by Olena

Kombucha Scoby (Video)

by Olena

5 from 4 reviews

How to make Kombucha SCOBY from scratch using simple ingredients. Then brew kombucha at home 30 times cheaper.

Kombucha SCOBY

What Is a SCOBY?

SCOBY stands for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”. It is this slimy looking “jellyfish” that I agree looks gross but it makes the most wonderful fermented tea – kombucha. So you need it and I’m here to show you how to make kombucha SCOBY from scratch.

What Is Kombucha SCOBY Used For?

Kombucha mother is used for making kombucha. Once you grow a SCOBY, just follow my kombucha recipe and make your own kombucha at home 30 times cheaper than store-bought. You can also flavor kombucha which makes it just like a store bought plus more chances your kids will like it.

Kombucha Starter Ingredients

  1. Store bought Kombucha: You need to buy a bottle of plain (not flavored) GT’s original kombucha. Why GT’s? Because after “something happened in kombucha resale industry back in 2010” most store-bought kombuchas are too “clear” and “sterile”. You need to pick a bottle with brown and/or clear strands, and possibly even a mini baby “jelly fish” at the bottom of the bottle. Those brownish strands will become your SCOBY. GT's plain kombucha to is a starter for kombucha mother
  2. Black Tea: To grow a SCOBY, you need to use black tea only! To brew further batches of kombucha, any caffeinated tea works. Cost and taste wise I recommend to buy loose leaf tea. It is much cheaper than tea bags plus I am not a fan of “the paper” taste. Of course, organic is better.organic black tea, green tea and mint tea
  3. Sugar: You need white sugar. Coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave etc. DO NOT work. I bought a 10 lb bag of organic cane sugar at Costco for $8. Nothing beats this price and if you are going to make kombucha on a regular basis, you gotta buy a huge bag. Now, do not freak out about sugar – we are just feeding the SCOBY to grow and at the end there will be barely any sugar left in your homemade kombucha.organic cane sugar for growing scoby
  4. Water: I use tap water. I know many other sources recommend filtered water but boiled tap water has worked no problem for me so far.

FAQs About Kombucha Mother

Q: Where to buy GT’s kombucha?

A: Look in a refrigerator in the produce section or natural foods aisle at your local large chain store or health food store. US: Safeway, Fred Meyer, Kroger. Canada: Save on Foods, health food stores, the Real Canadian Superstore.

Q: I live in Germany and have not seen GT’s kombucha in stores. Can I use different brand?

A: Yes, as long as you see brown and/or clear strands and possibly even a mini baby “jelly fish” at the bottom of the bottle. Many kombuchas will be clear without anything at the bottom, like a bottle of water. Don’t pick that one, won’t work.

Q: Can I use plastic or metal container for making kombucha SCOBY?

A: No, gotta be glass.

Q: What is the best tea for making kombucha SCOBY?

A: Only black.

Q: Can I let sweetened tea cool overnight?

A: Yes. I just left mine covered with lid on the stove.

Q: Can I cut SCOBY?

A: Yes, SCOBY is easy to cut with a pair of clean kitchen scissors.

Q: Can I eat SCOBY?

A: Yes, technically. I have seen “candy” recipes and have heard some folks feeding SCOBY to their dog. Also a reader suggested to cut it into appropriate size and offer it to your chickens.:)

Q: What should be the shape and size of my SCOBY?

A: SCOBY will take the shape of the mouth of the jar and then grow in thickness.

Q: I have been trying to grow a SCOBY for a week now and there are no visible changes. What should I do?

A: Hard to say but more likely it is the temperature issue. Ideal SCOBY growing temperature should be at least 21C or 70F. DO NOT place kombucha in a corner pantry that is by the external wall of the house. I have this pantry (newer homes) and it is cooler and not warm enough for bacteria to grow.

Q: Is the SCOBY reusable or do I need a new one every batch?

A: SCOBY is reusable. You transfer SCOBY from batch to batch. New SCOBY grows on top of old one every batch. Peel top one (new) off and use it for next batch. Compost bottom one (old) or give away with some kombucha in a sandwich bag to spread kombucha love.

