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How to make Kombucha at home

by Amber Fairweather |

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that has become known for its potential health benefits. Kombucha is made through a process of fermenting tea and sugar with a mother culture or a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts, known as a SCOBY.

Making your own kombucha at home is a fun and rewarding process and experience. Buying store-bought kombucha can be hit and miss. There are few that are not diluted, don’t use sweeteners and have the balance of flavors just right. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a product that is costly and unsatisfying.

We will happily walk you through the process of making your own fermented kombucha at home. Kombucha is a simple process of fermenting a sweetened tea with a kombucha scoby and starter tea liquid. 

For successful homemade kombucha, there are some ingredients and equipment that you will need:

  • A kombucha SCOBY, also known as a kombucha mother culture, or a mushroom
  • Some starter liquid which is already fermented
  • A glass, food-grade stainless steel or non-toxic ceramic jar of fermentation vessel
  • An elasticated breathable cotton cover, a tightly woven cloth or a coffee filter secured with a rubber band. 
  • Black, green or white tea
  • Sugar


The process of making your own fermented kombucha tea, is simple and in a nutshell follows the following simplified steps:

  1. Steep your tea in non-chlorinated water, and let it cool to room temperature

  2. Dissolve your sugar in the tea

  3. Add your SCOBY and starter liquid to the room temperature sweetened tea

  4. Cover the jar with your elasticated cotton top

  5. Leave for 5-14 days until you achieve your desired taste

  6. Drain your fermented kombucha, flavor with fruits, bottle and let it become really fizzy.

  7. Enjoy!

If you are keen to  make your own kombucha at home, grab a kombucha kit or your SCOBY and starter tea from Symbiota and let’s get into it with the following Symbiota Kombucha Recipe!

Symbiota Kombucha Recipe

If you do not plan on fermenting your kombucha immediately, place the pouch with the SCOBY in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. The sooner it is fermented, the better. 

Ingredients to make 1 litre (see chart over page for larger quantities): 

  • 1L Symbiota glass jar
  • 1 Kombucha SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts)
  • 2 tea bags (black tea, green tea, white tea, not fruit teas)
  • 750ml of filtered water
  • 125ml of starter tea from a previous Kombucha brew (supplied in the pouch with the kit)
  • Elasticated cotton cover
  • ¼ cup of white sugar


  1. Boil 500ml of filtered water, add sugar and tea bags. Stir and then leave to cool to room temperature. 

  2. Remove the tea bags and add tea to your kombucha jar. Add the remaining filtered water and add the starter tea with your SCOBY (contents of the pouch). 

  3. Cover the jar with an elasticated cotton top so that the kombucha can breathe without dust or fruit flies entering. 

  4. Place the jar at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. 

  5. Leave to ferment for 3–5 days and then taste.

  6. Taste each day until the desired flavor is reached. The longer you leave the kombucha, the more vinegary it becomes (the longer you ferment it, the lower the sugar content).

  7. Often, additional SCOBYs will grow and brown stringy floaties may form. Sediment will also collect on the bottom of the jar and bubbles may form. These are all normal. 

  8. Once you have achieved the desired flavor (slightly sweeter than what you’d like as this will become less sweet during second ferment), bottle your kombucha into sealable (airtight) bottles for the second stage fermentation, leaving four finger-spaces from the top of the bottle. 

  9. Make sure to leave a ½ a cup of kombucha liquid for your SCOBY to live in and for your next brew. 

  10. During the second stage ferment, you can add flavorings to the bottles, such as lemon, ginger, raspberries, pineapple, vanilla, mint, etc. Our blog provides ideas for flavoring your kombucha.

  11. Leave these bottles to ferment and carbonate for a further 1–7 days (depending on desired flavor), ensuring that you “burp” the bottles by opening the lid briefly each day so they don’t explode from the fizz.

  12. When your kombucha has reached the desired taste, move to the fridge to stop fermentation. Consume within 6 weeks.

  13. Kombucha likes to ferment at temperatures ranging between 18°C and 26°C (with the ideal being around 22°C). The warmer the temperature, the faster it will ferment. 




Container Size

Tea bags (black, white, or green)

White Sugar

Filtered Water

Starter Tea



¼ cup

2 ½ cups

½ cup



½ cup

7 cups

¾ cup



1 cup

14 cups

1 ½ cups



2 cups

28 cups

4 cups



  • Most flavor is infused in the second ferment. It is during this second ferment that it really becomes fizzy. With larger brews one can use a ratio of ¼ fruit tea to ¾ black, white or green tea. A SCOBY needs black, white or green tea to remain healthy and produce nutritious kombucha.

  • Sugar: Although it seems like a lot of sugar is used, this is metabolized by the SCOBY. You will notice the kombucha turns from a sweet tea to a sour vinegar as the sugar is “eaten” by the SCOBY and as a result releases vitamins, minerals and probiotic bacteria.

