When I first started brewing kombucha, I didn’t know anyone who was brewing their own kombucha, so I couldn’t simply ask a friend for one of their scoby’s (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to get started. So I did some research and came across a video that showed me how to make a scoby from a store bought bottle of kombucha (which I had easy access to because I was already buying ton$ of kombucha from the store!).
I did it once and I’ve been making kombucha ever since, with my super healthy scoby’s. I thought I’d share this knowledge with you because I’ve gotten lots of questions on how to get started brewing kombucha, and to brew it, the first step is acquiring a scoby! I’m going to break it down step by step for you, so sit back and enjoy the brew!
I suppose the first step is actually acquiring the vessel in which you are going to grow your scoby in. I use a large one gallon glass jar (glass is highly preferred) that I found here on Amazon, but for this process, you could use a smaller jar. You might as well go ahead and get a large one (or two) because if you’re like me, you’ll want to make a week’s worth of kombucha at a time, not just a quart. For this recipe, I’m going to be using measurements that fit a gallon sized jar. Feel free to adjust your ratios accordingly.
Then, you’re going to buy a bottle of kombucha. Important: the kombucha you buy must be organic, raw, not pasteurized, and with no additional flavorings (aka original flavor). I recommend using GT’s original kombucha, as it’s really the most common brand I see on the market that fits the bill.
The next ingredients you’ll need are black tea (recommended over green, because of the high concentration of caffeine, which is food for the scoby) and granulated sugar. Don’t be afraid when you see how much sugar you’ll need to brew a batch of kombucha! Most of that sugar will be eaten by the scoby and won’t be present as sugar in the final brew. The scoby eats the sugar and caffeine, creating small amounts of alcohol (always less than 0.5%), carbon dioxide, and organic acids.
Once you have three of your ingredients, WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY. We’re not trying to introduce any extra bacteria to this process.
Start by boiling 2 cups of water.
Grab 2 black tea bags and throw them into your jar.
Pour your boiling water over the tea bags and let them steep for 15 minutes.
Take them out, add 1/2 cup of sugar, and stir until it’s all dissolved.
Then, wait until your tea mixture has cooled down significantly. You can add an ice cube in there if you want to wait less. You don’t want this mixture to be too hot when you add in the kombucha because if you kill the bacteria with heat, you won’t be brewing much of anything! Ideally, scoby’s like to be around 80-90 degrees, but it’s okay if your space is generally a little cooler (it just won’t ferment as fast).
Once your tea is cooled, add in the bottle of store bought kombucha and give it a stir.
Cover with a tea cloth or washcloth and use a recycled rubber band (I know you have at least one in your junk drawer!) to secure the cloth on the top of the jar, making sure gases can escape but no foreign particles can get inside and disturb the process.
This whole process is basically feeding the bacteria and yeast that’s in the bottle of kombucha so that it can create a new scoby.
Leave your jar in a spot where it won’t get direct sunlight, for about 10 days, give or take.
It’s semi important to note that your scoby won’t look thick and pretty right off the bat. It will be very thin and small, compared to scoby’s that are a few batches old. That’s normal!
There you have it! You have successfully made a scoby from a store bought bottle of kombucha! Look at you go!!
Keep an eye on Feminine Boutique Blog for more information coming your way on fermentation and the kombucha making process. My next post will be all about brewing and bottling a batch of kombucha. You won’t want to miss that, it’s truly a beautiful process! So make sure you’re following us to receive each of our posts emailed directly to you as soon as they’re published and stay tuned for information about our Patreon, which is being launched soon! How exciting?!
Comment any questions you may have or share your experience with brewing kombucha, I’d love to connect with you!
3 thoughts on “How to make a kombucha SCOBY from store bought kombucha”
Hi! This is fascinating and I look forward to trying it! Is a small mouth gallon jug usable??
I don’t recommend it because it could be harder to clean and harder to remove your scoby, should you need to. How small is the mouth?