How to Make Kombucha: Growing a SCOBY

April 9, 2012

in Drinks, Kombucha


I’ve learned a lot about the brewing process over time – how long it takes to get just the right amount of tartness (about 7-10 days for me), how to increase carbonation (add fruit and fill the bottles to the very top) – and I’ve also learned that the resulting kombucha is different depending on which SCOBY you use to brew it. Check out my more recent kombucha post to learn why I now recommend purchasing a Brew Now Kit from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp, rather than growing your own SCOBY from scratch. The kit is also great for beginners because it takes out a lot of the guesswork.

Original Post:

I’ve mentioned it several times on the blog before, but I absolutely love kombucha. Although I am not a fan of beer (unless it’s pumpkin, blueberry, or basically tastes like juice), there’s something about the slightly fizzy, acidic flavor of kombucha that I crave. Unfortunately, regularly drinking it sets me back close to $4/bottle and that adds up really fast. So, like my previous Starbucks habit, I’ve curbed it to a couple of times a month.

My First Batch of Homemade Kombucha

{Not photogenic.}

For the last few months, I’ve been really interested in trying to brew my own. The process seemed simple enough, and to be honest – part of me kind of likes the idea of being “that girl” who brews her own kombucha. It one-ups the hippiness factor of things like drinking green juice, eating chia seeds, and using coconut oil as a moisturizer.

Kombucha SCOBY / Mother

Kombucha SCOBY. By far, the grossest photo I’ve posted on this blog.

Kombucha SCOBY (aka Kombucha Mother)
Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 1 kombucha scoby
  • 1 Bottle of Raw, Plain Kombucha (I used GT brand)
  • 5 C. Water, divided
  • ⅓ C. plus 2 Tbs. Sugar (I used Raw Turbinado)
  • 3 Bags of Organic Green or Black Tea (or 3 Tbs. looseleaf tea)
  • 1 Quart Glass Jar
  • 1 Gallon Glass Jar
  • Clean Cloth or Paper Towels
  • Rubber Band
  1. Purchase a bottle of raw, plain kombucha with lots of yeast floating at the bottom (those are the weird strands that are a little scary to drink, but the more the merrier in this case). I like the GT Organic Raw Kombucha that you can find at Whole Foods and other health foods stores.
  2. Pour all but 1 cup of the kombucha into a glass - you only need that bottom cup with all of the strings of yeast to grow your scoby. The rest you can drink! Think of it as a little instant gratification before your patience gets tested these next couple of weeks.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar (I used raw turbinado) to the boiling water and stir to dissolve.
  5. Turn off the stove and add 1 bag of organic green or black tea (or 1 tablespoon of loose leaf tea). I used green tea.
  6. Cover the saucepan to prevent the mixture from evaporating and allow it to come to room temperature. This will take some time, but it's important that the mixture has cooled before moving on to the next step or you'll kill all that good bacteria in the bottled kombucha.
  7. Once the water/sugar/tea mixture has cooled to room temperature, remove the tea bag and pour the mixture into a large glass jar (I used a 1 quart Ball jar). Add to it the 1 cup of reserved kombucha.
  8. Cover the top of the jar with a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels and secure it with a rubber band. This will keep fruit flies and other bugs out, while still allowing air to circulate.
  9. Place the jar in a warm, dark spot (I chose the top, back shelf in my pantry) where it won't be disturbed, and allow it to to sit for about 7 days before taking a peek. You should see a thin, cloudy-looking film growing over the top of the mixture - this is good! It's the baby scoby that will grow into the mother that you'll be using to brew your own kombucha.
  10. Once the film has grown to be about ⅛th of an inch thick, you'll need to feed it again.
  11. This time, boil 4 cups of water, add ⅓ cup of sugar to the boiling water and stir to dissolve. Turn off the stove and add 2 bags of organic green or black tea (or 1 tablespoon of loose leaf tea). Feel free to use a mixture of green and black tea too - some people think this helps with the brewing process.
  12. Cover the saucepan to prevent the mixture from evaporating and allow it to come to room temperature. Again, this will take some time, but it's important that the mixture has cooled before moving on to the next step.
  13. Once cooled, remove the tea bags and transfer the mixture to a large glass jar (I switched from a Ball jar to a 1 gallon biscotti jar that I found at Williams Sonoma for under $20). Add to it the contents of the original 1 quart jar (all of the kombucha liquid and the baby scoby).
  14. Again, cover the top of the jar with a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels and secure it with a rubber band, and return it to the warm, dark spot for another week and a half to 2 weeks.
  15. Once the scoby is ¼ to ½ an inch thick, it's ready to make your first batch of kombucha!
If at any point during the process you notice green mold forming in the mixture, toss it and start over. This can happen when the liquid isn't acidic enough, which is why it's so important to add that full cup of the bottled kombucha. The time it takes for the baby SCOBY to thicken is very much dependent on environmental factors and it's not an exact science. If you find, for example, that the SCOBY reaches ⅛th an inch thickness at 5 days instead of 7, go ahead and move on to the next step.


