Kombucha Tea Starter Culture

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$12.99


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Kombucha Starter Culture

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Brew delicious organic kombucha tea at home!

  • Make delicious probiotic-rich kombucha tea
  • Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan
  • Reusable culture; transfer the culture from batch to batch
  • With proper care, the culture can be used indefinitely to create delicious fermented tea
  • Easy to make; can be flavored a variety of ways

 
A kombucha starter culture (a.k.a. kombucha scoby, mushroom, mother) consists of yeast and bacteria existing in a symbiotic relationship. When combined with brewed tea, sugar, and water and allowed to ferment for 7 to 30 days, the resulting kombucha tea beverage has a slightly carbonated zing and is packed full of B vitamins. Each kombucha culture comes with 10 pH strips to assist with brewing the first few batches.

Save money! Commercially available kombucha tea generally sells for $3+ for a 16-ounce bottle. Using our kombucha starter culture, you can brew kombucha tea for $2 a gallon or less! With proper care, the kombucha scoby can be used over and over to brew a refreshing, vitamin-filled kombucha tea.

Ingredients: Organic sugar, organic black tea.

Kombucha scobys are manufactured in a facility that also processes dairy, soy, wheat, nut, and fish products. Kombucha scobys are culture (no animal products).

Shipping Information: Kombucha tea starter cultures are shipped in a dehydrated state and must be rehydrated. Rehydration requires vinegar (or plain raw kombucha), sugar, tea and a 30-day rehydration period. Full rehydration and brewing instructions accompany each order and are available here. A video detailing the rehydration process can also be found here. 

 

       
Jerri
 

Why I Love This Product

Kombucha is one of my favorite cultures. Not only does it taste fabulous, but this low+maintenance culture fits in my busy life! And who is not busy? All I need are a few ingredients and 7 days. Although you can brew for 30 days, we prefer a 7-day period that produces a much milder kombucha. My husband prefers it chilled, so several bottles are set aside just for him in the fridge while the kids’ bottles enjoy a second ferment on the counter. Another reason I adore kombucha? Free dog treats! I dehydrate the scobys and cut them into smaller pieces for our dog. See here for the storyJerri, Customer Support Representative

 

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Questions on Kombucha Tea Starter Culture

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  • From Sylvia at 9/15/2012 7:34 PM
    • Can I make my Kombucha using Organic Green Rooibos tea? To my knowledge, there are no additives in this tea, and it produces a light great tasting tea.
      Thank you.
    • You can add rooibos tea to the brewing solution, but the kombucha scoby requires authentic tea (camellia sinensis) to brew properly.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Liz at 7/11/2012 2:49 AM
    • Are there any restrictions on temperature for shipping or storing the scoby while it is still dehydrated (in the original packaging)?
    • Our starters are dehydrated for safe shipping. Be sure to store your dehydrated scoby in the refrigerator if you don't plan to rehydrate it right away.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Batya at 3/29/2012 9:12 PM
    • Is this culture kosher?
    • The kombucha culture that we sell are not certified kosher. Our Kombucha cultures are nourished using only spring water, Circle U certified kosher organic cane sugar, and organic black tea.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Kelly at 2/15/2012 1:27 PM
    • Does it matter what size glass jar is used to rehydrate the scoby? I understood from the directions that it did not necessarily matter. I had a 1 gallon glass jar that I bought to make the kombucha, and that is what I have my rehydrating scoby in. I just watched the Kombucha videos and am concerned I should have just used a quart size jar. My scoby has been in the rehydrating process for 20 days at this point, and I don't think much is happening.
    • The size of the glass jar does not make a difference in rehydrating your scoby or in brewing kombucha tea. If you need assistance with rehydrating your culture, please contact customer support directly.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Dallen100 at 12/27/2011 8:21 PM
    • I have flip top bottles. How full do I fill them? I've heard some say to the very top to keep air out, but your picture shows bottles filled just to the neck.

