Making your own kombucha can be a scary task. I am here to help eliminate the fears and show you how to make make the best homemade kombucha without a scoby starter. Yes, it can be done successfully with very little start up cost and it is so easy. This will save you thousands of dollars in kombucha a year.
What is a scoby you ask? It is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (scoby). It is the key ingredient to making homemade kombucha. Without one you just can’t make it. The top is a fungus that grows on top with yeast at the bottom to create the fermented kombucha drink. Kombucha is said to introduce good bacteria into your gut for overall stronger immune system.* I drink it everyday.
Making Kombucha Scoby Mother
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Ingredients for making kombucha scoby Mother
Water (distilled or purified)
Organic tea bags
1 16oz bottle of plain kombucha (I recommend GTS)
Vinegar for cleaning
Supplies to make grow kombucha scoby
1 gallon glass container
1 quart glass container (mason jar)
pot to boil water
wooden spoon to stir
The most important thing to remember is everything must be sterile and clean to get the best results while brewing your own kombucha and making kombucha scoby from scratch.
Making Kombucha Scoby Mother From Scratch
The first step is so easy. Open the bottle of store bought plain kombucha and place a cloth with a rubber band over the top and set in a dark place undisturbed. The cloth and rubber band prevent any additional bacteria or fruit flies getting in and disturbing your wonderful kombucha scoby making process. Every bottle of raw kombucha has all the essentials to make a scoby right inside the bottle. Yep, that is it to get started to make your own kombucha scoby.
Wait at least one week up to 12 days until you see a tiny scoby mother start to form on top. Don’t touch it or move it at all during this time. Allow it to grow on its own. The scoby should be a white spongy like circle at be least a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. That is a perfect baby scoby.
Making the Tea and Grow Kombucha Scoby Larger
Now we are ready to brew our first mini batch, since our tiny scoby is not quite strong enough to make a large batch of yummy kombucha, we need to grow a bigger one to make a gallon of kombucha. To make the tea, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Turn off the stove. Then stir in 1/3 cup sugar until all is dissolved and 2 tea bags and let steep. Allow the entire pot to cool to room temperature. While the pot of tea is cooling, cover with a lid so not much water evaporates.
Once completely cool, pour into a sterilized 1 quart glass jar. Then add 1 cup of kombucha from the bottle that has been fermenting.
Then add the tiny baby scoby mother to the top. Cover with a cloth and rubber band, then wait another 7-12 days and grow kombucha scoby until it is least a 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Once this is done see how to make a full gallon of homemade kombucha now that you have a strong scoby mother.
Trouble shooting kombucha scoby
Making kombucha scoby is easy with a few simple steps. It depends on the climate as to how healthy the scoby will grow. In a climate with higher temperatures, you may find your mother growing faster. It may mature within 7 days. However, in a colder climate it may take 10-12 days to reach the full potential. During the winter months, I let mine ferment a little longer to get the perfect brew. I highly recommend this organic tea to make the kombucha. This is what I use and it comes out perfect every time.
To clean the glass container, it is best to use vinegar. Regular soap is made to kill bacteria and we do not want that. Using vinegar is a natural way to kill any remaining bacteria and sterilize the glass container. I simply pour a little vinegar in the bottom of the container and use a paper towel to wipe down the sides and top. Then rinse well with water. You must use glass containers and never plastic. Glass can be cleaned, plastic may continue to harbor bad bacteria and ruin your kombucha and possibly even make you sick.
Use extreme caution and care and make sure everything you use and touch is sterile. I wash my hands before I start and each time I touch anything new to ensure my whole process is clean. I have been making homemade kombucha for many months now, without any issues. Please let me know how you are doing or if you have any questions about how to make your own kombucha scoby.
(I am not an expert in making kombucha, these are the steps I use to make it every time. Please use good hygiene and sterilization processes to ensure a kombucha that is safe to drink)
*I am not a doctor. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
I am excited to hear how this turns out for you!