  • For more kombucha recipe ideas follow our blog page

Kombucha FAQs

Is kombucha good for you?

Correctly fermented Kombucha is considered a health drink which contains probiotics, antioxidants and minerals which a balanced gut microbiome. Antioxidants such as polyphenols found in kombucha can help protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce inflammation. B Vitamins, such as B1, B2, B3, and B12 are frequently found in fermented kombucha, and these play a vital role in energy metabolism. While kombucha carries various health benefits, it is always important to incorporate a range of fermented foods and drinks into your diet for best gut-health benefits. 


How much kombucha should I drink?

The ideal amount of kombucha to drink daily can vary from person to person and depends on several factors including tolerance and specific health considerations. If you are not used to drinking kombucha, introduce it slowly by drinking 100mls at a time. Listen to your body or speak to your healthcare provider. If you tolerate this amount fine, you can slowly increase this to about 450ml per day. 

It is not always about the quantity of probiotics you consume, but rather the diversity of probiotic sources. The more diverse the probiotics you consume, the better. Try incorporating water kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, milk kefir and yogurt to gain a broad range of probiotic bacteria. 

Is my SCOBY dead if it sinks to the bottom of the jar?

No, your SCOBY (Symbiota Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) is not dead if it sinks to the bottom of your jar. Scobies can move around during the fermentation process depending on various factors. The main factor being the carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation process. This gets trapped under the SCOBY causing it to float. However, there are other factors such as variation in buoyancy due to size and shape, pH, bacterial activity and temperature fluctuations that can contribute to the positioning of your SCOBY. The key indication that fermentation is happening, is that over 5-14 days the sweetened tea becomes less sweet over time. 

Does kombucha have alcohol?

Fermentation naturally releases a small amount of alcohol as a byproduct. Usually, if kombucha is brewed correctly- using the right amount of sugar and breathable tops, alcohol is not an issue. Alcohol increases when bottles are capped, cannot breath, additional sugar is added to the bottle after fermentation happens and is left at room temperature to continue fermenting for long periods of time. 

Usually kombucha has less than 1% alcohol when fermented correctly, which is often less than a very ripe piece of fruit. 

Does kombucha contain gluten, soy, or animal products?

No, kombucha is only made up of tea, sugar, water and a SCOBY is used to ferment the sweetened tea. 

What nutritional value does kombucha have?

Providing kombucha is fermented correctly, it is a low calorie beverage with low sugar content when it is fully fermented. Kombucha also contains probiotics, healthy organic acids (acetic, lactic and gluconic acids) and B vitamins. 

Do I have to keep buying the culture?

No, providing you look after your kombucha SCOBY it will last forever. 


How do I know if my SCOBY is alive?

The key indicator to a healthy SCOBY is fermentation. If your sweetened tea ferments efficiently then your SCOBY is healthy and alive. Position, color, size, shape and rate of multiplication are not always useful indicators to SCOBY health. Read our blog on how to care for your kombucha SCOBY.

What type of tea do I need to use for kombucha brewing?

Using black, green, white or oolong tea is the best for brewing kombucha as it provides the cleanest flavor and has the correct nutrients for the SCOBY from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. You can blend different teas together to create your desired flavor, however avoid using herbal teas or flavored teas which lack the appropriate nutrients for the SCOBY to ferment your kombucha tea. Herbal and flavored tea bags also often contain additives and chemicals which can affect the SCOBYs health. 

What type of sugar should I use for making kombucha?

Generally, lighter coloured organic sugars provide the cleanest taste while still containing good nutritional value for the SCOBY. Darker coloured sugars can have quite overpowering tastes and require more effort and take longer for the kombucha tea to ferment, as it is more work for the microorganisms to metabolize the sugar. 

We personally prefer using golden organic sugar. Be sure to stay away from sweeteners or honey. If you are wanting to use honey, then have a look at Jun Kombucha. Jun kombucha specifically ferments green tea and honey. 

What type of water is best for brewing kombucha?

The better the quality of the water, the better the kombucha. However, not everyone has access to amazing quality water. The most important factor is that the water is non-chlorinated. If you are on town supply and your water is chlorinated, simply boil the water without a lid on, and leave it to cool to room temperature. This will remove a lot of the chlorine in the water. 

How long do I need to ferment kombucha for?

Fermentation of kombucha varies depending on ratios of sugar, SCOBY, starter liquid and temperature. If you follow the ratios outlined in the above recipe and ferment your kombucha at temperatures between 22-24℃ your kombucha will ferment within 7-14 days. Of course, this is variable depending on your tastes and preferences. The longer you ferment it, the less sweet it will become until eventually if you leave it long term it will turn into kombucha vinegar. 

