How to Make Kombucha
If this is your first time making kombucha, welcome to the club! Making kombucha at home is fun and easy to do. We think you’ll be a pro in no time!
Some Things We Need to Get Started:
- 1 Gallon glass jar
- Small pot to boil water
- Stainless steel spoon for stirring
- Your kombucha SCOBY and starter liquid
- Fermenting cloth or coffee filter with rubber band
- Air tight bottles for the 2nd fermentation
For all remaining ingredients, please refer to below chart for measurements based on batch size:
- 13-14 cups -OR- 4-6 cups of filtered/purified water
- 1 cup -OR- ¼ cup cane sugar
- 6-8 -OR- 1-2 black and/or green tea bags. We recommend black tea for fuller taste). You may also use 3-5 tsp of loose tea.
- Note: We recommend using a tea ball infuser or similar product to ensure no loose tea remains in jar when fermenting.
Before you begin, ensure all jars and brewing equipment are thoroughly cleaned. This is extremely important and will help prevent mold in your kombucha.
Below steps are measurements for the 1 Gallon jar. Adjust measurements with above chart if using 1 Quart jar. Now let's get started...
Bring approximately 4 cups of filtered water to a boil and remove from heat. Add 8 bags of tea (or 3-4 tbsp of loose tea) and let steep for 7-10 minutes.
While tea is still warm, add sugar & stir until dissolved. Remove tea bags or any loose leaf tea, leaving only sweet tea liquid.
TIP: You can experiment with more or less tea and sugar to your desired taste. You can also try different types of tea and sugar. If this is your first brew, we recommend the above amounts as a starting point.
Peel and stick temperature strip to outside of glass brew jar. Once cooled, pour your sweet tea liquid into the fermenting jar. Fill jar with approximately 8 cups of cool filtered water until jar is 3/4 full. Leave enough space to add your SCOBY and starter liquid after tea cools to room temperature (preferably 70°-78°).
If you are using a fermenting jar from Joshua Tree Kombucha, fill to 3-4 inches below the top of the jar.
Once your sweet tea mix is cool, pour in starter liquid & SCOBY culture.
Important: DO NOT put your SCOBY and starter liquid in hot tea! If tea is too hot, you could kill the SCOBY. Be kind to the SCOBY!
TIP: Your SCOBY may sink to the bottom or float somewhere near the top. Either is fine. Sinking does not mean you have a dead SCOBY. Sometimes the weight of the liquid will push the SCOBY to the bottom. In time, your brew will produce a new pellicle layer on top.
Use the included pH strips to ensure brew levels remain between 2-4 for best results. (Higher pH levels will be sweeter, lower pH will have a sour taste). If too sweet, let ferment longer.
Cover the container with a clean cloth or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. Your kombucha needs to breathe in order to ferment.
And now we wait...
Set aside for 7-9 days (ideally between 70°-78° F or room temperature) until your kombucha has reached your desired taste.
After 7-9 days (newer brews may take over 14 days to ferment), you can start tasting your brew with clean straw. If too sweet, let ferment longer. The longer it ferments, the more acidic and less sweet it will become.
TIP: Cold temperatures are almost always the cause of mold. Keep your brew warm!
If you are brewing during the winter months, consider using a heat wrap or moving the brew to a warmer part of your home. Warmth will speed the fermentation process as well.
Once you find your optimal taste, your kombucha is ready for bottling! Proceed to the 2nd fermentation process.
See our complete scoby care guide for maintenance tips.
Question: Where should I put the little thermometer sticker? Should I put it on the bottle or in the bottle? I’m sorry if this is a dumb question I have never done anything like this before.
The SCOBY is fairly resilient. We’ve had cultures put in to the refrigerator and brought out again to ferment. If it was frozen solid… the cultures probably did not survive.
I just received my scoby and starter liquid. the package was very cold from the shipping process. how do i know if my scoby is ok to use?
hiya thanks for the information and advice
It is not required to do a second fermentation. If you do not want to flavor your brew you can drink it as soon as you’re happy at the end of your first fermentation.
The second fermentation is mainly for adding flavors and more carbonation.