      Thanks!
    • We at CFH have much better luck getting a carbonated beverage when there is a little headspace. There is probably a scientific explanation for that :) A bottle filled to the very top probably won't end up very carbonated.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Kathy at 10/27/2011 1:27 PM
    • I bought your tea, and your kombucha starter. My first batch smells like rotten eggs. I made a second batch, it too smells like rotten eggs. Both times I used filtered water, natural sugar and Braggs ACV.
      I am now making a 3rd batch with the same scoby using filtered water and Heinz ACV.
      Thinking maybe I might be having contamination going on and wondering where its coming from. I'm using very clean gallon jars. What do you think?
      Am I using the wrong vinegar? Is the scoby bad?
    • Sorry you're having trouble with your scoby. A rotten egg smell does not sound good. I believe Braggs ACV is raw, and contains bacteria that may compete with the kombucha bacteria strains. We recommend using white vinegar, for best results.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Philip at 10/10/2011 1:29 AM
    • What are the strains of yeast and bacteria found in your Kombucha tea starter SCOBYs. I understand how important and intricate the relationship is between the yeast and bacteria; and I am particularly excited about the potential benefits of the S. Boulardii strain of yeast. Many of the Kombucha products sold in stores involve this yeast. My hope is that your product (which I am currently brewing) involves the same strain of yeast. Thank you in advance for any information you might be able to provide. Philip.
    • Following is a link to our page describing what is in Kombucha http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kombucha-yeast-bacteria The Saccharomyces boulardi is not always present in komucha and we don't have an analysis of our particular scobys however all kombucha including ours has various Saccharomyces strains. The scoby you are currently using will produce Kombucha comparable to what is found in stores.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Val at 8/31/2011 10:40 AM
    • I have followed the instructions for hydrating my mushroom. And it has been almost five weeks and nothing has happened, except that it swelled a little and only half of it. what should I do now?
    • There is often no visible sign of culturing with the first, or even the first few, batches. The best way to tell if culturing is occurring is to taste the brew and to test the pH, if you have pH test strips. The taste should be rich and vinegary, and the pH should be below 4.0 for a finished batch.

      If that doesn't help, email us at customersupport@culturesforhealth.com for individual troubleshooting.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Rach at 8/2/2011 2:08 PM
  • From Adrienne at 6/8/2011 6:29 PM
    • hi - is there any way to use decaffeinated tea to make the kombucha? thank you.
    • Yes, you can use decaffeinated tea to make kombucha - but make sure it is naturally decaffeinated, not chemically processed, as the processed teas may contain chemicals that can harm the kombucha culture.

      You can get rid of caffeine yourself by pre-steeping the tea. About 80% of the tea's caffeine content is released from the leaf within the first 20 to 30 seconds of steeping. You can have virtually caffeine-free tea, without sacrificing much flavour, by discarding the water after the first 30 to 60 seconds of steeping and adding fresh hot water to the now-decaffeinated leaf. Let the second bath steep for at least 5 or 10 minutes to release the flavenoids and flavors in the tea.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

prolific culture Review by miriam
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I bought this 2 years ago and since then it has propagated and fathered many more cultures. It has produced hundreds of gallons of Komboucha for my family and friends

(Posted on 10/30/2014)

> 3 weeks and nothing happening... Review by EmilyRHN
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I followed the instructions and put my starter culture in cooled sweet tea. Storing it in a warm closet for 3 weeks did nothing. It's on top of my fridge now, with the SCOBY floating near the bottom but no sign of a "daughter" culture. Hope it wasn't damaged by being heat while on my doorstep in NC for a few hours! I continue to wait....

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments.

(Posted on 9/23/2014)

Great product and fantastic customer support Review by Barb
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In the spring I activated my first SCOBY and all was well for awhile. But somewhere along the line I goofed up and ran into problems. Every step of the way the online support has been above and beyond helpful. Having them available into the evening and on Saturdays is great! With a second try I'm pleased to report my SCOBY is lumpy, bumpy and getting thicker. In a few days I'll be ready to harvest a batch, then it's on to a continuous brew! I appreciate all the info on the website and have four different cultures and ferments going now in my happy little kitchen.

(Posted on 7/19/2014)

four. Review by Ray
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Got tired of waiting for a mother, so I added half a bottle of store bought Kombucha. Drank the rest. Have a mother now 1/8" thick. The freeze dry grew right into it. Waiting for a 3/8" thick mother.

Response from CFH: It is normal that no baby scoby form for the first few batches, though to speed up the process, it is fine to add raw store-bought kombucha to a batch.

(Posted on 7/13/2014)

Still a work in progress Review by Richard
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BUT so far I am very much impressed.

