How to Grow Scoby

“Scoby” is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. When added to sweet black tea, Scoobies transform the beverage into kombucha tea, which is a natural probiotic that can be energizing and also improve gut health. If you’re tired of buying expensive kombucha tea by the bottle and want to make your own at home, it starts with growing your own scoby. To do this, you’ll need to make black sweet tea, put it in a jar with a bottle of kombucha tea, and leave it in a warm, dark place for a few weeks. Then, you can remove the scoby and use it to make a fresh batch of homemade kombucha tea.

EditIn a Hurry?

The best way to grow scoby is to combine of freshly brewed black sweet tea and a bottle of store-bought kombucha tea in a sterile glass jar. Cover the jar with a paper towel and secure it with a rubber band. Keep it in a dark place at and wait 2-5 weeks for the scoby to start growing and become at least thick. To learn how to make homemade kombucha tea once you’ve grown your scoby, read on!


EditBrewing Black Sweet Tea

  1. Boil of water in a pot. Measure of water in a measuring cup and pour it into a large stainless steel pot. Place it on a burner and turn the burner on medium-high heat until it begins to boil.[1]
    Grow Scoby Step 1.jpg
  2. Add sugar to the pot and stir for 5 minutes. Once the water starts to boil, measure of white granulated sugar and add it to the pot. Stir the sugar into the water with a wooden spoon continuously to help the sugar dissolve. This should take about 5 minutes.[2]
    Grow Scoby Step 2.jpg
  3. Turn the burner off. Turn the burner off once the sugar has dissolved into the water. Keep the pot on the burner so that the sugar water stays warm but is no longer boiling.
    Grow Scoby Step 3.jpg
  4. Add in 2 black tea bags and let them steep for 10-15 minutes. Drop in 2 black tea bags and use the wooden spoon to push them beneath the surface of the water. Stir the tea bags in the water a couple of times. Then, leave the pot alone for 10-15 minutes so that the tea bags can steep.[3]
    Grow Scoby Step 4.jpg
  5. Remove the tea bags and let the tea cool completely. After 10-15 minutes have passed, take the tea bags out of the pot and give the tea some time to cool down. Wait until the tea is at about room temperature () before you do anything with it.[4]
    Grow Scoby Step 5.jpg

EditCreating an Environment for Growth

  1. Pour the black tea into a sterile glass jar. Get a large wide-mouthed glass jar and be sure to clean it thoroughly so that no germs or bacteria grow in it. Then, pour in your room temperature tea.[5]
    Grow Scoby Step 6.jpg
    • To easily and effectively clean your jar, wash it with hot water and vinegar.
  2. Add a bottle of store-bought kombucha tea. Get a bottle of raw organic kombucha tea and pour the entire contents of the bottle into your freshly brewed black tea. You can purchase a bottle of kombucha tea at a grocery store or online.[6]
    Grow Scoby Step 7.jpg
  3. Cover the jar with a paper towel and secure it with a rubber band. Lay a paper towel or cheesecloth over the opening of your glass jar so that it’s completely covered. Then, secure the paper towel or cheesecloth by wrapping a rubber band around the top of the jar.[7]
    Grow Scoby Step 8.jpg
    • Don’t cover the jar with a normal lid. The tea mixture has to have exposure to air through a breathable material in order for your scoby to grow.
    • Without the rubber band, your tea mixture may attract fruit flies and other pests.
  4. Store it in a warm, dark place for 2-5 weeks. Place the jar in a dark place, such as a kitchen cabinet, and try to keep the temperature at . Wait about 2 weeks and then check on the tea mixture every day to see how developed the scoby has become.[8] You can start using your scoby when it’s at least thick.[9]
    Grow Scoby Step 9.jpg
    • If you store your tea mixture in an area that’s slightly cooler, it’ll take more time for your scoby to grow. If this is the case, consider placing a heating mat underneath the tea mixture to promote growth.

EditUsing Your Scoby

  1. Brew 5-7 bags of tea in of water. Pour the water into a pot and set it on a burner. Turn the burner on to medium-high heat to bring the water to a boil. Then, turn the heat off, put the tea bags in, and let them steep for several minutes.[10]
    Grow Scoby Step 10.jpg
  2. Stir in of sugar until it dissolves. Remove the tea bags. Then, measure of sugar in a measuring cup and pour it into the freshly brewed tea. Stir the tea until the sugar has dissolved completely.[11]
    Grow Scoby Step 11.jpg
  3. Let the tea cool and transport it to a sterile glass jar. As you did before, let the tea cool down to about before you transfer it to a new, clean glass jar that’s larger than the one you grew your scoby in. It’s extremely important that you let your tea cool completely, or else the heat may kill your scoby.[12]
    Grow Scoby Step 12.jpg
  4. Pour your scoby and starter tea into the new tea. After you’ve poured your freshly brewed tea into a clean jar, get out the jar of starter tea that your scoby is in. Simply pour the entire contents of the smaller jar into the larger jar. Then, cover the larger jar opening with a paper towel or cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band.[13]
    Grow Scoby Step 13.jpg
    • This is necessary because the scoby feeds on sugar and because your starter tea likely has an undesirable bitter taste at this point.
  5. Keep it at room temperature for 1-3 days to let it carbonate. Keep your freshly brewed kombucha tea out of direct sunlight and in a room temperature environment for a few days. This will make your tea sightly carbonated, as kombucha tea typically is.[14]
    Grow Scoby Step 14.jpg
  6. Store it in the refrigerator and drink it within a month. After a couple of days kept at room temperature, you’ll want to move it to the refrigerator, as refrigeration will stop fermentation and carbonation. Make sure to drink your kombucha tea within a month.[15]
    Grow Scoby Step 15.jpg

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Measuring cup
  • Water
  • Stainless steel pot
  • Granulated sugar
  • Wooden spoon
  • Black tea bags
  • Sterile glass jars
  • 1 bottle of store-bought kombucha tea
  • Paper towel or Cheesecloth
  • Rubber band

EditSources and Citations

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