Your premier source for kombucha brewing 



The 3 rules for making perfect kombucha every brew are:

  • Fresh healthy SCOBY and starter liquid every brew. Start with the best SCOBY and starter you can get your hands on (the SCOBY that come from our lab are the best of the best). Then when you are going to start your next batch use ONLY the new SCOBY that has formed on the surface and 1 cup of starter from the top of the vessel before you bottle. That’s the first cup of kombucha not the last. By doing these two things you are keeping your microbial colony diverse and in balance. If you are keeping old SCOBY in your brew Acetobacter (most dominant bacteria in the SCOBY and the one responsible for making acetic acid which is the acid that taste like strong vinegar) takes over and starts to make you tea vinegar. If you use yeasty starter you will over populate the yeast colony and get an unpleasantly boozy brew. This rule is very important for people looking to start a “continuous brew.” You are sure to end up with vinegar if you do. See more about the reasons why you should never continuously brew here. If you are looking to take a break from brewing store your SCOBY in a tightly sealed container IN THE FRIDGE along with enough fresh starter liquid to start another brew. A SCOBY can remain unchanged in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  • Use whole pure ingredients (nutrients) for fermentation. That’s straight tea (white, green, black, oolong, pu-erh, matcha) and processed cane sugar ONLY. Herbs and non-camellia sinensis tea will only create flavor for you not nutrients for the SCOBY. If you use them they will not feed the microbes in the SCOBY, which will intern kill off many of the lesser dominant species. Pure tea is what the SCOBY is looking for so is what it should get. If you want to ferment herbs use a SCOBY from your hotel, not your main mother SCOBY. Processed cane sugar is the only sugar to be used for fermentation. Raw sugar is covered in minerals which although good for us gets in the way of the SCOBY when it's trying to break down the compounds of sugar (fructose, glucose, and sucrose). If the SCOBY can't get to the sugar it will have the same effect as above and weaken the colony. Organic is always better for the SCOBY and for but not necessary.
  • Keep your temperature at a good level and keep it as steady as possible. The temperature range for brewing is 68-86F (20-30C) but the ideal is 78-82F (25-27C). The closer you can come to that sweet spot the better your brew will be. If your temperature is below 68F your brew will not be actively fermenting and can let it unwanted microbes like wild yeast or mold. If temperature is a problem to keep, steady grab a heat mat to heat year round.
  Do these three things and you’ll be brewing like a Kombrewmaster in no time.

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  • Eric
Comments 38
  • Evelyn Hess
    Evelyn Hess

    I want to make larger batches of kombucha. Can I use the scoby from the previous batch, along with the new scoby it formed, to handle the increased liquid?

  • Alex

    The Kombucha sites on FB are very strong on never refrigerating the scoby as that will change it. I’m confused! Do you have any research on refrigerating as opposed to leaving at room temp your extra scobies? Thanks!

  • Chris Mcnally
    Chris Mcnally

    Thanks for this excellent info. Does the new Scoby actually form on the top of the old Scoby and not underneath ? I thought the new Scoby would be on the top of the liquid but beneath the old one.

  • Mike

    I have been brewing consistently great kombucha using these methods for almost a year. I transitioned a scoby to jun with no problems. Tap water works fine here in Australia.
    The need for fancy organic sugar is the common thing I see online, but I have only ever used plain white sugar. Would the same thing apply for water kefir, if you have any experience with it?

  • Uncle Ricco
    Uncle Ricco

    Thank you, you answered some of my pressing questions. I was plagued by my inability to get that sweet/sour spot right every time

  • Linda Lewis
    Linda Lewis

    I have been using Costco organic cane sugar. It looks the same as regular sugar just a bit darker…not brown!

  • Lauren

    intern should be in turn. You guys are great!

  • Rosita Chua
    Rosita Chua

    I’m a little confused Eric. Read thru your article and on one page you stated white granulated sugar is the only way to go but on this page, you are saying to use Processed Cane sugar for fermenting. So which is which as I want to make my starter so I can get a Scoby for my first fermentation. Please advise and thank you.

  • Diana

    Do you have to add tea and sugar mix occasionally to scobi hotel in fridge or just leave it be four up to three months?

  • Jacqie

    I had to use my own bottle because the one that came with the kit was to small for all the water you said to add, and also the scobe you sent came with alot of liquid. Anyway, I filled to where the fill line would be on a larger bottle. Will it be ruined because I added to much water? This is day one, and the first time I’ve ever made it.

  • Karen Dwyer
    Karen Dwyer

    This is an excellent article for someone, linew looking to making Kombucha. It encourages me to jump right in and start making my Kombucha.

  • Jodi

    Thank you for such good details. When is the ’buch ready to drink. Also, does it need to be put in the 32 ounce bottles and refrigerated 24 hours before you drink it?

