Brewing Kombucha: Step One- Growing Your Scoby

Many of you have been asking recently about how to brew your own kombucha.  Others of you may still be wondering what exactly kombucha is.  Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage, full of probiotics and enzymes which help to detox the body and balance the gut flora.  Kombucha helps the system function so well that it has been known to help fight cancer, among other ailments.  It is truly wonderful stuff.  However, at over three dollars a bottle, buying a bottle or two or three for the family every day adds up quickly!  (My kids love it, by the way!)

The process of brewing your own kombucha is quite simple, but there are several steps required.  Today, we are going to start our scoby.  This is the “mother” that will go into your big batch you are going to ultimately brew.  We are going to use a bottle of store-bought kombucha as our starter culture.  You can purchase starter culture kits online, but they typically run $15 and up.  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).

What you will need:

1 Quart-Sized Jar

1 Black Tea Packet (I used one actually called “Kombucha” because I had it on hand.  Plain black tea is fine, organic is better.

1 TBS Sugar (refined white sugar is fine because the yeast will eat it up so that there is no remaining sugar in the kombucha.  I used organic because, again, that’s what I had.)

1 Bottle of Store-Bought Kombucha, Plain (I can find mine at my local HEB, but you should be able to find this at a local health food store as well.)

1. Brew your tea.  (Let steep approximately ten minutes.)

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2. Sweeten your tea.  (Let cool another ten minutes.)

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3. Pour both the cup of tea and the bottle of kombucha in your jar.

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4. Cover the jar with a breathable towel.

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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 reaches about 1/4″-1/2″ thickness, you will be ready for your next step.  This may take around three weeks, but may go quicker if you have a warm kitchen.  The first scoby I ever grew got nice and thick because I started it before my baby was born, and used it after (so it sat a while)!  I tend to prefer a good, thick scoby, because a batch I recently made with a thinner scoby did not turn out well.

Okay- get started!  Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

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11 thoughts on “Brewing Kombucha: Step One- Growing Your Scoby

    • I’m not sure about the taste, but I probably wouldn’t use Stevia because I’m not sure if it would feed the starter the same. Hmmm… something I’ll have to look into 🙂 (I have read that honey doesn’t work as well as plain ol’ sugar, so my guess is that Stevia probably wouldn’t work as well either.)

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