Coming soon: How to use your kombucha mother to brew your first batch

{ 113 comments… read them below or add one }

Rhonda (@diningalone) April 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I am super impressed that you can make this at home and never even thought to try it. The first time I had it I was like WOAH then it grew on me.


Amanda April 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I know what you mean – it wasn’t quite love at first sip for me either. haha


Kait April 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

True story: for some reason, kombucha intimidates me! I don’t know what it is but something about drinking an “effervescent tea-based beverage” made with bacteria + yeast freaks me out. Says the girl who loves visualizing the 15 billion probitiotics chomping away at bad stuff in her belly + loves beer. Sometimes I fail to understand myself!


Amanda April 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I get it. If I think about it too much, it kind of freaks me out. And the scoby is gross – there’s just no way around that. I’m working on a batch of blueberry kombucha and it’s much less intimidating than looking at it plain (the color is much more appealing). Also, you can use a cheesecloth to strain out the yeast before you drink it if that really bothers you. :)


Kait April 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Glad to know you someone does! Its funny because I absolutely LOVE unfiltered beers (yuuuum) so I feel like kombucha would be right up my alley. I literally picked up and put down a bottle like 15 times at WF yesterday before I was like, “Not today!” I’ll do it eventually (just like with, you know, green smoothies, chia seeds, etc) but will take my sweet time getting there!

PS do you moisturize your whole body with coconut oil?


Amanda April 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I like to make a body scrub out of raw turbinado sugar and coconut oil and then use that in the shower, and I’ll use coconut oil on my hands. I like to use jojoba oil on my face. It works well, and I’m paranoid the coconut oil might make me break out. I’ve heard it’s great in place of eye cream though.


Kait April 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Ooooh that sounds sensational. Adding it to the must-try list. I’m paranoid about using any oil on my combination skin… but I will have to add coconut for eye cream. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

Becky August 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm

coconut oil works well for me as an eye make-up remover; even waterproof mascara – just try not to get it in your eyes – like all removers.

katie @KatieDid April 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I drink green juice, (sometimes) eat chia seeds, moisturize with coconut oil, anddd have my own kombucha abrewin right now! I’m almost ready to drink it… I tried it yesterday but it had a terrible after taste (not the bitter fermented taste that I love), so I’m waiting another week to give it a try!


Amanda April 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Fun! I think I might buy a bottle of the GT stuff just so I can do a taste comparison. I finally tried mine yesterday and it tasted pretty good to me, but a taste test would be fun. Now I’m trying to work on getting it to be more fizzy – apparently that takes place during the 1-3 days that you let it ferment after you bottle it.


lauren @ the talking kitchen April 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm

yay totally going to start my own brew. it’s just too much to buy at the store. i’ve been using coconut oil + baking soda as a deodorant so i might as well use it as moisturizer too! thanks for all the hippy ideas :)


Amanda April 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Ha! I was just talking to someone about wanting to try making my own deodorant! What recipe are you using?


lauren @ the talking kitchen April 10, 2012 at 2:00 am

i’m not really using a recipe, just a dab of coconut oil rubbed in my pits and then I use an old blush brush to baking soda it up :) but I’ve been looking for something more travel and gift friendly, I mean who wouldn’t want a homemade deodorant gift. I found this recipe, let me know if you like it!


Amanda April 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

That recipe sounds easy enough. I think I’ll give it a try when my deodorant runs out. Thanks!


N Hamilton July 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I put coconut oil on a cotton ball and sprinkled on baking soda for DEODORANT
I have used coconut oil with rosehip oil for ALL OVER AFTER BATH MOISTURIZER for a year or so,
as well as with baking soda for TOOTH PASTE.


Amanda July 27, 2014 at 7:07 pm

I started making my own deodorant – coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and usually peppermint essential oil. It’s awesome! I was actually just thinking about making our toothpaste too. Thanks for the idea!

Gina @ Running to the Kitchen April 10, 2012 at 3:10 am

Ewww, the scooby! I love kombucha but I’m just not sure I can do the whole scooby thing. haha


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen April 10, 2012 at 3:11 am

and maybe I should try spelling it correctly next time before bad mouthing it. *scoby*


Amanda April 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

hahaha I like “scooby” better anyway! Maybe that’ll be its nickname.

