Homemade Kombucha

Making kombucha at home is quite simple: make sweetened tea, add it to a jar with a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and let it ferment for about a week.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
8 days 23 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
9 days
12 cups

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a lightly fizzy, fermented tea drink with a tart, slightly sweet flavor and contains probiotics, the "good" gut bacteria found in fermented foods.

What Is a Scoby?

The scoby is a pancake-shaped living culture that eats most of the sugar in the tea, turning it into a tangy and delicious fermented beverage. Short for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast", the scoby is sometimes called the "mother" and houses the live bacteria that give each batch of kombucha a unique identity.

Ways to Use Kombucha

Kombucha is great to drink on its own, but it's also fantastic in cocktails and smoothies.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


  • 1 gallon water

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 6 plain black tea bags

  • 1 kombucha scoby (see Tip)

  • 1 cup starter kombucha (see Tip)


  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in sugar, then add tea bags.

  2. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the tea bags, then pour the tea into a 1-gallon glass jar. Gently pour scoby and starter kombucha into the jar.

  3. Cover the jar with a paper towel or clean tea towel and affix it with a rubber band. Place the jar in a warm (the ideal temperature is 75 degrees F), dark location until it is tangy and fruity, about 8 days. Avoid cool locations, which can lead to mold. Note: During fermenting, the scoby may float on top or sink to the bottom and, after a few days, a new scoby layer will form.

  4. After 8 days, taste the kombucha for doneness. If it tastes sweeter than you prefer, allow the kombucha to ferment for another day or two. If necessary, continue tasting for up to 14 days until the desired flavor is reached.

  5. When the kombucha is done, remove the scoby and place it in sealable container with 1 cup of the kombucha to store. (Store it, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks until you're ready to make the next batch of kombucha. If, over time, the scoby grows several layers thick, remove a layer and discard it, or share it with a friend.)

  6. Pour the kombucha through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher or large measuring cup(s) to filter out any sediment. Using a funnel, pour the kombucha into sealable glass bottles.

  7. Close the bottles and return them to the warm, dark storage location until carbonated, 1 to 2 weeks.


1-gallon glass jar, paper towel or clean tea towel, rubber band, funnel, fine-mesh strainer, sealable glass bottles


Kombucha scoby is widely available online. Starter kombucha is simply kombucha from a previous batch. If this is your first time making kombucha, starter kombucha will be included with your purchased scoby.

To make ahead

Refrigerate kombucha for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

68 Calories
18g Carbs
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Serving Size 1 cup
Calories 68
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Total Sugars 7g
Added Sugars 7g 14%
Sodium 10mg 0%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Magnesium 3mg 1%
Potassium 16mg 0%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles