Continuous Brew Kombucha

How to Make Kombucha Using the Continuous Brew System and Why you would want to

Our family has been making Kombucha for years and this health-boosting drink is a favorite in our house. Many of my friends and family have been gifted a “Baby Kombucha” as my kids call the SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast).

What is Kombucha?

From a previous article:

Kombucha is a fermented sweetened tea that has been around for centuries. It is slightly tangy and slightly sweet, and a great treat on a summer day. Just as with water kefir, Kombucha can be double fermented into a fizzy soda with a slight fruit taste.

Kombucha contains high levels of antioxidants, b-vitamins, probiotics and glucaric acid. It has been reported to have a variety of health benefits including:

  • liver detoxification
  • improved pancreas function
  • increased energy
  • better digestion
  • improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
  • kills Candida (yeast)
  • helps nutrient assimilation

Kombucha has gained popularity in recent years and there are some pre-made commercial versions available and while they taste great, homemade versions are a much more frugal alternative (and equally delicious in my opinion).

Continuous Brew vs. Batch System

For years I had been brewing with the batch system for making kombucha and while I still really like that method, I’ve found that the continuous brew method is easier to fit in to our schedule now. As the names suggest, the batch method is where kombucha is brewed in batches and re-started with each batch by using the SCOBY “baby” and some of the liquid from the previous batch.

The continuous brew method involves removing only some of the liquid each time and replacing with the same amount of fresh brewed sweetened tea. This yields a fresher brew (in my opinion), helps it brew faster (good when there are 6 people consuming it each day) and takes up less room on the counter. This article from the Weston A. Price foundation talks about the benefits of continuous brew.

From that article:

The benefits of continuous brewing are both practical and nutritional. They include:

Less risk of mold and other contamination in kombucha batches, as once established, the liquid maintains a far more acidic environment, more hostile to outside invaders because of smaller amounts of free sugar and a greater population of good bacteria and yeast.

-Less overall work to produce more overall volume.
-More consistent supply of kombucha (a few bottles every day or every few days rather than having a large batch all at once).
-A broader array of bacteria and other beneficial compounds in the final product.

Continuous Brew System

The main difference in the methods is that continuous brew uses a container with a spigot so some of the brewed kombucha can be removed without disturbing the rest of the brew. Selecting a good container is important, as Cultures for Health explains:

Size. A continuous brew container should hold between 1 and 5 gallons.

Material. Kombucha should be brewed in glass or porcelain. Ceramic, plastic, crystal, and metal are problematic and generally should not be used.

Spigot. A continuous brew container should have a spigot located near the bottom of the container so kombucha can be drawn off without disturbing the contents at the top of the container. Do not use a container with a spigot that has metal on the inside of the container! Metal in contact with the Scoby is detrimental. Be sure to test the container and spigot thoroughly for leaks prior to filling it with the Kombucha mixture.

Cover. A cover serves two purposes. It should allow the gases created during the fermentation process to escape while keeping out transient yeast and bacteria as well as pests such as fruit flies and ants. If the container has its own cover, determine that the lid is not airtight so the gases can escape properly. If the container does not have a built-in cover, use a tight-weave towel, paper towel, coffee filter, etc. to cover the top. We also recommend securing the cover with a tight rubber band to prevent infestation by fruit flies and ants.

We have this three gallon glass dispenser (in picture above) because I found it on sale and it has a non-metal spigot and holds enough for our family. I have several friends who use a two gallon mason jar type jar with a spigot or this 2.5 gallon smooth glass jar with a spigot. Really any glass or ceramic jar with a spigot works as long as the spigot isn’t metal though you can also replace the spigot with a plastic version to make any jar work.

How to Get a SCOBY

SCOBYs are living and thriving colonies of bacteria and unfortunately, you can’t just pick one up at your grocery store. There are a couple ways to acquire a SCOBY.

  • If you know anyone who already brews Kombucha, ask them for an extra SCOBY and they will probably be glad to pass one on. the SCOBY has a “baby” every batch or two and this baby can then be used to brew Kombucha. This is the best way if you are able to find one.
  • You can order a SCOBY from an online source. Just make sure the source is reputable. I’ve seen SCOBYs on sites like ebay or amazon, but prefer a trusted site like Kombucha Kamp

Once you have a SCOBY, the actual process of making Kombucha is very easy! You’ll also want to make sure you have the correct amounts of tea and sugar for your container size.

Cultures for health offers this handy chart for proportions and it can be increased to fit your container size:

Screen Shot 2013 05 23 at 3.43.52 PM

How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha

There’s a few things you’ll need before making a continuous brew, including:

Equipment Needed

  • One glass jar (With spigot if continuous brewing)
  • A wood stirring utensil (never use metal in contact with a kombucha scoby!)
  • Cheesecloth, a coffee filter or kitchen towel to cover
  • A rubber band to secure the cover
4.9 from 26 reviews
Continuous Brew Kombucha
Prep time
Total time
A great way to brew Kombucha so you have a continuous supply without the need to constantly re-make and clean containers.
Recipe type: Drinks
  • One kombucha SCOBY (rehydrate first if you order a dehydrated one online)
  • Tea (I order in bulk here)
  • Sugar
  • Starter tea from a previous batch of Kombucha or vinegar (distilled white vinegar or pasteurized apple cider vinegar)
  • Filtered water (preferably free of chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride- we use a Berkey Filter to filter the contaminants but keep the minerals)
  1. Prepare the sweet tea. I use 2 tablespoons of loose tea, 2 family size tea bags or 8-10 small bags per gallon of water. Add 1 cup of regular sugar per gallon(organic preferably) Do not use honey!
  2. Let tea cool to room temperature and make sure it is really cool! This step is very important as too hot of tea can kill your SCOBY.
  3. Once tea is completely cool, pour into glass jar, leaving about 20% of the room at the top. Pour in the correct amount of liquid from a previous batch of Kombucha or if starting from a dehydrated SCOBY, pour in ½ cup from a store-bought bottle of Kombucha. If you don't have starter liquid, vinegar can be used instead.
  4. With very clean hands, gently place the SCOBY at the top of the jar of tea. It should float, though if it doesn’t just let it fall and don’t stick your hands in the tea!
  5. Cover the jar with the coffee filter or cloth and rubber band tightly (flies love this stuff!)
  6. Put the jar in a warm (around 70-75 degrees is best) corner of the kitchen where it is at least a few feet away from any other fermenting products.
  7. Let sit to ferment for around 7 days, though the length of time may vary depending on your temperature. You can taste test the Kombucha to see if it is done. It should taste tart but still very slightly sweet also.
  8. At this point, Kombucha is ready for a second ferment. If you aren’t doing the second ferment, just pour the kombucha into another jar or jars with airtight lids and seal until ready to drink.
  9. For continuous brew, we dispense in to several quart size mason jars with plastic storage caps (don't use metal!), leaving about 20% of the room on top.

Second Ferment (How to Make Soda!)

Kombucha can be consumed as soon as it is done brewing, but adding fruit juice or fruit can make Kombucha carbonated and slightly sweeter, which is often more appealing to kids. It is an easy second step too!

  1. Dispense the kombucha in to mason jars with plastic lids or these type of Grolsch beer bottles, leaving about 1/5 of the room at the top for add ins.
  2. Add fruit juice to almost fill the jar, or fresh fruit of choice and then cap tightly to allow the mixture to carbonate.
  3. Leave out at room temperature for 2-3 days to allow to carbonate, but check it carefully as pressure can build up and break the jars if left for too long.
  4. Store in fridge until ready to drink.

My favorite add-ins:

  • Minced ginger root and blueberries
  • 1/2 organic lemon (quartered) and 1/2 tsp grated ginger (tastes like Sprite)
  • Minced ginger root and citrus
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen berries
  • Mango
  • prunes and vanilla (Dr. Pepper/Cream soda type taste)

For more specifics, this video from Cultures for Health shows how to brew kombucha (batch method):

Special Notes for Continuous Brew

Some helpful notes from Cultures for Health:

“Timing Harvesting and Feeding. If desired, harvesting and feeding can be done every 3 to 14 days. We suggest weekly as that is the method used by most people. If you wish to draw off kombucha to drink daily but only feed the mixture weekly, be aware that kombucha drawn off at the beginning of the week is likely to have a higher sugar content than kombucha drawn off later in the week (further away from when sugared tea was last added).

Controlling Sugar Content. It is a bit more challenging to control the sugar content of the kombucha when using a continuous-brew system. If low sugar content is an important factor for you, be sure to draw off all the kombucha you will require first before adding the fresh sugared tea. We also recommend allowing the new sugared tea an adequate fermentation period prior to the next draw. For example, if you require kombucha with a low sugar content, we would recommend drawing off 2 to 3 weeks’ worth of kombucha from the brew system prior to adding the new sugared tea. We would then recommend waiting 2 to 3 weeks before the next draw to ensure the batch has fermented sufficiently.

Ongoing Cleaning of the Brewing Vessel and Spigot. We recommend only cleaning the vessel and spigot when warranted; for example, if the spigot becomes clogged with yeast particles or if too much yeast debris builds up in the bottom of the container. To clean the system, remove the kombucha and scoby and set aside in a safe container. Clean the system thoroughly using vinegar if possible. (Soap can be used but the container must be rinsed very thoroughly several times as soap residue will be detrimental.) Once the system is clean, the kombucha and scoby can be added back to the vessel, sugared tea can be added, and the process can resume.

The Large Scoby. One side effect of the continuous brewing system is the development of very large scobys as the scoby will generally cover the entire surface area of the liquid. The primary issue with large scobys is that after some time they grow very thick and take up valuable space in the container. While a giant scoby can be a fun thing to show off and possibly make a great prop for Halloween, you may want to reduce its size to allow more efficient fermenting. A very large scoby can be cut up using a non-metal utensil, and pieces distributed to friends for making their own kombucha.”

Do you make kombucha? Ever tried this method? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Oh I can’t wait to make this!! Just ordered my Scoby and I am now about to order tea. Just wondering which specific tea you order in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs, and what is an appropriate amount for beginners. Thank you :)

  2. My family loves kombucha! I made about 2 gallons at a time with the batch system. Our latest batches don’t have much fizz as they used to have. Has this ever happened to you? I wonder if I should start over making a new SCOBY from plain store-bought kombucha.

    • Unfortunately, you can’t make them from store bought anymore since the new regulations made them get rid of the .05% alcohol so they don’t create a scoby now…. Could be a problem in the batch method… what kind of sugar are you using?

      • Thanks, Katie. That’s unfortunate about the alcohol level – good to know. I’m using plain old white sugar, same as always. I let the scoby sit for a couple months, feeding it a few times but maybe it died from neglect.

      • I just recently started a batch of kombucha from a store bought bottle of kombucha. It appears to be going fine, the scoby has grown to be about 3/4 inch thick and I just finished bottling my kombucha to make the soda.

          • GT’s enlightened – Original Raw Kombucha. It’s the only brand I’ve seen sold out here in Arizona.

          • I successfully created a very nice healthy SCOBY from GT’s enlightened – Original Raw Kombucha, also. The result is delicious, too.

          • How do you make Kombucha from the GT enlightened brand? I live in Alaska so getting stuff shipped here is ridiculously expensive. We have the GT’s original raw kombucha here (I drink it all the time, but would love to start making my own). Do you just add the whole raw kombucha bottle to the glass container, add the tea and sugar and let ferment for 7 days?

          • How do you use store bought Kombucha to start your own and grow a scoby? We have GTs raw kombucha here so I would like to try that. Thanks!

        • You made me curious about the Kombucha in my refrigerator and sure enough it contains .05% alcohol so I am going to give it a whirl and try to create my own scoby from it. Thanks!

        • I too was able to grow a scoby from a store bottle (health-ade kombucha) BUT, I WARN it grew fine, but once I took my scoby and tried to do my first real ferment it took TWO MONTHS (and that’s after I had a 1/8 scoby!) During that time I found someone on freecycle willing to give me their baby and I was able to brew several delicious brews before my store bought bottle was even close. Also, the store/bottle made scoby brew didn’t taste nearly as good as the the gifted scoby. It was fine, but there is a real difference! Good luck!

      • I’ve got some kombucha from celestial seasonings and it has a warning label for that 05% alcohol, hoping to get a good scoby out of it!

