I have to I use unrefined. But my preference is to used Maple Syrup or Guava or honey.  I use a 2 gallon crock and brew the tea in the crock pouring the sweetener in first followed by the hot water slurring briskly from the bottom and finely tea bags. The 10 bags go in for 10-15 minutes. Set the crock on a cooling rack. The next day add the mother when cooled with some extra butcha juice.  2-3- weeks not to tart not to sweet!

BlondGuy1015 years ago
Earl Grey is a British gentleman's tea, and Lady Grey is a tea for his special gentlelady. I bet they'd be worth trying.
If you are adverse to bergemont (sorry don't know proper spelling) stay away from Earl Gray
Earl Grey is strongly flavoured with Bergamot. You should avoid any flavoured teas, as the oils from the flavorings can distort, and sometimes even kill, the mother. The volatile nature of the flavourings can also produce off flavour in the tea itself.
ardrhi5 years ago
Odd...I don't see anything in the instructions about Earl or Lady Grey. I see mention of PG Tips, which is not a citrus-flavored tea.  Where are you folks seeing something about Earl Grey?
Lady Grey tea is flavored with citrus, I'm not sure how healthy citric acid is for the scoby....
ianhoag5 years ago
I live in New Westminster, BC and would be very interested in buying a mother culture from someone locally. My number is 604-759-9350. Thanks
theburn75 years ago
Kombucha Haiku?
It is actually a song from System of a Down called "Sugar"
Hoopajoo6 years ago
I dearly miss Kombucha, but nobody, and I mean NOBODY on the east coast has ever heard of it (not even the Asian markets). When I ask for it, they look at me as if I have a small canine glued to my chin and it has a gerbil reading Proust glued to it's chin. Weird. Any idea on a Mid-Atlantic coast source for a mother culture?
pmk154 Hoopajoo5 years ago
I'm in Boston, I've been brewing it for a few months now. If you're interested in a Scoby,
Hoopajoo pmk1545 years ago
VERY interested. Please e-mail me with contact details and price. Thanks, mucho!!!
pmk154 Hoopajoo5 years ago
I'll privately message you. Its free, why would I charge for a yeast growth. Seriously.
Hoopajoo pmk1545 years ago
Well, I find it's better not to assume. It can make for uncomfortable circumstances. Thank you in advance. If I can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Just to let you know I found that pretty funny!
yea, when it comes to Asian market, kombucha has been treated as a kinky thing to be heard. My friend want to start a new business of kombucha at Malaysia and he also want to spread his business thru Asia. so, i think you dont have to worry anymore. You could only buy from him.
Paranatural5 years ago
I've never heard of this stuff, maybe it's just in California that it's popular?
harleyxx5 years ago
I've been brewing & drinking Kombucha for over 1 year now. I love this stuff. Your recipe is a good one.
Ward_Nox5 years ago
voted the #7 grossest drink on
hmmm idk what to say about this one it looks disgusting but everyone commenting says its great i guess i'll just have to find out for myself
It looks funny, but it tastes great. :) I like mine brewed with ginger (reminds me of ginger beer). It's also an acquired taste to some, so the first time might not be such a hit.
atk0006 years ago
Is this stuff an edible food, a goo, or is it living?
It is a living organism but you don't really want to eat to "mushroom" you want to drink the tea.
Kombucha is great...but I have to be careful not to drink too much...
boscaiola8 years ago
Has any one been adding ginger and/or lemon to their mix? I've had a commercial brew with ginger that was delicious, but haven't found out how to do that myself. Are there any ingredients that ought NOT to be added after one bottles the brew? If so, what are the properties and effects that make them less desireable?
I throw about 20 slices of fresh ginger in when I brew my tea. I've heard you're not supposed to add flavoring until bottling, but I seem to have a lovely, well fermented and very gingery brew with this technique.
Ginger has antibacterial properties. Perhaps it is good at resisting the bad ones but not the good ones. Mmmm ginger. Anyone know more about gingers properties?
Doctor What7 years ago
