When we first began drinking kombucha, my kids hated it. I had to force them to take little sips, but I was determined to get those good gut bugs in them! Once I started making it myself, however, my kids loved it! Before long, I couldn’t keep up with their ‘boocha drinking habits. Do you know how to brew kombucha? Below, I’ll teach you the first step: growing a scoby.
It is really easy to grow a scoby, it just takes a little time. The scoby is the “mother” (some people call it a mushroom) that you will use to culture your tea and turn it into kombucha.
“SCOBY” stands for symbiotic culture of bacterial yeast. If you know that candida yeast is something you want to avoid, you may be wondering why you’d want to drink a fermented tea with bacterial yeast in it.
The yeast that grows in kombucha is called saccharomyces boulardii, and it’s a friendly yeast. 🙂 S. boulardii can actually help to crowd out bad yeast in your body, which is why it’s so good for you. (You may have heard of s. boulardii. You can actually buy it in supplement form, called Yeastbiotic, and it’s recommended for those with candida overgrowth.)
Kombucha’s also got b vitamins, electrolytes, and is really yummy! The fizz makes it the perfect replacement if you’re trying to kick a soda habit.
Some people have notice a flare of “yeasty” symptoms when drinking kombucha. This could be due to the die of of candida, but kombucha may not work for everyone. With all the healthful benefits it offers, though, I think everyone should try it!
How to brew kombucha: growing a scoby
You’ll need a bottle of store-bought kombucha as a starter culture. You can purchase starter culture kits online, but you have to re-hydrate the scoby, which can take a while, and they’re cost a lot more. My method costs about $3.50, and once you have a good scoby, it will keep producing and you won’t have to re-start every time. (We’ll talk about that more in a subsequent kombucha post).
How to Brew Kombucha: Growing a Scoby
- 1 quart-sized jar
- 1 black tea bag organic is best, as conventional tea is highly contaminated.
- 1 Tbsp. organic sugar you want the refined white sugar.
- 1 16 oz bottle of plain kombucha
- Brew your tea by pouring one cup of boiling (filtered) water over the tea bag. (Let steep approximately ten minutes removing the tea bag.)
- Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. (Let cool another ten minutes.)
- Pour both the cup of tea and the bottle of kombucha in your jar.
- Cover the jar with a breathable towel, secured with a rubber band.
That’s it. Really. Just let this jar sit out on your counter and it will do the rest of the work. You will start to see a film growing on the top of the liquid. This is your scoby. Once it gets nice and thick (as in, you’ll be able to pick it up and handle it without it falling apart), you will be ready for your next step.
This may take around three weeks, but may go quicker if you have a warm kitchen.
Okay- get started! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
Learn more: what you should know about your scoby.
Can I use a decaf tea? Caffeine gives me migraines? BTW I love your FB page!!!
I have read that there is less caffeine in the finished kombucha than the original tea, but the verdict is out on whether this is true. I’ve also read that the caffeine is necessary for continued successful brewing, though you may be able to get a weaker batch or two without the caffeine. Sorry I can’t be more help or give you definitive answers! All I can say is give it a try. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words!
Okay so I am a need to know exact measurements as I am not one to stray from a recipe. Could you please tell me am I suppose to steep the tea in the plain kombucha or how much water and what kind of water am I suppose to use? Is it a quart of what? Can I use green tea that is organic?
Hi Jo-Anne. By brewing a cup of tea, I mean adding a cup of hot water over a tea bag. Filtered water is best. Green tea may be used, but may not give as consistent results as black tea.
When I wrote this , there was no direction section. Now there is. Not sure why this happened. Thank you for your quick response.
No problem, JoAnne. The directions have been there all along, but I did update them to further explain how to brew the tea. Sorry for any confusion!
Would it work to use an herbal tea or must it be black tea?? Thanks for this great article!!
Linda, as far as I know, caffeinated tea is the best option for continuous, successful brewing, though I’ve read that other types of tea can work.
Hi, love the site is very interesting. I am try to grow a scoby but after 4 days the only difference is that there are some Cloudier areas but no skin. My kitchen may be a tad cold as it’s winter bu still think it’s warm enough for something to happen. Is it normal that sometimes may tak so long?
It sounds like it’s just beginning, Jono. Just be patient and it should form a scoby!
once you get the scoby then what ? do you use it in your tea or is the scoby just to get the benefits of the tea?
Hi Helen. You then use the scoby to make kombucha tea.
I can’t handle caffeine either, tea and coffee are decaf, even my Cokes are decaf. I have no problem with sugar. I’ve got a store-bought kombucha, but no caffeinated tea, but even decaf tea has some caffeine in it. Am going to try what I’ve got, will just brew my tea stronger.
I want to thank you for this post. Finally one that makes sense and is in plain English without a lot of nonsense. I’m not confused anymore.
Hippie Mama says
Dude! So excited! Got mine brewing today. I’ve tried before (years ago) and was unsuccessful so fingers crossed! XoXo
Jan Schroeder says
Does the brand one uses to get the SCOBY started make a difference in the kombucha brewed with that SCOBY. I ask because I have tried several brands of kombucha and haves a hands down favorite. And-what do you mean by plain? It seems all the bottles of the brand I like are flavored in some way–can I use that?
I think flavored will actually work, but GTs makes a plain one. I don’t think the brand matters.
After the scoby has formed the tea is ready
I read your article and it has inspired me to try and make my own kombutcha. You give very clear instructions and I’m excited to see if I can grow my very own SCOBY, Thanks again.
Hope you love it!
Hello I accidentally bought a 14 oz kombucha. Will this work? Or should I buy a 16 oz?
It should be fine.