How to Make Homemade Kombucha: A Beginner’s Guide

Kombucha is a fermented tea that has become increasingly popular over the past decade. It is said to have a variety of health benefits, including improved digestion, increased energy, and immune system support.

However, store-bought kombucha can be quite expensive, which is why many people are interested in making their own at home. In this beginner’s guide, we will discuss the steps necessary to make homemade kombucha.

What is Kombucha?

What is Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is made by adding a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, commonly referred to as a SCOBY, to sweetened tea. The SCOBY consumes the sugar in the tea and produces organic acids, enzymes, and probiotics. The end result is a tangy, slightly effervescent drink that can be flavored with a variety of fruits, herbs, and spices.

The Health Benefits of Kombucha

While there is limited scientific research on the health benefits of kombucha, there are several potential benefits that have been suggested by both traditional medicine and anecdotal evidence. These benefits include:

  • Improved digestion and gut health: Kombucha contains beneficial bacteria and enzymes that can aid in the digestion of food and improve gut health.
  • Increased energy: Kombucha contains caffeine and B vitamins, which can provide a natural energy boost.
  • Immune system support: Kombucha contains antioxidants and other compounds that can help to support the immune system.
  • Detoxification: Kombucha contains glucuronic acid, which is believed to aid in the detoxification process.
  • Joint health: Kombucha contains glucosamines, which can help to maintain joint health.

Materials Needed to Make Kombucha

To make homemade kombucha, you will need the following materials:

  • A SCOBY: You can purchase a SCOBY online, or you can grow your own from a bottle of store-bought kombucha. To grow your own SCOBY, simply pour a bottle of unflavored, unpasteurized kombucha into a glass jar and cover it with a breathable cloth. Let the jar sit at room temperature for 1-2 weeks, or until a thin, rubbery SCOBY has formed on the surface of the liquid.
  • Tea: Use black, green, or white tea to make kombucha. Do not use herbal tea or tea blends that contain oils or added flavors, as these can be harmful to the SCOBY.
  • Sugar: Use regular granulated sugar to feed the SCOBY.
  • Water: Use filtered or spring water to avoid any chlorine or other chemicals that may be present in tap water.
  • Glass jar: Use a glass jar with a wide mouth and a lid that can be sealed to store your kombucha during the fermentation process.
  • Breathable cloth: Use a breathable cloth, such as cheesecloth or a coffee filter, to cover the jar during fermentation.
  • Bottles: Use glass bottles with airtight lids to store the finished kombucha.
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How to Make Homemade Kombucha

Steps to Make Kombucha

Follow these steps to make homemade kombucha:

  • Brew the tea: Boil 4 cups of water and add 4-6 tea bags or 1-2 tablespoons of loose tea. Steep for 5-7 minutes, then remove the tea bags or strain out the loose tea. Add 1 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved.
  • Cool the tea: Add 8 cups of cold water to the tea mixture to cool it down to room temperature.
  • Add the SCOBY: Pour the cooled tea into a glass jar and add the SCOBY, along with 1 cup of liquid from a previous batch of kombucha or store-bought unflavored kombucha. This liquid is important because it contains the necessary bacteria and yeast to start the fermentation process.
  • Cover the jar: Cover the jar with a breathable cloth and secure it with a rubber band. Store the jar in a warm, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, for 7-10 days. During this time, the SCOBY will consume the sugar in the tea and produce organic acids and carbon dioxide, which will create a tangy, effervescent drink.
  • Taste test: After 7 days, taste a small amount of the kombucha to see if it is to your liking. If it is too sweet, let it ferment for another day or two. If it is too tart, reduce the fermentation time for the next batch.
  • Flavor and bottle: Once the kombucha has reached your desired level of tartness, remove the SCOBY and 1-2 cups of the liquid from the jar and set it aside for the next batch. Pour the remaining kombucha into glass bottles, leaving 1-2 inches of headspace at the top. Add flavorings, such as fruit juice or fresh herbs, if desired. Seal the bottles tightly and let them sit at room temperature for 1-3 days to carbonate.
  • Refrigerate and enjoy: After the bottles have carbonated, store them in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process. Enjoy your homemade kombucha within 2-3 weeks for optimal flavor and freshness.

Tips for Successful Kombucha Brewing

  • Use a clean, sanitized jar and utensils to prevent contamination from harmful bacteria.
  • Keep the kombucha at a consistent temperature between 68-78°F for optimal fermentation.
  • Avoid exposing the kombucha to direct sunlight, as this can kill the SCOBY.
  • Do not use metal utensils or containers when working with the SCOBY, as this can damage it.
  • If the SCOBY develops black mold or an unpleasant odor, discard it and start over with a new SCOBY and fresh ingredients.
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Potential Risks and Side Effects of Kombucha

While kombucha is generally considered safe, there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of. These include:

  • Contamination: If the brewing equipment is not properly sanitized or the kombucha is brewed in an unsanitary environment, harmful bacteria can grow and cause illness.
  • Alcohol content: Kombucha is a naturally fermented beverage, which means it can contain small amounts of alcohol. While store-bought kombucha typically contains less than 0.5% alcohol, homemade kombucha can contain higher levels if it is over-fermented or left to ferment for too long.
  • Digestive upset: Some people may experience digestive upset, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea when they first start drinking kombucha. This is often due to the beneficial bacteria in the drink working to rebalance the gut microbiome.
  • Interactions with medications: Kombucha contains organic acids, which can interfere with the absorption of certain medications. If you are taking medication, consult with your healthcare provider before adding kombucha to your diet.


Homemade kombucha is a delicious and nutritious beverage that is easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients. While there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of, when brewed properly, kombucha can provide a variety of health benefits. By following these steps and tips, you can enjoy a refreshing glass of homemade kombucha any time.


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Hi, I'm Emily Jones! I'm a health enthusiast and foodie, and I'm passionate about juicing, smoothies, and all kinds of nutritious beverages. Through my popular blog, I share my knowledge and love for healthy drinks with others.