      • Actually I made one just last month with raw live kombucha non flavored I got in a bottle at my whole foods store, took a month to grow but trust me it worked! It’s 2014 and it worked!

      • I made mine from store-bought kombucha. I just got the Synergy brand one that has the 21+ label on it. I added sweetened black tea and my baby SCOBY is growing great! It’s almost 1/4″ thick and it’s been almost 2 weeks.

      • If you buy the Kombucha from a health food store you may find it still contains live cultures and can create a scoby. I have a bottle from a local store that I sat on the counter for a few days, and it is forming a scoby already. If you post on Craigslist that you are looking for one you may have a response also. I have found one that way in the past here in Northern California. Not sure if the new regulations you are referring to are federal or state…maybe you could tell us specifically what regulations you’re referring to?

      • Actually I just grew a scoby from GT’s original brand kombucha, which has a 21 and older label on it due to it’s small amount of alcohol. Don’t get the GT’s enlightened as it has less alcohol. I just poured it in a large mason jar and covered with a paper towel and rubber band and put it in a paper bag on the fridge. I had a several layer scoby going after a while, a month or so I’d say. I’ve read you can start one with the store bought kombucha and sugared tea. Which I’m guessing will produce a scoby faster. I just made my first batch of continuous from said scoby, it tastes great!

        • I’m actually on day 10 of growing a SCOBY from a bottle of GT’s Enlightened Original Kombucha and sugared tea and am already seeing a thin layer of Scoby starting to form.

          • This is my first attempt at brewing. I did purchase a scoby and followed the recipe for the tea. How do I know if the scoby is alive? Mine is on the bottom of the jar, in the photo’s I’ve viewed it appears to be floating. Is there a way to tell if it’s active and doing what we want it to do?

            Looking forward to getting this right.


      • You can! I did from GT’s. I have been brewing for at least 6 months now and I have more scobies than I know what to do with. I’m always giving them away or feeding them to my dog. I have two, two gallon continuous healthy brews going from the scoby I grew:)

        • Hey Holly, I am looking to start my own continuous brew kombucha from a raw GT as well I am a little confused with the whole process. Did you start brewing the scoby in the 2 gallon jar or a smaller jar. Could you give me the step by step instructions you used?! :)

          • I have been told that a good way to grow a SCOBY from store bought kombucha is to pour it into a clean mason jar and add some organic berries/fruit to it. Then cover it with a coffee filter and rubber band, and let sit at room temperature. I haven´t tried this myself as I got my first baby from a friend, but I have heard of several brewers who has had good results with this method. Good luck:)

      • In July 2015 I bought 2 bottles of KT Kombucha from Marianos grocery. I successfully made a scoby from it. I have been making great Kombucha using that scabby and will continue to do so. KT worked beautifully.

    • Hi Katie. I’m going to order my scoby and hydrate to make the tea.Do i order the kit or just the scoby? Im new to this. Also to do the second fermentation to make soda, you just pour the liquid out throug the spigot with out disturbing the scoby, right? And replace with cooled tea? Thank you

    • Hi I have just been given a scoby which is the size of a side plate! The fermentation jar I have has a much smaller diameter. I have bought 3 fermentation jars this size. Can I cut the scoby into quarters? ( with a plastic knife) cheers Kate

      • I’ll answer in case Katie doesn’t see this (she can’t answer them all!) Yes, or just tear it with clean hands.

  3. So when I take liquid out, do I put the same amount in? Or restart the above methods with the scoby?

      • Every time you take out you must do it right then? Like how does it work if I want to expel two 30 oz bottles a day for second ferment. Could I do that daily and just replace daily and its always be ready??

      • Got a SCOBY from a co-worker and am doing the continuous brew method. Bottled 3 qts for 2nd fermentation today:) SCOBY grew to size of my big container first time…yay! My question, as I replace with 3 qts sweet tea cooled, how long before I can bottle more for 2nd fermentation? 7 days again? Thanks for all the good work you’re doing!

  4. I must be doing a continuous brew, but I use a siphon. I have my one-gallon batch, pull 4 bottles (washed GT Dave bottles), then refill it with the tea and a cup of sugar. I can pull another 4 bottles 5 days later and have consistent results. Otherwise I have to wait 7 days to get 5 bottles. I love math!

    • hi tim, can you elaborate and walk me through exactly how you siphon? what materials are you using? i am interested in the continuous brew but would rather not have to buy a new vessel with a spigot as i already have a 2.5 gallon glass jar. thank you!

      • Am about to use my new bottling wand! Go to a beer maker supply and ask for that! I have been making a continuous brew for a year in a 5 gal glass jar and was submerging a clean pitcher inside to get tea out. The bottling wand will be so much easier and cleaner.
        My issue is, I have been away from home for 6 MONTHS and left my tea going, but unattended. The scoby is HUGE,my thinking to make a couple batches without disturbing it and then cutting it down to size.

  5. When you do the second fermentation for a fizzy fruit version, you remove the original SCOBY – correct?

      • Hi Katie. I’m going to order my scoby and hydrate to make the tea.Do i order the kit or just the scoby? Im new to this. Also to do the second fermentation to make soda, you just pour the liquid out throug the spigot with out disturbing the scoby, right? And replace with cooled tea? Thank you

      • I got a scoby from a friend and started a batch a week ago Sunday. Just noticed there was a new scoby starting at the top a few days ago but now it appears there is some mold growing on the scoby. What could have caused that and do I have to throw it all away and start over or can I cut some of the shared scoby and use it and some of the liquid to start a new batch??

          • I was wondering about the spigot on the continuos brew method, it says no metal I am wondering if the stainless steel spigot is safe to use? I can’t wait to try the Kombucha.

  6. Just ordered my scoby, cant wait to do this. Can you tell me what kind of tea you order from Mountain Rose herbs? Also, i want to use organic Coconut palm sugar, would that work?

  7. If it is unsafe to use a plastic container to brew kombucha, why is it all right to use a container with a plastic spigot?

    Won’t chemicals from the plastic spigot leech into the kombucha?

    • Plastic itself is inert, non reactive, and does not leech chemicals, it safe for use in food and drink storage containers. Unfortunately straight plastic is also very brittle so they’ve created a number of formulations to make it more resilient and pliable so it can be made stronger and thinner. It is some of the plastic softeners and specific formulations that leech unwanted chemicals and false hormones, are reactive, and are damaging to human health. This is why you see most plastics for infants is now BPA free, for example, BPA a plastic additive is harmful.