It looks kinda tasty, but i've never heard of it before. Could be because i live in washington, you know, that forgotten state that has seattle in it. You might see us in the news if ST. Helens ever starts acting up again. I have orchards all around me. It sucks.
You have orchards all around you and it sucks?!? Are you crazy? Have you ever heard the System of a Down song "Sugar"? Then you've heard of kombucha before! Though it's not a mushroom... (p.s. Try living in Texas)
landscapess6 years ago
Anyone know where I can get a K mother in the Houston area? I'm going to try using the commercial product to start one, but if I could get a K mother, I'd like to. I'm trying to start the process for a friend here--my set up is in another state! :) Thank YOU!
imattdotnet6 years ago
Folks: I am surprised no one has mentioned chloramine in this forum, but you might want to do a little research on your local water supply to see if it's a factor before trying to brew using tapwater. Details below. I just took a fermentation class which included info on brewing kombucha. The instructor told us that since most water systems in the US add Chloramine to their systems (somehow it's a more stable combination of chlorine and amonium - but I'm not a chemist and really don't understand), and this cannot be removed from tap water by boiling or just letting the water stand. So she recommended using a few drops of a pet supply product such as Amquel to remove the chloramine before using it to brew. I don't know how it's going to turn out, but I will let you know. She has been doing this for years, and a cursory review of wikipedia entries seemed to confirm what she told us. I am trying my first batch tonight, using a SCOBY baby from my teacher and some locally brewed kombucha from the health food store which I have tasted many times and loved. Wish me luck.
atake6 years ago
hello, thanks for your explanations. i am preparing kombucha tea in a different recipe. first of all i put 4-5 lt water to a pan to boil it. when it starts to boil i add 12-14 spoon of sugar and keep it boiling for a few minutes. than it doesnt need any more boiling, add 7-8 tea bag and wait for 15 minutes. and take the the bags from pan and keep the blend until it is cool. now it is ready to add kombucha starter and some kombucha tea remaining from earlier preperation. and a little bit vinegar will be beter to keep the starters fresh.
nlbknitter6 years ago
I have a question. I just started my very first batch of Kombucha yesterday. I got a scoby from someone on craig's list. Then I followed all the directions. What's kind of weird is that the scoby is hanging vertically in the jar. It hasn't been 24 hours yet, but is this ok?
arwen (author)  nlbknitter6 years ago
Again, I'm no expert, but I think that's fine...I've had some that floated on top, some that settle on the bottom, so I don't see why that would be a problem to have it floating in between :-) The main thing to look out for is mold, and otherwise, just taste it should be delicious! Leave it in longer for a stronger, fizzier, more sour taste, and take it out sooner for a lighter, sweeter taste.
amy27306 years ago
has anyone signed up for the 7 day mini course at I want to start brewing this stuff but want to make sure I don't mess it up first...


I did. It's not that instructive. I have seen plenty of other sites that achieve the same results. At the end you get a sales pitch on his equipment. It's still kind of low-key.
amy2730 amy27306 years ago
what's that?
amy2730 amy27306 years ago
oops, sorry here's the direct link... Kombucha Mini Course

I just signed up and the first day was all about the history of the scoby... pretty cool info, but I can't wait for the free videos!!
harleyxx6 years ago
I'm on my 6th batch of Kombucha, and love this stuff. The health food stores sell it for about $4.00 a bottle, so I have bottled mine up and have several weeks supply. I didn't like the green tea, it seemed to lack flavor so i switched to black tea. It's much better in my opinion. I drink a couple bottles of my own brew everyday for lunch instead of going to McDonalds and have lost about 15 lbs. For my last batch I substituted Orange Blossom honey for the sugar and it is by far the best tasting batch so far. I had to throw out my old mothers since none of my friends were willing to try it. Here are a few pics of my brew:
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