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. It looks as tho I have a scoby growing. I’ll need to add 2 more cups of sweet tea in a few more days but I don’t think I have enough room in my jar. What can I do?

  2. Your recipe: 6 tbs organic sugar (this is a must — the SCOBY cannot grow without the sugar)
    Boil 2 cups of water, add the two tea bags and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.

    When does the other 3 tbs of sugar get added? Thanks

  3. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong… Unfortunately got mold the first time trying lol. But this time I’ve had my jar standing for over a week and nothing has happened 🙁 There’s a lot of stuff at the bottom of the jar but it doesn’t look like a scoby or anything, more like dust hahaha

  4. Hey, Patti! So you need 6 tbs TOTAL but it’s split up into 2 x 3 tbs for steps 1 and 6. Does this make sense?