    Thank you

  • Fran Boxer
    Fran Boxer

    Hi. Thanks for such QUIcK shipping! A question, since this is a gift and I have no knowledge of the product. I bought the Basic Home Brew Kit. Is there a shelf life as Chanukah is not for 2 weeks when I give this gift. Thanks,

  • Lori Norris
    Lori Norris

    So do you discard the SCOBY after 3 brews?

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Hi John,
    No problem at all. You can get 3 really good brews out of any one SCOBY. You are all good to keep going without a new SCOBY.

  • John

    Two brews ago, I forgot to take the old SCOBY out. I OK to keep using this lineage of SCOBY now? Or should I start fresh with a new one?


  • Barbara A Jarzombek
    Barbara A Jarzombek

    Hi. I purchased a SCOBY from a Farm Store in Portland Or. they had the best Komubha ever and I keep trying to get something that even comes close but not yet. However after reading your tips I am encouraged and will change a few things .Thank you for sharing your Kombucha methods.

  • Pati Nigro
    Pati Nigro

    I am getting ready to complete my first brew. I had purchased a 2 Gal crockery pot and Scobi from you. I followed directions to make one gallon and left a little less liquid to compensate for the Scobi and its liquid but I am confused that the jug seemed 2/3 full. Also, I find the Immunoschein too expensive (tho I love it) for flavoring, which I know not to do until after the scobi is removed! I wanted to find out if I can add a teaspoon of a concentrated Elderberry Syrup by Honey Gardens and Mother Earth’s Ginger Rescue Syrup that I bought in Mother Earth? i am sending pictures to the cell number of the syrups w dietary info on back of the bottles

  • Neal Paisley
    Neal Paisley

    Is Yerbe Mate a good tea to use?

  • Irina

    Hello KB team,

    Can you please help understand how many tablespoons of loose tea should be used to brew 1 gallon jar size? I saw in your video 60 grams for 2 gallons and 12 grams in instructions for 1 gallon.

    I just received from you a nice JUN Scoby and can’t wait to start!

    Many thanks,


  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Thanks Barbara! Let us know if you come up with something amazing we should try and share.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    You would be discarding the old SCOBY each time you brew replacing it with the new SCOBY that has formed. If you were to be using a stored SCOBY you could use it a total of 3 times before you should get rid of it. After 3 brews SCOBY start to work slower and produce less of what you want. Keep the SCOBY young and fresh. It will give you the best tasting/healthiest brews.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Hello Irina,
    You should use 12g of tea per gallon. There is a typo in that video that we need to fix! Thank you for the comment.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Yerba Mate is not a camellia sinensis tea so not a pure nutrient. When we brew with mate we always add some green or white tea to it and only use SCOBY that are in our SCOBY hotel.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    You should have no problem with the timing. Its ideal if you brew within 2 weeks but the SCOBY has plenty of starter liquid to be happy on while it waits.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    If you want carbonation you would let your bottles sit for a number of hours. If you did not it is ready to drink right out of the crock. In fact that is my favorite way to drink it.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Thanks Karen! Let us know if you have any questions along the way.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    If you stayed close to the 1/2 gallon mark you should be good. There was extra starter liquid with your SCOBY to keep it happy while in shipping. Let us know how the brew came out and if you have any questions.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Elderberry syrup is great for flavoring. Ginger syrup too. Once you are done with fermentation you can use almost anything to flavor. Let us now how they turn out!

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Evelyn, you can indeed. Just remember to also use additional starter liquid too. at least 1 cup per gallon.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Diana, the best practice is to be cycling your SCOBY from the SCOBY hotel. By doing this you would be adding fresh starter to which would have all of the nutrients. If you do not do cycle your SCOBY you can add sweet tea to the jar but it is not ideal. As this is very close to the continuous brew method which would result in an acetic acid heavy kombucha.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Rosita, both white granulated and processed cane sugar are the same. White granulated is just the most processing sugar can get removing all of the molasses. A common name is also evaporated cane juice.
    Thanks for the question!

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Thanks Lauren!

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Linda, sounds perfect!

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    No problem Ricco!

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Mike, thanks for sharing your experience. I unfortunalty dont have the experience with water kefir to comment but would not be surprised if it did so.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Chris, the new SCOBY will form on the surface of the brew above the original SCOBY. They may connect if there is enough co2 present but they may also stay apart.

  • Eric Childs
    Eric Childs

    Alex, there is lots of research about temperatures and microbial activity available online. Refrigeration is a broad term as it does not list specific temperatures but when we use it we mean above 32F. Below that temperature microbes to die. That said there are microbes that can even survive freezing like Acetobacter and much of the yeast. Along with the non kombucha specific research on temperatures/microbes online we have done numerous test and have never seen lower microbial content when keeping SCOBY at a temperature between 32F – 40F. All we see is a fresher more microbial rich SCOBY when brought back to active temperatures.

    A good source of proof in concept of this is all the other microbial foods that are refrigerated without issue. Yogurt, kefir, kimchi, etc.

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