How To Make Kombucha Tea Drink? SCOBY?

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Kombucha is a probiotic drink which is produced by fermenting tea and sugar with a SCOBY. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria & Yeast. The result is a nutrient and probiotic-rich drink which seems to have many potential health benefits.

How do you make Kombucha?

When I asked this question I was given the vague instructions of brew a strong sweet tea, wait for it to cool and add it to the jar of SCOBY.  Whilst this is essentially correct, there was nowhere near enough details for me to feel confident. After all, a SCOBY looks pretty gross, so it was going to take a leap of faith for me to drink the liquid under the growth anyway… I wanted very precise instructions.

Making your own Homemade Kombucha

Making your own Homemade Kombucha

I never found precise instructions on how to make a basic Kombucha. My Kombucha success has come through trial and error, fruit fly infestation and a few other mishaps. In this article, I am giving you the absolute basics of making your own Kombucha.

5 from 7 votes
Homemade Bottled Kombucha Green Tea
Kombucha Tea Recipe
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This is a simple recipe for a basic Kombucha. The recipe can be used with a continuous brewing method.

Course: Drinks, Probiotic
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 4 litres
Calories: 15 kcal
Author: Julie Carlyle
Ingredients
  • 4 litres bottled spring water with no additives
  • 2 1/2 TBS organic black tea or green tea
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups starter liquid with SCOBY
Instructions
  1. Pour one litre of water into a pot and heat on the hotplate until it boils.

  2. Add the tea and sugar to the boiled water and allow it to steep for 5 minutes.

  3. Strain the tea and add the remaining 3 litres to the pot. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature.

  4. Place the SCOBY and starter liquid in your fermenting vessel.

  5. Pour the lukewarm tea over the SCOBY.

  6. Cover the fermenting vessel with the supplied lid and a cloth. (Prevents fruit flies and sunlight)

  7. After 4 days start testing your Kombucha via the tap. When the flavour has soured to your liking the brew is ready for bottling or a second ferment.

  8. Bottle and refrigerate until required. 

  9. Leave 500mls of starter liquid and the SCOBY in the fermenting vessel for your next batch. Do not refrigerate the fermenting vessel or SCOBY.

Recipe Notes

Make sure to use filtered non-chlorinated water.

Nutrition Facts
Kombucha Tea Recipe
Amount Per Serving (250 g)
Calories 15
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The recipe above is for the basic kombucha ferment. It will produce a tasty Kombucha which makes a nice drink, or it can be used as a blank slate for a secondary ferment. Doing a secondary ferment is how you add additional flavours and some bubbles. The secondary ferment isn’t necessary but most commercially prepared Kombucha are sold with additional flavours. I have a detailed article on taking your Kombucha tea to the secondary ferment stage.

Kombucha Fermentation Mortier Pilon

Kombucha Fermentation in Mortier Pilon

Personally, I like to drink both the first and secondary ferments so I have both in the fridge at any given time.

What can go wrong with your Kombucha? My first kombucha was a disaster! I just used a large jar covered in cheesecloth and failed miserably. I killed the SCOBY and had a fruit fly infestation. However, these mistakes taught me how important having a good set is to make Kombucha successfully! This is the exact setup I use to make Kombucha brew.

Homemade Bottled Kombucha Green Tea

Homemade Bottled Kombucha Green Tea

Tips and Hints to Make Kombucha

  • Go for a crock with a tap so that you can test the fermentation as it progresses without disturbing the SCOBY on top.
  • Make sure the tap is removable for cleaning. This is very important as ooglies (baby SCOBY) can form in the tap and stop the flow of liquid. Cleaning is also essential for hygiene. The kit above has a removable tap.
  • Use bottled spring water with no chlorine. Chlorine kills bacteria, even our good bacteria.
  • Use plain organic black or green tea without flavourings.
  • Use white sugar, not brown sugar or honey (honey has its own good bacteria).
  • Place an additional cloth over the vessel as the second protection against fruit flies. (don’t use cheesecloth, the fruit flies can find their way in!)
  • Don’t move the fermentation crock once you add the tea. The SCOBY is alive and doesn’t like to be moved too much.
  • Cover the crock if it’s in direct sunlight as sunlight kills bacteria.