      Many plastic containers and bottles contain plastic softeners so that they can be made thin and do not shatter when dropped. a plastic spigot on the other hand would be made with a ridged plastic and be inert and non-reactive to the acidic environment needed to grow kombucha.

      Some people choose to avoid plastics altogether, but once you start to learn about the vastly different types of plastic formulations you can start to differentiate between inert plastics and those that you truly do want to avoid, which is helpful in our modern plastic inundated world. I hope this helps.

      • Hello,
        I really didn’t see a clear answer to the question regarding the use of a stainless steel spigot for continuous brewing. Is the use of a stainless steel spigot ok? The plastic one on my glass jar seems flimsy and likely to leak so would prefer to use the stainless considering we are a family of 6 and it will be getting a lot of use. Thank you!

  8. Hi Katie, I’ve made continuous brew kombucha in the past but have discontinued due to pregnancies and nursing babies. Do you drink while pregnant and/or nursing?

  9. My first ever kombucha is brewing right now…so excited to try it! My youngest child is 16 months old…at what age do you introduce kombucha to your children?

      • Firstly, let me say that when I first came across kombucha I was well into getting a brew on. Then my husband asked me about the negative side effects of kombucha. To be honest I hadn’t even thought to look into the negative aspect of Kombucha. Then I read some articles with quite disturbing points made, about deaths and the bad bacteria that can creep in if the acid isnt correct and other diseases like hepatitis especially with home brew.
        What about the alcohol content, is there anyway to keep that to a minimum? How can I make sure the acidity is at a safe level so my brew doesn’t develop anything dangerous?

        The articles I have read have all stated that it shouldn’t be given to children, due to the irregularities in alcohol content from batch to batch. Personally my kids get flavoured water kefir.

        I wanted to brew using the continuous (my scoby is brewing as we speak) method but now I am unsure whether or not to throw it away because of the articles I have read discussing the danger of home brewed booch.
        Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  10. I want to mention gelatin comes from beef hooves, and as a vegan, I use agar agar flakes for a much healthier jelled product, vegans also do not use honey, and maple syrup is my preferred sweetener Just an FYI We get our protein from plant based sources only.

    • If you are looking for a great product in order to gel, use pectin. It is completely plant based and works great.

  11. Wow! When I started reading, I knew nothing of this drink and now I’m pretty certain I will be getting my own SCOBY. What do pediatricians have to say on giving children a beverage with 1% alcohol? I’d love my girl to benefit from this!

    I see people who say theirs is blueberry flavored. Do they add blueberry juice in second phase or are they using blueberry in phase one?

      • I have actually used raw honey in my kombucha with no negative side affects (even though I read not to, I wanted to try it because I prefer to buy everything I use locally). My SCOBY is going strong!

      • You also need to be careful with honey because it may contain Clostridium botulinum spores. The spores are harmless (to adults) and are unable to germinate due to the high sugar concentration in honey. However, if you give them a cozy environment they will germinate and cause illness.

  12. Katie – I had my first bottle of Kombucha (raw with Ginger) last weekend, trying to help get over a stomach ache and I was immediately hooked! I knew I couldn’t keep forking over the $3 a bottle so I’ve decided to start my own continuous brew thanks to your post. I’m wondering, when you add dates and vanilla, is it vanilla extract? Or some vanilla bean? Roughly how much of each are adding to the equivalent of 8 ounces? (This flavor is the most likely to get my husband on board so I wanted to make that right away.) :)

      • I’m so going to try the prunes and vanilla. Thanks for the info. My husband is a Dr Pepper addict.

        I searched for continuous brew kombucha because two of my kids & I drank my batch of kombucha for the week. Now that they like strawberry k’bucha I’m going to have make bigger quantities.

        Thanks again. You have helped our family so much. Magnesium, recipes, chlorine neutralization, and much more.

  13. I tried to do the second ferment but it didn’t carbonate and after three days gave me another little SCOBY on top. Do you know what I might have done wrong? I added cranberry juice and used quart mason jars with plastic lids.

    • Was it pure cranberry juice? Im guessing either it wasn’t fermented strongly enough the first time (the first run takes the longest and then it will be faster to add in subsequent times) or there wasn’t enough sugar in the cranberry juice to create carbonation.

    • The carbonation comes from producing gasses and being trapped in a tightly sealed container, so make sure that:
      1. your ferment is active
      2. your second ferment container is tightly sealed
      3. there isn’t a large air gap at the top of your second ferment container

      If it formed a scoby at the the top then likely it is active, most likely the culprit was the gasses escaping from the second ferment container, hence it went flat, same as carbonated water would. Remember to use strong bottles for second ferment carbonation, as you don’t want any bottles exploding, and make sure to leave them out for a full 24hrs prior to refrigerating. If they aren’t getting fizzy, feel free to leave them out longer, you can adjust the per-refrigeration time of the second ferment to increase or decrease the activity of the brew.

      I hope that helps. :-) Happy brewing.

  14. I’ve been reading about how to make kombucha and wanting to try it! I tasted store-bought kombucha recently and it’s delicious, but expensive, so I’m very interested in making my own, especially since I’ve heard it can really help with autoimmune issues and I have a little psoriasis. So far I’ve only heard about the batch method, but I really like the idea of a continuous brew method! I think I’m going to pick up some kind of large jar with a spigot and get started as soon as I find someone with a scoby to share! Thanks for the great post Katie!

  15. You said you use Black Tea. Can you use any tea, and if you use herbal, do you still get the “energy” from the Kombucha?

    • Yes, although a lot of sources recommend using 1/2 black tea and 1/2 of one of the approved herbal teas as the kombucha does best with some of the tannins from the black tea…

    • I used a herbal tea of ginger and Lemon, after nearly two weeks the scoby was VERY thin so the friend I got my scoby off, advised me to had more sugar, so I made a hot sugar syrup and put some blueberries and strawberries and a big knob of ginger and left that for an hour to steep the flavour and then strained it and put all the flavoured sugar syrup into the jar – wow, within an hour the scoby went from 2mm thick to about 2cm thick and the colour took on red, like strawberry and the flavour is absolutely beautiful, very moorish. I gave my mother some and she wouldnt give the glass back till every drop was gone. Im loving the experimentation with flavours. But the stawberry is definitely a go, with lots of ginger.