It’s totally gross when I think about it, but it’s also kind of cool in a science experiment sort of way. I just try not to picture it when I’m drinking the kombucha. ;)


Aylin @ Glow Kitchen April 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

Thank you so much for posting this! I love kombucha but have been hearing sketchy things about the products on the market. I’ve been dying to make my own but it seemed so intimidating! Also, I never liked beer either (unless I’m super thirsty), but kombucha just has something about it!


Amanda April 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I’m glad you found the post helpful! It’s really not a very complicated process, despite the lengthy instructions. Just a lot of waiting around for the first couple of weeks. :)


Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning April 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

YES! I need to do this, like now. I compare my Kombucha habit to Starbucks too (except it’s healthier…) I do stretch out a bottle for 2 days though…
One of the stores by me had Synergy on sale for $2.89 a bottle yesterday, so I stocked up!
I hope I actually try this out… can’t wait to see how yours turns out!!


Amanda April 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Under $3/bottle?! That’s awesome! I’ve been drinking my first batch over the last couple of days, and while I need to work on getting it to be more fizzy, I think it rivals the store-bought stuff. I’m looking forward to playing around with different flavors!


Rhona April 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Wow, looks interesting! I am sure it is delicious on a hot day. I can imagine a cool glass in my hand as I sit on the balcony. :)
Like you I am not a big beer lover. I can only stomach strawberry or fruit beers also. When I was in Germany, I almost died as my friends there insisted that I drink my steins of biers!! Gosh, I was gagging my entire time there. :)


Amanda April 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I had a similar experience when I visited Prague. :)


Becky August 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

I bet you would like the Framboise Lambic – it’s a raspberry beer, but it’s fizzy and light – almost like a sparkling wine, but technically it’s a beer..but like the Kombucha, more expensive than your everyday beverage, or beer.


Amanda August 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm

That sounds really good, actually! I’ll have to be on the lookout for it.


rochelle April 29, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Do you have to use the plain to grow one? I can only find the gingerade in my area!


Amanda April 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm

As far as I know, you have to use the plain kombucha, and it has to be raw as well. I’m going to be doing a review of a SCOBY from in the next few weeks, as Hannah (who is a kombucha guru!) brought it to my attention that there can be problems with growing your own since the commercially available brands have been reformulated. Here’s a link to the article for more info on potential problems and what to look for:


rochelle April 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

So if i had the plain GT brand like you did above does the process work? or would you not reccomend it at all?


Amanda April 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I had no problems growing a SCOBY using the plain GT kombucha, and I’ve been happy with the finished product in terms of flavor. Where it gets a little fuzzy is that the article suggests that brewing from the reformulated bottled kombucha (the GT brand, in my case) may result in a weaker kombucha in comparison to say, a SCOBY that was produced from non-reformulated tea (for example, the SCOBYs that Hannah sells on, which I believe she grew something like 8 years ago). I’m planning on brewing a batch using one of Hannah’s SCOBYs in the next couple of weeks, and then I’m going to do a taste-test to see if there’s a noticeable difference between the two, and I’ll of course report back on the results. I personally think that growing my own SCOBY has been worthwhile, but I’m curious to find out if it’s even better when I brew from one that’s not from the GT brand. :)


Annette May 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Thanks for the great enthusiasm and recipe—into my 4th day of letting it “sit”, so can’t wait to taste it!!! I wanted to add that I use organic Argan Oil (Saadia), on my OILY skin, and you know, it actually prevents my skin from getting TOO OILY and with flareups!!! I use it in the morning after I shower/wash my face, and also at night. The inflammation around my chin (adult acne) seems to respond to it very well I might add! Another tidbit, I use grapefruit seed extract (antimicrobial) and Tom’s natural deordorant (without aluminum) and organic baking soda—really does keep the odor and wetness at bay! I’m gonna try the coconut oil instead of Tom’s, and also the one recipe that was given above—THANKS LADIES!!! You gals ROCK! :D


Amanda May 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I’ve heard great things about Argan oil! I’m currently using jojoba oil as a moisturizer on my face, and thinking I may try replacing my face wash (Jason Apricot Scrubble) with a jojoba/cane sugar scrub. I’d love to simplify my skincare routine – less products and time!


Annette May 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Don’t know if you have ever used baking soda as an exfoliator, but it also works great on my face—very gentle, but I do tend to use it only twice a week, as my skin sometimes reacts to too much exfoliation! I usually combine the baking soda with Jason products or Dr. Woods Pure Organic Black Soap. :) Happy scrubbing!


