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
For the uninitiated, you can grow your own SCOBY from scratch with just a bottle of unflavored, raw kombucha. No fancy kits. No buying a SCOBY online. Just kombucha, tea, and sugar.
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.
Elizabeth commented “GT organic original has kiwi juice. Is there one with no fruit at all? Just tea and sugar?“
The Answer: Although it contains kiwi juice, this is the kombucha that has given our community the most consistent results. When it comes to unflavored store bought kombucha, GT’s Organic Original is our official recommendation!
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)!
Amazon: If all else fails, Amazon has a variety of things from SCOBYs to starter kits that can get you up and running.
26 thoughts on “Where To Buy Unflavored Kombucha”
Hello, the raw kombucha I purchased to make my scoby is GT’s pure, but it has kiwi juice in it. I’m not sure if my scoby will turn out the way it should, will this work? The link you provided in the next section, “first fermentation” leads me to amazon where I can find the exact bottle I bought that also includes the kiwi juice, but I’m not sure if this is the wrong one for making the scoby.
That one should work, despite the kiwi juice!
GT organic original has kiwi juice. Is there one with no fruit at all? Just tea and sugar?
That’s okay, that variety has worked well for us and many others! The kiwi juice is pretty minimal in that one.
I’m in the US, but my local “natural foods” store, which has been in business for more than 40 years, not only does not sell unflavored kombucha but also did not know what it is or where to get it. Many smaller cities and towns in the US don’t have a Whole Foods or other specialized grocery. Many places around the world have no access at all to this product, so please take a more global and less affluent-urban-US point of view. I have a background in internet security and refuse to participate in social networks, so please stop pushing that. What’s needed is a secure, reliable source of kombucha starter that doesn’t rely on insecure social network groups or US-based high-end grocery stores.
Hi Sara! Your best bet would be to buy it online then.
Geez Louise, that was a bit rude!
Your instructions are great, thank you so much for the detailed explanations.
I live in Egypt and unfortunately we don’t have any kind kombucha accessible – hence me wanting to make some on my own.
Is there no way to make this without the starter kombucha? Even if it’s a longer process?
You really need that starter colony of bacteria and yeast, otherwise there’s nothing to start it with! Can you order some online where you are?
can I ferment fresh tumeric by putting in the second fermentation of kombucha?
Yes! Here’s our turmeric kombucha recipe.
I want to make kombucha for the first time but I’m confused. Do I need unflavored, unpasteurized kombucha to make the scoby or do I need it to make the kombucha too? I purchased a dehydrated scoby. I don’t understand why I need to buy kombucha.
You need both. The kombucha is the starter, it contains all the bacteria and yeast needed to kickstart fermentation!
My husband’s SCOBY died and I want to surprise him with a new one. Are SCOBYs more like commercial yeast — interchangeable with no real difference among them — or like wild yeast — each with its own unique flavor and characteristics? If the latter, what do I look for to ensure I am getting a good quality SCOBY? Thanks.
Aw how sweet! They’re all very similar in flavor! 😀
Thanks. Now to find some unflavored, raw kombucha.
I’m making my first time SCOBY and it’s on day #7.
Is the SCOBY supposed to float to the top of brew when it is complete ?
It may be on top, but it can also float around the jar or sink. Doesn’t really matter where it hangs out! (More on that here)
I love this website!! It has everything anyone will ever need and the video’s and explanations make everything simple and are easy to follow.
This is my kombucha home now.
Thank you for giving us all everything we’ll ever need.
So happy to hear it, Fiona! Welcome to the kombucha fam! 😀
What kind of east is used to ferment the first Kombucha tea. Is it any east or specific east? I am from Mozambique and cannot get easily the starter or SCOBY.
It is naturally occurring yeast that’s in kombucha. Some online sellers have dried SCOBYs that you might try!
I have just discovered brilliant Kombucha.
But its 18 months old, and does not float to the top of the jar any more.
It has also stopped making new baby scoby, so I wondered if it is at the end of its life…….unable to find Kombucha raw tea, or reliable scoby to buy, as I was Given my first one.
After 18 months of no attention it probably is indeed dead. It needs a constant supply of tea and sugar to “eat”, otherwise the bacteria and yeast dies off. Check some of the links in this post (especially the FB groups!) where you may be able to get new starter.
I am new at this and find the recipes for kombucha very confusing. What is scoby, it’s not in the dictionary?
It may seem complicated at first, but once you get started it’s actually quite easy 🙂 A SCOBY is a “Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast”. It is what keeps the fermentation going strong. You can read all about the SCOBY here!