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Today, I am sharing my Beginner’s Guide to Kombucha Making so that anyone can learn how to make this probiotic-rich fermented tea at home!
*Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is basically a fermented tea that is made with a “SCOBY.” And what exactly is a SCOBY? Great question! It stands for “Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.”
It’s this SCOBY that allows us to take a simple sweetened black tea and turn it into a delightfully effervescent probiotic-rich beverage. We can do this process at home for a fraction of the cost of buying it from the store!
Where do I find a SCOBY?
If you have a friend who makes Kombucha, you may be able to get a SCOBY from them along with a couple of cups of the starter tea culture. If not, no problem.
Right now, you can buy a large SCOBY and the accompanying starter tea culture online. Alternatively, if you live near a company that brews Kombucha for sale, they may also sell you a SCOBY.
Once you have your SCOBY, you’re all ready to make Kombucha. In my video and printable recipe, I’ll walk you through all the steps from brewing your tea, sweetening your tea, adding your SCOBY, and fermenting the tea to make Kombucha. And once you make your first batch of fermented tea, you can also do a second ferment where you can add all sorts of flavorings, including fruit, spices, and herbs.
So get your SCOBY and watch my tutorial video as I walk you through this full-length class on how to make your own Kombucha at home!
More Probiotic Drink Recipes
As you’re learning how to make this fermented tea, be sure to check out these other videos for making lots of delicious and nutritious probiotic-rich drinks.
I am not a doctor or medical professional. If you are not feeling well, please seek professional medical attention and medicine. And if you are thinking of supplementing your treatment with home remedies, be sure to talk to your medical professional about them. It’s important that you get the medicine and treatments you need to get back to good health.
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In the following members-only live stream video replay, I talk about Beef Tallow, Sourdough, and Store-Bought Kombucha.
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Beginner’s Guide to Kombucha Making
- 1-Gallon Sized Jar
- Clean Fabric Square large enough to fit over top of jar
- Rubber Band or Kitchen Twine
- Large pot or Tea Kettle
- Measuring Cup
- Fine Mesh Strainer, optional
- 3 quarts Filtered water, brought to a boil and cooled slightly
- 8 Tea bags, black caffeinated tea
- 1 cup White cane sugar
- 1 SCOBY
- 2 cups Starter kombucha tea
- 2 tablespoons Distilled white vinegar, optional Only required if there is no starter kombucha tea available.
- 1 cup Strawberries, optional Only required for the second ferment.
- Boil 3 quarts of water.
- Pour boiled water into a clean, heat-proof 1-Gallon jar.
- Add tea bags to the jar and allow to brew for 10 minutes.
- Remove tea bags and do not squeeze them.
- Add sugar to the jar, stir well, and allow sugar to dissolve.
- Add SCOBY to the jar.
- Cover jar with fabric and secure with a rubber band or kitchen twine.
- Place jar in a room temperature area out of direct sunlight (between 68°F-85°F).
- Taste test the kombucha after 7 days to see if it is to your liking. If you would like it more tangy, test it again at 10 days or up to 14 days. Some people even let it ferment for up to 20 days.
- Once you like the taste of the kombucha, you can decant it and enjoy it as is, or you can move on to a second ferment. But first, remove the SCOBY and transfer it to a clean jar. Next, give the kombucha a good stir and then remove two cups of this first ferment kombucha and add it to the jar with the SCOBY. Reserve these two cups for when you are ready to make your next batch of kombucha.
- In this recipe, the second ferment is done using strawberries.
- Puree the strawberries and then use a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
- Add the puree to a bottle (approximately a 16-ounce size bottle).
- Stir the first ferment kombucha well and then pour some of the first ferment kombucha into the bottle, leaving a 1-inch of headspace.
- Stir well to incorporate puree with tea.
- Cap bottle and allow to ferment for 3-5 days in a room temperature area out of direct sunlight (between 68°F-85°F).
- After the second day, begin to "burp" your bottle by loosening the cap and then re-tightening it. This will release some of the carbon dioxide created by the good bacteria and prevent the bottle from breaking under the pressure of the natural carbonation.
- Once the second ferment reaches the level of carbonation that you like, you may drink it as is, or refrigerate and then drink it once it has cooled.
- In a bottle with a screw top, the kombucha will maintain its carbonation for only a few days. If you prefer to maintain a longer carbonation, you will need to bottle the second ferment kombucha in a swing-top bottle specifically made for carbonated beverages as those sold by home brewing companies. (See video for cautions when using swing-top bottles. I do not recommend them for homebrewers of kombucha.)
Shop for items used in this blog post or video
Favorite Fermented Beverage Making Supplies
- Large SCOBY and LIVE Starter Culture Tea
- 1-Gallon Glass Jar with Cloth and Rubber Band
- Swing-Top Bottles
- Glass Bottles with Screw Tops
- Masontops Kombucha Starter Kit
Use promo code MARYSNST for a one-time 15% off Masontops and Breadsmart products on Amazon.com.
Favorite Kitchen Supplies
- Favorite Aprons
- Spice Grinder
- Countertop Burner (On my kitchen island in many recipe videos.)
- Handheld Vacuum Sealing System
- Vacuum Lids
- Silica Gel Packets (Helps keep moisture from building up in your mix)
- Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- 8-Quart Slow-Cooker
- Fat Separator (Clever kitchen device to help you decant bone broth)
- Flour Sack Towels
- pH Strips (Helps you check on the acidity of your vinegar)
More Kitchen Supplies with Discount Codes
- Mockmill Grain Mill (for making homemade flour)
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**Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the MarysNest.com website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.
