How to Make Kombucha at Home

Ingredients and Equipment Needed for Making Kombucha

Making kombucha requires a few key ingredients and equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Tea: Kombucha is typically made with black tea, but you can also use green tea or a combination of both.
  • Sugar: Kombucha needs sugar to ferment, but most of it is consumed by the bacteria and yeast during the process.
  • SCOBY: A SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is the living culture that ferments the tea and sugar into kombucha.
  • Starter liquid: You’ll also need some starter liquid, which is the liquid from a previous batch of kombucha. If you don’t have any, you can use distilled white vinegar.


  • Glass jar: You’ll need a large glass jar to brew the kombucha in. Avoid using plastic or metal containers, as they can leach chemicals into the kombucha.
  • Cloth cover: To prevent dust and other contaminants from getting into the kombucha, you’ll need a cloth cover such as a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
  • Rubber band: Use a rubber band to secure the cloth cover to the top of the jar.
  • pH strips: It’s helpful to have pH strips to test the acidity of the kombucha.
  • Bottles: After the kombucha has fermented, you’ll need bottles to store it in. Again, use glass bottles rather than plastic.

Step-by-Step Guide to Brewing Kombucha

Brewing kombucha at home is a relatively simple process, but it does require some attention and care to ensure that the kombucha comes out tasty and safe to drink. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own kombucha:

  1. Boil water: Start by boiling about a gallon of water in a pot on the stove.

  2. Steep tea: Once the water has boiled, add about 8-10 tea bags or the equivalent amount of loose leaf tea to the pot. Let the tea steep for about 15 minutes.

  3. Add sugar: After the tea has steeped, remove the tea bags or strain out the loose leaves. Add about a cup of sugar to the pot and stir until it dissolves.

  4. Cool down: Let the sweetened tea cool down to room temperature. You can speed up the process by placing the pot in an ice bath.

  5. Add SCOBY and starter liquid: Once the sweetened tea has cooled down, pour it into a clean glass jar. Add the SCOBY and the starter liquid to the jar.

  6. Cover and ferment: Cover the jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Place the jar in a warm, dark place (like a pantry or cupboard) and let it ferment for about 7-10 days. Check the pH level with pH strips every day or so to make sure it’s staying within a safe range.

  7. Taste and bottle: After 7-10 days, taste the kombucha to see if it’s ready. If it’s too sweet, let it ferment for a few more days. If it’s too sour, it’s over-fermented. Once it’s ready, remove the SCOBY and starter liquid and bottle the kombucha. You can add fruit, herbs, or spices at this point to flavor the kombucha. Let the bottles sit at room temperature for another 1-3 days to carbonate.

  8. Chill and enjoy: After the kombucha has carbonated, move the bottles to the refrigerator to chill. Once it’s chilled, you can enjoy your homemade kombucha!

Flavoring and Carbonating Kombucha

Kombucha can be enjoyed plain or flavored with a variety of ingredients. Here are some ideas for flavoring and carbonating your homemade kombucha:


  • Fruit: Add fresh or frozen fruit to the bottle before carbonating. Popular options include berries, citrus, and tropical fruits.
  • Herbs and spices: Add herbs and spices like ginger, mint, or lavender to the bottle before carbonating.
  • Juice: Use a splash of juice to flavor the kombucha. This is a good option if you want to add some sweetness without adding more sugar.


  • Seal the bottle tightly: Make sure the bottle is sealed tightly to prevent air from getting in and slowing down the carbonation process.
  • Store at room temperature: Keep the bottles at room temperature while they carbonate. The warmer the room, the faster the carbonation will happen.
  • Check the carbonation: After 24 hours, check the carbonation by opening a bottle. If it’s not fizzy enough, let it sit for another day or two.
  • Burp the bottles: If the carbonation is getting too strong, you can “burp” the bottles by opening them briefly to release some of the gas.

Remember that the longer you let the kombucha carbonate, the more acidic it will become. Keep an eye on the pH level to make sure it’s still safe to drink.

Tips for Storing and Serving Kombucha at Home

Once you’ve made your own kombucha, it’s important to store and serve it properly to ensure that it stays fresh and tasty. Here are some tips for storing and serving homemade kombucha:


  • Refrigerate: Store the finished kombucha in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process and keep it fresh.
  • Use glass bottles: Use glass bottles rather than plastic to store the kombucha. Plastic can leach chemicals into the kombucha over time.
  • Keep it airtight: Make sure the bottles are sealed tightly to prevent air from getting in and altering the taste of the kombucha.


  • Pour gently: Pour the kombucha gently to avoid stirring up the sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
  • Serve chilled: Serve the kombucha cold for the most refreshing experience.
  • Add ice and garnishes: Add ice and garnishes like fruit or herbs to make your kombucha extra special.

Other tips:

  • Use caution with flavored kombucha: If you add fruit or other ingredients to the kombucha to flavor it, be aware that the fermentation process can create pressure in the bottle. Open the bottle carefully to avoid a messy situation.
  • Watch for signs of spoilage: Keep an eye out for signs that the kombucha has spoiled, like mold or an off smell. If you see any of these signs, discard the kombucha and start over.
  • Share with friends: Kombucha is a fun drink to share with friends and family! Encourage others to try your homemade kombucha and share your favorite flavor combinations.

Health Benefits and Risks of Kombucha

Kombucha has been touted for its health benefits, but it’s important to understand the potential risks as well. Here’s what you need to know:

Health benefits:

  • Probiotics: Kombucha contains live bacteria and yeast, which can promote a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Antioxidants: Kombucha also contains antioxidants, which can help protect the body against damage from free radicals.
  • Potential disease prevention: Some studies suggest that kombucha may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, but more research is needed to confirm these benefits.


  • Contamination: Because kombucha is made through a fermentation process, there is a risk of contamination by harmful bacteria or fungi. It’s important to follow proper hygiene and brewing techniques to minimize this risk.
  • Alcohol content: Kombucha can contain trace amounts of alcohol (typically less than 0.5%), which may be a concern for people who are sensitive to alcohol or who are in recovery from alcohol addiction.
  • Acidity: Kombucha is highly acidic, which can be a problem for people with certain medical conditions like acid reflux or ulcers. It’s also important to monitor the pH level of the kombucha during brewing to ensure that it’s safe to drink.

If you’re considering adding kombucha to your diet, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor first, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

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