Becky August 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm

One thing that I have found is a great exfoliant is that really fine salt that you get with a nettie pot – I put a little dab of that in my cleanser and exfoliate my face once every two weeks, and actually got compliments on how young my skin looked…and I’m in my 40s.


Amanda August 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I’m curious to give the fine sea salt a try. Right now I use Jason’s Apricot Scrubble, but I’m always looking to replace store-bought products with homemade. :)

Buch July 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Man, I hate to be the one to say this, but you mention by making your own SCOBY you know exactly what went into it. Well, taking someone else’s SCOBY and growing off of that is not creating your own SCOBY. And you really have no idea what went into it; you’re simply using its “babies.”

I was looking forward to learn how to make it from nothing. But I must give props on the awesome site!


Amanda July 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I’m glad you like my blog! :) I’m not sure I follow your comment…I initially made my own SCOBY from a bottle of GT kombucha, but later tried a SCOBY from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp. After trying both brews, I found that the SCOBY from Kombucha Kamp produced a superior product, which is why I edited my initial post to reflect that.


Buch July 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I apologize if I sounded rude; that was not the intent. I initially thought it would be a recipe, something along the lines of “1 tbsp of this, 1/2 tsp of this, mix together and let sit in this solution of water, etc.” I didn’t think of it as growing a “mini-SCOBY,” if you will.

However, I never thought of taking the culture out of an already brewed tea and using that to create more. Awesome idea!


Amanda July 22, 2012 at 8:32 am

No worries. :) I see what you’re saying now.


Steph July 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm

It’s dangerous making your own SCOBY… if I’m understanding your post correctly. Because SCOBY is a culture of a specific species the dangerous thing about trying to grow your own SCOBY from nothing is that you don’t know what bacteria and yeast you might be creating. Even the big companies either grew their SCOBY in a lab or got their culture from an original source.

Think of it like creating a cheese or beer. Big companies will protect their yeast or bacteria species because it is particular to the product they are making. Asking someone to teach you how to *actually* grow your own SCOBY is like asking someone to teach you how to make your own blue cheese strand to be just like your favorite brand of blue cheese without using any pre-bought or borrowed strand to start it with. You would just make a cheese solution and then let it sit out hoping it would form into blue cheese…

The OP probably assumed that most people looking for a SCOBY recipe would understand this and this might be why she was confused by your question initially.


Amanda July 29, 2013 at 9:09 am

Yes, the resulting kombucha is different depending on which SCOBY you use to brew it. It seems like growing your own SCOBY is more difficult than it used to be in the past. Now that the commercially available kombucha teas have been reformulated (due to alcohol content), and many of them contain probiotic supplements, the SCOBYs that you can grow from them often produce a weaker kombucha. Initially, it hadn’t even occurred to me that this would be a potential issue, but it does make sense.

Love your comparison to creating beer or cheese – that’s a great way to think about it!

Thanks, Steph!

Drea Davis October 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Thank you so much for posting this article! I was on a kick about brewing my own Kombucha for a while but was discouraged when I couldn’t find a source to buy a scoby. I am so excited that I can grow my own.

Thanks Again!



Amanda October 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Hey Drea! I grew my own initially, but then switched to one from a site called Kombucha Kamp run by Hannah, who’s basically a kombucha guru. :) I highly recommend the Brew Now Kit. The finished kombucha is much better than the stuff I was using from my homemade scoby. You can read more about that here if you’re interested:

Happy brewing!


Drea October 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks you so much Amanda! That is a great site :)


Amanda October 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

Yes, it’s just about everything you ever wanted to know about kombucha. :)


Jessie October 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

I added raw kombucha to the tea and sugar. it has been sitting for about a week. when the Scobey is ready and I remove the baby to make a new batch can I drink the first batch or do I need to toss it?


Amanda October 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

I’ve always read that you should toss that first batch, so that’s what I did. I figured better safe than sorry!


Bill Paglia-Scheff October 26, 2012 at 7:39 am

So I am a lover of kombucha and am just venturing into the growing my own scene. I have been growing from GT’s bottle for about a week and my jellyfish is starting to form. ( I also ordered a scoby from Hannah this morning having read through all your comments and suggestions- hope your an affiliate seller).
I have a question about the process, when you use the mother to make the batch and the baby grows do you then use the baby next and discard the mother? Seems silky but I didn’t see that answer anywhere yet. I have heard people say that have used the same scoby for years but I have also seen I That it may lose some potency. What’s your thoughts and take please. Thanks in advance!


