Kombucha Price: Comparing Homemade vs Store Bought

Have you wondered how the price of kombucha stacks up when comparing homemade to store bought? We’re breaking down all the costs of kombucha so you can decide which is right for you!

One of the reasons I really started getting into home brewed kombucha wasn’t for the kombucha flavors or the kombucha health benefits (though those did follow!), it was for the cost.

Because when your only source of kombucha comes from store bought bottles, the bill adds up! But…exactly how much is that bill? Let’s break down the price of kombucha when comparing store bought to homemade!

What does store bought kombucha cost?

Depending on the brand, store bought 16-oz (ish) bottles of kombucha can range from $3 to $5. For the sake of our calculations, we’ll say a 16-oz bottle of GT’s Original Kombucha costs $3.99.

If you were to drink one 16-oz bottle every week, that would total $207.48 in a year. But if you’re a true kombucha fanatic like we are, you drink it more than once a week. So if you were to drink a bottle of store bought everyday, that would cost you $1456.35 in a year.

Phew, that’s some serious dough! Why is store bought kombucha so expensive? Well any home brewer can tell you that the process of making kombucha takes several days, meaning it’s more labor intensive than other “soft drinks” like soda. It’s also a live fermentation, with unique bottling and storage needs that drive up the price.

Bottles of green tea kombucha on a white counter with a plant in the background

Shrinkflation in kombucha bottling

There is a recent trend among some of the kombucha drink companies to sell their kombucha in smaller bottles. I recently picked up a bottle of Kavita’s Ginger to compare it to the taste of our home brew. It is now sold in 15.2 ounce bottles (versus the previous 16 ounce bottles). Shrinkflation is here my friends. All the more reason to brew your own for both taste and cost!

What does homemade kombucha cost?

There are two things to consider when pricing out homemade kombucha: the initial investment, and the day-to-day costs. The initial investment to start up your kombucha brewing operation includes:

  • Ingredients$4.29 (1 bottle of store bought kombucha, ½ cup of sugar, 4 bags black tea): With just these ingredients, you can make the SCOBY and kickstart fermentation.
  • Large Jar – $15.00: These can range in price, and you can likely find it cheaper locally at a thrift store. It just needs to be a gallon-sized glass jar with a wide mouth.
  • Fermentation Bottles -$17.99: You should optimally use flip top fermentation bottles to carbonate your kombucha, using enough bottles to hold about 96 to 112 oz worth of kombucha (so six 16-oz, or three 32-oz bottles). To do this on the cheap, reuse old store bought kombucha bottles.

Total cost of initial investment = $37.38.

Once you’ve got all your gear and have made your SCOBY, you’ll never have to pay for those things again! After that, each 128-oz batch of homemade kombucha will just cost:

  • 1 cup sugar – $0.28
  • 8 bags black tea – $0.64

Cost for one 16-oz serving = $0.12 (compared to $3.99 for store bought).

If you drink one 16-oz serving every week, it would cost you $6.24 in a year (compared to $207.48 for store bought). But of course, you’ll want to drink it everyday, and that will cost you just $43.80 in a year (compared to $1456.35 for store bought).

So should you make or buy kombucha?

The numbers don’t lie! Making kombucha at home is so much cheaper than store bought (and getting to show off your kombucha skills to friends and in our Kickass Kombucha Brewers Facebook group? Priceless).

Learn how to start making kombucha with this quick start guide!

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21 thoughts on “Kombucha Price: Comparing Homemade vs Store Bought”

  1. Love it & enjoy the process but it aint as cheap as you making it out to be…..I try to use fresh fruit if possible…tumeric sells for $4.99/pound here in S. FL. I went with store bought juice this past round and spent $7 (got 6 little cans of pineapple juice and half gallon of grape juice). I had ginger and some meyer lemons at home already…this made 1 gallon worth of kombucha – i used 2 of the cans and a small amount of the juice so the rest of the cans will be able to be used in the future. This makes it tough to tell costs unless I paid attention for the entire year……I can buy 48oz GT’s for about $9 each so it is definetly cheaper then store bought and usually tastier…..My co2 is not even close to Gt’s though

  2. Wow, the number speaks itself. Making your own Kombucha is not only it tastes better and being able to choose flavor but so so economical. Thank you Sarah for breaking it down the cost. I experimented the second ferment with strawberry, peach, pear, lychee, apple etc, all very good but my favourite is passionfruit. Happy brewing everyone 🙂

  3. Two of the driving reasons that I started brewing were cost and both the wife and I like it much less sweet than the majority of store bought, so I just let it ferment a bit longer until the sugar is down. Plus, you are not limited in your flavor options. Great fun trying lots of new flavors and it’s a great way to explore my creative side!

  4. I like my kombucha on the sweeter side can I add monk fruit sweetener after the second fermentation and still get the probiotics

  5. I’ve been making kombucha for 4 months now. I LOVE my homemade & even more seeing what the cost is compared to store-bought.
    A few of my friends now pay me to make them some because it’s healthier than soft drinks.
    I love trying many of the recipes from the site.
    Thank you for your kickass kombucha.

  6. Thanks for all your tips Sarah. I’ve been making my own as well and even made my own scoby. On the second fermentation I use 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice and one tablespoon of beet juice for each 16 ounce bottle. Doesn’t sound like it would be good but it is fantastic!!! Super fizzy. A tip I got also to get fizzy was to take the bottle out of the refrigerator and leave it on the counter for about 15 minutes. Great results…..in fact sometimes I have to wait to pour more in the glass till some of the fizz goes down.

  7. I’ve been making my own Kombucha for 7 months now. It’s saving me heaps. The taste is sooo much better. We love it

  8. One friend saved a bunch of kombucha bottles for me from her store bought buch, so now I can share freely. I’d love to share some buch but I was feeling a bit stingy with the bottles, wanting people to return them or save some for me. The reuse bottles are working super well – very fizzy.

  9. I have become a Buch Junkie with Sarah’s mentoring, made about 10 gallons so far all in new flavors and refining my brewing skills. Just about ready to start brewing in 5 gallon first ferm batches, then creating 5 flavors per batch to share with friends. Will also experiment with “high test” Kombucha with longer fermentation periods to have a version with a kick of alcohol to it as well !

  10. I just started brewing my own based on your guide! I make too much and need to share but it has been a fun experience.

  11. Mine just doesn’t taste as good as Watermelon Wonder. Peach was my favorite last year, but no one else would even try it. Getting ready to start up again. I have my scoby in the fridge. Will it be okay, or should I make a new one and throw the old one out that’s been in there all winter?

    • You can try to use that SCOBY, it may just need a little while to wake back up. As for flavors, you just have to try a few until you land on some consistent favorites 😀

  12. love to share my Kombucha. Friends think it cost so much and offer to pay but it cost almost nothing – I give it away and Friends are so impressed with it. They like my kombucha more then store bought. I have so much fun flavoring it. Very enjoyable making.

  13. Wow. I really need to get some of this math I keep hearing about. That makes perfect sense. It is almost free to make it yourself.