If your Kombucha is taking more than a week to sour or the SCOBY is slow to grow it may need additional heat. The ferment needs to be kept at a temperature between 24 -29 degrees Celsius (75 -85 F). A heat mat may be necessary for winter. If you’re worried about temperature control a “stick on” thermometer can be handy.

Kombucha Fermentation Temperature

Kombucha Fermentation Temperature

It may look like a bit of a process, but once you get set up it’s simple to make Kombucha in your own home. Best of all, it’s as cheap to make, as a cup of tea. No more expensive purchased Kombucha and you know your Booch is alive and feeding your body valuable probiotics.

I prefer homemade Booch as I worry when I buy commercially prepared Kombucha that it will be inferior to my homemade product. I wonder if the process of bottling, transporting, storing and selling commercially produced Kombucha will result in a decline of valuable bacteria and nutrients.

What do you think? Do you make your own Booch? Will you give it a go? Do you have any questions for me? I would love to hear all about your experiences.

P.S I got my complete kit at Nourish Me Organics which included a luscious SCOBY 🙂

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22 thoughts on “How To Make Kombucha Tea Drink? SCOBY?”

  1. Lesley Hodges says:

    Hello, where could I purchase one of the jars with the pourer you have pictured above please. Thanks

    1. Hi Lesley,
      I got my beautiful Kombucha jar and SCOBY starter from this distributor. I’ve now added the link to the story. It was available as a complete kit.

  2. We brewed kombucha a few years ago and it was so fun! We could never get ours as fizzy as the storebought kind, but it still tasted good!

    1. Good on you Liz! There seem to be so many booch makers out there! I think the only way to get a good fizz it to do a secondary ferment in the bottle. I’m not a fan of the commercially prepared kombucha which has been carbonated.

  3. Jenni says:

    What a great and useful article! I have never attempted to make kombucha because it seems so complicated and tricky – but great job making it seem simple!

  4. I’ve never even had kombucha much lessed made it! The Scoby sounds interesting — I imagine like the weird mother that floats around in homemade vinegar. Beautiful photos!

  5. Thanks so much for this! I have wanted to make my own kombucha for ages, but like you, I couldn’t find step by step instructions; will definitely be trying this!

  6. I have never tried kombucha but lately I’ve been seeing it across the Internet. It sounds very interesting.

  7. Micky says:

    You can use organic raw sugar which is better for you than white sugar, also do not use any metal utensils or containers with metal components as it will kill the scoby.

    When you get spare scoby put them in a seperate storage jar with enough liquid to cover and feed them occasionally, can keep multiples in one jar (this is your scoby hotel) and is your backup if you have something happen to one of your scoby brews or to give away to friends/family.

    1. Thanks for adding these tips. I will add “not using metal” to the story, I completely forgot to include that in the watch points. You”re completely correct about the raw sugar. The SCOBY does well on raw sugar. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂

  8. Guylaine says:

    Since the first time I drank Kombucha, I’ve been completely charmed by this delicious beverage. One of my work colleagues brought some he made. His had a second ferment using strawberries. It was delicious. So funny that this afternoon I was working in my garden preparing the soil for planting, and I was thinking about how I could try to make some Kombucha…and tonight I see your publication! I love the idea of having a living organism in a bowl and using it over and over…just feeding the beast once in a while. In fact, I have sourdough sleeping in my fridge, always ready to be awakened! Do you know if it’s possible to grow your own scoby, starting from scratch! Byou the way, I love your blog!

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I was exactly the same as you! One mouthful and I never want to drink anything else. I love that I’m drinking a living drink that is feeding my body, and brewing it myself is so satisfying.

