How To Make Kombucha At Home For Beginners

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six bottles of homemade kombucha

Kombucha is the perfect replacement for soda or juice if you’re trying to find a healthier alternative. I can’t pronounce most of the ingredients found in a can of soda, let alone know what they actually are! If you’re ready to get on the kombucha craze this guide is for you! Let me show you how easy it is to make kombucha at home.

What is kombucha and why should we drink it

Essentially it is a tea drink that has gone through a fermentation process. The health benefits of drinking this refreshing fizzy drink include: liver health, immune system booster, body detoxifier, good gut health, and many many more!

My kombucha story

I first tasted kombucha a couple of years ago when my grandma gave me a taste of her home brew. At this point I had never even heard of kombucha and wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the look of what she had in that jar (the SCOBY) made me have a preconceived idea that I was NOT going to like it. I took the tiniest taste, made a sour face and decided I was not going to try THAT again!

Fast forward a few months and I was once more offered to try another homemade kombucha at a friends house. Not wanting to be rude I accepted the drink and I’m so glad I did. It was delicious! This time it was ice cold, fizzy, and full of flavor. I later learned my grandmas kombucha was only in its initial ferment (more on that later), therefore it was at room temperature and not quite ready for consumption.

As time passed I started learning about making healthier more natural choices for everything I was bringing into our home, from cleaning products to food and everything in between. I slowly started making small changes beginning with the food we were eating and making kombucha at home became one of the things I knew I needed to learn.

A quick word of caution: If you tend to have a lot of allergies I recommend starting with a small taste to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.
how to make kombucha at home. six glass bottles of flavored kombucha.

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Supplies/Ingredients you will need

Medium sized pot

One glass gallon sized jar

12 cups of filtered water

3Tbs of organic black loose leaf tea or 6 tea bags

1 cup of sugar

SCOBY and starter liquid. You can get one from a friend since they reproduce every time you make a new batch of homemade kombucha, or you can purchase one from The kombucha shop

cotton cloth and rubber band

stainless steel funnel if you choose to bottle into swing top bottles for individual servings.

How to make kombucha at home

  1. Bring 4 cups of filtered water to a boil, then turn off heat.
  2. Add 3 Tbs. of loose leaf organic black tea or 6 tea bags, and steep for 8-10 minutes. Discard tea after.
  3. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. Pour the sweet tea into a one gallon glass jar and add 8 cups of cold filtered water.
  5. Add your SCOBY with its starter liquid.
  6. Cover the jar with the cotton cloth and seal with the rubber band.
  7. Place the gallon jar in a warm dark place for 10-12 days.
glass gallon jar of homemade kombucha

At this point you are done with your first ferment. You will see the SCOBY has about doubled in size, you can use it again for your next homemade kombucha batch. Remove it from the jar and store it in a covered glass jar with at least one cup of your current kombucha, this will keep the SCOBY alive while in storage and will serve as the starter liquid for the next batch. You can leave the SCOBY in the covered glass jar at room temperature for up to 4 weeks, at which point it will need to be fed.

RELATED: Watermelon Kombucha Recipe

second ferment

If you like your kombucha to have some fizz and you want to add different flavors to it, now is the time to experiment with it. Try adding a handful of your favorite fruit or some raw ginger. Cover the jar with an airtight lid and let it sit for an additional 2-4 days tasting it as you go until you have the desired amount of fizz. That’s what is called the second ferment

glass swing top bottle with stainless steel funnel

You can add the fruit flavoring directly into gallon glass jar or you can use glass swing top bottles and add a different flavor to each bottle. Whichever way you choose make sure to let the kombucha sit at room temperature in a dark area for an additional 2-4 days then put in the fridge and enjoy wonderfully good for you probiotic filled refreshing kombucha!

Related blog post: Most asked kombucha questions answered.

flavor combination ideas

apple and cinnamon

cucumber and mint

mango and pineapple

blueberry and strawberry


you can also add 2-3 Tbls of your favorite juice concentrate

these are just a few ideas, the combination possibilities are endless! My favorite thing to do is to add whatever fruit scraps I have on hand that day.

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  1. I followed it to the letter, including 2nd ferment and fizz, thank you so much for your guidance, it worked so well I even started my own scoby hotel.

  2. I understand that the scoby “eats” the sugar, so it seems that keto style sweeteners are not going to work, is this correct? Also, I don’t use caffeine. Can herbal teas be used or is black tea necessary? I have a tea that I really enjoy and if it’ll work would try it. Thank you

    1. Hi Susan, I am not familiar with keto sweeteners so I am not sure if they will work or not. As far as the type of tea to use, I do not recommend herbal teas because most herbal teas don’t have the requiered nutrients the SCOBY needs to ferment.

  3. I have made 2 batches so far and neither had any fizz. I used swing bottles the second time hoping that was the reason and still no fizz. It was very flat. I’m following the directions and using filtered water, testing the PH etc and am very disappointed! What am I doing wrong??

    1. The fizz comes from the second fermentation, and usually the longer (about 5-7 days usually works for us) you leave it fermenting the second time in a dark cool place the fizzier it gets. Are you doing a second ferment? Also, make sure you are adding enough sugar content to the second ferment, like fruit scraps or even a few drops of stevia leaf extract.

    2. hmm, I would experiment with adding more sugar, actual cane sugar, and letting it ferment a few days longer maybe a whole extra week. I would also check the room temperature of where it’s fermenting, ideally it should be warm. The colder the room the slower the fermentation process.

  4. I have never tried kombucha, but I’m interested in making my own. Could sugar be replaced with honey? If so, how much?

    1. Hi Micki,
      I personally have never tried brewing kombucha with honey so I can’t really speak to what kind of results you might get by switching. Theoratically you should be able to switch to a high sugar content honey like wildflower honey. The fermemting time and taste might be a bit different but it’s worth a shot if you really don’t want to use regular sugar. But remember that most of the sugar you add to kombucha is consumed by the SCOBY not leaving a significant amount of sugar in the end product.

        1. Yes you are correct! I actually i’m just starting to experiment with a jun SCOBY, can’t wait to share about that process here on the blog in the near future.

    2. Yes you can use honey but you can’t use a scoby for that. That would be called a jun. The jun feeds off of the honey instead of the sugar and it is a shorter fermentation. 😬

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Yes the cup of sugar is necessary because that’s what the yeast (SCOBY) feeds on. But don’t worry, through the fermentation process most of the sugar is consumed by the yeast so there is really not much sugar left in the end product.

  5. Ooooh thanks for the recipe. Can I ask.. how long does the kombucha last once it’s made?

    1. yes its totally normal. What day are you on? the film most likely is the formation of a new layer on your scoby. Let me know if you have other questions!

    1. I totally get it! I go through the same thing with anything new I want to learn but i’m intimidated by. I’ll help you through all your questions the best I can, message me anytime!☺️

    1. I have never bought kombucha from the store so I can’t really compare the cost, but you can make quite a few gallons of it with one bag of black tea leaves. Let me know if you have any other questions when you try to make your own.

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