  16. Do you still use the water from the Berkey water filter? It’s crossed out in the directions so I was wondering if you had encountered any issues?

  17. I just harvested my first batch of continuous brew. It took a few weeks as my SCOBY was still a bit small as she was homegrown from a bottle of store-bought kombucha.

    She’s now nice and big and beautiful! I harvested nearly a gallon and a half.

    3 liters are second-fermenting with lemon and ginger, a fourth with pomegranate juice. The remaining is in the fridge being drunk plain.
    It is perfect!

    Thanks so much, WM for introducing me to kombucha in the first place and giving me the tools and know-how to set up my own system. It’s so worth it, and pretty awesome to drink something so healthful that I produced myself.

    I’m not a mama, I’m a guy, but I have implemented sooooo many of your ideas and recipes. For about three and a half months now, I eat paleo, make my own deodorant, body wash, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. I oil cleanse. I spray magnesium oil every night. I eat a tablespoon or two of organic coconut oil everyday. I grow my own organic vegetables and herbs on my patio. Whenever I am about to eat something or use it externally, I check the ingredients and ask myself, “Would WM approve?”
    I have quit smoking, drinking, and binging. I’ve quit taking my anti-depressant. My testosterone levels are going up and stabilizing, and I’ve lost 20 lbs so far.

    Best of all, I feel terrific!!!! You have really helped turn my life and health around.
    Just simply, THANK YOU!

  18. Hi! Thanks for the awesome article! I went to order the 3-gallon jug you mentioned and pictured, but the description says it’s crystal, not glass. Is it actually glass and just branded as crystal? The article mentions that crystal can be bad for Kombucha fermenting.


  19. I’m on my 2nd continuous brew and I’m wondering if I can remove the scopy->divide it-> then return part to continuous brew and start another. My question is, is it ok to remove->cut->return the scopy to the continuous brew container without cleaning it out?

  20. Have you heard concerns related to the teeth and drinking Kombucha? It’s very acidic, from what I understand – is it ok to drink it daily, weekly, monthly?

    • I’d probably rescue the scooby, and a bit of the liquid and use it to start a new batch, unless you like the strong vinegar flavor. It probably isn’t harmful as long as there is no bad bacteria spots on the surface, but it probably won’t taste all that good. :-)

  21. Hi there! I’m new to Kombucha and excited to try continuous brewing. Based in the UK I’ve been looking at the following two vessels. Could you please tell me which you think is more suitable? (I’d like to begin brewing on the small side). The first vessel’s tap is higher up. I wonder if this is an advantage as it allows room beneath for yeast sediment to build up undisturbed and it seems you only need to draw off half of the liquid anyway?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • If the spigot is metal but at the bottom and never actually touches the scoby is this a problem? Does it harm the brewed kombucha also??

      • As long as it is a non-reactive metal such as stainless steel then it is fine. Stainless is fine to use with kombucha, as a container, as a strainer, to scoop out the scooby. The cannot use metal comes from people using other metals then stainless, which react to the acidic environment kombucha creates, that is the only reason people are scared off of metal.

  22. HI i recently got a gift a nice big healthy scoby. when i got home (i live very remote and the nearest store is an hour away by boat) i had nothing to properly keep it in, and put it in a sterilized tub that is about 1.6 litres big. that was 3 days ago. I have found a nice 2 litre jar now and am wondering if i should move it now or wait till the week is up to move it? the tub its in is food grade plastic and i am not super worried about the plastic leaching, i am more worried about the scoby being unhappy. any advice is greatly appreciated and needed asap. btw the scoby is doing fine in there and looks to be doing its job so i am reluctant to move it but i also want it to be in the best environment for long term brewing! thank you in advance!

  23. I bought the 3 gallon container you recommended from Amazon, the Westbury witha plastic spigot and when it turns out it is crystal. It is the one you show in the picture but I am reading that crystal is not recommended. I am confused.

  24. My friend gave me her baby scoby a week ago and I’ve had it in my fridge ever since. Is it sill ok to use? I just haven’t had time to purchase a container.

  25. I just made my first batch i had to use vinegar to start with and i waited 11 days until another scoby grew. It taste little carbonated but very vinegary, with almost no sugar taste. My question is, do i seporate scoby from the tea and leave it in the fridge until im ready to make another batch? Or do i live it in the tea and store the whole big jar in the fridge until im ready to brew another batch?

  26. I’d love to start fermenting but I am nervous it would turn bad and get us sick if I don’t notice it. I live in Puerto Rico, is there such thing as too humid and too hot for fermenting?

  27. thank you for this post. I was concerned about the container you are using to brew and I found this on the Cultures for Health website:
    “Crystal: Crystal contains lead. do not use crystal to brew Kombucha”

  28. I would like to report that after reading the discussion board, I have successfully grown my own SCOBY from store bought Kombucha. I looked for bottles that had the .05% Alcohol content. It has been really exciting to watch it grow. It has been a slow process as I started growing it in a very small batch due to the high cost of the store bought kombucha. Once I grew a small SCOBY in an old pasta sauce jar, I transferred all of the kombucha and the SCOBY to a large glass container like the one shown above. I am now growing a large SCOBY that will allow me to produce large amounts of kombucha. I can’t wait to drink it. Thanks for all of your posts.

  29. I just drew down by first batch from a continuous brew so I could bottle it. The newly formed SCOBY that was on the top ended up on the bottom as I drew the liquid out, sitting atop its Mama. When I added the new bath of sugared tea (to replace the old) the baby stayed on the bottom of its Mama in the bottom of the container. Now, obviously, a 3rd SCOBY will form on the top. Did I do something wrong? Is there a way I could have added the new sugared tea without disturbing the top SCOBY so that one just grew a little bigger and stayed on top?

