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thee wire lid carafe bottles of orange second ferment kombucha with oranges and cherries in the bottom

Komucha Making: 101

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths - Bless this Mess
  • Total Time: 20 min
  • Yield: 1/2 gallon 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Don’t be intimidated by the process of making Kombucha. It is simple and so tasty when it is all finished. Your gut and wallet will thank me.


  • 2-3 tea bags or 1 tablespoon loose leaf tea*
  • 1/3 cup sugar*
  • 1 small SCOBY
  • ½ to 1 cup starter liquid  (raw unflavored kombucha)
  • Water to fill jar*


  1. Work with clean hands and utensils, but don’t use anti-bacterial soaps. Hot water is best for cleaning.
  2. Add the tea bags and sugar to a 4-cup container and add 3 cups boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Let mixture cool.
  3.  IF this is your very time making kombucha you will need to buy a SCOBY and starter liquid or get one from a friend.  Place the starter liquid in a 1/2 gallon jar. If this is not your first kombucha ferment, remove the SCOBY from your half gallon jar and place it on a clean surface. Place your kombucha that has been through it’s first ferment in a clean jar for drinking or in brewing bottles for a second ferment to flavor. Reserve 1 cup first ferment kombucha (just leave it in the jar).
  4. When the tea cools, add it to the starter kombucha in the 1/2 gallon jar and then fill the jar with more water until it is 1 inch or so from the top.
  5. Gently place the SCOBY in the jar and secure a breathable cover over the top. Let ferment 3-7 days at room temperature.

TIP: to speed the process you can add cold water to the jar with the remaining liquid (about half full) and then add the hot sweet tea mixture on top. You only want your starter liquid to get warm though, adding very hot water to it will kill the live and active cultures.


  1. A half gallon of first fermented kombucha will fill three 16-ounce brewing bottles, fill to just where the neck starts to curve.
  2. Add a few ounces of fruit chopped into small pieces, fruit puree, or fruit juice. It should fill the bottle 1-2 inches from the top. You can also add things like herbs, turmeric, ginger, or edible flowers.
  3. Secure the caps to the brewing jars and ferment for another 3-7 days at room temperature.


  • *Use black tea or a mix of black/green/white teas, organic is best.
  • *Organic sugar is best.
  • *If water is chlorinated you can leave it out at room temperature overnight to dechlorinate, if you think your water is heavily treated consider using filtered or distilled water
  • kombucha will ferment faster in warmer weather and slower in cold (ideal brewing temperature is 68-78 degrees).
  • The larger the SCOBY, the faster the brewing cycle.
  • A new SCOBY layer will form on top of your jar, you can keep the layers in a second jar (called a SCOBY hotel) as a backup or a way to share, just add a little raw first fermented kombucha to the jar as needed. If sharing your kombucha the new owner will need a SCOBY AND 1 cup of “starting liquid” or first fermented kombucha.
  • Sometimes there is dark yeast at the bottom of the jar or stringy dark yeast on the bottom of the white/grey/peachy SCOBY, that’s normal.
  • Mold is NOT good. Throw away any kombucha and SCOBYs that mold (this isn’t common), it might look like colors on the SCOBY or floral blooming dots. Acquaint yourself with a what yeast in kombucha might look like.
  • My favorite resource on kombucha is: The Big Book of Kombucha: Brewing, Flavoring, and Enjoying the Health Benefits of Fermented Tea Book by Alex LaGory and Hannah Crum
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Category: fermenting
  • Method: fermenting
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 34
  • Sugar: 5.8
  • Sodium: 2mg
  • Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 5.8
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 0
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: how to make kombucha, how to make kombucha scoby