brewing kombucha

happy friday, friends! i hope you all have exciting plans for your weekend. i’ve got a pretty fun one coming up!

but today, i’m not going to talk about my weekend plans. instead, as promised – and only a couple days later than i intended, i’ll tell you how liz and i brewed our kombucha.

first, we made our scoby. (it’s so easy! we’ve got another one going now so we can have two batches of kombucha going at a time!)

once the little baby scoby was ready, we gathered our brewing supplies.


  • scoby
  • large glass gallon jar (the gigantic jars of vlasic® pickles from costco work perfectly!)
  • clean kitchen cloth and large rubberband
  • tea (we used black, but you could use flavored or other kinds)
  • filtered water
  • sugar
  • at least 1/2 cup organic raw kombucha (i added a whole bottle)

first thing we did was boil water and brew our tea.

you want to make about a gallon of tea to fill up that gallon jar!

that ends up being quite a few tea bags….

allow the tea to steep for 3-5 minutes. then, add a cup of sugar to the tea and stir until sugar is absorbed.

i know it seems like a lot of sugar, but don’t worry – the scoby will eat it up during the fermentation process!]

now cover tea with a clean kitchen cloth to prevent anything (bugs, bacteria, etc.) from getting into the tea and allow to cool to room temperature. i brewed my tea in the morning, left it on the counter all day (about 8 hours) and then came home to do the next steps. i’m sure it wouldn’t take a whole 8 hours to cool though!

then, you want to start the brewing process.

add the sweetened tea, at least 1/2 cup raw kombucha (after this first batch, you can use your own kombucha instead of buying more each batch), and the scoby on top.

cover the jar with the clean dish cloth and secure with the rubberband.

place jar in a room temperature place away from direct sunlight (my laundry closet is perfect!) and leave it for a few days.

i’ve read that you should taste and/or smell the kombucha every day after 5 or 6 days to decide when it’s ready. you want to wait until the sweet smell (from the tea) goes away and you are left with a vinegar-ish smell. that’s when it’s ready!

bottling kombucha for secondary fermentation

we wanted flavored kombucha, so we did the secondary fermentation method. this basically means that after our kombucha was ready, we added it to bottles with some fruit juice and allowed it to ferment a bit more.

here’s what the scoby looked like after a week of fermenting (when we decided it was done).

our scoby still isn’t the strongest – if you get an established one from a friend or buy one, it will be much thicker. ours will thicken up after a couple batches and then a scoby baby will start growing and we’ll have two!

remove scoby and place in bowl or plate with 10-25% of your raw kombucha (you’ll use this stuff instead of buying a new bottle of kombucha to add to your next batch). you can store your scoby in the refrigerator in the kombucha for up to 10 days if you want to wait to start your next batch.

then, grab your bottling jars. we used old kombucha bottles that i had saved, but you could easily use mason jars or something else!

we used this blackberry crush juice from trader joe’s!

using a funnel, add about 1 oz. of your chosen 100% juice to each bottle.

after each bottle has it’s juice, then fill it up with the kombucha, leaving about 1 oz. of room on top.

it was nice to have help with this part!

after all of the jars are full, tightly screw the caps on and set aside in a dark room temperature place for two days.

after two days, place your kombucha in the refrigerator and allow to chill completely before drinking!

and there you go, you now have a nice supply of kombucha!

i started a second batch as soon as our first one was bottled, so that one should be ready saturday night or sunday morning, and i’ll start another batch immediately after that! i’m so excited to be able to have a consistent supply of kombucha around here. i seriously love it and am saving so much money by brewing it myself!

i’m excited to try out new teas and new juice flavors, too!

*during the kombucha process, i referenced the food renegade’s tutorial several times – it’s so helpful!

final words on kombucha brewing

*it’s so easy! it might seem intimidating at first, but anyone can do it! just read a tutorial or two before you begin so you know what to expect and are prepared to do it!

*kombucha is said to have many amazing health benefits (here’s a great article on them…). i’m not sure if i believe all of that – i drink kombucha because i think it’s delicious! but, if i start noticing any differences after consistently drinking kombucha, i’ll let you guys know!

*also, if you do make your own kombucha and have a really great tea or juice flavor combo that i should try, please let me know in the comments! michelle suggested cubes of sugared ginger or cranberry juice for flavor – sounds good to me!


what is your favorite kombucha flavor?

i really love gt’s trilogy and nessalla’s lemongrass flavors!


About sarah

hi, i'm sarah. i'm a graduate student, dog lover, newlywed, blogger, aspiring baker/cook, and a veggie lover. :)
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11 Responses to brewing kombucha

  1. Wow! I haven’t really jumped on board the “kombucha train” but I do enjoy it when I have the opportunity to have some. Thanks for this, though…I’ll add this to the list of “things to try” right under “make your own sourdough bread starter.”

  2. looks like a fun project. i’m gonna have to get around to trying this drink one of these days!

  3. I love GT’s gingerade and Nessalla’s current seasonal flavor. It’s an elderflower and lemon balm flavor. Amazing! So I think when I get back from HLS, I am going to try and brew my own booch. You’ve convinced me that I can do it! 🙂

  4. Gail Pugsley says:

    You have Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin?
    Great post!
    I have only had kombucha a few times as it is so expensive, but have been interested in perhaps making some. Your advice and links should be very helpful.

  5. I just got another batch going this morning. I do a blend of green and black teas. I’m going to do a tutorial post this week too – can I link back to yours?

  6. Pingback: Kombucha 201 – DIY Kombucha « The Lively Kitchen

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