bottled kombucha apple, berry and mint
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How to Make Your Own Kombucha: Video Series

As far as alternative health drinks go, kombucha has hit a popularity peak and is now available in most supermarkets. However, there are plenty of reasons why you’re better off making it at home.

That’s not to say you can’t buy small batch-made kombucha at your local farmers’ market or health food store and be drinking a quality product. You could well be. It’s just worth either quality testing your local brew or starting your own brew. And you can actually do both at the same time.

What is kombucha?

A fizzy, probiotic, usually home-made tonic made with a base of black tea, sugar and water. It is fermented using a SCOBY (Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeast) which is a funny looking zoogleal “mat” that sits atop your brew.

Your healthful living friend stays on your bench at room temperature and needs your attention around once every seven to 10 days, at which point you decant your delicious liquid brew.

Kombucha provides your gut with a range of probiotic bacteria and yeasts, and your body with glucuronic acid – a powerful aid to the body’s detoxifying process.

Your kombucha SCOBY will grow as you feed and care for it, and soon you’ll have enough to share with friends, your pets, your stock animals, or your compost.

kombucha ingredients

Make your own at home

If you obtain a SCOBY from a friend or buy one online, then you can start to brew straight away. Simply follow the recipe below and you’ll be drinking your own homemade kombucha in no time.

If you don’t have access to a SCOBY but you saw a good looking locally-made kombucha in your favourite café, then there is a simple way you can grow your own.

How to grow a SCOBY

Buy an extra bottle of kombucha next time you’re out, and take it home. Pour the contents into a wide mouth jar or bowl (glass or ceramic only) and let it sit for a week or maybe two.

If it’s a quality brew then a kombucha SCOBY will start to form on the top and you can use this as your starter. Then simply follow the recipe below.

I’ve heard it from other brewers who have tried using supermarket kombucha to grow a SCOBY that they just don’t work. This means they may have altered the product for it to be shelf stable and may have removed some of the probiotic qualities – the main reason you’re drinking kombucha in the first place.

make your own kombucha

Kombucha Recipe


  • 1 SCOBY
  • ½ cup of previous kombucha brew
  • 3 litres of filtered water
  • 4 teaspoons of loose leaf black tea
  • 1 cup of raw organic sugar


  • Boil water in a pot on the stove, add sugar and stir until dissolved.
  • Turn off the heat and add the tea.
  • Let it cool completely and strain into a bowl or wide mouth jar.
  • Add half a cup of your last kombucha batch (or what was in the brew you bought) and place the SCOBY on top.
  • Cover with a cloth and leave on the bench for seven to 10 days.
  • Taste your brew and if you can still taste the tea and sugar then it’s not ready. If it tastes like vinegar then it’s fermented a bit too much. Aim for fizzy, slightly acidic and delicious.
  • When ready, place your SCOBY on a clean plate, and decant and bottle your kombucha drink in quality flip-top beer brewing bottles (the cheap ones don’t work as well). Store in the fridge or drink straight away.

Second ferment

Be a bit more adventurous with your kombucha flavours and add something extra to your decanted bottles and leave it on the bench for a further few days to go through a second ferment.

Try mint leaves, berries, apple, ginger, chamomile or chai spices. The possibilities are endless. Add about a handful/quarter cup of berries to a 750ml of kombucha. Enjoy!

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  1. There is only one criticism I can make about the directions given … there is no weight for the scoby. My rule of thumb is 60g of scoby per litre of water. Also you need to clean the scoby occasionally & aim for a thick, pale creamy coloured & almost rubbery piece to ferment. The scoby will take on the shape of the jar it is in. A good book to start with is ‘Probiotic Drinks’ by Felicity Evans.

    1. Great article. Thanks for publishing. I have used both small sections of scoby in my brew and large fully formed scoby and never had any issue with the size of scoby at all.

  2. Tips for bottles
    These “flip-top beer brewing bottles” are called “grolsch” bottles – they cost about AUD $2 each.

    Also good for storing the final product are reused screw-top wine bottles.
    To reuse a screw-top wine bottle cut off the metal below the cap, twist a small strong sharp knife under it.
    Get the label off by filling the bottle to the top of the label with boiling water then after 20 or 30 seconds peel the label off.

    Cover any glue left on the bottle with a tissue and leave it to dry for a day or two.
    Soak that tissue in a small quantity of eucalyptus oil and scrub it all off with a stainless steel curly girl.

    For the second fermentation a wide-neck bottle is best. This allows for chunks of flavour to be placed in the liquid and to get the chunks out again..
    A good wide-neck bottle to use is a SodaStream bottle past it’s use-by-date. These bottles are built to take pressure and can easily handle the bit of carbonation that comes with the second fermentation. Because a second fermentation only takes 2 or 3 days the fact that the bottle is plastic will not bother most people.

    Long term storage should be in glass bottles.

    Tips for Jars
    For the first fermentation (batch processing) get a wide neck glass jar about 2 or 3 litres is size.
    Products like olives, sauerkraut, gerkins, etc. are often sold in these jars.
    Clean it and then pour a small quantity of boiling water into the jar to sterilise it and test the glass for imperfections. Expect it to break, but it most likely won’t.

    A continuous brew system uses a 3 or 4 litre jar with a spigot, it is a good method where the demand is for a just a glass at a time.

    1. It is said that that the amount of alcohol in kombucha is similar to that of over ripe fruit. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol and sometimes I feel a slight relaxing effect from homemade kombucha and water kefir. It depends on how long you do the fermentation for. The longer you leave it fermenting on the bench the more likely it is to have some alcohol content, but it is minimal.

  3. Great article. U are right about picking the small brands to grow your scoby from.

    The best living kombucha in Melbourne is Good brew kombucha, bod or wild brew kombucha.
    Of the big brands I think los bros is the only one that is not pasteurized.

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