How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha-from-Slim-PalateObviously with my recent post for Homemade Bacon along with this post being stringed together so closely I have been quite in the curing/fermenting mood. I feel like I am kind of finally breaking through that surface of cooking that’s make it even more interesting and attractive rather than mundane or boring. It’s amazing the simplicity behind what you have to do versus the complex order of events that happen while you wait for whatever you’re fermenting or curing.

Tea-Bags---Slim-PalateKombucha is a fermented tea that is typically comprised of sugared tea that has an almost magical globular disc called a Scoby introduced to it. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, which is exactly what it is. Over time, this colony of good bacteria eats the sugar inside of the tea and transforms the liquid into the fizzy elixir known as Kombucha.

Steeping-Tea-Bags-Slim-PalateI have constantly been perplexed by kombucha with it’s odd and unique yet addicting flavor. It’s tart and semi-sweet fiziness  is always satisfying and awakening. As soon as the book Fermented was released I knew it was finally my turn to take a shot at it. Lucky for me I had Jill as my coach because I was being incredibly stubborn as I made it. My mom got me all worked up thinking that I was going to grow some sort of poisonous sludge that would cause deadly convulsions on the floor, because she’s a mom, and that’s what mom’s do. As it turns out, making Kombucha is incredibly easy; dare I say,  almost foolproof.


Now the difficult part of making this really is simply obtaining  a SCOBY. There are many ways to get one like buying it online or grabbing one from a friend that brews it themselves. I got mine from my friend Lynsey from Yonder Way Farm. I’m lucky to be able to have friends willing to give me SCOBY’s for my instant gratification because to be flat out honest I just didn’t want to wait for one to come in the mail. Now I just need to figure out what to do with these 3 SCOBY along with another one growing on top of them in their SCOBY hotel.


5.0 from 2 reviews
How to Make Kombucha
Adapted from Fermented By Jill Ciciarelli
  • 11 black tea bags
  • 1½ gallons water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups starter tea
  • 1-2 SCOBY (I used 2 small SCOBY's)
  1. Pour all but 2 cups of the water into a 1-1/2 - 2 gallon jar or glass vessel. Heat the 2 cups of the water you didn't add to a light boil then add the tea bags and let steep for 4 minutes then remove the teabags and squeeze out excess water. While the tea is still hot pour in sugar and dissolve completely then allow the tea to cool completely.
  2. Once the tea is completely cool and room temperature pour the tea into the glass vessel along with the rest of the water. Add the SCOBY then the starter tea.
  3. Cover the vessel with a dish towel or coffee filters and secure it with butcher string or rubber bands. (This is super important and will keep flies and other foreign objects out of your brew.)
  4. Place your vessel in a well ventilated, warm, dry room that is not dark because light encourages the SCOBY to eat the sugar. I left mine on the counter in my kitchen.
  5. Allow your kombucha ferment there undisturbed for at least 10 days and check for taste, depending on how sweet you like it. The longer you ferment the less sweet it will become and the less sugar it will have. I let mine ferment for a total of 21 days.
  6. Once you have done that your Kombucha is done but optionally you can bottle it for a second ferment to make it even more fizzy and delicious, this is also where you can add flavors. If you want to add flavors simply add some fruit additions such as strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries along with some other additions such as ginger, lemon/lime juice, herbs. The sky is the limit for flavors so be spontaneous. Add the fruit or flavorings to flip top bottles then pour over the Kombucha and fill it up just about 1½ inches from the top and close the tops and let it sit on the counter for 4-5 more days. Refrigerate the bottles until cold then open and enjoy!
Notes about the sugar: For those of you who don't know what this is and are freaking out about the sugar; don't worry because the SCOBY eats the sugar and your fermented drink should have about 1-3 grams of sugar per 100 ml. Also while you can use coconut sugar I do not recommend it as it can cause a sloppy or slow ferment because it's harder for the SCOBY to digest, if you want a smooth and easy ferment your best bet is organic evaporated cane sugar.
Note about starter tea:Starter tea is any leftover Kombucha from a previous ferment or an unflavored Kombucha bought from the store. I used GT's Enlightened Original Kombucha.
Flavor ideas: I did about 4 different flavors. Blackberry, Ginger, and Thyme. Blueberry Rosemary Lemon. Strawberry. Blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, lemon, ginger. Lastly Raspberry, lime, ginger.


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  1. says

    Nice tutorial! I’ve been making Kombucha for a little over two years, but have yet to flavor it with a second ferment. I should try this this weekend!

  2. says

    Looks fantastic! I’ve never really known about SCOBY in kombucha until now. Thanks for the tutorial! I shall try to get my hand on some SCOBY now…

      • Enrico says

        Love the glassware.I have been brewing Kombucha for a year now, and always have passed up these beautiful pieces because I thought I couldnt have metal around my scoby. The spigot looks stainless steel? Can I use a metal spigot? Im so excited if I can!

        • Slim Palate says

          Actually I think it was plastic and just looks metal. It brewed fine and I had no problems, so go get yourself one! 😉

          • connie says

            I have this same pitcher…went to pour some out of my 1st batch today and the spigot was clogged. Is this normal? . I am new to this and afraid I messed something up ??

          • Slim Palate says

            Possibly a strain of yeast is clogged in there? I would try to unclog it with a straw. If that does not work then you may have to carefully remove the spigot with something under it to catch and hold the Kombucha.

  3. says

    Hey Josh, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for inspiring me to finally take the plunge and start making my own kombucha at home.

    The beauty of your pictures and the simplicity with which you described the whole process gave me just what I needed to convince my brains that we were able to successfully carry this task to completion if we wanted to.

    Thanks to you, we did it and are now completely addicted! 😉

  4. echo says

    I am growing my own scoby and it was going great but this morning I found that it sank. It is still young the color us clear and cloudy and the snell is wobderfull. I tasted the liquid and it still has plenty of sugar to grow on. My question is will it still grow okay if it was bumped and dropped from the surface. I started it from a kombucha drink that my husband brought back from the usa. We do not have access to kombucha or scoby in Ecuador. You in put would be greatly apreciated, thank you.

    • /// says

      Just leave it sit longer. I made my scoby’s and they all did that. I threw the first one away because I thought it died. Just took longer 4-5 weeks and it grew into a scoby

  5. Brianna says

    I grew my own SCOBYS it is super easy. I also want to just point out that your container has a metal spigot which can mess with your SCOBY.

  6. Lois says

    Great tutorial… I LOVE Kombucha. I have shared not just the drink but the SCOBY also as they wanted to make their own Kombucha. Yippee!!! I’ve had my Kombucha hotels in a closet (thus I am a closet drinker) and have not had a problem with it. What you said about the light helping the SCOBY to eat the sugar does make sense. I’ll rethink my Kombucha hotel area.
    Summer time I can easily make a batch in 5 days. I taste mine at day 5 with a straw, sliding it down past the SCOBY, covering the straw hole with my finger and then pulling out the straw and tasting the Kombucha. If it is still to sweet I leave it a couple more days. It can turn to vinegar but that is ok… Use it for salad dressing.
    I do like the black tea Kombucha but I enjoy the flavors even more. Pomegranate is one of my favorites. I did have to play around with how much 100% fruit juice to add to my half gallon or gallon Kombucha. I have used green teas, roobios teas and even flavor tea Hibiscus and Cranberry are GREAT. From what I have read you need to make sure you use mostly black tea.
    Have you found other ways in which to use your growing amount of SCOBY’s? I have heard people use them for dog treats, put in compost, dry it out and cut it up for a crunch on a salad.


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