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Kombucha Scoby

DIY instructions

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is fermented tea. With the help of a culture,  the so called scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) tea gets transferred into a low-sugar, refreshing, tangy drink brewed from tea.

What is the difference between Kombucha & other tea drinks?

The quality of tea beverages varies widely and is determined by the choice of tea and sweetener. Sweeteners range from natural juices and spices to chemical flavors and refined sugars.

The fundamental difference with kombucha is that fermentation takes place, during which the sugar and caffeine are converted. That means kombucha contains less sugar, less caffeine and natural carbon dioxide.

How do I use the Kombucha scoby? What is important?

The Kombucha scoby needs three things to thrive: caffeinated tea, sugar, and air.

In addition it benefits from so-called batch liquid, which is an older, very sour kombucha. This helps to lower the pH very quickly, the kombucha becomes more stable and already has a microbial bouquet. This process is known as backslopping.

Depending on the room temperature, it will take about 4-14 days to ferment your kombucha. During this phase, only cover your kombucha with a cloth, not a tight-fitting lid. It is best to place your kombucha in a dark space or cover the glass with a cloth. Like a vampire, he does not appreciate direct sunlight.

Kombucha kaufen
Was ist Kombucha?


Kombucha kaufen
Kombucha selbermachen: Anleitung & Rezept


RECIPE: Lemon-Ginger Kombucha


  • 3L jar with lid & cloth to cover

  • 6x 0.5 bottles with flip-top / twist-off 

  • Plastic colander



  • 3L water (preferably not chlorinated)

  • 150g sugar

  • 15g tea (green or black tea; no herbal tea)

  • 1 kombucha scoby (palm-sized)

  • 300ml batch liquid  (old sour kombucha)


  • 1 lemon squeezed

  • 8 slices of finely chopped ginger

  • 3 tbsp sugar


Brew tea

Boil 1 liter of water and use it to prepare a strong tea. Pour off the tea and stir in the sugar. Then add 2 liters of cold water. When the liquid has cooled down to below 40degree celsius, insert the scoby and pour in the starting liquid.

Now cover the vessel with a cloth and stretch a rubber ring around it.

Fermentation phase I.

After 5-14 days  - depending on how warm the ambient temperature is - your kombucha is slightly sweet and sour. The taste should contain a little more sugar than you want in the final drink.

Fermentation phase II

Boil the ginger slices with the sugar in little water to a strong concentrate and let it cool. 

Remove the scoby and also take out some of the liquid for future brewing processes (batch liquid).

Now add the ginger concentrate and lemon juice to your kombucha. Stir well.

Then it is bottled. These now stand for 2-5 days at room temperature. Carbonic acid is formed. As soon as it contains enough carbon dioxide, it makes sense to store your kombucha in the refrigerator. If you don't do this, you will get too much carbonation and you may have a mini geyser in your kitchen.


Orange Rosemary Kombucha Augora
huge kombucha scoby
Kombucha Vienna

Tips & Tricks

How do I care for my Kombucha Scoby?

The best way is to keep it in continuous use. However, if you need a break or if your tea fungus has significantly increased in volume, then create a so-called Scoby Hotel for it.

To do this, simply proceed as in a regular Kombucha brewing process. Prepare tea, sweeten it, and place your tea fungi in it. Cover the container with a cloth and place it in a cool place, but not in the refrigerator.

Your tea fungus collection can now endure here. After 4 months, start a new brewing process and move your tea fungi to fresh, sugared, and cooled tea. The liquid from the old hotel is valuable; pour it in without including the yeast sediment that has formed at the bottom of the container.

How many tea fungi do I need for how much tea?

As is often the case with fermentation, the amount of starter culture is relatively insignificant. I once forgot to insert a tea fungus, and yet a beautiful Scoby grew. It is a quality characteristic of raw, unpasteurized Kombucha that it has the ability to produce its own tea fungus.

A tea fungus the size of your hand is sufficient to brew several liters of Kombucha.

Which tea is ideal?

While in most languages there is a distinction between caffeinated tea (tea, thé, tè) and herbal teas (infusion), in German, we group them together as "Tee." However, the tea fungus does not speak German in these matters. It demands caffeinated tea. That means: black tea or green tea. Oolong, mate, Pu-Erh, yellow, or white tea are also caffeinated.

It might work to ferment a Kombucha herbal tea approach, but the following fermentation should again involve caffeinated tea.

Can you ferment coffee with a tea fungus?


Which sugar is ideal?

Ferments love naturalness. The more untreated the sugar, the better your Kombucha. Refined sugar will work, but natural sugar tastes better. Honey can also be used as a sugar source. Such a Kombucha is called Jun.

How much sugar do I need? Do I need sugar at all?

Ferments consume sugar; that is their source of nutrition. Where there's no sugar, there's no fermentation. But compared to conventional non-alcoholic drinks, Kombucha contains little sugar. We recommend a maximum of 8% sugar per liter. Anything else can trigger alcoholic fermentation or awaken a bottle geyser. Follow our recipe, and you'll get a low-sugar Kombucha.