What temperature range is ideal for fermenting kombucha?

Kombucha can safely ferment from 16-26℃. If you consistently ferment it at higher temperatures than this, the flavors will not be well balanced and the yeast populations will proliferate while your kombucha will consist of less bacteria. We find that for the best tasting and most balanced kombucha should be fermented between 22-24℃. 


What is starter tea?

Starter tea is fermented kombucha tea which is reserved from each ferment to support the establishment of a new ferment. Starter liquid is teaming with live probiotics and is essential along with the SCOBY for efficient and safe fermentation. It supports dropping the pH of the sweetened tea so that the correct bacteria take hold of the fermentation process, limiting any unwanted microorganisms. 

How much starter tea should I use?

This depends on how much kombucha you are brewing, in our above recipe we outline the amounts of starter tea required for different quantities of kombucha. 

Where do I get starter tea from?

Symbiota supplies or SCOBYs with the correct amount of starter liquid to start your kombucha fermentation effectively and safely. 

How do I make my kombucha fizzy?

Most fizz is gained in the second stage fermentation. To learn more, read our blog about how to make your kombucha fizzy.

What is stage one fermentation?

This is the very first part of the fermentation process where you ferment the scoby in the sweetened tea with some starter tea which is reserved from the previous batch of fermented kombucha.


Why do I need starter tea?

Starter tea supports effective fermentation by supporting the correct pH levels. The decrease in the pH supports a successful ferment, while minimising mold or anything going wrong. 

What is a second stage fermentation?

This is when you drain your fermented kombucha tea, when it is slightly sweeter than what you would like to drink. Reserve the SCOBY and starter liquid for the next ferment. Place the drained fermented tea in a bottle that seals very well. It is at this stage that it is best to flavor your kombucha. Add your fruits, herbs and or spices and seal the bottle. Leave the bottle at room temperature for a further 24-72 hours. 

The microorganisms will continue the fermentation process, and carbon dioxide will build up in the bottle as it has nowhere to escape to. Be sure to check the pressure and burp your bottle daily, as the pressure can cause some bottles to explode if left for too long. 

How do I flavor my kombucha?

Simply slice, mince or puree your fruit of choice and add it to the second stage ferment. Most people tend to simply strain it out when they are pouring themselves a lovely glass of kombucha. 

I have a skin on top of my kombucha, what is it?

Congratulations, this is the very early stages of a brand new baby SCOBY forming. As long as it does not have mold, which will be very clear and noticeable, this is a normal part of the process. Simply leave the new SCOBY to thicken and strengthen up. If you at anytime notice mould, please contact us with a photo or discard everything. 

Which SCOBY should I discard when I have too many scobies?

Remove the SCOBY at the bottom and discard it. The lower Scobies are usually the browner and older scobies. Retaining the upper newer and fresher scobies. 

Will my SCOBY multiply?

Usually SCOBYs do multiple when under the perfect conditions, this is not necessarily an indication of a successful ferment though. 

What should I do with the extra scobies?

Simply discard the older, browner, lower down scobies and keep the top newer mother culture. It is important to keep the right ratio of scoby to quantity you are fermenting to maintain a well balanced and yummy tasting kombucha. If you end up with too many scobies, your brew can become unbalanced in flavor. It can often ferment faster and you can end up with a kombucha that tastes vinegary and sweet at the same time.


Does the size of the SCOBY matter?

Yes. It is important to always have the correct ratios of starter liquid, tea, sugar and scobies. If you do not have sufficient starter liquid and a strong enough scoby your ferment runs the risk of failing. 

I have too many scobies, what can I do with my surplus scobies?

We have multiple blogs for ideas on using surplus scobies- our favorite is fruit leather. 

What ratio of juice should I use to flavor my kombucha?

We tend to use a ratio of 5-20% fruit juice or puree when we are using fruit to flavor our kombucha. This varies depending on the fruit. 

Will my glass bottle explode from the kombucha?

It is best to use bottles that can withstand high pressure. Additionally to this, it is best to burp your bottles daily. If you forget about a bottle, especially at room temperature, and the bottle is not suitable for carbonated drinks, it can explode. 

How do I take a break from making kombucha?

You can simply leave your scoby in the kombucha tea. Kombucha tea preserves scoby. Many people have a “SCOBY hotel” to care for their scobies when not in use. 

What is a SCOBY hotel?

A SCOBY hotel is often a dedicated vessel where you can store your scobies in. You place them in fermented kombucha liquid in a vessel, and leave them in a dark area. 

Where can I buy kombucha making ingredients for my first batch of kombucha?

Symbiota has everything you need to get starter making kombucha including Kombucha Kit with everything included to get started, ScobyLarge scobyOrganic Tea and Organic Sugar