    • so, I really don’t know what I am doing but I have caused mine scoby to sink and with in a few days it is back floating on top. So, I made my scoby from store bought raw GT. What I did was drank all but about 1/4 of an inch. let it sit for a couple days longer in the fridge ( no method to my madness, just worked out I had no time for it til then). I brewed up some sweet tea with similar ratio of sugar to tea. And when it had cooled I filled up the GT bottle , covered with towel. and waited Took about two weeks but it worked. I have slowly moved up in the size of bottles. I am using a 1/2 gal jug which gives me about
      3 – 16oz bottles. I am ready to move on to a gallon now. But I do have a question about splitting up the mother scoby. Do you cut any special way. How much do you need to move to the next one that will make the kombucha in a realtive amount of time?

  30. I have used your instructions with great success and I’m very pleased with the Kombucha tea. We never have enough tea between batches because we like it so much. I want to increase my vessel size. I wanted to make 5 gallons continuous in a stainless steel 7.5 gallon pony keg. Will this vessel work for me?

  31. I ordered a scoby online to start my first batch of continuous brew :) would you recommend starting with adding some store bought kombucha that has been flavored and is fizzy or should I stick with vinegar?

  32. I am interested in this discussion, I have tried green tea kombucha in a tea bag from yogi teas, is this the same thing? I am extremely sensitive to any form of sugar, even using a little too much stevia can affect my insulin levels and cause low blood sugar reactions. Any idea how much sugar remains after fermentation? I am anxious to increase my probiotic use, my immune system suffered a major blow 10 years ago when I developed staph osteomyelitis in my spine after back surgery. I had major hemorrhaging requiring emergency surgery and 6 weeks of IV antibiotics but was left permanently disabled (previously was a family physician and distance runner) and susceptible to every infection that comes along. I have to severely restrict carb intake due to hyperactive insulin response so yoghurt is out. I take probiotic capsules but want to go with natural homemade solutions whenever possible so I have more control over quality. I found this website a few weeks ago and have been enjoying trying homemade health, skin and hair products. I still would love to get my husband converted but he is an engineer and thinks homemade can’t possibly be as good as commercial products. We do some organic gardening, but it has taken 30+ yers to get him this far.

    • Hi MaryAlma,
      I’m assuming you are not diabetic, but rather you are just sensitive to sugars and carbohydrate, right? I have type 1 diabetes and have never had to take insulin for kombucha, though I do have to take a lot for yogurt. In fact, the more I drink probiotics like kombucha and water kefir, the less insulin I have to take total. But I also have fewer lows, so basically, my numbers are more stable. I have never noticed taking probiotic capsules having any effect on sugar levels.

      Your response to stevia sounds like your body puts out insulin in response to taste, rather than sugar content, as stevia tastes sweet but has no sugar. Unless the kind of stevia you use is mixed with sugar alcohols (like most of the popular brands are), in which case, you might be sensitive to the ingredients added in with the stevia. Or maybe it is whatever you are putting the stevia in (for example, plain coffee causes blood sugars to rise and then drop).

      If you are worried about it, just try a bottle of store bought kombucha before starting your own brew. (My favorite brand is LiveSoda, which incidentally, made a scoby when my husband left out a bottle with about 1/4 cup of Kombucha in it.) Watch how you respond. It does not raise my blood sugar at all, so maybe it wouldn’t have enough sugar in it to bother you. But the only way to know is to try. Good probiotics and enzymes tend to help digestion, and I hope it helps you!

  33. I have been drinking kombucha for years, making my own off and on. I recently heard that it is full of fluoride, due to the teas (black and green) it is prepared with. Just wondered what your thought are on this–I LOVE kombucha and am hoping it is not bad for my health!

    • I don’t think so. I came from Vietnam and it’s very hot & humid there. My family did it in Vietnam and it was fine.

  34. The starting gravity of that recipe is 1.023 which in any other fermentation would yield 2.17% abv. Is the SCOBY yeast that different somehow or does the bacteria eat the alcohol? Just curious about the science? Nice site by the way.

  35. I just bought the large container you have, from the link you also provided. After re-reading, I realize you write that you don’t recommend using a crystal container although the one you use, and the one I bought is crystal. So, no problems with that?

    Thanks in advance

  36. I am just starting my kombucha…wondering, I have a 2.5 gallon container and plan to do continuous brew. When I start mine do I just follow your 1 gallon starting and multiply by 2? Do I need the full amount of vinegar?

  37. Just pulled my first batch. It is 17 days old. It tastes so much like vinegar that I can not drink it- took my breath away. Mixed some water in with it but that did not work. What should I do? Will second ferment help?

  38. I wanted to do a continuous brew kombucha, but the containers have plastic spigots. Doesn’t the plastic leech into the kombucha? Seems counter-productive. Syphoning sounds intetesting (if I could find a proper rubber hose)…never thought of that.

  39. Super helpful blog! Just wondering at what point does the kombucha go in fridge if I plan on making it with the second fermentation. The big container with a spigot stays at room temperature always? Thanks so much!

  40. I accidentally used a stainless steel ladle to prepare the tea that I was planning to use to top off my current batch. Do you think it’s still okay to use? Or should I start over?

  41. LOVE your website – I am continuously referencing it!

    I’m hoping you’ll be able to help settle my anxiety – I just accidentally got some organic coconut oil in my tea that I’m going to use for two batches of kombucha. I read that you’re supposed to avoid oil-based teas as they can lead to mold growth.

    Should I continue on and hope for the best??

    thank you!!

  42. Is it really such a big deal to make this and pour it gently off the top? SCOBYs aren’t really all THAT delicate, are they? I mean, the woman in the Cultures for Health kombucha tutorial video manhandles that thing pretty well!?

  43. I just finished bottling my first batch of kombucha brew made with a jasmine green tea, but I was mostly out of green tea so I used a combo of green and black just to experiment. Is the introduction of a new type of tea going to ruin the process? Is it going to be harmful to me?? I hope I didn’t ruin my SCOBY!!

  44. Thank you for your wonderful site..I wanted to do a CB KT for a while, so got a great glass vessel with a spigot for that purpose. But now I don’t know what to do because the spigot is Stainless and you have cautioned about metals touching the buch. I just cannot afford the pricy crocks, but they look like they have plastic spigots anyway, so that does not seem better to me. D you think I will ruin the buch if it ferments with the stainless?

  45. Hi there. Thanks for this article! It gave me a ton of great info. Once thing I am curious about with the continues brew method….I was told that Kombucha needs to be in a dark place. Do you keep yours on the counter?

