How to Make Kombucha

Wondering how to make kombucha? Making our kombucha recipe at home is a little bit weird, a lot of fun, and way cheaper than going with store bought!


Alex here, with a new drink to share with you: kombucha! Have you heard about this wondrous beverage? Our introduction was through our friend Katy’s blog last year. Upon re-reading the post a few months ago, I was instantly sold. I’d been looking for healthy, homemade, satisfying drink recipes to share, and kombucha seemed perfect. Its flavor is somewhere between sweet tea and hard cider, and it has a bouncy acidity that replaces that craving for soda. Some claim crazy health benefits ranging from improved digestion to alleviating depression. Best of all, it’s easy to make at home and super cheap.

So what is kombucha? It’s a traditional Chinese and Russian drink made by fermenting (yes, fermenting!) sweetened tea. The process is actually quite simple: make tea, add it to a jar with a “scoby“, and let it ferment for about a week. Each week, make a fresh batch and start the cycle over.

The results are fantastic. The scoby, a culture of bacteria and yeast much like a sourdough starter, transforms the sugary tea into something altogether unique and healthy. Admittedly, it’s a bit creepy looking, but before long it becomes a beloved pet. Read more about the process on Katy’s blog.

The trickiest part about the recipe is acquiring a scoby. We received ours from Katy. They double in size nearly every batch, so you can split them and share them with friends (though our waiting list is getting extensive!). I understand that you can buy them online, but I don’t have any experience with it.

Kombucha (1 of 4)

Here’s hoping you run into someone who’s a closet home kombucha-brewer, and you can pick up a scoby from them. Cheers!


How to Make Kombucha

1 Star (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 1 gallon
  • Category: Drink


Making kombucha at home is a little bit weird, a lot of fun, and way cheaper than going with store bought! We have all the tips you need to make it yourself.


  • 1 gallon of water
  • 6 bags of tea (we use plain organic black tea)
  • 1 cup of sugar (preferably organic)
  • 1 SCOBY
  • 1 gallon glass jar (we ate a bunch of pickles to get one)
  • funnel
  • paper towel
  • rubber band
  • litmus paper (optional)


  1. Bring 1 gallon of water to a full boil.
  2. Turn the heat off, add 6 bags of tea, and 1 cup of sugar. Stir to combine.
  3. Let the tea cool to room temperature. Then remove the tea bags, and fill a 1 gallon glass jar.
  4. Gently slide the SCOBY onto the top of the tea, including the small amount of kombucha from the last batch.
  5. Cover with the jar with a paper towel and a rubber band.
  6. Place the jar in a dark, room temperature location for about 9 days (shorter or longer depending on temperature, up to 2 weeks in winter).
  7. After fermenting, taste the kombucha for doneness. Starting out, we used litmus paper to test — fermented kombucha should be between 3-4 pH.
  8. Remove the SCOBY and set it aside in sealable container with about 1/2 cup of kombucha. (Store the SCOBY in the fridge for about 1 week; if desired, split the SCOBY on a layer and provide it to a friend in a plastic bag with enough kombucha to cover. Then start the process again with your remaining SCOBY!)
  9. Pour the kombucha through a strainer or cheese cloth into sealed jars. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    June 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Whoa! This is amazing! I do not like tea, but maybe I might like this? I have always wanted to try it!

    • Reply
      June 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      It’s quite different tasting from tea. You should try it out. I think they sell it at whole foods tour groceries too… :-)

  • Reply
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker
    June 21, 2013 at 7:45 am

    I have no idea what this consisted of but I have been dying to try it. Thank you for the recipe as I will be trying it this weekend!

  • Reply
    Kiran @
    June 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

    What a neat way to make your own kombucha! I need to google about scoby!

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 9:25 am

    I love Kombucha way too much and find myself spending a small fortune on it. Need to get a scoby (even though they freak me out a bit). You make it sound so easy! I have a million ideas for flavouring the stuff. I’m on the scoby hunt now.

    • Reply
      June 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      You should just swing by and pick up one of ours :)

  • Reply
    June 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I love making kombucha – have you tried flavoring it yet? It’s really easy – after you strain the liquid into bottles, pop in a few berries, ginger, or other fruit, cap, put in a cool dark place for a few days, and then refrigerate. Letting it sit after bottling also ups the carbonation if that’s something you like. Great post!

  • Reply
    Heidi @ Food Doodles
    June 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Awesome! I just started brewing kombucha myself! I got my scoby from a local health food store since I wasn’t sure if I could have one shipped across the border to Canada. I’m so excited to try experimenting with flavoring it but I haven’t gotten that far yet :)

  • Reply
    Food for Feast
    June 28, 2013 at 4:37 am

    This sounds perfect for my taste and bad digestion problems too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

    You can purchase SCOBYs locally from Fermenti Artisan in City Market – they’ll also do a how to for the first time brewer.

    • Reply
      July 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

      Good to know, thanks!

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