Is the second fermentation phase necessary?

Not necessarily. In the second phase, two things happen - Kombucha is flavored (with fruit, spices, etc.), and it serves the development of natural carbonation.

If you don't want a carbonated drink, you can also drink it after the first fermentation. Just make sure not to use a tightly sealed glass during bottling.

Which glass is ideal for bottling?

Use only high-quality glass bottles or plastic bottles (PET). The carbonation that develops, especially if more sugar is used, can lead to excessive carbonation, which can sometimes cause the glass to explode. Always place the drink in the refrigerator before consumption. Treat your Kombucha like champagne and shake it only if you want to christen a boat.

Help, what is floating slime in my ferment?

Remote diagnoses are always difficult, but if it's brown, stringy, and streaky, then your Kombucha is forming a new tea fungus, a baby Scoby. This is a good sign, but not necessarily something you want to drink. I always use a strainer when pouring my Kombucha into a glass. However, those who want can also drink it without worry.

My Scoby always floats at the bottom and not at the top of the glass. Is that okay?


Help, a white skin has formed on my Kombucha. Is that okay?

Yes. A new tea fungus is forming, and that is a sign that your fermentation is going well. It would be more concerning if none were forming.

What do I do with leftover tea fungus?

Create a Scoby Hotel.

Do I need starter liquid for my Kombucha recipe?

Actually, yes! The starter liquid is nothing more than very sour Kombucha. This helps to immediately lower the pH value in the brewing process, making the Kombucha stable, and little can go wrong.

When I hear about "failed" brews, the cause in most cases is the lack of starter liquid. It's best to leave a bit of Kombucha in the fermentation jar with each brewing process and let it become sour. Use this liquid to start the next batch.

Help, it's molding?

If fluffy white, gray, or red mold forms, throw everything away, including your tea fungus.

Avoid mold by observing the following in Fermentation Phase I:

  • Addition of 10% starter liquid

  • No addition of fruit or spices - or anything other than the Scoby that could float in the liquid.

No carbonation, what can I do?

Ferments are like pets. They need an acclimatization phase, and afterward, they are faithful and tolerant companions. If you have just acquired your tea fungus, then give it time.

However, consider the following parameters:

  • Use starter liquid in Fermentation Phase I

  • Ensure that there is enough sugar present in Fermentation Phase II. In other words, bottle your Kombucha when it is slightly sweeter than you would like.

  • Use bottles that seal very well - preferably swing-top bottles.

Does Kombucha contain alcohol?

Well-ripened, very sour Kombucha can contain up to 1.5% alcohol. The alcohol content is strongly determined by the sugar content of the tea. If the tea to be fermented is very sweet, the Kombucha can sometimes become alcoholic. Also, be cautious when adding fruit, as it can contribute to alcoholic fermentation.

FAQ: Tipps & Tricks
Hilfe! Da stimmt was nicht!


Kombucha lernen: Workshops & Kurse

What does kombucha mean? On the etymology of the fermented tea beverage. 

The exact linguistic origin and thus meaning is unclear. During the 2nd part of the word "yeah"stands for tea in many languages of the Asian continent, the first part "kombu" is still a mystery. The Japanese kombu algae (昆布) is the basis of an infusion drink (昆布茶), but this algae drink is fundamentally different from that sour kombucha based on caffeinated tea.


The most likely theory is that it is an incorrect attribution, i.e. that inwestern culturethe vinegar-sour kombucha tea drink was linguistically equated or even confused with the Japanese algae drink, although they are two fundamentally different drinks. This is also supported by the fact that in Japan the fermented sour tea drink is not called kombucha, but kōcha kinoko'' (紅茶キノコ, red tea fungus.

The story of Dr. Kombu, a Korean doctor who lived in the 5th century B.C. used the tea drink to heal the Japanese ruler Ingyō. 

Where's it from? The Origin Theory.

Again, much is in the realm of speculation. Since the root of the language "cha" comes from Chinese, the fermented tea drink may also have its origins in this culture. A tea left standing, which started the fermentation by means of "contamination", for example a fruit fly with an acetobacter bacterium. The fact is that the composition of the culture, the so-called Scoby or often also called tea fungus, is not only visually but also bacterially similar to a mother of vinegar. A mutant, so to speak, that changes its habitat and instead of an alcoholic base, as is necessary with vinegar, also accepts sweetened tea. 

Mushroom? Scoby? What is this sloppy thing anyway?

While the name Teepilz has prevailed in German, the English has coined the name Scoby, an abbreviation forSymbiotic cultureOfBbacteria andYeast. In fact, the English name is a detailed description of what this slimy, wobbly thing is, namely a culture that enters into a symbiosis, i.e. a community, between various bacteria and yeasts.

We like to call it Kombucha culture. A culture is always characterized by being an information carrier that passes this information on to future generations. That's what a kombucha culture does, bringing the relevant know-how and allowing subsequent kombucha brews to replicate that knowledge.

Kombucha: Herkunft & Bedeutung
Ist Kombucha gesund?
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