Kombucha FAQ's - For beginners - Gutbasket

Kombucha FAQ's - For beginners



What is Kombucha?

Kombucha tea is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. It is a probiotic, it helps in detoxification, aids digestion, improves immunity, releases stress and boosts energy. 

What is fermentation?

Fermentation is a beneficial action of microorganisms. When microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, fungi, etc ) are added to a food or beverage, their metabolic activity creates a desirable change in the food or beverage. 

What kind of vessel should be used to brew Kombucha?

Kombucha should be brewed only in a glass jar or high quality stainless steel vessel. 

How to sanitise the jar?

The jar should be washed thoroughly with hot water and cooled to room temperature before beginning the process.

How to make sure there is no contamination?

  • Clean the work area
  • Thoroughly rinse the glass jar with hot / warm water
  • Ensure any equipment used in the process is washed with hot water 
  • Wash your hands with soap
  • Wash again to ensure no soap residue remains on your hands
  • Wear gloves if possible
  • Follow the proportions and kombucha making process religiously 

I don't plan to brew soon, how do I store the SCOBY I received from GUTBasket?

Since SCOBY is a live culture, it needs food to stay healthy ( in this case sweet tea). Hence, the sooner you brew, the better. 

Keeping in the fridge can make it dormant, so avoid that. So, you have to take out time and make a fresh batch of Kombucha ideally within 3 days of receiving the pack. 


What is sweet tea?

A mixture of sugar, tea and water prepared for making Kombucha is called sweet tea. 

For making 1 L Kombucha, you need 50 gm sugar, 5 gm tea, and 800 ml of water, atleast 100 ml of starter tea (previous batch Kombucha) and one small SCOBY.

For making 4 L Kombucha, you need 200 gm sugar, 20 gm tea and 3.5 L water, atleast 400 ml of starter tea (previous batch kombucha) and one medium SCOBY. 

You can follow these proportions to make any quantity of Kombucha. 

What is SCOBY?

SCOBY is short for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. SCOBY when added to sweet tea converts it into Kombucha in 7 days. 

Is Scoby/Kombucha vegetarian/ vegan?

SCOBY stands for Symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It contains bacteria and yeast like how we consume them in curd or bread.  

Can I refrigerate the SCOBY?

Refrigerating the SCOBY can make it lazy. We suggest you keep it at room temperature submerged in Kombucha or sweet tea. Try making a Kombucha batch atleast once a month since SCOBY needs fresh food (sweet tea). Sooner, better. 

If the SCOBY folds, does it tamper the brewing process?

Don't worry if the SCOBY folds, has wrinkles or tears at some places. It is still potent and will make great Kombucha. 

My SCOBY is floating at the bottom of the jar, is it normal?

SCOBY can be anywhere in the jar during the brewing process.

What is starter tea?

Kombucha from a previously fermented batch is called starter tea. Starter tea ensures that the Kombucha batch being made is acidified and hence gives the right atmosphere for successful fermentation. 

Whenever you are making Kombucha, you need to add starter tea along with SCOBY. For making 1 L Kombucha, you should add at least 100 ml of starter tea. For making 4 L Kombucha, you should add at least 400 ml of starter tea and so on. 

Once your Kombucha is ready, ensure you save some Kombucha to be used as starter tea for the next batch. 

What kind of sugar/tea is best for brewing Kombucha?

Sugar- Sulphur free, regular white or brown sugar. Do not use Jaggery, honey or alternate sugars (like aspartame, stevia). 

Tea - Use good quality regular black, oolong or green tea. Do not use flavoured tea during first fermentation as this may harm the SCOBY. 

Can I use coffee in place of tea? 

Yes, you can make Coffee Kombucha. Just replace tea with Coffee, rest of the things remain the same. If you are brewing both Coffee and Tea Kombucha, ensure you keep a separate SCOBY for each.  

What type of water to be used?

Filtered/ RO Water/Mineral water can be used. Do not use Tap water or Chlorinated water. 

What temperature suits Kombucha brewing?

20-32 degree celsius is ideal temperature for Kombucha brewing. 

In case of a lesser temperature, use a heat pad or blanket around the jar. 

In case of higher temperature, place it in an ice water tub till the brewing is on. Replenish the ice every morning. 