How to Make Kombucha SCOBY

  1. In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil. Turn off heat and add 1 tsp tea and 3 tbsp sugar, stir and let cool completely (place in a sink filled with cold water to speed things up). brewed sweet black tea
  2. In a quart glass jar, pour previously made tea discarding the leaves (use a mesh strainer) and 1 cup of store bought kombucha along with any brownish strands from the bottle.combined GT's kombucha and sweet tea in a glass jar covered with paper towel and rubber band
  3. Cover with paper towel secured with a rubber band and set away from direct sunlight spot (counter or pantry) with temperature above 21C or 70F. It takes 2-4 weeks to grow a SCOBY. You can look but try not to disturb the jar as SCOBY disk is forming on top.

Watch Olena Grow a SCOBY

SCOBY Disk Growth Progress

Day 1: Looks like this with bubbles from store bought kombucha.

scoby disk day 1

Day 3: No visible change. scoby disk day 3

Day 8: Brown strands start “eating” the sugars in tea, white strands pulling to the top and forming thin whit-ish film, more likely with bubbles. scoby disk day 8

Day 12: White film thickens into “a jellyfish” at the top of the jar. scoby disk day 12

Day 15: That’s your SCOBY aka kombucha starter. Easy peasy. That’s it. scoby is ready

SCOBY is ready when it is at least 1/4″ thick and white in colour – a jellyfish like mushroom you can take out of the jar and hold in your hands.  scoby on a plate

Now Make Your Own Kombucha

Now you can follow my kombucha recipe and brew some kombucha as soon as today.

More Healthy Drinks to Boost Your Immune System

  • Lemon water – another way to boost your immune system, detoxify and improve gut health.
  • Green smoothie with 4 simple ingredients your kids will actually drink.
  • Flavored kombucha – try with raspberries and your kids will call it “pop”.
  • Turmeric tea – so healing and good for colds!
Print

Kombucha Scoby

5 from 4 reviews

How to make Kombucha SCOBY from scratch using simple ingredients. Then brew kombucha at home 30 times cheaper.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 kombucha scoby 1x
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Fermentation
  • Cuisine: North American
Scale

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil. Turn off heat and add 1 tsp tea and 3 tbsp sugar, stir and let cool completely (place in a sink filled with cold water to speed things up).
  2. In a quart glass jar, pour previously made tea discarding the leaves (use a mesh strainer) and 1 cup of store-bought kombucha along with any brownish strands from the bottle.
  3. Cover with paper towel secured with a rubber band and set away from direct sunlight spot(counter or pantry) with temperature above 21C or 70F. It takes 2-4 weeks to grow a SCOBY. You can look but try not to disturb the jar as SCOBY is forming on top. See my post for video and pictures what SCOBY should look like and troubleshooting.
  4. SCOBY is ready when it is at least 1/4″ thick and white in colour – a jellyfish like mushroom you can take out of the jar and hold in your hands.
  5. Now you can brew some kombucha.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

55 comments on “Kombucha Scoby (Video)

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  1. Thank you for amazing detailed recipes for kombucha, growing SCOBY and also flavoring the kombucha.
    I have recently fallen in love with it and motivated by your awesome recipe, decided to make it myself. I started making Scoby this Monday and it’s growing well.
    Being originally from India, I love my masala chai which I make strong.. The only issue I have is that I may have made the tea to start SCOBY too dark and strong. Is that a problem?

    Thank you again for wonderful recipes. Recently discovered your blog and love it already.

    Stay safe.
    Love,
    Apurvi

  2. I’ve tried to make a scoby twice, but both times, the white, strand-like growth is happening in the bottom of the glass jar. The top of the jar is clear. Is the stuff on the bottom the scoby?

    1. Yes, I think that is your scoby at the bottom. As it grows, it will make its way up to the top of your jar. Hope that helps.

      1. Thank you. My first batch is 6 weeks old, my second 4 weeks. No bubbles/signs of fermentation on the surface of either, but whitish strands forming on the bottom of both jars. I re-read your instructions and moved the jars to a warmer spot in the house (not near direct sunlight).

  3. What do I do with the liquid once I’ve successfully made SCOBY? Can I use it as kombucha? Can I do the second fermentation with it or does it have to be pitched?