Marianne Butler says
I have never, in my 72 years, heard of this! I have no idea what it is. Is it just a tea ? How do you pronounce it? What do you do with it?
Marianne thank you so much for asking these questios. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink (like beer or wine), but not much alcohol content. You pronounce it like kom bu cha. You drink it. It has similar effects like drinking apple cider vinegar and water. It just makes me feel great and helps my digestive system stay regular. I will have more information on kombucha in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
Billie Jones says
Just thought I would share. My first go around making kombucha scoby. Started with GTS as you suggested except I poured it into wide mouth quart jar, covered with cheese cloth using rubber band. Put in dark cabinet. 11 days later a thin scoby. 6 more days it is now a 1/4 inch thick. Getting ready to take next step.
So glad to hear Billie. That is a great idea. Yes I have done the same when I have had to start over. Thanks for sharing your success.
Hi Amy – popping in from the #HomeMattersParty and I’m with Marianne . . . I’ve never heard of this before, but I am interested in learning more about natural, home-based preventative products. I’ll have to look into this to see if it is something that my family would like. thanks for sharing at the party! Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage
I’m glad I stumbled upon your post, Amy. I tried making Kombucha once, but I don’t think the store-bought one I got was raw because it didn’t work at all! I will have to order a raw bottle online I think and try it again using your recipe!
Yes! Please try again. There are several brands they sell at the stores that are raw you can try.
Thank you for the recipe how to make kombucha scuby mother. I’ve been looking for this for ages.
I made kombucha but with moving countries…lost it.
I’m very happy to have found your recipe and can start enjoying this remedy.
Thank you once again
So glad you can you found this recipe to help you.
How many times can you use your mother scoby from your recipe above?
For making this small one, I only use it for the next batch. Once the next batch has fermented, I throw this one out. I find I get much better batches with new scobys every time. I hope this answers your question.
You can start a Scoby hotel to let them hang out if you want.
Interested… how would I go about a Scooby hotel? My family of 10 loves it and I need to make large batches daily
Here is a great article on Scoby Hotels. I have not had great success with it, so I have not published and article until I do.
So excited! I bought a bottle of kombucha as pictured over a week ago and ready to make my quart batch.
Great! I am so excited you have started on your journey to making your own Homemade Kombucha.
The only question I have is Can you re-use the scoby or must you use a new one every batch?
Yes you can reuse the scoby. I find if you just keep reusing them the kombucha does not turn out as strong. So I just reuse it once for the next batch then retire it to the scoby hotel.
I’m on my fourth batch of kombucha-I became addicted to the flavored kombucha, broke the golden rule and grew my SCOBY mother from a flavored raw brew with no issue. So far, I’ve made orange juice, Concord grape, vanilla chai, and ginger – flavored kombucha. All have been fizzy goodness! LIterally anyone can do this!
YAY!! I am so excited to hear this Marcy! I honestly think you can use flavored or not. I think you just need the basic building blocks for the scoby to grow. So glad this worked for you.
After my second ferment in the flavored bottle it starting to form a new scoby. Is this normal?
I am so glad you are trying to make your own kombucha! Yes, I have had this happen also. I usually strain my kombucha right before I drink it.
I have even purchased bottle where a scoby had formed in the bottle from the manufacturer. So this is a completely normal thing. Be sure you tighten your lid on your bottle to lessen the chance of a scoby growing.
Excited to try this out, thank you
Hey Amy, thank you for sharing this recipe and I am currently making my scoby from the store bought Kombucha. I was wondering though what kind of tea works best for this recipe I recently purchased an Oolong tea bags but they are caffeine free is that okay?
No. The tea needs to have caffeine. I get this one from Amazon. It is Organic, non GMO and Fair Trade certified.
I have been making kombucha for approx 9 mos and do a 2nd brewing with different flavors. my current favorite is grated ginger with a little lemon and thawed mushed frozen organic berries.
I have been separating the scobies since they get thick and using the newest layers for the next batch. how do you make a hotel? where do you store it?