How and when to test the pH of the Kombucha? 

Checking the Kombucha pH using a pH strip before and after the Kombucha fermentation is a good way to ensure Kombucha is brewing right. 

After you have added the starter tea and SCOBY to the sweet tea, dip the pH strip in the liquid. The pH reading should be below 4.5. This is called initial reading. 

Once Kombucha is ready, day 7-10, check the pH again. It should be between 2.5-3.5. This is called final reading. 

How to cover the Kombucha jar? 

The Kombucha jar should be covered only with breathable cotton/ mesh cloth. Not with any lid that stops ventilation. 


What is first fermentation?

The phase in which sweet tea turns into Kombucha which happens in a duration of 7-10 days is called first fermentation. 

Can I uncover the jar to check the progress of brewing?

Unless necessary, avoid opening the jar cover while brewing is on to ensure no dust enters. 

Where do I keep the Kombucha Jar while brewing?

Kombucha Jar should be kept in a well ventilated place, away from sunlight. It should not be kept inside a closed cupboard, inside the fridge or near fruits/ vegetables that can attract insects. It can be kept over the fridge, or a corner of a clean kitchen counter or dining table. 

Also, ensure you are not keeping it in a room/ place that has dampness on the walls. If your house/ room has damp walls, kombucha will not brew properly. 

How do I know the Kombucha is ready?

Kombucha is ready anywhere between 7-10 days. 

You should taste it on the 7th day. If you find it sweet, let it brew for a few more days and taste again. When the flavor is to your liking, your Kombucha is ready. 

There is a rubbery, cloudy formation on my Kombucha. What is it?

This is the Baby/ daughter SCOBY, a mat of cellulose formed by the good bacteria on top of Kombucha. The SCOBY shows that the Kombucha is healthy and active and it is nothing to worry about. In case the Kombucha does not form a scoby layer, that is normal as well.

My kombucha has black strands in it. Should I discard it?

With the fermentation, the water might get cloudy or the kombucha might grow long brown strands under the SCOBY and that is normal. This is spent yeast which is the yeast consumed during fermentation. You can filter and discard it before consuming. 


What is Kombucha Vinegar?

As fermentation happens, the sugar in the sweet tea gets eaten up by the bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY. So, Kombucha turns from sweet to sour with time. If the Kombucha is left unattended for too long, say 20+ days, it turns very sour into Kombucha Vinegar. 

Can Kombucha Vinegar be consumed?

Kombucha Vinegar is safe to be consumed. It will just have a very strong sour flavor. You can use it for salads and other dishes as a replacement for Vinegar. 

I don't like the taste much, what do I do? 

Kombucha has an acquired taste. And it also takes a few attempts to get the brewing right. Just give it sometime and like us, you would start loving it too. 

My Kombucha is too sour/ acidic/ vinegary

Kombucha can be acidic in the following cases

  1. Starter tea used is too acidic- Reduce the amount of starter tea used in the next batch
  2. Left it too long for fermentation- Start tasting from day 7 onwards. It should be ready around day 7-10. Don't leave it for longer if you don't want it acidic.  
  3. Too much yeast in SCOBY- Clean the SCOBY thoroughly with water and remove any strains of yeast ( black thread) before starting the next batch 
  4. High temperature- During summers, the fermentation is very fast. If you find it sour even on the 7th day, brew it for only 5-6 days. 


What is second fermentation?

Second fermentation is an optional step. After 7-10 days, when the Kombucha is ready, you can transfer the liquid in airtight bottles along with fruits or herbs for another 2 days. This will ensure that the flavour gets infused and the drink gets more fizzy. 

At what stage can I add any flavours?

After 7-10 days, when you like the taste of Kombucha, you can transfer in airtight bottles and add flavours. 

What is ‘burping’? 

For second fermentation, kombucha is transferred to airtight bottles to make it more fizzy. It's important to burp the bottles, which means open the bottle lid for 5 sec and close back. Thus ensuring that excess carbon dioxide produced inside escapes and the bottles do not burst due to the built up pressure. Burping should be done once in 24 hours. 

My kombucha is fizzy. Is that normal ?

