How To Make Homemade Kombucha

“Bon Appetit” Test Kitchen Manager and Chef Brad Leone shares his recipes for homemade Kombucha, the trendy healthy beverage that’s full of live bacteria that’s good for your gut. For more cooking demos, visit Brad’s series It’s Alive on YouTube.

Note: The kombucha is drinkable after the first fermentation, but if you like a little more carbonation, go for a second fermentation—takes about 5 to 14 days longer. An auto-siphon is a nifty tool to have on hand to help make kombucha.

Makes 1 quart


1 quart spring or filtered water
70 grams refined sugar
7 grams loose leaf tea (combination of 6 grams green and 1 gram black)
1 Mother (Scoby)
2 ounces fruit juice, for second fermentation


1. In a saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add sugar, and stir well to combine. Add tea and let steep 15 minutes.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer covered with cheesecloth. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Using an auto-siphon, transfer to a sanitized, food-grade jar with the Mother. Cover with cheesecloth and let stand in a warm place (ideal is 70°F to 80°F), that isn’t exposed to sun, to ferment 5 to 10 days. Taste tea every couple days to determine if it has fermented enough. It will begin by tasting very sweet and will become more tart and vinegary over time. Stop fermentation when the tea is slightly tart and slightly sweet. This will happen faster the warmer the temperature. It should retain some sweetness if you want to do a second fermentation.

4. Using the auto-siphon, draw the tea out of the jar and transfer to sanitized, food-grade bottles. Add juice to jar. Always leave a few inches of space at the top to allow pressure to build and prevent bottles from exploding.

5. Let stand for 5 to 14 days. Chill the bottles before opening to avoid an explosion.


Get more delicious recipes by heading to Pickler & Ben’s Recipe Archive!