Monday, October 25, 2010

How to GroW a Kombucha SCOBY

You may be asking yourself "what is kombucha?" Kombucha is an effervescent and tangy health drink made from fermenting sweetened tea, and something I drink just about everyday. My mom and I joke that we like to drink it for "cocktail hour" since we like to enjoy a glass before dinner. Kombucha contains multiple species of yeast and bacteria, as well as the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by these microbes.

Go here to learn more about Kombucha

To make kombucha you only need two things, sweetened tea and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast), AKA “mother,” or “mushroom.” Kombucha mothers are pretty easy to find these days if your friends are making this drink, but if your friends haven't jumped on the kombucha wagon yet you have two options for obtaining a SCOBY, 1) you buy one off craigslist for anywhere from $15-35 or 2) you grow your own for less than $4.

What you need to grow your own mother:

  • 1 bottle of Organic, Raw Kombucha
  • 1 glass jar or bowl
  • 1 kitchen towel
  • 1 rubber-band
  • 1 cup of room temperature sweetened tea

You can buy the kombucha at just about any health food store. I got mine at Columbia Plaza Market, they also carry it at the GW Deli and Whole Foods. If you can’t find it near you though, you can buy a bottle of it online. IMPORTANT: Make sure it’s organic, raw, and unflavored with juice. You just want the plain, original beverage.

The sweetened tea can be as simple as a cup of black or green tea, sweetened with a tablespoon of sugar. I used Yogi Green Tea Kombucha and a tablespoon of white sugar.

Pour the kombucha and room temp sweetened tea into your bowl or jar
Cover it with a towel so it can breathe but be protected from insects and other contaminants and let it sit. Over time, a new SCOBY will start to form on top of the liquid. First it will appear as a thin film, then slowly it will thicken up. Once it is about 1/4 inch thick it is ready. It takes about 3 weeks to grow a SCOBY that is around 1/4-1/3 inch thick, it really depends on the temperature of the room you are trying to grow the SCOBY in. For example, in the summer it might only take 2 weeks. Above is a picture of mine sitting on top of my microwave in my kitchen.


  1. If anyone would like the daughter of my SCOBY, let me know, I will give it to you for free and you will have kombucha in 1 week!

    -Melissa Eddison

  2. Hi-I read that they reformulated the GT Kombucha in 2010 so that there would be a lower alcohol content. Therefore, the bottled stuff will no longer create a scoby. What is your experience? Thanks.