1. Although for some still unknown reason I was unable to order online, the customer service folks at CFH were very helpful and entered my order for me. It arrived in the amount of time they promised.
2. At the same time I am re-hydrating my scoby from CFH, I'm also attempting to grow a new one from a bottle of raw kambucha that I purchased. Why? Just for comparison's sake. I love a science project.
3. For the first five days the scoby sat on top of the tea mixture and seemed to me to grow a bit thicker. Somewhere around day five or six, the scoby fell at one end so it is now only on the surface at one end and is somewhat "sideways" in the tea.
4. At day 8 because I could not wait any longer (impatience) I used a test strip to find out the pH of my tea. It was a good 3.5 (acidic). I'm encouraged and impressed.
5. Particulars: I used a quart mason jar and simply followed the instructions that came with the scoby. The instructions say to use a kitchen towel, a coffee filter, or cheesecloth. I used a paper towel because it was thin enough that I could place the band of the mason jar back on over the paper towel to hold it in place. I put the scoby in the tea and it floated at first (see above) then went catty whompus.
6. I have purchased a one gallon "sun tea" jar so once the scoby is rehydrated I can make a gallon at a time. I also plan to experiment with "flavors" once I have the kambucha in bottles. So far, I'm thinking spices more than fruit flavors (ginger and cardamom head the list).

(Posted on 7/13/2014)

Waiting for my Culture to complete Review by Puter
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This is my 3rd attempt at making Kombucha....it's on my fridge, where the temp is approx 78 degrees F. I'm hoping that this time, I'm successful. Past 2 attempts may have been due to user error, I don't know, but this time, I was glad to see the sticks to read the Ph of the mix. Will let you know how I make out!
This is an absolutely wonderful company to deal with: professional, always there to help!!

(Posted on 7/7/2014)

Fun!!! Review by kim
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I enjoy brewing my Kombucha, I was a little nervous at first it was like bringing home a baby (lol) but once I got the hang of it let's just say I'm loving the experience. During this process I would chat to an available Customer Rep and the assistance I was given was stellar. Thanks for your products and providing great customer service. Looking forward to the trying sourdough kit next. :)

(Posted on 7/1/2014)

Dehydrated Cultures won't work long term Review by Kim
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First off, cultures for health is great! Happily kefiring water for nearly a year now, and culturing my own villi yogurt for near as long as well. But I had to give up on the kombucha culture after it grew mold after just a few brews following a successful rehydration. So if you go this route be aware that it requires a LOT of patience and it may grow mold after a few batches. Thanks!

Response from CFH: Please contact Customer Support before discarding any cultures. Some cultures are salvageable with minor adjustments.

(Posted on 6/11/2014)

Stand up company Review by Doug
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I purchased a SCOBY a while a go, followed all of the directions and it was a dud. A few days after posting a review I was contacted by the company and they asked a few questions about the process I used to rehydrate the SCOBY. I few weeks later a gave up completely and requested a refund. I expected to get excuses about how they couldn't give me one, but to my surprise that was not the case. They are processing my refund as a I type this follow up review, and due to their honesty I will buy from them again.

(Posted on 6/9/2014)

Great deal Review by hijodelaluna
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The package arrrived fine, the dcoby was perfect and even tough it is taking some time to rehydrate I hope for the best

(Posted on 6/8/2014)

Great product! Takes some patience... Review by Cait
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The product is great! Even though it looks like nothing is happening, sure enough after a month I have an active kombucha 'mother'. The taste of the first batch is amazing, much better than the plain unflavored kombucha available in stores. This is the easiest thing I've ever cultured/brewed and saves so much money.

(Posted on 6/3/2014)

Wonderful! Review by SteveF
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I didn't even know what kombucha was before ordering this product. What a difference a month makes! I love kombucha and this culture is fantastic!

As a lifelong brewer and baker and, more recently cheese maker, I love to make good, healthful food for my family. Kombucha is now a part of that. My only regret is that I didn't learn about it sooner.

(Posted on 5/22/2014)

Awesome. Have patience and you will be rewarded Review by irishcrab
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I purchased my dehydrated scoby and was very impatient for the 30 day rehydration process. I must've called customer service at least five times just to get reassurance that i just need to give it time. after the 30 days, the tea just tasted very sour like vinegar. i didn't lose hope but was disappointed. i transferred my scoby (it didn't look any different from when i received it)to a gallon jar and followed the instructions for a gallon of kombucha. after a week, i noticed some gelatin like blobs on the top. i knew it wasn't mold from googling images of kombucha with mold. it's been almost two weeks and the baby scoby is looking really good! i'm so glad i didn't give up! i also tried making my own scoby (there are instructions on the cultures for health website) and it also worked! so now i have my rehydrated scoby and its baby, and another scoby i grew! i can't thank cultures for health customer service enough for their encouragement and knowledge! it does take longer, but your patience will be rewarded!