Amanda October 26, 2012 at 9:19 am

That’s a great question! You use the mother the next time you make a batch, and you can either discard the baby scoby, or save it in a “scoby hotel” as a back-up. Kombucha Kamp has a helpful video explaining this. I’ve only switched to a baby scoby and tossed the mother once, and that was recently when I tried brewing with molasses instead of sugar (the taste was terrible in my opinion!) and the mother got all discolored. I think you can play it by ear with regard to when to switch to a new scoby, but Hannah’s site probably has more specific guidelines on this as well.

Good luck! :)


mark January 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

You sure give detailed instructions. I like using the GT kombucha too. I have been doing this for about 18 months and I share the scobies with friends.


ESsie January 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

All they had was the flavored Kombucha at the store. Is this okay?


Amanda January 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Unfortunately, the flavored kombucha probably will not work. I actually no longer recommend brewing from store-bought kombucha after learning more about the process. You can read more about my thoughts on that here.


Patrick February 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm

I just started my first scoby and very excited to save money. I was reading through the posts down here at the bottom of the page and was trying to look at hannah’s site and its down. Do you know what’s going on?


Amanda February 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

You will definitely save a lot of money brewing kombucha at home! I just tried Hannah’s site and it appears to be working now.


Geoff February 10, 2013 at 9:09 am

Of all the scoby recipes I’ve read, yours is the most detailed and straightforwardly explained. Thanks for taking the time to post this.


Amanda February 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Thanks, Geoff! I’m glad you found it helpful. :)


Joshua April 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm

GT Raw Kombucha still works, at least for me. Being cold still, it took two weeks to get a nice size SCOBY on top, then it really grew in size in the second container and create a baby.

I used reverse osmosis water, organic black tea, and half a bottle of GT raw which had a nice baby in it already. I used a glass container which I sanitized with a food safe product used in the brewing industry (StarSan). After boiling the water w/ sugar and steeping the tea, I cooled covered to room temp. Dumped it all in, covered with a clean coffee filter, and three weeks later it’s time to rock and roll a large batch.

No substitute for proper sanitation, coming from the brewing world it’s critical.

Your instructions are good. Thanks.


Michaela May 3, 2013 at 5:08 pm

I know you said you use coconut oil on your body – I use olive oil and love it. And I use it on my face. Organic, food grade olive oil that you buy at the store. The key is to put it on when your face is still a little damp – it works as a wax/sealant and will trap in moisture. That way your face won’t get greasy. And I never break out. And people are constantly telling me my skin is “glowing.” hell yes it is!! :-)


Amanda May 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm

That’s awesome! A lot of people seem to love olive oil. Unfortunately for me, I had a horrible reaction to jojoba oil earlier this year (and I am still recovering! Truly, truly awful.), so I would be terrified to use it on my face. I do, however, love it in homemade sugar body scrub. I’ll probably do a more detailed post on my skin disaster once I more fully recover.


Kayla May 30, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Hi. I’ve been trying to grow my own SCOBY for 7 weeks without success. I’ve followed the directions, but I have only seen a film on the surface. What
am I doing wrong?



Amanda May 31, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Hi Kayla, it’s hard to say, but it could be that the kombucha you purchased to grow your own scoby is the problem. My recommendation would be to purchase a high quality scoby instead – which is what I ended up doing (you can read a summary of my experience in this post). I really like Kombucha Kamp for everything kombucha-related and you might want to check out the Brew Now Kit. I used the kit to get started (it takes out nearly all of the guesswork) and the scoby I still use today originated from the one I got in the kit. The kombucha is so much better than the stuff I was trying to make from the bottled GT stuff!


Christina May 31, 2013 at 12:00 am

Thank for the info! How do I safely remove baby scoby from the container? It’s stuck!!lol


Amanda May 31, 2013 at 6:35 pm

haha You can just peel it away from the container, assuming it’s thick enough and won’t completely disintegrate. :) It’s okay if it tears a little, those things are usually pretty resilient and will grow back.


Gabe June 10, 2013 at 3:03 am

So my wife just pointed out that the carbonation in my kombucha is a result of the bacteria(scoby) expelling gas, or as she likes to say” farting”. Wow she has such a nice way of putting things. She hates the taste of kombucha but I’m totally hooked. Just thought id vent:-) thanks for your help with brewing my own.


Amanda June 10, 2013 at 8:12 am

hahaha That’s hilarious! Has your wife tried the kombucha with fruit puree? That might be an easier introduction. Or, you could use it to your advantage and just drink it all yourself. ;)


Jen June 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Thanks for your post! I just grew my first SCOBY and am very excited to try making kombucha. We can usually get it for 2.89 but I’m sure I can make it for much less. Plus, my kitchen is pretty much like a chemistry lab with all the fermentation that happens between yogurt, beer, sauerkraut, and mead, so adding one more thing isn’t too much of a stretch. I appreciated your instructions. I followed them to a “T” and everything worked perfectly.