  9. Viv Falcone says:

    Hi there,
    I’ve been brewing my own kombucha for about 30 yrs now, & this is the first time I’ve heard of a second ferment…. how is this done please?
    Previously, if I wanted flavours, I added fruit teas, & have always had good effervescence.
    If you need to, you can freeze the scoby & boiling tap water will remove the chlorine…..

    1. Hi Viv,
      How fabulous that you have been brewing and drinking KOMBUCHA for so long. You would be a wealth of information. I had no idea you could freeze the SCOBY. That is so helpful!

      A second ferment is when you bottle your KOMBUCHA and then add an additional flavor. For instance you can juice fresh ginger or turmeric and add a little to each bottle. You cap the bottle but leave it at room temperature. The yeast and bacteria go to work on the new sugar source and create
      More bubbles and the KOMBUCHA gets additional flavour. The scoby has been removed so you aren’t affecting the health of the scoby. With the second ferment you need to burp the bottles each day to prevent and explosion. After a couple of days you can refrigerate the bottles to stop the fermentation process.

      I will do a complete story with recipes sometime this month.
      Thanks so much for stopping by ????

  10. Sandra Spokes says:

    My niece has just given me a Scooby and am going to try making my own ,but it looks and sounds really difficult ,I have been reading up a lot on thIs and will def give it a go thanks for all this great information ????

    1. I’m so pleased this article is helpful, please feel free to ask any questions.

  11. Kath says:

    Heaps of questions. I’m dying to start making my own kombucha. I’ve been making coconut water kefir for a while now but never 100% sure I’m doing my body any good as I used a powdered form of kefir starter, not the grains. So I,m ready to purchase all the kit and scoby etc but wondering a few things. When you store the scoby is it in just water or a tea mixture? Can I put it in a different jar in the liquid in the fridge while I clean the fermenting container? Do you have to use that quantity of sugar? How long can I store a scoby in the fridge? If my scoby creates babies and I want to give the babies to a friend, what’s the safest method of doing that? How long might it take for babies to occur?

    1. Hi Kath, Those are all fabulous questions.
      The scoby is always stored in tea or leftover kombucha.
      You can put the scoby into another jar (or bowl) and just leave it on the bench in some Kombucha whilst you clean the fermenting container.
      Yes, you do need to use that much sugar as you’re feeding the yeast and bacteria. There will be minimal residual sugar left at the end of the fermentation. You will know the fermentation is complete when the sugar taste has gone and there is a hint of vinegar.
      The scoby can be stored in tea in the cupboard for quite a while. I have a scoby hotel stored in this way with all my scoby babies.
      The scoby will usually produce a new baby during each new Kombucha batch. To store them to give to friends you will need to reserve 1 cup of the kombucha with a thick scoby in a jar. Keep the jar at room temperature.
      I hope I’ve answered some of your questions. Feel free to drop by and ask more 🙂
      Julie

  12. Mia Jenkins says:

    It’s my understanding that scobys should never be stored in the fridge. I’ve read that it weakens the scoby which may cause mould when used to brew again. And not always in the first cycle or 2. Better to just store at room temperature. Either with a solid plastic lid or a cloth and rubber band as for regular brewing. Just top with sweet tea as needed to keep the scobys covered.

    1. Hi Mia, Thanks for stopping by ???? I don’t store my SCOBY in the fridge. Once the fermentation is complete I decant the Kombucha into bottles and then refrigerate my drink. The SCOBY is still in the brewing vessel. I top the brew up with more tea and the cycle continues. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. I agree, the SCOBY likes to stay in the range of 24-29 degrees for optimum health.

  13. rae says:

    I think brewing kombucha in a jar with a tap could lead to problems. If plastic or metal on the inside of the jar touch the kombucha in could interefere.

    1. Hi Rae, I understand your concern. The Kombucha set up I use has all food grade soft plastic on the inside of the jar which is attached to a tap on the outside with plastic seals. The metal doesn’t come in contact with the inside of the jar at all. I have been using this set up for over a year with no issues.

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