5 Useful Things to Know About Making Kombucha

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

I’ve spent the past couple weeks doing a fair amount of research on making kombucha. It’s a drink that I have very little experience with, and yet, I feel totally excited about the prospect of making my own. Arming myself with these helpful tips made this once-intimidating process feel totally doable.

1. Kombucha starts with everyday tea bags.

Before it’s brewed and fermented, kombucha starts with plain tea (like the kind you might sip in the morning or make for an afternoon pick-me-up). Black tea and green tea are the most common choices, although white tea will also work. Stay away from herbal teas or flavored teas — the oils and extra flavoring can inhibit the fermentation process.

2. Minimize (or avoid) contact between kombucha and metal.

Metal is not a friend to kombucha, as it can affect the flavor of the kombucha and weaken the scoby. If you have to use metal utensils that’s okay, but avoid fermenting or bottling in any type of container that bring the two in contact.

3. Avoid cheesecloth when covering the fermenting kombucha.

When covering the jar, it’s best to skip the cheesecloth, which is porous enough to allow small insects, like gnats or fruit flies, to sneak through the layers. Instead, opt for a few layers of tightly woven cloth (like clean napkins or tea towels), coffee filters, or paper towels. And be sure to secure the covering with rubber bands or string.

4. Those brown stringy things hanging from the scoby are totally normal.

As the kombucha ferments, you many notice brown stringy things that form and dangle from the bottom of the scoby. Fear not — these bits are simply extra bits of yeastiness.

5. You can take a break and save your scoby for later.

If you’ll be away for three weeks or less, just make a fresh batch of kombucha and leave it on your counter. It may be too vinegary to actually drink, but the scoby will be totally fine. For longer breaks, store the scoby in a fresh batch of the tea base with starter tea in the fridge, changing out the tea for a fresh batch every four to six weeks.