Kombucha tea is a fermented tea gaining popularity for its health benefits as a functional drink. You can find lots of kombucha tea products in health food stores and on supermarket shelves, but you can make kombucha at home using our kombucha recipe and tips for how to make kombucha, from making the SCOBY to bottling the finished kombucha.

By Sheena Chihak, RD
February 19, 2016
Kombucha Recipe


All About Kombucha

What is kombucha? Kombucha is a sweetened green or black tea that uses a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). The SCOBY starts as a residue on the surface of the tea, then grows to fill the diameter of the jar while getting thicker. The bacteria and yeast inside the SCOBY create the fermenting action.

What are the health benefits of kombucha? Claimed health benefits of kombucha tea include promoting gut health, strengthening the immune system, and aiding a variety of other ailments. Currently, there is not enough evidence to support these claims, so kombucha tea should not be used to treat any illness. Talk to a doctor if you are pregnant, nursing, or have concerns.

The Kombucha SCOBY

SCOBY on plate next to tea for kombucha

The SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) creates the fermenting action of kombucha. It looks like a pancake and feels gelatinous. It can vary in texture and color, but it's usually creamy tan.



To Make the SCOBY

SCOBY on tea in jar for kombucha
SCOBY will form on top of the kombucha
  • Bring 4 cups water to boiling. 
  • In a large heatproof glass bowl or pitcher combine the boiling water and 1/2 cup sugar; stir to dissolove. 
  • Add 4 black tea bags. 
  • Let stand 1 hour. Remove tea bags.
  • Stir in 3 cups water.
  • Transfer to a clean 2- to 3-quart jar.
  • Stir in 1 cup purchased plain kombucha.
  • Cover jar with 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth or paper towls, and secure with a rubber band.
  • Let stand in a dark place where the temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees F for 3 weeks.
  • Remove SCOBY with clean hands; discard liquid.

(You can also purchase a SCOBY online. Just be sure to use a reliable source, such as Williams-Sonoma.)


To Store SCOBY


Place the SCOBY in a clean jar in enough kombucha to cover. Cover the jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


Kombucha Safety

Filling bottle with kombucha with funnel
  1. Stick to the recipe: Altering ingredients, method, and/or timings of this tested recipe can compromise its safety.
  2. Scrub down materials: Wash all containers and utensils that will be used to make kombucha with hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Scrub your hands and nails before handling the SCOBY.
  3. Cover your bases: Cover the fermented mixture with clean cheesecloth or a paper towel to keep out dust, dirt, pests, and anything else that may disrupt fermentation.
  4. Temperature check: Kombucha fermenting works best in temperatures that are on the warmer side. Keep it between 70 and 75 degrees F.


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