Homemade Kombucha on the Cheap

When I first wanted to start making Kombucha from home, I was hesitant to pay twenty dollars for a gallon glass jar.  Yes, I’m that cheap.  With three kids, and one on the way, every dollar has it’s place. That’s when my six dollar idea arrived!  Why don’t I just buy a giant jar of pickles and use that?  Problem solved.  I have just recently added a second jar for a higher yield.  This was due to the fact that, between five of us, our batches only last a few days.  My kids keep asking for it!  Here is how I go about making my “buch”.

What you’ll need:

1 gallon, wide mouth glass jar (pickle or other type is fine)

8 organic green, black, or a mixture of both, teabags

1 cup organic sugar

1 piece kombucha scoby with about 1/2 cup kombucha liquid or 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (this keeps the liquid in a beneficial bacterial environment, preventing molds/harmful bacteria and keeps the scoby healthy)

*Note: Other recipes use six teabags and 3/4 cup sugar, or other variations.  With this amount, I have found that a stronger tea yields better flavor and a healthier scoby.  You can find a multitude of variations in making kombucha but the key is to play with it and find out what brews and brewing times suits you best.  Kombucha is versatile and resilient, giving way to a multitude of delicious flavors for  the benefit of our health.

The Pickle Jar

I removed the pickles and placed them into a separate container, washing vigorously until there was no more pickle smell.  I then marked it with a number 2 so that I don’t get confused with my first batch.

I then boil 2 quarts of filtered water, turning the burner completely off before I add 8 teabags (4 organic black, 4 organic green tea).  I set the oven timer on for 10 minutes, after which I remove the teabags and add 1 full cup of organic sugar.



Stir until the sugar is dissolved and add another quart or two of filtered water.  Wait until the liquid is completely cool.  Pour the tea into the pickle jar and fill up to six inches from the top with more filtered water.  Add scoby with the kombucha it was in, or the apple cider vinegar.  Cover with cotten towel, linen cloth, or two layers of cheese cloth, and secure with a rubber band.



In this second batch, I used the old scoby layer from my first batch and some of the tea.  Every batch will yield a new layer of scoby.  I keep the newest two and throw out the oldest one, or donate them to friends to start their own kombucha.  For my very first brewing, I ordered an organic, small piece of scoby from etsy for $4.50 and free shipping.  It formed a perfect whole scoby by the time the batch was ready.

Brewing Times

The minimum brewing time is between 7 and 10 days, and the longest being up to three weeks.  The warmer the environment, the faster it will be ready and the longer you brew it, the less sweet and more vinegary the “buch” becomes.  You can taste test it at any time to see if it is where you like it.

For the second brew, which makes it more carbonated, you simply pour or ladle the tea out into flip top or recycled glass bottles, using a funnel.  Fill up to 2 inches from the top, or 3/4 full, filling up to 2 inches with your own concociton of fruit juices and/or herbs.  Close tightly.  Let these bottles sit at room temperature, out of sunlight, for 3 to 5 days, making sure to open once or twice a day to release excess carbonation. Bottles have been known to explode.

Always reserve a little bit of tea and a layer of scoby for your next batch and make sure never to add the scoby before the tea is completely cool, as it will kill the beneficial bacteria.

Feel free to message me with any questions or suggestions for a better brew.

Let’s get healthy,

Chrissie Scott


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