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The following 101, on homemade kombucha, comes from Shaye of The Elliott Homestead. Thanks so much, Shaye, and please keep the good ideas (and the SCOBY) bubbling!


Kombucha has been drunk (drank? drunked?) for centuries. But it wasn't until the 1990s that it was brought to the west. Renowned for its detoxifying, probiotic, immune-building, anxiety-bashing, energy-lifting, liver-loving effects, it has vastly grown in popularity.


Here are a few links to some great posts on the health benefits:

» Food Renegade

» Kombucha in Acupuncture

» Katalyst Kombucha


I drink it because it makes my belly feel good. It makes my gut feel good. It makes things . . . happy inside. It helps ward off sickness and really pumps up your immune system. Plus, you get the benefit that probiotics bring to your—ya know—intestines.


That's right, folks. I ain't joking around about being a weird real-food freak. Fermented beverages included. I began brewing my own kombucha when there was a recall on my favorite brand. You couldn't buy raw kombucha anywhere! It was like trying to snag moonshine: an underground following of crazy addicts who had to get their hands on the good stuff. Lucky for me, I had a dear friend who gave me a SCOBY, or symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, that she had gotten off one of her home-brewed batches. Once I had my hands on the mother SCOBY, I was in business. I am such a rebel.


Don't have a SCOBY yet? This Instructable walks you through how to make your own mother from a bottle of store-bought (unpasteurized) kombucha. Or follow this blog post from Bonzai Aphrodite that's frankly a little simpler. Give it a shot. You can do it! Once you've got your mother SCOBY, you're ready to proceed.


» 8 organic white tea bags (you can use any kind you like)

» 1 cup organic sugar

» 8 liters water

» mother SCOBY

» fermentation vessel

» bottles



1. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a large pan.

2. Remove pan from heat and add your tea (I just hook my teabag strings around the handle of the pan).

3. Steep the tea in the sweet water until the liquid has completely cooled to room temperature. This is important because we don't want the heat of the liquid to kill our good bacteria!

4. Once cooled, remove and discard the tea bags. Scoop 2 cups of the liquid and put it in a mason jar or the like. Pour the rest of the liquid in a fermentation vessel. I use a food-grade plastic bucket. Big glass jars always work well, but try and use something that has a large surface area. Think wide. You want the SCOBY to be able to grow over the surface of the liquid. Do not use a metal container.

5. Add your SCOBY to the liquid. Plop!

6. Cover the liquid and allow it to hang out for a week or so. Try to keep the container warm but not hot.  I place ours near the heater, but not too close. Between 75 and 85 degrees is ideal. The warmer the environment is, the faster the SCOBY will grow.

7. After a week or so, test your batch! This is where personal preference comes in. Some people, me included, like their kombucha very acidic. Some people like it a little more sweet. The longer you let the kombucha sit, the more acidic it will become. I have acid-testing strips and bottle the kombucha when it reaches somewhere between 2.8 and 3.2. A lot of people also do this by taste. The bottom line: Just let it sit until it tastes good to you!

This is kombucha postfermentation. You can see the SCOBY has grown over the surface of the tea. It is ready to bottle!

8. When you are ready to bottle, just remove the SCOBY. You will now have two: the mother SCOBY you started with and the new one that has grown on the surface of your kombucha.) Put your new SCOBY into the 2 cups of tea that you reserved in a jar, back in step 4. This will act as your starter scoby for the next batch!

After removing the SCOBY

My mother SCOBY and my new baby SCOBY

9. This step is optional, but I like to add some flavored goodness to my kombucha. Use 100 percent organic juice and add a wee bit to your brew (or add to your liking). I have used pomegranate, cranberry, and grape—just a smidge of the last two are my favorites—but the combinations are endless. I have heard of people mixing in honey, ginger, fresh berries, and even chocolate!

10. Bottle! You can use recycled beer or other glass beverage bottles. Or use whatever you've got, as long as you can get a nice, tight seal on the lid, and the bottle is sterilized and clean. The beverage will continue to carbonate as it sits. Keep your kombucha in the fridge once it's bottled.

Recycled beer bottles. We're resourceful!

In goes the kombucha.

May not be the fanciest lookin' stash, but it works!

Home brewing: Now THAT belongs on a homestead.

Join the underground moonshine—I mean kombucha—revival. Your body will thank you!


» HOMEGROWN member Christine shares her fruity kombucha recipe.

» Watch Bruce's video on making a ginger bug using Nourished Kitchen's recipe.

» Join HOMEGROWN's kombucha group!


Got a question for Shaye? Or a tip to add? Post it below and keep the conversation rolling. You might also be interested in 101s on making dandelion coffee, elderberry syrup flu fighter, kefir, Greek-style yogurt, and kimchi, or on catching wild levain for a sourdough starter. You can always find more things to cook, preserve, plant, grow, make, and craft in the HOMEGROWN 101 Library.  

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what do I do if I don't have a scoby?

Good question; where can we find a Scoby?  

Sorry I missed your question earlier Valerie! Here is an Instructableon making a SCOBY from store-bought Kombucha. Use unpasteurized! I've added this to the 101 as well.

Excellent! I have a bottle of store bought in my fridge I am going to try and grow my SCOBY today!

Thanks :D

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