How To Grow Your Own Kombucha SCOBY in 10 Steps

Want to brew your own kombucha at home? You're going to need a SCOBY to get started! Learn how to grow your own kombucha SCOBY in just 10 steps.

Want to brew your own kombucha at home? Well you’re going to need a SCOBY to get started! But don’t worry… it’s simple. Learn how to grow your own kombucha SCOBY in just 10 steps.


Behind every great batch of kombucha, there’s a great SCOBY.

One very healthy “Mother.”

A symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.

Yep, basically just a big slimy blob of bacteria. (I’m really selling this whole thing for you, right? 🙂 )

grow your own SCOBY from store bought kombucha

Now, acquiring and getting used to handling the SCOBY is likely the most intimidating part of the kombucha-brewing process.

And to complicate things: it’s not something you can just pick up at the store.

Want to brew your own kombucha at home? You're going to need a SCOBY to get started! Learn how to grow your own kombucha SCOBY in just 10 steps.


Luckily, you can grow your own kombucha SCOBY!

You just need to get your hands on some quality starter kombucha.

If you have a friend that brews, awesome!

Get a couple of cups from her.

Or better yet, you could just get a SCOBY from her since they multiply with each brew… as you’ll soon learn!

Can you grow a SCOBY from store bought kombucha?

Yes!

If you don’t have a friend who brews, get your hands on some kombucha from a local brewer or health store — I just get mine from Whole Foods.

If you live in a state where you can buy black-label kombucha that has a little bit of alcohol in it, choose that.

Want to brew your own kombucha at home? You're going to need a SCOBY to get started! Learn how to grow your own kombucha SCOBY in just 10 steps.

Please know that not all store-bought kombuchas work effectively for growing your own SCOBY.

In fact, I recently had to grow a new SCOBY (I wasn’t able to bring my original with us when we moved across the country!) and had a major failure with one brand before trying a second that worked like a charm.

But don’t give up! If you follow the steps below and nothing grows, go ahead and try a different brand.


How To Grow Your Own Kombucha SCOBY in 10 Steps

Want to brew your own kombucha at home? You're going to need a SCOBY to get started! Learn how to grow your own kombucha SCOBY in just 10 steps.

[Printable directions below!]

You’ll need:

  • 16 oz (2 cups) of starter kombucha
  • 2 organic black, green, or white tea bags OR 2 tbs loose organic tea and a tea diffuser
  • 6 tbs organic sugar (this is a must — the SCOBY cannot grow without the sugar)
  • A large glass jar (must be glass!)*

*I used a half-gallon glass jar because I have a small apartment and it is easier for me to handle weight-wise, but most people typically use a 1-gallon glass jar.

Directions:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water, add the two tea bags and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. After cooled to room temperature, pour the sweetened tea into your sterilized jar (I washed mine in hot water with a natural dish soap and then microwaved it for 2 minutes just because I’m paranoid and figure that would kill off any lingering bacteria!) and add the starter kombucha.
  3. Cover with paper towel (preferably doubled-over) or a clean, breathable cloth and secure with a rubber band.
  4. Store in a warm, dry place and leave undisturbed for 5-7 days.
  5. During these 5-7 days, check on the progress of your SCOBY periodically. Things to look for: 1) a white film forming on top of the liquid – that’s your SCOBY! Congrats! 2) Mold – you know what this looks like. If you think you see mold, discard the contents immediately, wash and sterilize the jar, and start over.
  6. When the SCOBY is around ¼ inch thick, “feed” it by adding 2 more cups of sweetened tea (just as you made in step 1).
  7. Cover the mixture and return it to its warm, dry resting place and leave undisturbed
  8. When your SCOBY is ½ inch thick, it’s ready to go! Yay!
  9. Remove the SCOBY with clean hands (cannot stress this enough!) and transfer to new jar for brewing.
  10. Use 8 oz of the mixture (the top of the mixture, not the sediment in the bottom) as your starter kombucha for your first batch of kombucha and discard the rest.

NOTE: Cleanliness is SUPER important! All of your instruments (including your hands) must be sterile so as not to contaminate the kombucha. If you think you see mold, do not take any chances and discard the kombucha immediately.