  46. I’m new to Kombucha, my first “batch” (I’m doing continuous brew) is only on day 5 of it’s ferment, so I’ve been doing lots of reading. This post was extremely helpful for me to get everything set up and brewing. Among my reading I stumbled on a great article on the Weston A. Price website about continuous brew Kombucha. The section on BULK BREWING REPLACEMENT LIQUID is a great tip for all, you can read the article at We did a quick taste test today to see how the brew was coming and I just had to smile when my 3 year old ran off with the mug and hid in her room to drink it in private :) Thanks for all the wonderful info on Kombucha, and everything else. Whenever I want to look things up I always end up back here so I finally just subscribed, you can’t fight what works for ya.

  47. I like making my own organic/natural types of drinks/food that would normally be so expensive to buy premade. What drew me to your website was the instructions got kombucha. My husband is sensitive to smells, do I have to keep the glass brewing container at a distance?

  48. I have my first batch brewing & am 28 weeks pregnant. I have read a few conflicting pieces of info about booch & pregnancy, especially as I am not a regular drinker of anything fermented (yet) I am not sure if I should start or wait a while. I have some beautiful SCOBY’s in there, don’t want to waste it.
    Any advice would be lovely. I love your blog too btw :)

  49. Hi, I am just getting started with fermented foods and have my first batch of kombucha on the go. But ….. I realize I made a mistake in my measurements. I used 16 C of water to 1 C of sugar rather than 12 C of water. It is day 6 now and I’ve tasted it. No fizziness and a slightly sweet tea taste. The scoby is growing. Is this salvagable??? If it is not, can I still use a bit of the tea and the scoby to make another batch?

  50. Hi, from the tea site you mentioned you purchase in bulk. Which tea(s) have you tried and like/work well with brewing ‘bucha?

  51. Hi Katie,
    Can you clarify, once is have made the first batch (just like I watched in the video), whenever I take out a drink I just add that same amount back into the bottle of sweetened black tea, then wait 5-7 days to drink again or can you keep drinking it as soon as you add more tea? Or should I take out a few glasses and then refill with tea? this is if I don’t want to do a second ferment and make it fizzy.

  52. Thanks for the great post! I grew a SCOBY from a bottle of a friend’s kombucha and have a batch going in a glass jar with a plastic spigot.

    I’m still a bit nervous about having plastic (the spigot) in contact with the acidic kombucha. It seems like prime plastic chemical leaching conditions. I’ve read that stainless steel is an exception to the “no metals” rule with kombucha. Do you have any experience with stainless steel? I’m considering a stainless steel spigot on amazon, but I don’t want to harm my SCOBY’s new continuous brew environment.

  53. Hi Wellness Mama! This was a great How-To you posted and I had a question, as I am a Kombucha brewing virgin. Upon the first batch being fermented and ready to drink, I plan on draining out just enough for my beverage from the spigot at a time. I understand that I need to replace what I drew out with the sweet tea mixture, however, do I have to brew the sweet tea mixture with the same large amounts as when I made it for the first gallon batch or can I use less sugar and less tea if I am just going to replenish one consumed cup? I have a gallon container for the brewing. If I have to make a large amount of sweet tea again, do I just refrigerate that in a container and add to my brewing vessel as needed? Thanks and I look forward to your response!

    P.S. Is it possible to never have to clean the gallon brewing vessel?

  54. Hi Wellness Mama!
    I was wondering how long does the kombucha last in the fridge (what’s the shelf life) after the second ferment ?
    Love your site!

  55. I just bought my scoby and tea and container, I have two questions one is the container has a fake metal spigot so if it’s not actual metal is it acceptable? Two is for starter liquid can I use the stuff you buy at the store I usually drink reed’s culture club, or just stick with vinegar?

    • I had a “fake” metal spigot on my continuous brew. The acidity ate the paint off of the inside of the spigot and made the booch taste awful. I salvaged my scoby and bought some food grade plastic/nylon spigots.

  56. Hi Wellness Mame! I have a question about brewing my own Kombucha. I have followed all of your instructions, and my outcome was a beautiful SCOBY. Last Saturday I started my first fermentation of Kombucha, I even ordered a New Crock from you to start:) I had the thin layer start to grow on the top, but thought I saw spots of a little green, and dark. I took it off and took a picture of it, and cleaned off my SCOBY with water, but am not sure if I should toss everything incase its gone bad. Am I able to send the picture to you somehow?! Your help is APPRECIATED!!!

    • It is normal to see that variation and you should not need to clean it off. It will naturally grow a baby above it that will start like a thin white layer that may have some variation to it…

  57. Hello! Thank you for your blog!!!!
    Q.: Can you use dried berries or fruit for second fermentation? Do you need to hydrate them in the water first? How much to use?
    Thank you.

  58. Hi Katie, I just started the 30 day rehydration process of my SCOBY, then realized I will be on vacation when it’s ready. It will be ready July 11 and I won’t come back until August 2! What would you do? Have I just wasted my SCOBY?

  59. Hi! This is my first time brewing kombucha and I’m super excited! I did a second fermentation yesterday and released some of the air from the bottle ( didn’t want the bottle exploding) this morning. I just checked the bottles now and there is a scoby forming. It’s been almost 24 hours since I started the second fermentation with minced ginger and lemon juice. Did I do something wrong or is it okay?

  60. For the Continous Brew Kombucha to refill the container do I just pour the new tea/sugar batch in the top of the jar over the SCOBY? Thanks!

  61. Hello, I live in a country where kombucha nor scoby (nor any other fermented products) are sold. Any way to start from scratch completely with tea, sugar, water, and maybe probiotic capsules?

    • No, that won’t work unfortunately. Kombucha scooby isn’t the same bacteria in your probiotic, it is a highly specialized symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Fortunately there are plenty of places your can order scooby online and have them shipped internationally, you might as well pick up some milk and/or water kefir grains at the same time. :-)

      Just curious, I’ve never heard of any country that didn’t have a vast variety of fermented products for sale, which country doesn’t allow the sale of fermented products?

      • Josh, Thanks so much. I’ll just have to wait until I go to the US next. Country is the island of Mauritius, population 1.3 million. It is not that they don’t allow, it’s just not part of the culture here, haha.

