They Call Me the SCOBY Whisperer (Plus the BEST Homemade Kombucha Recipe!)

I love kombucha. A lot.

Homemade kombucha freed me from on-going soda cravings.  I never leave home without it (I even sneak it into the movies).

Now I see it as my job to create new kombucha-holics on a regular basis.  You can thank me later.

Things You Should Know About Your SCOBY

First of all, what in the world is a SCOBY anyway? It’s a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast used to make a fermented drink that contains a blend of probiotics as well as certain acids and enzymes that aid digestion, detoxify the body, and promote health.  It’s also fizzy, tangy, and tastes really good!

A SCOBY is like a pet jellyfish that lives in your tea.  Kinda gross to *some* people (not going to mention any names here).  It should be cared for, fed and kept comfortable. As you can see from my photo, sometimes you might consider hiring a babysitter when you go out.  My Mom asked me just the other day if I ever worry about what my SCOBY was doing at night while I’m sleeping. Well actually…

It’s a lot harder to ruin you SCOBY than you think.  I’m actually known for my brown thumb in gardening.  I can, however, grow scobies like nobody’s business!  I’m basically a scoby breeder.  In fact, not a just few people refer to me as the SCOBY whisperer.

No, those brownish/whitish spots and slimy tendrils aren’t mold.  That’s normal.  Now if you see bluish/greenish fuzz, that’s when you need to lay your scoby to rest and adopt a new one.

3 Simple Steps to Homemade Kombucha

I adopted my SCOBY from a friend, but you can order one with starter tea from Kombuch Kamp HERE.

  1. Boil one gallon of filtered water for about 10 minutes, add one cup of organic cane sugar and desired number of tea bags.  My favorite combo is a one gallon size Lipton tea bag with six Lipton blackberry/pomegranate green tea bags (nope, it’s not organic – I can’t help that it creates the best flavor, okay?!).
  2. After the water has cooled, pour it into a gallon size glass jar with about a 1/2 cup of kombucha starter tea.  Plop your SCOBY in, then cover it with a coffee filter and hold that in place with a rubberband.
  3. Let it sit at room temperature for about 7-21 days (sip a little after 7 days to see if you like the flavor).  When it’s to your liking, strain the kombucha, keeping back 1/2 cup for your next batch, and enjoy!

3 Steps to Simple Homemade Kombucha by

An Important WARNING About Exploding Kombucha

While I was obviously blessed with a God-given talent for brewing kombucha <wink, wink>, my sister Joanie apparently wasn’t.  She can cook circles around me, but I’m afraid kombucha’s just not her forte.

Case in point:  Joanie set her kombucha on her dining room table with lids on for a second fermentation.  About 3 days later, she heard a massive explosion and thought the sky was falling.  As she ran through the house to see what was going on, she came upon shards of glass jammed in the drywall of her dining room.  One of her kombucha jars had exploded and shattered the other jars in its wake.  Thank God there was no one  in that part of the house at the time!  What a disaster that could have been…

I searched the internet for similar stories and found very few.  So while it’s rare – please be careful to store double fermenting kombucha in a cabinet or Rubbermaid container.

P.S.  Newbies often ask about the sugar content in kombucha.  The SCOBY feeds on most of the sugar, so it typically ends up with about 1-2 grams per 8 ounce glass.  I usually add a little stevia to mine because I like it sweeter.

More Great Tips from My Kombucha-Loving Friends

How to Make Kombucha Tea by Good Girl Gone Green

How to Brew Kombucha by Nature Moms

How to Brew Kombucha Tea by Glue and Glitter

How I Make Kombucha by Conscientious Confusion

Kombucha Health Benefits by Food Renegade

>>Don’t Miss Our Refreshing Blueberry Kombucha Probiotic Popsicle Recipe!

Looking for kombucha supplies?  Find all of our favorites in one place!

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Alicia Voorhies is a Registered Nurse who decided to take a break to relax and enjoy her young kids after 13 years of working with disabled adults. She began to explore the world of alternative health ideas and was immediately attracted to the mysteries of endocrine disruptors and their effect on children. In 2007 she founded The Soft Landing along with her mom and sisters to help parents provide a safe, natural home for their children without drowning in an overwhelming sea of information.

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  • O’Boy! Organic

    Thank You so much for this – I’ve been wanting to make Kombucha for awhile now and I’ve been a little intimidated. I will def. pin this post for future reference.

    • The Soft Landing Sisters

      I was intimidated at first too, Trina – but it’s just not that hard, so I hope you’ll give it a try! ~Alicia

  • Anna @GreenTalk

    Does it taste tart? I have tried it before it taste like cider vinegar.

    • The Soft Landing Sisters

      Yes, it’s usually a little tart. But it really depends on how long you let it ferment. I don’t let mine go over 7 days so that it doesn’t end up tasting like vinegar. ~Alicia

      • Jenny Bradford

        Yes, mine was getting too tart so I have stopped letting it go so long. It’s actually pretty sweet around the 7 day mark!

  • Jenny Bradford

    If you want to go waste-free you can just put a nice thin kitchen towel over the top of the jar and secure with a rubber band instead of a paper coffee filter ;-) I use flavored tea too! So glad I’m not the only one – I know that kombucha purists scoff at the idea, but I just think it tastes so much better!

    • The Soft Landing Sisters

      Great tip, Jenny! And I agree, the purists would absolutely vote me off the island, but I enjoy the flavored tea SO much more ;-) ~Alicia

  • B

    Where can I get a new scoby?

    • The Soft Landing Sisters

      There are tons of them on eBay ( and a you can also get them from Kombucha Kamp here: ~Alicia

    • shanawood

      you can also just buy a commercial kombucha and leave it out for a couple weeks, lid off just put a paper towel or cheese cloth over the top (secure with a rubber band) and eventually a mother will form.

  • Stephanie Moram

    I love kombucha! :)

    • The Soft Landing Sisters

      How did you first batch turn out Stephanie? Dying to know! ~Alicia

  • shanawood

    I am surprised you brew with herbal tea bags included. I thought the oils would harm the mother, at least that is what I have always been told! Maybe I will try this with one of my babies.

    • The Soft Landing Sisters

      I’ve been brewing with herbal green tea and regular black tea together for the last year with no troubles and lots of new scoby babies popping up :-) ~Alicia

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  • penny

    I just made my first batch of Kombucha, I have it doing it second round in 2 Fido jars on a shelf in my closet. Well the darn things are growing daughters on top! I thought they were suppose to get abit fizzy. AND…. My second batch is in 2 , 1/2 gal. jars, both growing daughters on top, except one of the daughters started to develop mold spores, the other is fine, what did I do wrong on that batch?

  • Lucy

    I make my first kombucha and I don’t have idea how to sterilize my bottles It’s supposed to be ready this Sathurday and I have the glass bottles already, can somebody give an advice , appreciate.:)

    • Kate

      Wash them, then rinse in vinegar water. EVERYTHING that comes in contact with my kombucha/SCOBY gets a vinegar water rinse:)

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