During fermentation, carbon dioxide is produced. It is a good sign that the Kombucha is fizzy. 

I see a SCOBY like thing forming on top of second fermentation bottles 

Fermentation still continues during the second fermentation. That is why a SCOBY gets formed on top. You can just filter it out before consuming. 


How long can the scoby be stored in kombucha?

The SCOBY can stay in Kombucha for months as long as it is submerged in the Kombucha.But a good practice is to make a fresh batch of Kombucha every 20-30 days so that the SCOBY has fresh sweet tea to feed on. 

Will I have the new SCOBY everytime I brew?

Yes, a daughter SCOBY will be formed on top with every batch

Can the daughter scoby be used to make a new kombucha batch? 

Yes, totally. You can use the daughter SCOBY, mother SCOBY or both for the next batch. 

Can I reuse this scoby?

Yes, you can reuse it multiple times. Every time you make a batch of Kombucha a new daughter SCOBY will be formed. You can also use that for brewing Kombucha. 

After 20-25 batches, the mother SCOBY will become weak and not multiple as effectively. But by then, you will have multiple daughter SCOBYs to use. 

What do I do with so many SCOBYs?

  • You can make multiple batches
  • You can store them all in a jar dipped in Kombucha liquid (called SCOBY Hotel)
  • You can discard the extra ones ( Don't discard all. Ensure you always keep 3-4 safe so that you can use them in case a batch of Kombucha goes bad in future ) 
  • You can blend them with some rice flour and make yourself a SCOBY Scrub! Keep the scrub on your face for 15 min and wash it off. It will leave you with glowing skin!  

How to store SCOBYs/ How to make a SCOBY Hotel?

SCOBY Hotel is a collection of all SCOBYs in a glass jar along with sweet tea. 

Steps to follow:

  • Wash the glass jar thoroughly with warm water and wait for it to come to room temperature. 
  • Make a batch of Kombucha large enough to cover all SCOBYs.
  • Stack all the SCOBYs inside the glass jar
  • Make a 1 L Kombucha batch( 50 gm sugar, 5 gm tea, 800 ml water, 100 ml starter tea) and pour it in the jar containing SCOBYs. 
  • Ensure the liquid is covering the SCOBYs completely, or you will have to make more, cool and add. 
  • After 20-30 days, make a fresh batch of Kombucha and top it on this jar. 
  • If you don't want to discard SCOBY, you will have to eventually shift to bigger jars. 

Should I take out the scoby once the tea has fermented or can it be left in?

Once fermentation is done, you should separate the SCOBY and refrigerate the kombucha. If you leave the SCOBY in the Kombucha, the fermentation will continue and the Kombucha will get too sour. 

How to separate SCOBY and ready Kombucha?

  • Take the SCOBY out in a clean vessel.
  • Transfer the ready Kombucha in airtight bottles and flavour if you want or transfer to the fridge 
  • Transfer the SCOBY back in the jar along with some Kombucha to be used as a starter for the next batch. 

Should I wash the jar every time before brewing a new batch?

You can wash the jar once after every 4-5 batches. Or at least once every 2 months. Transfer the SCOBY and Kombucha in another clean jar/ vessel. Clean the Kombucha jar with soap water and rinse properly. Rinse again with hot water and let it cool to room temperature before transferring the Kombucha and SCOBY back. 


How often can we consume Kombucha?

You should start with 100 ml per day for a week and you can take it upto 500 per day. 

Who should not drink Kombucha?

Pregnant or breast feeding ladies, kids under the age of 10 years should not consume. People with autoimmune disorders or diabetes should check with doctor before consuming 

Will the sugar in kombucha harm a diabetic person?

During fermentation, the sugar is eaten up by the bacteria and yeast present in the SCOBY. After 7-8 days when Kombucha is ready, it will hardly have any sugar left. It is safe to be consumed by a diabetic person. However, if you are on strict medication or diet, we suggest you talk to your doctor. 

How to know if the kombucha has gone bad?

You will see powdery dark green/ black/grey spots. These are called mold and happen when the bad microorganisms from the atmosphere take over. It will also start to smell unpleasant. You should discard the entire batch in that case. If you are unsure, feel free to whatsapp us a photo on +91 7861940110 and we will check it for you. 

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