Amanda June 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

That’s great, Jen! I’m happy that the instructions were clear.
That’s so cool that you have a little chemistry lab in your kitchen. Mine looks like I sell appliances between the blender, food processor, juicer, dehydrator…the list goes on!


Chris July 16, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Great article, I just moved my first baby SCOBY from the quart to the gallon jar per your steps above.

The baby SCOBY is in the middle of the new brew, semi folded. I tried to flatten it out, but not much luck. Does this need to be at the bottom or on top of the tea, or will it start a new SCOBY at the top altogether? Thanks!


Amanda July 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

Don’t worry about where the SCOBY is located in the tea – sometimes they sink to the bottom and other times they float near the top. The new baby SCOBY will form at the very top of the liquid regardless (it will always form right at the surface). Hope this helps!


Chris July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

Great, thanks! So this baby will just get tossed in the future, and then I only use the new SCOBY when it comes time to brew?


Amanda July 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

When I make mine, the new baby SCOBY usually grows right on top of the original SCOBY and then I use both in the next batch. I typically only toss the original when it gets really old and discolored, or when enough baby SCOBYs have built up over time that it gets overly thick.
You will probably want to save the original for use next time, since it will be more mature. Or you can always use both in the next batch, or take the baby SCOBY, put it in a glass jar with enough plain kombucha to cover it and close the jar with a lid – this can be stored in a dark pantry as a backup in case something happens to the original. :)


Chris July 17, 2013 at 11:23 am

This is awesome, thanks so much for your help! :)

nancy July 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Ok, I remember this one about your using both in the next batch until it becomes discolored. This is why the other post was confusing. The options you talk about on this post make sense, as it isn’t rocket science but an old process. If it looks bad, then throw it out…

Chris July 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

Ooh nevermind, I just read your reply to someone from almost a year ago, you use the baby and can either store or toss the mother.



nancy July 29, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I guess I’m confused as to how you know the baby from the mother :) it sounded easy until that one came up…I appreciate your information, you directions are the easiest that I have found online. Some folks make it so complicated even though it’s an ancient process from times in which things might not have been so clean nor available.

nancy July 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I too like the brand from the store that are talking about, esp the ginger/lemon one (no added sugar to flavor, have to watch out for those…) Is there any way to make a smaller amount? I’m in a small condo and don’t have room for a large biscotti-type jar to sit anywhere. Also, can’t it be stored in the fridge when done? I Thank you–


Amanda July 29, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Hi Nancy, I think you could scale down the recipe to a size that works for you. And yes, once the kombucha is ready, you can store it in the fridge. :)


nancy July 29, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Oh, thank you—that was fast! I was reading the posts in the mean time—-I want to make it with lemon/ginger. As for now, I buy the GT, brew some Celestial Seasonings Lemon/Ginger tea, add stevia and dilute the Kombucha with the tea to make it go further.
Thanks again!


nancy July 29, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Now I’m confused after reading the posts—if I use GT Kombucha mother as starter for my own batch, I have to throw it all out so as to have the mother off that batch? Also, would it be the same if using the mother from my bottle of organic cider vinegar? Thank you–


Amanda July 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I initially grew a scoby from a bottle of plain GT kombucha, but the results were so-so (you can read about that here). My recommendation is to purchase one from Kombucha Kamp (I started with the Brew Now Kit, but she also sells just the scoby and starter liquid for under $25) – I have nothing but good things to say about Hannah, who runs the site.
However, if you do decide to grow one from a bottle of GT, you want to grow the scoby and once it’s about 1/8 inch thick, you’ll need to transfer it to a bigger jar with new tea/sugar mixture, and then also pour in the old tea sugar/mixture (this is your “starter liquid”). Hope this makes sense!


Alia September 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I have read you can get really ill from this home-brewed method and could even die because of bad bacteria and mold that you are unaware of in this tea. Is there any truth to this?


Amanda September 5, 2013 at 9:39 am

Hi Alia, I’ve read a little about this too, although I think it’s a non-issue the vast majority of the time if you’re careful and smart about home-brewing. It’s so important to sanitize everything when making kombucha at home. The jar, the utensils, your hands…this is also the reason you want to use filtered water for the tea and then boil it for at least five minutes to kill off any potential, harmful bacteria. As far as the mold, that will likely be very obvious if it happens and you’ll want to discard everything and start from scratch. Preventing mold is the reason you need to keep the sweet tea liquid acidic by adding some of the kombucha from the last batch.