(Posted on 5/15/2014)

No Second scobe yet...... Review by AR
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I am on my second batch and still no second scobe forming. The first batch (rehydrating) took 30 days and the second looks like it will take just as long. Worried about the length of time the second batch is taking and why the second scobe is not developing.

Response from CFH: Please contact customer support for troubleshooting advice before discarding product. Many cultures can be saved with minor adjustments.

(Posted on 5/7/2014)

A Few Tips... Review by Matt
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I was so excited when I got my starter, and even more excited when it had finished the long 30 day hydrating process. I made my first gallon batch, which was great. However, I was absolutely heartbroken to see a cluster of blue fuzzy mold growing on top of my second batch!

I called customer service, and they were incredibly helpful with how things might have gone wrong. It really goes to show what a great company they are and how much they care about their customers.

I'm on my second starter now, and it's going absolutely great. I was told that mold is incredibly rare, but here are a few of the things I learned that can prevent it from happening to you:

1) Get the pH strips to confirm proper acidity. Mold will grow when the batch is not acidic enough. To make absolutely certain that your batch is acidic enough and prevent going through the ordeal of waiting another month and a half for another starter to be ready, double check the pH of a new batch. I thought that I would be fine without the pH strips, but they really are helpful to confirm that things are working as they ought to be. If your batch isn't acidic enough, add more starter liquid or vinegar.

2) If you have a culture that's on the weaker side, make sure to take the pH and mix the brew before pouring the starter liquid into the next batch. I noticed that the bottom of my gallon batch was cloudy, but the top wasn't. Nevertheless, I took my starter liquid off the top and poured it into the next batch. I think part of the reason why the mold grew was because the starter liquid on top wasn't acidic enough. I should've taken the SCOBY out, mixed the brew to get even distribution, taken the pH, and then poured the starter liquid. It's also possible that even if I mixed, the pH just wasn't acidic enough.

3) Make sure you have the newest set of instructions. I noticed the instructions I got with my first culture were different from the ones I got with my second. They must have been revised recently. They are pretty much the same, except that the newer set includes directions for the first batch, and the old set did not. The first batch should NOT be a full gallon, and it should use vinegar instead of starter liquid, to ensure the SCOBY is off to a strong start. I followed the old set of instructions to the letter, and I still got mold. I think the recommendations for the first batch in the new set of instructions is vital to a successful start. Doing a batch without vinegar, and a gallon batch at that, right from the start, must have been too much for a fledgling culture. Following the new instructions for my second culture, I am noticing that the culture is much thicker and already forming a baby on the second brew.

I hope this review is helpful for those who are just starting out, and that it can save you the pain of having to go through a second 30 day hydration process due to mold. The new culture I have is fantastic and incredibly healthy, and the folks at Cultures for Health's customer service do an excellent job. I highly recommend this product.

(Posted on 5/4/2014)

great Review by kd59
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started my 2nd batch... love it!

(Posted on 4/14/2014)

Kombucha Review by anico
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I was a little nervous about my kombucha, but I finally had my first taste of it today, and it is great!! Better yet, is that I am the only one in my family that likes it, so it is ALL MINE!!!! HA! With 6 kids and a husband that want to "share" everything, this is a happy day for me! Anyway...the kombucha stater is a super deal, and it works wonderfully. It was hard to wait the initial 30 days to rehydrate, but it is well worth the effort!! I am going to try adding flavors and a second fermentation next time around. Cultures for health is a site full of info, which I truly appreciate!

(Posted on 4/1/2014)

Worth the Wait Review by iharlow
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30 days starting the culture plus 7 additional days to brew my first Kombucha batch took every ounce of my short attention span. But I was pleasantly surprised a sludge looking goo, vinegar, sugar and brewed tea could produce something so tasty and healthy to boot!

I read the fermentation process diminishes the sugar content of Kombucha. I am happy to report the final result is hardly sweet.

This starter is a fun project with clear, easy instructions for the greenhorn brewer.

(Posted on 3/29/2014)

Great starter Review by Fiona
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It comes dehydrated so it takes a while to hydrate fully but once it does you have a great starter for your kombucha

(Posted on 3/24/2014)

hmmm... Review by Sea
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I have had a successful SOBY before, and wanted to start making kombucha again; however, this one isn't working (yet?).. Not sure what to do.

It's been over 30 days.

Any suggestions?


Response from CFH: Customer was contacted for troubleshooting assistance, and together we found the scoby is indeed working. - Jerri

(Posted on 3/16/2014)



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