Kombucha - it's that effervescent, tangy fermented drink that seems to be ever-growing in popularity.
But keeping up with the latest fermented foods trends and probiotic benefits can come at a hefty price.
Why shell out $3 to $4 a bottle when can learn how to make kombucha from the comfort of your home? We'll show you how to make up to a gallon of kombucha (that's 8 bottles) for a fraction of the cost of commercial brands.
Whether you’re new to making kombucha or a seasoned fermenting expert, now you can brew delicious kombucha tea at home with our easy-to-follow kombucha recipe and How-To Video.
Before You Begin Brewing Kombucha
- To get started brewing at home, you will need a Kombucha Tea Starter Culture (also known as a SCOBY, mother, or mushroom) plus some ingredients and equipment listed below. Visit our tutorial to learn more about How to Make or Obtain a Kombucha SCOBY.
- If you are just doing some research, browse this page along with our expert advice on making kombucha tea at home and feel free to reach out with any questions. We're here to help!
If You've Purchased a Dehydrated SCOBY
- If you have purchased a dehydrated Kombucha Tea Starter Culture, please visit our video on Activating a Dehydrated Kombucha SCOBY to get started.
- If you have just activated our dehydrated SCOBY, please follow the enclosed instructions for making the first 3 batches of kombucha. The instructions in this video and article are for making kombucha regularly, using a fully activated kombucha SCOBY.
How to Make Kombucha Tea
1. Gather Equipment for Making Kombucha Tea
Making kombucha tea at home is easy, and it only requires a few pieces of equipment to get started. You can also learn more about choosing the best equipment for making kombucha in this article, but in short you will need:
- Quart-Size Glass Jar
- Plastic or Wooden Stirring Utensil
- Tight-Weave Cloth or Paper Coffee Filter
- Rubber Band (to secure the cover to the jar)
2. Gather Ingredients for Making Kombucha
Below is a list of ingredients needed for making a kombucha. To explore more options for each, check out our tutorial: Choosing Ingredients for Making Kombucha.
- Unfluoridated, Unchlorinated Water
- White Sugar
- Tea Bags or Loose Tea
- Starter Tea or Distilled White Vinegar
- Active Kombucha SCOBY
While it may be tempting to experiment with different types of vinegar, it's very important to always use distilled white vinegar to ensure an appropriately acidic environment. Apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar are not appropriate for making kombucha tea.
Once your kombucha SCOBY is active you can make kombucha on a regular basis using the ratios below. Keep in mind that these ratios are for making regular batches of kombucha.
For your first batch, when activating a dehydrated kombucha SCOBY, you will need to refer to ratios in the activation instructions.
If you have just started making kombucha, we also recommend slowly working up to larger batch sizes to help maintain proper ingredients ratios and to avoid stressing the SCOBY.
3. Select Ingredient Ratios for Making Different Amounts of Kombucha
Kombucha Ingredient Ratios
- 1½ teaspoon loose tea OR 2 tea bags
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2-3 cups water
- ½ cup starter tea or vinegar
- 1 tablespoon loose tea OR 4 tea bags
- ½ cup sugar
- 6-7 cups water
- 1 cup starter tea or vinegar
- 2 tablespoons loose tea OR 8 tea bags
- 1 cup sugar
- 13-14 cups water
- 2 cups starter tea or vinegar
4. Follow Instructions for Making Kombucha Tea
- Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The water should be hot enough to steep the tea but does not have to be boiling.
- Place the tea or tea bags in the sugar water to steep.
NOTE: Using a metal tea ball to contain loose tea for making kombucha is acceptable. The tea ball should be removed before adding the SCOBY and starter tea, so the tea ball will not come into contact with the SCOBY.
- Cool the mixture to 68-85ºF. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools or removed after the first 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger the tea will be.
- Remove the tea bags or completely strain the loose tea leaves from the liquid.
- Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid. If you do not have starter tea, distilled white vinegar may be substituted.
- Add an active kombucha SCOBY.
- Cover the jar with a tight-weave towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
- Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 68-85°F, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.
- Pour kombucha off the top of the jar for consuming. Retain the SCOBY and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch.
- The finished kombucha can be flavored and bottled, if desired, or enjoyed plain.
5. Flavor and Bottle to Make Your Kombucha Fizzy!
Once the kombucha has finished culturing, remove the SCOBY and enjoy it plain or add flavoring. There is no limit to the flavoring possibilities. For a fizzy finished kombucha, try bottling it in a Grolsch-style bottle or other tightly-sealed container.
Check out our video and article on Flavoring and Bottling Kombucha for more information and flavoring ideas.
Starting a new project can be tricky at times, but with our tips and resources, we are confident that you'll be successful.
Whatever the case, browse our troubleshooting FAQ and you'll be in good shape to make the best homemade kombucha possible!
Once you've been brewing kombucha for a while, you may find it more convenient to set up a kombucha continuous brewing system.
Rather than changing brewing containers for every batch, this method allows you to make larger batches, one after the other in the same container.
Not only does this create a nice little fermentation ecosystem, a kombucha continuous brew system is low maintenance and provides a healthy environment for your SCOBY.
The Kombucha Brewing Jar by Mortier Pilon is specially designed to make it easy to make and store kombucha all in the same container. The lid even features a re-writable label you can use to mark your brewing dates.
More Ways to Use Kombucha
Don't forget, kombucha is good for more than just drinking! Check out more ideas for using kombucha as well as our collection of kombucha recipes. If you get overrun with kombucha SCOBY's there are lots of creative ways to use extras!
Storing Your Kombucha SCOBY
Working with live cultures like a SCOBY means they need the proper care and attention. While SCOBYs can give you an endless supply of kombucha tea, there may be times when you need to take a break from brewing kombucha. Learn more about how to do this in our tutorial: How to Take a Break from Making Kombucha.
Just the Gist: Making Homemade Kombucha
- What You’ll Need: Active SCOBY, water, sugar, tea, distilled white vinegar or starter tea, glass jar, cover, and warm spot out of direct sunlight.
- Instructions: Dissolve sugar in water, steep tea, let it cool, remove tea bags, add vinegar or starter tea, and SCOBY, cover and culture for 7-30 days at room temperature (68-85°F) out of direct sunlight. Retain tea and SCOBY for next batch. Repeat.
- Fermentation Temperature & Time: 70-80º F is ideal culturing temperature. Warmer temperatures speed up fermentation, cooler temperatures slow it down. The longer you let your kombucha culture the less sweet and more vinegary it will become.
- Signs of Fermentation: Flavor becomes less sweet more more vinegary, SCOBY thickens, stringy brown yeast particle present, haze or new baby SCOBY at top of liquid, tea has lightened in color.
- Bottling & Flavoring: Flavor finished kombucha or bottle it to give is extra carbonation. HOW-TO VIDEO: Flavoring & Bottling Kombucha Tea.
- Continuous Brew Kombucha: A more advanced brewing method for making larger batches - learn more!
- Troubleshooting: Try our Kombucha Troubleshooting FAQ for answers to most common issues.
- Storing Kombucha: Learn how to make SCOBY Hotel to store kombucha or take brewing breaks.