Alia September 5, 2013 at 10:46 am

Hi Amanda. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Keeping things clean will not be an issue for me. I must admit, I have a bit of the “howard huges” in me. I have been on an organic, natural and holistic journey for the past 20 years and am always willing to try something new. I will definately make this tea and hope it will be a great addition to my healthy diet.


Amanda September 5, 2013 at 11:42 am

I hope you enjoy the kombucha! I wasn’t sold on the taste the first couple of times I tried it, but now I actually crave it. :)


Ann September 13, 2013 at 12:57 am

I want try making kombasha tea, but I live in a warm country, Thailand, I’m worried it will be too warm, 70s are cool here, what do you suggest. Thank you


Amanda September 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm

The heat should simply expedite the fermentation process. For example, when I make kombucha during the summer, it takes 5-7 days. In the winter, it takes more like two weeks.


Laura Franklin September 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Can you use Red Tea or does it have to have caffeine for it to work? My kids have given up there sodas for Rooibee red tea. They love the flavor so I am hoping I can make Kombucha flavor rooibee. I am about to make my own tonight for the 1st time.

Thank you for any help you can give me.


Amanda September 24, 2013 at 8:38 am

Hi Laura! I recommend checking out this article from Kombucha Kamp about what teas to use/avoid, but it seems like red tea should be fine!
Good luck with your first batch!


Laura Franklin September 25, 2013 at 1:52 am

Thank you so very much for you quick response. I have to put making in off by a few days but I will make it with the Rooibee. Thank you, again.


Doc September 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Thank you for the instructions to make the scoby! Just one question…I just put the little scoby into a larger jar to continue feeding it and it sunk to the bottom. Is that going to cause a problem?
Thank you!


Amanda September 29, 2013 at 8:47 am

Nope, that happens sometimes. It should be fine – a new baby SCOBY will grow at the top of the jar. :)


Doc September 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Awesome! Thank you again!


ahmed esam October 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I drink kombucha tea every day


barb October 31, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I am going to try making this. I love fermented foods, and think this will be good. I have decided to use this as a science experiment with the kids(we homeschool). How much alcohol is in the tea? I certainly don’t want them drinking it if it has alcohol.
I understand the comment about wanting to make the scoby from “scratch”,instead of getting a start from someone else. I also understand the comment about getting cheese cultures to make cheese with. I did however “catch” my own yeast for sourdough starter; and have been using that starter for about 8 years now. Someone somewhere got the scoby started, and the thought of growing it all by myself is enticing. I will however be using the GT for this first try : )


Amanda October 31, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Hi Barb! I don’t know the exact amount of alcohol (that will depend on the fermentation process), but it should be very low (.5-1%, not more than 3% from what I’ve read).
I agree with the point you raised about the SCOBY originating from somewhere. I think the takeaway is just to make sure that you’re getting it from a good source! I did notice a difference between the SCOBY I grew from GT and the one I purchased from Kombucha Kamp though. You can read more about that here if you’re interested.
Happy brewing!


Kris November 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

What size did storebought did you start with?


Amanda November 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Hi Kris! I assume you mean the bottled kombucha? I initially used 1 Bottle of Raw, Plain Kombucha (GT brand); however you only need the last 1 cup from the bottom of the bottle. I no longer recommend this method though, because the resulting kombucha wasn’t great. You can read my more recent kombucha post to learn more about why I now recommend purchasing a Brew Now Kit from Hannah at Kombucha Kamp, rather than growing your own SCOBY from scratch. The kit is also ideal for beginners because it takes out a lot of the guesswork.


Kris November 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Thanks. I now see GT has only one size and since we’re only using 1 cup, it’s all good. Thanks for the suggestion of a kit. Since there are a couple local places near me with very active kombuchas I’ll still try it from scratch first. Thanks, again.


coleST December 29, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Hi, I’m pretty new to brewing kombucha. It took a little while to activate my scoby as m husband likes to keep the temp at 68 :) but have since found a more cozy spot for it. We are on our third batch, including the activating batch. It has had what a believe to be a/the baby. I get confused here as to what do to with it or how to handle it while I’m making the next batch. The original or mother scoby is and has always sunk, so its def not connected as all the articles I’ve read leave me to believe babies form on top of the mother. Is this thinking correct? Since they are separate, do I put both in the next batch? I hope I’ve explained well enough. Thank you!!