  4. Hi there just read you recipe and am excited to make my own …. Unfortunately I cannot find any store that sell kombucha ..as I am in Nepal …is there an alternative which does not require a store bought kombucha

  5. Hi!!
    i’m just about to get all the supplies to start making my own SCOBY and Kombucha. I’ve seen in the Internet that the majority of the jars with built in plastic spigots have leaks and people replace it with a Stainless Steel spigot, so my question is: is it safe to replace the spigot? if not, what can I do if I have leaks??

    Many thanks!!! and greeting from Spain!!

    1. I never had issues with leaks and I have two jugs. The key is to tighten it properly and that’s when instructions help. When you screw it on a jug do it upside down and then tighten by turning spigot into upright position on the outside.

  6. Hi I’m very new to kombucha tea, just received my scoby yesterday. It had been in the car for at least 3hours, I hurriedly put the scoby, tea Bags, sugar and water into my earthenware jar, later that evening I reread the recipe!!!
    1. Is it okay to use earthenware jars. (I read should be glass)
    2. Will my scoby be okay having been mis used.
    I’m really looking forward to tasting my first brew.
    Many thanks.
    Tess

  7. Hi there, between making batches of Kombucha, how do you store your scoby? I had mine in a dish with plain kombucha but it seems to have died.

    1. In a glass container with enough kombucha to cover it, with a lid in the fridge. On the counter I feel like you would have to feed scoby with kombucha regularly because it’s warm and it keeps “eating”. In the fridge, brewing slows down.

      1. I am told by a wise forager friend that Kombucha also loves Nettles as they are also very high in tannin. You will need to steep the nettles in freshly boiled water (just like tea) and leave for a while. Worth a try anyway.
        Good luck.

  8. I used a Scoby that I kept in the refrigerator for 2 months to make a batch of kombucha but checked it this morning. I now see little white flecks floating on the top w/ the scoby. I wonder if I should discard it because it is too old. Thank you Gail

    1. Does it look like mold? I would rinse scoby and if you have fresh kombucha use it as a starter. usually scoby doesn’t go bad unless it stops brewing.

  9. Nice clear instructions. I have been making kombucha for close to 10 yrs. I was wondering if the scoby is the gelatinous disc with or without the liver like blob below it.What is each? I always pop both in a new brew. Do I just need one to start a new batch? Thanks, Keith

    1. On top of scoby grows new scoby. You peel off the bottom and keep the fresh one. That thin layer is just more scoby growth. Just need one. Bigger or more scoby, faster brewing.

  10. Saw the question from AC in South Africa – I made my scoby with black tea, then when brewing the kombucha, added an extra tablespoon rooibos to the black tea. Worked like a charm. Thank you Olena for sharing your success!

  11. I am still confused about the size of your Scoby. It looks bigger than the mouth of the jar you have in the video. Is it so? If yes, what kind of glass container did you use to get big Scoby? Is it possible to make “bad” Scoby by mistake? Thank you.

    1. So. I originally grew scoby in a mason jar. Then I transferred it to a gallon size glass container with a tap to make kombucha. It’s big, right?! New scoby grows on top of existing scoby with every new batch of kombucha you brew. And new scoby will take shape of a container new batch of kombucha is brewed in. Then I discard the very bottom scoby after a few batches and keep new scobies. Scoby is always multiplying. Like making babies. Got it?:)

  12. Hi

    I live in South Africa. Home of Rooibos tea. It is a very healthy tea with no caffeine. Can I use this tea to make my own Scoby?

    “Rooibos tea does not contain caffeine and has low tannin levels compared to black tea or green tea. Rooibos contains polyphenols, including flavanols, flavones, flavanones, dihydrochalcones, aspalathin and nothofagin. The processed leaves and stems contain benzoic and cinnamic acids.”

  13. Followed instructions exactly as stated. We live in a town house, so I left it on the counter side on the top floor (the warmest place in the house. Went away for a few days, and when I came back, boom, there was the scoby. Thank you so much for helping feed my kombucha habit and my wallet 🙂

    1. I forgot to save 1 cup of previous liquid to add to the new batch! I have the scobie and about 1/2 cup of the previous liquid. Can I still make it by adding the six cups of cooled water with the sugar and tea in it!

    1. Reusable. You transfer SCOBY from batch to batch, kombucha grows new one every new batch. You will have so many of them, you won’t know what to do with them. Just compost or give away.:)

  14. You have no idea how much I appreciate this kombucha scoby video! Just made it, now let the waiting games begin.

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