You can make your own homemade kombucha SCOBY from scratch, but you’ll need raw, unflavored kombucha to start. Here’s where to buy unflavored kombucha!
This may be the question I get most often – “Where can I find unflavored kombucha?!”
When I first began making kombucha, unflavored kombucha was easy to come by in any grocery store that carried kombucha. But things are changing and our favorite brands have been pulling the unflavored bottles from the shelves. Which leaves us with the question…how can I start my kombucha now?
Why you need unflavored kombucha
The unflavored kombucha (or “starter” kombucha) kicks off the reaction, producing a SCOBY over a couple weeks. But there are two things your starter kombucha needs to be:
- Unflavored: Store bought kombucha that has flavor is often watered down by juice, making it less potent. Ensure your starter kombucha is unflavored (or at the very least, minimally flavored).
- Raw: Kombucha should not be pasteurized and should contain live cultures (bonus points if it has gunky floaties in it, which help kickstart fermentation). Any kombucha that is sold at room temperature (i.e. shelf stable) is probably not raw.
Where to buy unflavored kombucha
Grocery Stores: Many organic or health food grocery stores – like Whole Foods and Sprouts – carry unflavored kombucha. My favorite brand of unflavored is GT’s Organic Original.
Facebook Groups: There are many Facebook groups filled with avid home brewers. Many groups don’t allow the selling of SCOBYs/starter, and will only charge you for postage. Our Kickass Kombucha Brewers group is filled with generous brewers from around the world, or find a local group specific to your area.
Craigslist: Craigslist (and similar local buy/sell websites) are filled with brewers selling SCOBYs and starter, usually for pretty cheap.
Friends: Have a friend who brews kombucha? They may have extra starter (or even a SCOBY hotel filled with potent starter)!