Print

How To Grow Your Own Kombucha SCOBY in 10 Steps

  • Author: Body Unburdened
Scale

Ingredients

  • 16 oz (2 cups) of starter kombucha
  • 2 organic black, green, or white tea bags, or 2 tablespoons of loose organic tea and a tea diffuser
  • Organic sugar (this is a must; the SCOBY cannot grow without the sugar)

You’ll also need a large glass jar (must be glass!). I used a half-gallon glass jar because I have a small apartment and it is easier for me to handle weight-wise, but most people typically use a 1-gallon glass jar).

Instructions

  1. Boil 2 cups of water, add the two tea bags and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. After cooled to room temperature, pour the sweetened tea into your sterilized jar (I washed mine in hot water with a natural dish soap and then microwaved it for 2 minutes just because I’m paranoid and figure that would kill off any lingering bacteria!) and add the starter kombucha.
  3. Cover with paper towel (preferably doubled-over) or a clean, breathable cloth and secure with a rubber band.
  4. Store in a warm, dry place and leave undisturbed for 5-7 days.
  5. During these 5-7 days, check on the progress of your SCOBY periodically. Things to look for: 1) a white film forming on top of the liquid – that’s your SCOBY! Congrats! 2) Mold – you know what this looks like. If you think you see mold, discard the contents immediately, wash and sterilize the jar, and start over.
  6. When the SCOBY is around ¼ inch thick, “feed” it by adding 2 more cups of sweetened tea (just as you made in step 1).
  7. Cover the mixture and return it to its warm, dry resting place and leave undisturbed
  8. When your SCOBY is ½ inch thick, it’s ready to go! Yay!
  9. Remove the SCOBY with clean hands (cannot stress this enough!) and transfer to new jar for brewing.
  10. Use 8 oz of the mixture (the top of the mixture, not the sediment in the bottom) as your starter kombucha for your first batch of kombucha and discard the rest.

Notes

Cleanliness is SUPER important!

All of your instruments (including your hands) must be sterile so as not to contaminate the kombucha. If you think you see mold, do not take any chances and discard the kombucha immediately.

That’s it! Sounds simple, right? And it is.


SCOBY FAQs:

How long does it take to grow a SCOBY?

It typically takes between 10 and 15 days to grow a SCOBY from store bought kombucha — more quickly in warmer temperatures and more slowly in cooler temps.

If you’re not seeing any growth after 1 week, I suggest discarding what you have and trying again with a different brand / starter kombucha. (But don’t give up hope!)

How do I know when my SCOBY is ready?

When your SCOBY is ½ inch thick, it’s ready to go!

Why is my SCOBY sinking? Is this OK?

Yes, no problem!

In fact, your SCOBY is likely to sink. It’s most likely to happen as it gets larger and so heavier, after you “feed” your growing SCOBY with sweetened tea (which can push it down), or if the temperature in your home drops.

What do I do with my SCOBY if I’m not going to be brewing for a few weeks?

Simply place your SCOBY in a clean jar, submerge it in kombucha, and cover the jar with either a clean cloth or lid. Keep the jar at room temperature and away from direct light as usual.

Should or can I store my SCOBY in the refrigerator?

No, it is best to keep it at room temperature. Contrary to what you may think, refrigerated SCOBYs tend to be more prone to growing mold.

Can my SCOBY die?

SCOBYs rarely “die” though it can happen. It may be “dead” if your kombucha does not ferment (so still tastes sweet and not vinegary) or the SCOBY doesn’t grow / thicken.

Unwanted bacteria and mold growth is a far more common issue, though.

My SCOBY is multiplying fast! What can I do with my SCOBY aside from brewing kombucha?

The internet is filled with interesting recipes and ways for using your SCOBY, from dog treats to candy!


Best of luck and happy ‘buch brewing!

MY NEW BOOK "GLOW: THE NUTRITIONAL APPROACH TO NATURALLY GORGEOUS SKIN" IS FINALLY HERE!

Get Your Copy
Metabolism boosting matcha latte recipe || Not only does this metabolism boosting matcha latte provide you with a burst of energy and mega dose of antioxidants, it revs up your metabolism and keeps blood sugar levels steady!

Last Post

MAJOR Metabolism Boosting Matcha Latte (this recipe means business!)

Next Post

8 Natural Anti-Aging Skincare Products That Mean BUSINESS!

8 Natural Anti-Aging Skincare Products that Mean BUSINESS! | Best natural anti-aging skincare products

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Step 2, you didn’t mention adding the kombucha starter– but you did below….