I always run out of kumbucha before my 2nd brewing is done so I am considering starting a 2nd gallon jar. any experience with 2 jars?do
thanks for your tips about cleaning with vinegar. Its wise to strain the kumbucha before giving tastes to friends!
Honestly I have not made a scoby hotel. There are several good posts out there on how to do it successfully. You can check out this post from Traditional Cooking School for more info.
I bought raw kombucha from the store, poured it into a jar and put cloth on top without adding more tea- will this work to form a scoby? It’s been less than a week and I think I see a film forming.
It should form a scoby. Be sure your container is clean. I make sure my container comes straight from the dishwasher.
Leigh Boyd says
Thank you so much for taking the time to give us these directions!
Question: If you use a new scoby each time, what is the purpose of saving the old ones in a hotel?
Great Question Leigh. I don’t save mine in a hotel. The main reason to save a scoby in a scoby hotel is if you want to give one to a friend, or if yours happens to go bad you have extras. Then you don’t have to start over from scratch.
I remember when I was young my aunt had a horrible mastitis when she had her baby and no medication was helping her and my grandma place 2 scoobys on their breast and she start to eliminate all the bad milk, so yes I truly believe thatr kombucha and scoobys are good for you.
Yes and please always consult a dr. for any medical advice. Glad this natural treatment worked for your aunt.
I am soooooo excited to start making my own Kombucha. I drink one everyday and it helps me to not have stomach bloating, gives me a natural slow energy, my skin looks great, and I overall feel good. The ONLY downfall so far has been paying $4 a bottle. So, Im lookin forward to making my own. Thank you!!!!
Thank you Trish! I am glad it makes you feel so good. The cost is why I started making my own too. Please post pics and tag @MainlyHomemade and use the hashtag #mainlyHomemade. I can’t wait to see your first batch!!
can you drink the mini brew kombucha while you’re growing your kombucha? and how do you know when the kombucha is done fermenting and ready to drink?
Great question Emily. It is best to leave it alone so you do not break the seal of the scoby. Some people use a container with a metal spigot to drain the bottom off to drink while it is still brewing. You can test by getting a straw and put in the kombucha and hold your finger over the top to take a little sample to see how it tastes. I usually can tell by how much the scoby has grown. The thicker the new scoby the stronger the ferment. I like mine when the new scoby is about 1/4 of an inch. Keep testing and to see what your perfect taste is. Please share a pic on social media and tag me with #mainlyhomemade I would love to see your progress.
I have loved kombucha for years and began making my own a couple of years ago, beginning with the brand of raw commercial kombucha you recommend. About a year ago, I switched from using a gallon jug to a 1.5 gallon continuous glass container with a spigot. I just periodically removed some of the old scobies, stored them in the fridge in some kombucha and used pieces in my breakfast smoothies. I finally got to the point of feeling I needed to clean my system and start over from scratch. I will gradually work my way back up to a continuous system. Missing my homemade kombucha for now.
Glad to hear Jedn. I would love to do the continuous brew method. I have taken a break from making it also. I need to get back to it. I feel so much better when I am drinking it.
Hi Amy…I bought the exact kombucha you recommended to start a scoby, put cheesecloth secured with rubber band and left it in a darkish room for 9 days now. I don’t have a baby started 🙁 Do you have any suggestions. Thanks so much!
Thanks for your question Dawn. I have not had this happen. Maybe your starter bottle was not in ideal conditions, and/or something in the environment is inhibiting it from growing. Maybe try a different closet or a cabinet in your kitchen. Let me know if you have success.
I am a first-timer and I grew my Scoby from scratch in a one-gallon glass jar. I just started my first fermentation with the Scoby that grew on top of my container. The original Scoby released from the new Scoby and floated to the side. It’s darker, but looks healthy. What do I do with the “mother” and the liquid that is left? Can I use the “mother” to start another batch. Is the liquid usable? Thank you.
Great question Patti. Yes you can use the mother to start another batch. I am not sure what you mean by left over liquid, but you use about a cup of liquid from the previous batch to start a new one. Check out my other posts on how to make Kombucha.