How to Make Kombucha

By Dr. Jenefer Scripps Huntoon

Your Kombucha is a gift of healing. The babies or "starts" it produces may be given as gifts with no expectation of exchange or barter. (Except shipping and handling costs refunded by the donee.) When you work with your Kombucha assume a meditative state. It is sensitive, alive and quite miraculous. This recipe makes enough tea for 2 people for one week if each person is taking 4 ounces a day. You can divide the recipe in half if necessary.

  1. BOIL for 5 minutes (not in microwave) 3 quarts distilled or filtered water in 3 1/2 to 4 quart enamel or glass container with 1 cup white sugar. White sugar works better than brown sugar, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, or honey because there are less contaminants to interfere with the growth of the organism
  2. REMOVE from burner.
  3. ADD 4 green tea bags and 2 black (orange pekoe) tea bags. Green tea is usually available at grocery stores but we also carry it. Green tea is the raw unprocessed form of black tea and research indicates that it benefits the immune system. You can make Kombucha from ordinary black (orange pekoe) tea, but the addition of green tea enhances the immune system. Tetley is better than Lipton because it does not contain metal staples. Herbal teas will not work at all!!!
  4. COVER and leave combination of black and green tea bags for at least 30 minutes or until the tea cools. If you are using black tea bags without green tea, 4 black tea bags is enough.
  5. REMOVE tea bags.
  6. COOL tea to room temperature. This will take several hours. (Note: you may want to make tea at night and transfer the start in the morning.)
  7. POUR room temperature tea into 3 to 4 quart glass or plastic container. Glass is best. The shape of the container is unimportant as Kombucha will adapt. However, larger diameter containers work better because this allows more oxygen to get to the tea. What IS important is to be sure Kombucha does not come into contact with any metal.
  8. SLIP start Kombucha and the tea in the plastic bag you received it in, into the room temperature tea. Most likely it will float. It does not need to be wet on top. If it sinks, do not be concerned. Usually it will float in a few days or the baby it makes will float.
  9. PLACE container in any uninterrupted place in room with a light cover of cheesecloth or muslin. A couple of chopsticks can be used to hold the cheesecloth in place or you can fasten cheesecloth over the container with a large rubber band.
  10. NOTE: Kombucha requires an uninterrupted warm comfortable environment in order to grow. The ideal temperature is 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Kombucha will grow in temperatures ranging from 60-86 degrees, but the closer to 73 degrees the better. Most people do not need to make an incubator. However, if your room is too cold, you can make an incubator using an ice chest. Put a 40 watt light bulb in the chest. Leave ice chest door open somewhat to provide air and light and to vent the heat. A thermometer may be helpful in determining how much the door needs to be kept open. Classical music enhances the growth of Kombucha so you might want to leave an FM radio tuned to a classical station playing softly in the room.
  11. IN ONE WEEK (6-10 days) make a new batch of tea. Cool to room temperature.
  12. LIFT your Kombucha start carefully from its 4 quart container or bowl with your hands (no metal rings on hands) or wooden/plastic spatula.
  13. PLACE it on a non-metal dinner plate and separate the baby start away. The baby will be just as big as the mother start and may be on the top or the bottom. Use either the mother or baby as a start to make new fermented beverage or use both of them together in your next batch, or, save your start in a ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of tea to keep it moist. Refrigerate. It will keep for two weeks. Either the baby or the mother can be used as a start to make another batch of Kombucha beverage, or you can leave the mother and baby attached together and transfer them into new tea as a unit. This way, you will always have a fresh start available for a friend.
  14. NOTE: Sometimes the start does not make a baby the first week. Usually, the fermented beverage will be fine and the start will make a baby the second week.
  15. YOU will get a better end result if you use 2 or 3 starts for each batch. Using more than 3 starts is not a good idea, as too many covers will keep the fermented beverage from enough oxygen. The older starts will turn darker so you can put them in your compost pile or throw away. Nutrients from these starts will enhance your garden.
  16. POUR fermented tea from 4 quart container into a glass or plastic pitcher. This is what you are going to drink. You may want to strain it through some cheesecloth. Do not use a metal strainer. Put on tight lid. Refrigerate.
  17. POUR new batch of cool tea into your 4 quart container. Lift start off dinner plate and slide it into new batch of tea. Cover with cloth as before, and place back on shelf so process can begin anew. It is best to make a new batch of tea every week so the start is not forgotten in the refrigerator.
  18. BEGIN your regimen the next morning: Drink 4 oz. of tea from the refrigerator on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
  19. AS the week goes on your tea may get a little stronger and can be diluted with water. Do not take more than 4 oz. daily without first checking with Dr. Huntoon. Extra tea may also be frozen to use at another time. However, fresh tea is more beneficial and tastes better than frozen tea.
  20. NOTE: Detoxification or cleansing reactions may occur. These reactions may include a tired feeling or skin breaking out. If you want to slow down the reactions, stop the tea until the reactions are.gone and then start back with one ounce a day for a week and gradually increase to 4 ounces a day.


Before you receive your start, be prepared with a four or five quart Corning Ware pot, or comparable stove top glass receptacle for boiling water. You will need a metal rack to place between the Corning Ware and the burner. You will also need a three-plus quart glass or plastic bowl or for the 7-day gestation period. Use culinary cheese cloth, rather than automotive. A plastic or glass cup or dipper is useful as well as a glass or plastic funnel. A dinner plate is handy for holding the start while separating mother from baby. A glass or plastic refrigerator jar With plastic or glass or spout is helpful for storing the finished elixir. One start will produce enough fermented beverage each week for two people. Also, be ready with tea bags and white sugar.

When saving your start for a friend, slip either the mother or the baby into a large zip-lock bag with 1/2 cup or so of elixir and put into a flat cardboard box in the refrigerator until it is picked up by the recipient. The cardboard pie boxes frorn Costco are handy for this. If it is to be shipped, it can be packed and shipped in such a box. Winter is a safe time to mail. By summer, the weather may be too hot to safely send the start through the mail.

Make copies of the instructions to send to your friend in advance of sharing this yeast culture miracle, so that he/she can be prepared when it arrives. A bowl of room temperature tea can be waiting. Or the start can be kept up to a week in the refrigerator awaiting preparation of the tea.

Visions cookware may be used directly on your burner or you can use Corning Ware casserole dishes with a metal rack on the burner. You can purchase Visions cookware and Corning Ware many places but the most economical way is through these Corning/Revere factory outlets.

This page is maintained by
Bob Williams; Kombucha Center Home Page
UpDt 07/17/2000