    Just wondering if when trying it with a bottle of kombucha, making half would work???

  2. Oh goodness – one of the most important parts! THANK YOU so much for mentioning this!! All fixed.

    I used about a 1:1 ration for tea and starter (2 cups to 2 cups).

  3. Hi, Annetta. I washed mine in hot water with a natural dish soap and then microwave it for 2 minutes – I like being extra cautious!

  4. Hello this is my first time making a scoby I was wondering between step six if you take the scoby out to add the. Extra tea or do you just dump it on top of the scoby that has formed?

  5. I just pour it slowly on top! The SCOBY may sink, but it should eventually float back up. And if it doesn’t it’s not a big deal. Good luck – hope you’re starting to see it grow!

  6. When removing the SCOBY from the jar, does it affect it in any way if the SCOBY is slightly torn? The jar I have it in is wider in the area where the SCOBY is and thinner in the jar’ slip area, so I’m worried that when I remove the SCOBY, it might tear. Just checking. 🙂

    And thank you for this awesome post. It is SO helpful.

  7. ive just come to the industry am researching for more information about this wonderful drink.
    thank you.

  8. Dear Nadia,

    Thank you for the wonderful write up on how to grow our own SCOBY! I’m trying to grow one from a mother a bought from someone. It is on day 5 and a white film has formed on the top. As instructed by you will wiat for it to grow to 1/4 inch thick before pouring in more tea.

  9. If it is naturally flavored then I think that would work! If it has cloves or cinnamon though it may inhibit the growth of the good bacteria though.

  10. Hi, love the site very informative and inspiring. I recently started to make a scoby and am on day 4 at the moment. The only thing that has happened though is some clouds have appeared but no skin has formed . Kitchen is a little cool as it’s winter but does warm up for most of the day. Do you think I should just wait.a tad longer or try again?

    Thanks Jono

  11. If I don’t live near a Whole Foods or somewhere that sells the starter, where is the best place to order it from or does it need to be local?

  12. Thanks so much for all of your help on how to grow my own SCOBY! It has been a topic of a little worry and apprehension for me but your post cleared that up and I am excited to tackle it myself!

  13. if a scoby is needed to make kombucha, and kombucha is needed to make a scoby…

    …then which came first, and how was it made?

  14. Thank you for the article. I should be able to grow my own from here…instead of ordering one online…

    I have 2 questions, though:

    1- I don’t have a microwave…would putting the jar in the oven – as in when making preserves – work for sterilization?

    2- the breathable cloth for on top; would cheesecloth work? Or should it be thicker?

  15. Hi there, I’m about ready to feed my scoby. Do I need to add more kombutcha or just the black tea and sugar? I’m thinking just the tea and sugar but not positive. Help!

  16. hi, why must you remove the SCOBY with clean hands? Can I use a spoon (plastic?) instead? I feel that my spoon being sanitized in dishwasher is cleaner than my hands. Thanks!!

  17. You can’t – you need a SCOBY to make kombucha. But you can use kombucha from the store as your “starter kombucha” though.

  18. I was wondering if I could use wild lettuce tea for my Kombucha???? I haven’t even started yet but am looking ahead!!!!

  19. Hi. Excited to grow a SCOBY. Have a locally brewed kombucha to use as my starter culture. Do I want it to be well mixed by gently inverting prior to use or do I mostly want the top most of the liquid trying to keep out the solids settled at the bottom? Also, will it matter much that it’s been flavored by ginger? Thank you so much!

  20. Hi! This was awesome! I have brewed my own in the past but had let it go and needed a new scoby to begin again. Quick question, scoby started beautifully just like you said but when I fed it the scoby floated down into the liquid. Should I try and sit it back on top or just grow another one on top? The floating scoby is about 1/4 thick. Thanks again!

  21. Hi, Lyndall! YAY congrats on your new SCOBY 🙂

    I’m going to guess by this point it floated back up, right? It’s totally normal for your SCOBY to sink down, especially when “feeding” it since just the weight of pouring the liquid on top can push it down. Your new SCOBY will just grow on top, and usually the original will float back up!

    Thank you for bring this up – I just added some SCOBY FAQs to address this and other questions!