I’ve had a goal of making kombucha for almost a year now, but the key component of making kombucha is the SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) which you either have to grow from scratch or use a small starter from a friend. It’s a lot harder to start from scratch, and often requires a culture kit like this fully supplied kombucha starter kit . I finally managed to snag a SCOBY from a friend a few weeks ago, and finally started my kombucha journey!

The Science:

The SCOBY is a culture of bacteria and yeast that turns sugars into alcohol and acids, which is why most kombuchas taste slightly like vinegar and some are alcoholic. The SCOBY is a living thing, which is why you need to add sugar (a form of carbohydrate) to feed as it ferments.

The Recipe: First Fermentation 

4c water

8-10 bags of tea

1c sugar

9c water


Mackenzie Laverick

Boil 4 cups water in a large pot. Add tea bags and sugar, remove from heat and let simmer until sugar is dissolved. Once cool, remove the tea bags and pour the mixture into a large jar with the rest of the water and scoby. Cover the jar with a thin fabric cloth tied with an elastic that allows the mixture to breathe.

Make sure you use caffeinated tea! Green or black tea works, but avoid herbal teas as they don’t have the caffeine the SCOBY needs to grow.

If you have questions about the process, check out this super helpful article All Your Kombucha Questions Answered which gives advice about how to make the kombucha, what jars you should use, and what molds look like if you’re worried about how the SCOBY's growing. 

After you make the tea, you let everything sit at room temperature in a dark place for anywhere between a week to 3 weeks. Once the first fermentation is finished, it’s time to flavor!

Mackenzie Laverick

For the second round of fermentation,  when you add flavor and carbonation to your kombucha, it's recommended to use cork bottles or wide mouth mason jars. I just reused the glass jars from the Synergy and AquaVita kombuchas I’ve bought previously.

Mackenzie Laverick

Recipe: Second Fermentation

Remove the SCOBY and place in a container with enough of the tea mixture that the SCOBY is fully covered. Pour the kombucha into the jars along with whatever flavors you’ve chosen. Set aside at room temperature for around 3 days. “Burp” the jars to release excess fermentation once or twice a day (this way it won’t explode). Once the second round of fermentation is complete, the kombucha’s ready to drink! You can keep it in the fridge until you want to drink it. 

Mackenzie Laverick

For my first batch, I used a raspberry green tea as the base and added apple ginger to one set and lemon basil to another. I definitely liked the apple ginger one better, the apples added a natural sweetness to the kombucha while the lemon basil was still rather acidic.

For the second batch I made, I used mango black tea and flavored it with apple and ginger again, then one with blackberries, and a third with all three flavors. 

Mackenzie Laverick


I definitely want to keep up with my fermenting journey. Making kombucha is a lot easier than I expected (once I got a SCOBY) and I’m enjoying the freedom of creating new flavors and mixing up different ingredients for some fun combinations. Some flavors I want to try include lavender peach, blueberry ginger, mixed berry, and maple apple nutmeg. The possibilities are endless!