Amanda December 30, 2013 at 8:13 am

Hi there! Sometimes the original mother scoby will sink to the bottom – that’s totally normal. You can simply place both scobys (mother and baby) in your next batch. :)


coleST December 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Thanks so much! However now I think the spot I saw was a mold spot. I took it out, touched it and it kinda poofed with a dust and had a greenish tone. Since it wasn’t touching the actual scoby do I still have to throw that out too? :(


Amanda December 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Bummer! Yes, throw the whole batch (liquid & scobys) in the trash. It’s not worth the risk if you even suspect there’s mold. I haven’t dealt with mold before (although I did have fruit flies last year – SO GROSS), but that may mean it wasn’t acidic enough. I mention this in some of my posts, but I highly recommend purchasing a starter kit from a site called Kombucha Kamp. Having tried growing my own from a bottle of the GT stuff and using the starter kit, the kit is 100% the way to go. It takes out just about all of the guesswork.


Evan January 6, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Finding G.T.’s kombucha really helped me personally, I had spent years living with a growing amount of heartburn. it would wake me up at night consistently. I was going through a half a pack of tums a day, and I could not eat certain things without trouble. A close family member around my age had highly invasive surgery to fix his heartburn troubles. After starting on fish oil and kombucha, and switching to organics I don’t have any stomach troubles. Thank you for this informative post!


Amanda January 7, 2014 at 10:12 am

That’s awesome, Evan! I’m so glad you’ve been able to avoid surgery and manage your heartburn through dietary changes!


Mickey January 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm

The first time I tried Kombucha I fell for it! I couldn’t get enough of it, except for the fact it cost so much, that slowed me down. The brand I was purchasing came in many different flavors, but for some reason the green one caught my eye. I lovingly named it “Pond Sludge” as it looked like something I would dredge out of my pond. Thank you for sharing how to grow a SCOBY! Now I can start making my own and start brewing up some of my very own “Pond Sludge”! I guess slimy, nasty, snotty stuff doesn’t really bother me so I’m up for this! I was shopping the local health food store today and they were out of the flavor I enjoy the most. Now I won’t have to depend on them. Thanks again!


Amanda January 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

I think I know exactly which one you’re referring to when you call it “Pond Sludge” – that was my first kombucha too! I remember bringing it back to work for a meeting and getting some pretty weird stares!


Ellen February 2, 2014 at 10:09 am

I recently grew my own SCOBY this way using 1 cup kombucha and 1 cup sugar tea. Took about 2 weeks at 68-70 F. Tried it with GT Enlighted unflavored bottled as well as Bare Foot fruit flavored on tap. The Bare Foot was slightly more active but both grew well. Currently fermenting one gallon batches with the Bare Foot SCOBY. Takes about 5 days to bottling.


Amanda February 2, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Glad to hear you’re having success brewing your own kombucha, Ellen!


Julianne April 9, 2014 at 11:32 am

I am at Day 7 with my scoby dark pantry storing and I only notice about a dime size of a floater. I used all of the good stuff from a GT Raw Kombucha, raw turbinado, and green tea. It currently is in a quart mason jar with a coffee filter rubber banded on top. Any suggestions or thoughts? Thank you!


Amanda April 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Hi Julianne. :) There are several factors that could be impacting the growth of your SCOBY. Temperature is one (warmer temps will expedite the process). However, it sounds like the bottled kombucha you used wasn’t great. This is a common problem with growing a SCOBY from the bottled stuff and it’s part of why I no longer recommend this method (I tried it initially and the resulting kombucha wasn’t great). You can read my more recent kombucha post to learn more about why I now recommend purchasing a Brew Now Kit from Kombucha Kamp, rather than growing your own SCOBY from scratch. The kit is ideal for beginners because it takes out a lot of the guesswork. Hope this helps! Let me know if you run into any other questions along the way.


Christy June 16, 2014 at 10:15 am

I’ve been wanting to try making my own kombucha for a while but the whole DIY scoby process seemed intimidating. I followed this recipe and it workout out perfectly! By the end of the first 7 days my scoby was closer to 1/3″ than 1/8″ and another week and half and it was a little over 1/2″ thick and ready for me to make my first batch of kombucha. Fantastic scoby recipe!


Caroline July 24, 2014 at 11:44 am

Hi there – am very interested in making Kombucha however I live on an island in the Caribbean and we do not have bottled kombucha to purchase. I also can’t order it in as they would to allow it in the country a starter kit alos might not eb allowed and the cost of shipping and added taxes is not very economical. Does anyone know if there any recipe for making the scoby from scratch from individual ingredients? It must have happened that way initially from a fruit tea with maybe honey that sat and turned into vinegar/wine. Thx :)


Leave a Comment

{ 10 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: