A brief brewing guide.

In 2022 I cut alcohol out of my daily life. As a result, I found myself looking for a healthier beverage choice that I could consume in its place. I wanted something that wasn’t full of caffeine, sugar, or all sorts of other ingredients I could neither pronounce nor comprehend. Having heard that it was easy to make at home, I decided to try brewing kombucha.

After months of learning and experimenting, I am now consistently brewing 3L of kombucha each week and loving every minute of it. The simplicity of the process, the fact that I always have the ingredients on hand— tea, sugar, water, unlimited items for flavouring; and the low cost of the process has made it a winner in my life.

Brewing kombucha allows for all sorts of experimentation and personal creative expression.

It is very simple, highly affordable, and fun. Sometimes even explosive 💥!

Getting to where I am now wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. When learning about the process I found lots of garbage content online that was rooted in a cult-like culture surrounding kombucha. Trying to find the basic instructions and process amongst all the content marketing & life stories was a pain. Often, I couldn't determine what was necessary and what was optional.

Knowing what I know now, and what I wish I knew (or could find) when I began, I thought I would share my process, recipes, and the basic equipment I use week-to-week for anyone else starting out.

Brewing Guide

Included below are the instructions, tools, resources, recipes, and ingredients I use every week.

Most of the ingredients and many of the tools you likely already have around the house. If you're like me, you may find yourself spending a bit of money to remove the frustration from specific parts of the process and to help bring greater consistency to the quality of the product.

If someone were to purchase everything on this list brand new the cost would likely be +/- $100.

While your mileage may vary, I can confidently say that what follows is the process I undertake each week, which in turn provides me with 3L of consistently brewed kombucha.


Staple Ingredients

Things you'll need for each batch of kombucha.

  • black tea (loose leaf, but bags will work too)
  • household sugar
  • cool fridge water


All food safe.

Brewing & Storage

Most people will have to buy these as they aren't typical household items.

  • 12x 500-ml thick-walled flip-top bottles (example)
  • 3x 1-L thick-walled flip-top bottles: not necessary, but I find it easier to have these on hand for the 'Second Fermentation' (example)
  • 1-2x 1-gal/3.75-L glass jars: it is more convenient with 2 jars, but 1 will do (example)

Household Items

Things you probably have around the house or that can be bought cheaply.

  • 8-L vessel to cool water in fridge: not necessary, but makes the process quicker
  • 4-L vessel to brew tea in
  • rubber bands: one for each 1-gal glass jar
  • tea towels: one for each 1-gal glass jar
  • 2-cup measuring cup
  • funnel: fits into neck of flip-top bottles
  • mesh sieve: fits into funnel
  • misc measuring cups/spoons
  • grater/zester: depending on ingredients used
  • wooden spoon: or some other type of stirring device
  • food thermometer: you can likely get by without this if you make sure you use cooled water for every part of your process


Not necessary but will make your life easier.

  • mini siphon (example)
  • heating mat: definitely needed if you're in a cold climate; helpful all around for consistent brewing (example)


First Fermentation (base kombucha)

My guide assumes you already have a SCOBY (and starter tea). If not, either get some from a friend or follow this recipe. SCOBYs are easy to grow; my only advice would be to let it sit and grow a bit longer than you think— be patient.

  1. Brew your sweet tea:
    • 1-cup white sugar
    • 4-cups cold water; boiled
    • combine sugar and water; stir
    • add 2-3 tbsp loose leaf black tea: or 8 tea bags
    • let tea steep for a while: at least 30-mins; I typically let mine sit for a few hours to cool. I brew in the morning and make the kombucha later in the day
  2. Combine ingredients:
    • pour sweet tea from step #1 into a 1-gal glass jar
    • pour in 8-cups of cooled water: ideally this is from the fridge; this will help make sure that if your steeped tea is still warm that it will cool down quicker and not kill the SCOBY; ☠ you're looking for a temperature in the 20-30 degree Celsius range
    • pour in 2-cups of kombucha from your previous batch: or 2-cups of store bought, unflavoured/plain kombucha
      • make sure to leave enough room for the SCOBY; if you have too much liquid and your SCOBY shifts it can bump up into your tea towel (see step #4)
  3. Check tea temperature:
    • you're looking for a temperature in the 20-30° Celsius range; if you have a thermometer, use that
    • if temperature is within range, continue; otherwise, wait longer
    • if you're like me and always use cold water from the fridge, there shouldn't be any issue as long as you're also letting your steeped tea sit for a couple of hours
  4. Add SCOBY & let sit:
    • with clean hands, add your SCOBY to the jar; I like to have mine floating at the top but whatever it decides to do is OK
    • place a folded tea towel over the top of the jar and add a rubber band to keep it in place
    • place the jar in a dark, consistently warm area; let sit for 7-10 days
      • if you're like me and have a cold house and no consistently warm area, investing in a heating mat might make sense
        • I wrap my jar in a heating mat— do not set the jar on top of the mat, it seems to prohibit the bacteria we want from growing and doing its work
        • secure the heating mat with a wire or strap
        • set the temperature of your heating mat to the desired temp:
          • mine is set to 25° Celsius which actually keeps it heated to 25-26°; your mileage may vary
    • I have found that after 7 days my kombucha is a good sweet-to-tart ratio based on the tea I am using; again, your mileage may vary
  5. Drink, transfer to bottles, or move to second fermentation:
    • depending on your preference you can:
      • drink the kombucha as is, bottling it and placing it directly into the fridge
      • complete a Second Fermentation stage to add flavouring and fizzyenss to your liking
    • regardless, pull off 2-cups of your brewed kombucha to use as the starter tea for your next batch
      • stir the kombucha before taking the 2-cups (or take the 2-cups from the bottom without stirring); you want some of the floaties and stringy bits to go into making your next batch
    • remove the SCOBY with clean hands and move to your next batch; divide in half if the SCOBY seems thick and healthy

Second Fermentation (flavouring)

This is where the fun happens. Explosions may take place;🤯 be careful with the quality of bottles you use and the quantity of sugars.

  1. Split kombucha from 'First Fermentation' into bottles:
    • I typically split a single 3-L batch into 3x 1-L flip top bottles
    • I found that this step is easier if I use a mini siphon
  2. Add desired flavouring:
    • follow any of the 'Recipes' below, or find your own
    • add ingredients directly to bottle; ingredients should be as small as possible (but able to be filtered out) as many will grow as they absorb some of the kombucha
    • seal and shake bottles, to incorporate flavouring
  3. Store bottles:
    • again, store in a warm area
    • I wrap each bottle in a towel and store next to my 1-gal jar which is wrapped in a heating mat
    • let sit for 3-10 days; I let mine sit for 5 days before moving to the next step; again, your mileage may vary

Refrigeration (filtering and bottling)

This step isn't exactly needed; you can refrigerate the bottles at the end of the Second Fermentation directly. I like to filter my kombucha and put it into smaller bottles.

  • place bottles from the 'Second Fermentation' into the fridge to slow and calm the carbonation process
  • after a day, filter contents into smaller 500-ml bottles; I place a mental sieve into a funnel and insert this into the smaller bottles
  • I end up with 6 smaller bottles from every batch
  • refrigerate all smaller bottles
  • drink as desired

Favourite Recipes

These are three flavours of kombucha I brew on a regular basis— ginger lemon, ginger & chili flake, and cream soda. I’ll experiment with other flavour combinations when I have some extra fun or tropical fruit laying around, but for the most part the three recipes which follow are weekly staples in my home.

Note: all of the following are for 1L of each flavour. Double or divide the recipes as needed.

Ginger Lemon

Lemonade with a spicy bite.

  • 1-tbsp fresh lemon juice: see measurement conversions if using concentrate
  • 1-tsp grated ginger: peel ginger before grating
  • 1-tsp white sugar

Ginger & Chili Flake

Spicy. A morning wake-up or an evening night-cap.

  • 1/4-tsp red chili flakes
  • 1-tbsp grated ginger: peel ginger before grating
  • 1-tsp white sugar

Cream Soda

Smooth & sweet. Cut with some club soda on a summer’s day for a refreshing treat.

  • 1-tbsp brown sugar (or molasses): I prefer brown sugar
  • 1-tbsp vanilla extract
  • NO additional sugar

Lemon Lime

aka Sprite®.

  • 2-tbsp fresh lemon juice: see measurement conversions if using concentrate
  • 2-tbsp fresh lime juice: see measurement conversions if using concentrate
  • 1-tbsp white sugar

General Tips

  • don't clean anything with soap; use really hot water, vinegar if needed, or some type of food safe cleaner that isn't antibacterial; we need bacteria to grow for the Kombucha