Mary Thank you for your wonderful teaching, I have to try to make some kombucha! Where can I buy it? I live in Wisconsin
Hi Martha, So happy to hear that you liked the video. You will most like have to buy a SCOBY online. If you look at my kombucha blog post I have a link to where to buy a SCOBY – scroll down until you see the shop section. Hope this helps. Love, Mary
Mary, the place I got my scoby recommends 4 tsps. of loose tea per gallon of tea, should I use their recommendations, it was a very small scoby but now it is a gallon jar size.
Is it best to always put the baby scoby in 2 cups of aged beverage and set aside for 7 days before adding to the next batch of sweetened tea? Thanks for tip of the vinegar eels, always washed my hands in raw vinegar before handling my scoby, it died. All the books I bought never told this.
Hi Sandra, Thank you so much for visiting my site and leaving a comment. I am SO happy to hear that learning about the vinegar eels (a type of nematode) was helpful. I am very careful when I make traditional foods and I research my topic extensively. Yes, the vinegar eels love to eat the SCOBY and will kill it. I am so sorry that your SCOBY died but glad you were able to obtain more. SCOBYs thrive on caffeine, so I think the 4 tsps. of loose tea is to small amount for the larger jar and larger SCOBY. Also, do you have an option of using tea bags? Loose tea can get messy. But either way, definitely add more as I discuss in the video. As to the baby SCOBYs, you can usually peel them off the original “mother” and proceed with making a new batch of kombucha. They will be hungry and ready to be fed with new tea and sugar. Does that answer your question?
Do you enjoy making other traditional foods? I have a playlist of my videos titled “Mastering the Basics of Traditional Nutrient Dense Foods Cooking”. It’s a series of 15 detailed videos that covers How to Make Bone Broth, Cultured Dairy, Ferments, Sourdough Starter (my foolproof stater), Sourdough Bread, and How to Soak and Sprout Grains to Make your own Sprouted Flour at Home. You can watch the VIDEOS here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCWcFsG-Np0&list=PLkRuW3pBo2U3b4eu0QraZReKlGzA11h3y
And if by chance you are especially interested in learning about sourdough￼, be sure to check out my Complete Guide to Sourdough: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkRuW3pBo2U3NKN0GHvGCpiWNxcTefLof I think you will enjoy some of these videos.
Also…If you enjoy making homemade pantry type items, you might enjoy my playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkRuW3pBo2U1MqC3YAw7ZRYjuL9FBGSwc where I show how to make Apple Cider Vinegar, 10 Flavored Extracts including Vanilla Extract, 1- Minute Homemade Mayonnaise, Homemade Bouillon – and how to dehydrate it, Natural Food Colorings, Evaporated Milk, Condensed Milk, Preserved Citrus, and more!
And in the Modern Pioneering spirit…If you enjoy canning, or are interested in learning about canning, I have a playlist of my canning videos here which include step-by-step tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkRuW3pBo2U3HJRCmwVAvBNS90WjifR1U
Oh…And here is my 2020 Channel Update for everything I have planned for this year: https://youtu.be/qjOJh8Cb_-k
Oh…one more thing…Do you know about our FB group? It’s called Mary’s Nest Modern Pioneers. Come join us! We have a lot of fun chatting about Traditional Foods:
Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m so happy to help! And I’m so glad we’re on this Traditional Foods Journey together!!
Thank you again for writing to me!
Thank you so much for such a prompt response and the extensive research is much appreciated. Bone broth done right is my next project, thanks to you. I was doing so much wrong.
Mary, the trouble I have with my kombucha is that it turns acidic quickly ( 1.0 pH ) after just a few days and I can’t drink it because it irritates my throat. I tested the most recent batch this am, made 6/5, and it was 2-3.0 pH already. If I remember correctly you usually decant at 3.0 pH. I use 2 c. previous batch to the new tea solution. You teach that it should ferment at least 7 days, I am puzzled.
Hello! After I remove the scoby from my scoby hotel to use in my next batch of kombucha, what do I do with the remaining liquid in my scoby hotel? Thank you!
Hi Tara, You will want to save the liquid in your SCOBY hotel to store future SCOBYs. Do you enjoy making other traditional foods? If so, I have a playlist of some of my videos titled “Mastering the Basics of Traditional Nutrient Dense Foods Cooking”. It’s a series of 15 detailed videos that covers How to Make Bone Broth, Cultured Dairy, Ferments, Sourdough Starter (my foolproof stater), Sourdough Bread, Soaked and Sprouted Nuts and Beans, and How to Soak and Sprout Grains to Make your own Sprouted Flour at Home. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkRuW3pBo2U3b4eu0QraZReKlGzA11h3y And please share the playlist with any other folks you think might be interested in learning about these types of things. I’m passionate about the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (of the Weston A Price Foundation) and want to help as many people as I can learn how to make Traditional “Nutrient Dense” Foods.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m so happy to help! And I’m SO glad you’re here!! Love and God Bless, Mary❤️😘❤️
PS – Do you know about our FB group? It’s called Mary’s Nest Modern Pioneers. Come join us! We have a lot of fun chatting about Traditional Foods: https://www.facebook.com/groups/171869080205145/?source_id=210509998974645
Mary, can I use green tea instead of black caffeinated tea?
You can, however it’s the caffeine that the SCOBY likes to eat so you may have to add more green tea – make a stronger batch of green tea – to keep the SCOBY happy. ❤️🤗❤️