I’ve received so many requests about how to make kombucha tea. With a 16-ounce bottle costing $3.50 at Whole Foods, it’s nice to know how to make it at home. It’s not hard at all.
The benefit to drinking kombucha is the probiotics that help your digestive system, and a lot of people just like the taste. It’s hard to describe, but the taste reminds me of dry champagne.
Store-bought kombucha can be too strong for my taste, but when you make it at home, you can adjust it to suit your preference.
2 quarts water, filtered
4 organic black tea bags
¾ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup kombucha from the last batch
Q: What is a SCOBY and where do you get one?
Directions to Make Kombucha Tea
Be careful to keep everything really clean. I make each batch in a half-gallon canning jar, which produces enough for three 16-oz bottles.
- Boil a quart of filtered water.
- Add 4 tea bags and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Stir in ¾ cup of sugar and let cool.
- Pour tea into a half-gallon glass canning jar and then fill the jar with cool filtered water.
- Add the SCOBY and ½ cup of kombucha from the last batch as a starter. (You can use store-bought kombucha the first time.)
- Cover jar with a muslin cloth or paper towel and secure it with a rubber band or the canning jar ring.
- Let it sit undisturbed in a dark place for about 5-10 days. The longer it sits, the less sweet it will be. I usually let it sit for 9 full days.
Day 10 (or sooner, if you prefer):
- Remove the SCOBY from the jar, and place it on a plate.
- Reserve a half cup of kombucha to start the next batch.
- Use a funnel and pour the kombucha into bottles or jars with lids. I use glass swing-top bottles with rubber gaskets. (I bought them from a homebrew store that sells equipment for making wine and beer.) A batch this size fills three 16-oz bottles.
- Add flavoring if you like. Since we like grape flavor, I add a little less than ¼ cup grape juice to each 16-oz bottle.
- Let the bottles sit at room temperature for 5 days. This improves the flavor and adds carbonation. (Make sure your bottles have tight-fitting lids to hold the carbonation.)
- After waiting 5 days for the bottles to sit on the shelf and improve carbonation, transfer the bottles to the refrigerator. They’re ready to drink!
Q: I avoid refined sugar. Can I use an alternative like honey instead?
Q: I’m not ready to make the next batch. Can I store the SCOBY?
How to Grow a SCOBY
- Start with a new 16-ounce bottle of plain store-bought kombucha. A popular brand is GT’s, and it is found at grocery stores such as Whole Foods.
- Pour the kombucha into a wide-mouth glass canning jar, and cover the jar with muslin cloth or a paper towel. Let it sit at room temperature.
- After about four days, a SCOBY will start to form. Add some sweet black tea to help the SCOBY grow. (Sweet black tea made with a cup of water, one tea bag, and ¼ cup granulated white sugar.)
- After about ten more days, the SCOBY should be ready. You probably won’t want to drink any of this starter batch of kombucha (because of the taste), but do save a half cup of it for a new batch.
Q: I’m not sure if my SCOBY looks right. How would I know if it’s contaminated?
We liked this homemade kombucha so much that now we make larger batches. When each batch is ready, you can pass along part of your SCOBY to someone else or continue to use it.