  62. I may have missed it but I don’t see it specified anywhere how much you should leave in the main jar with the SCOBY when you draw out the what’s ready into bottles for a second ferment.

    I suppose leaving around 2 cups (as mentioned for starter when starting the first batch) would be enough?

  63. Me again.
    I’m also not 100% sure, you say add the fruit juice OR the fruit add-ins for the second ferment? So is there no additional sweetener needed if you just add, say grated ginger and lemon juice?

  64. Can this be made with herbal or red teas (or even decaf)? I’m very sensitive to caffeine, so I don’t really want to use black or green teas because of their caffeine content. Thanks!

  65. I have been using decaf black tea since I started making kombucha 4 weeks ago, and have had lots of brewing success. This allows me to consume kombucha after dinner, without any caffeine side effects. Thanks to you, WM, for all your encouraging instruction. You rock!

  66. I am new to all this, but I made a ginger bug, FUN, then made cherry vanilla soda yum then I had some Hibiscus tea
    and decided I should make a probiotic tea, and mixed it with ginger bug, so yummy then I made Probiotic lemonade
    mixed it with the Hibiscus tea sooooo good. It’s all too yummy

  67. Hello everyone,

    I’m not sure if I missed the point of the article, but I am still unsure of how to continuously brew Kombucha? Can somebody please explain how to do this?

    • Yes, I’ve been making kombucha tea for many years and am interested in the continuous method, but I’m a little confused. I’d like more instructions on this process. Thanks.

  68. I have been brewing for a couple of years. My biggest problem is the yeast growth on the inside of my spigot. It is a real pain to have to clean this all every 10 days when it is time to drain and add new tea mixture. Does anyone have this problem or any cure for this problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • I also had this problem recently, and have been brewing since June. The flow diminished to the point of ridiculous. So yesterday, I took the spigot off and got in there with a dental cleaning tool and fished the most impressive little scoby out of it. All I can think of is that a tiny strand of scoby got caught in there, and went crazy. Now it’s clog-free as the day I started. From now on, I am going to try blocking the scoby from getting too close to the spigot, using a spoon. Perhaps that will help.

  69. Hi, ive had a batch of kombucha brewing for 1 month, the p.h. is at 3.5-4.0 but the kombucha is pretty strong flavored and really fizzy. My concern is the the original mother scoby made a baby scoby, then separated, then the mother and the baby scoby both made baby scobys all in the same brewing batch, is this safe? The kombucha looks ok and the ph seems not to bad, has anyone experienced 4 scobys in one extended brew session, imn using a 1 gal glass container and oolong tea with 1 cup organic cane sugar for the brew by the way. Any advise would be helpful thank you

  70. I’ve been brewing continuous brew kombucha for awhile. I had a lovely, big scoby and when I’d pull tea from it, it was always delicious. My problem is when I try to do the second ferment. The second fermentation always smells like sulfur. I use bottles and caps from Synergy brand Kombucha. I boil the bottles and caps before using. Then I wash with vinegar. I’ve tried fresh fruit, frozen fruit, 100% juice, pom concentrate and combinations of all of the above – but always the sulfur smell!! I’ve tasted it and it tastes fine, but I can’t get past the smell. I’ve tried leaving the 2nd ferment from 2 to 12 days to see if that fixes or changes the smell – it doesn’t. Last month,fruit flies got into my scoby (my nephew removed my jar cover) so I’m starting fresh again!! Any ideas or help on my 2nd ferment and what’s going wrong would be so appreciated! I use organic black tea bags and plain white sugar for my tea.

    • try placing a dab of essential oil (your favorite) under your nose before drinking….maybe something sweet like sandlewood or lemongrass

      otherwise I have not ever experienced a sulfer smell or flavor from kombucha although vinegary is common and can be a sign the batch was left going too long….

  71. Has anyone ever experienced bad side effects when they STOPPED drinking Kombucha? My husband and I had been drinking GT’s Kombucha daily (a bottle each) for about 6 weeks. One day our store was out so we just stopped drinking it – cold turkey.

    My husband felt pretty bad for a couple of days and had diarrhea for a couple of days but was then fine. Me, on the other hand, I was find for the first few days. But then started having constipation and tension headaches. By the 6th day, I was also having mood swings and anxiety. I finally pieced together that it must have been the Kombucha and had my husband pick me up a bottle on his way home. I felt immediate relief from all symptoms and becam (ahem) regular again within hours. That was yesterday – today I have no appetite. I’m trying to only eat detoxifying foods because I assume I had a large build up of toxins in my body. It seems like anytime my body tries to digest food, I get very tired and weak. But then feel normal again once the food has been digested.

    I’m going to see my ND on Friday to try and figure out what is going on. In the meantime, I’m wondering if anyone out there thinks this is a normal effect or if I should go to the hospital.

    Thank you,

  72. Most, if not all Kombucha questions are well answered in a book by whom may well be THE Kombucha guru, Gunther W. Frank, titled “Kombucha” (also on the cover “Healthy beverage and natural remedy from the Far East. Its correct preparation and use.”) It’s at Amazon for under $17.

    He provides the science and testing data, also presenting pros and cons, and multiple views on preparation, leaving the reader bettter informed to make one’s own independent evaluation on preparation and use.

    Gunther writes from years of experience, but also from the studies of others covering a century, including scientific data involving different teas and sugars for fermentation. Black tea and plain white sugar, as a basic principle, are recommended.

    I personally appreciated learning that even herbal tea concoctions would benefit from at least a little black or green tea added (the tannins) to create the best nutrient solution for the Kombucha culture to maintain its own metabolism.

    He also presents results from sugars: even pure whole sugar produces a different, unpleasant-tasting tea and he explains the effects of honey’s oils on Kombucha. While he notes that people express positive results using honey, he comments that it could eventually cause the Scoby to quit producing.

    HOW MUCH to drink and WHEN are discussed, and the reasons why, again, based on not only his experience but also considering the quantities consumed by the cultures who have long used Kombucha.

    He even lists over 80 different names given to this brew! I have zero questions after reading this book, but do enjoy learning from the comments posted here about peoples’ own experiences, as, after all, variety is the spice of Life. :-)

  73. Quick question: I was given a SCOBY with about 1 cup of starter fluid, but I am making 2 gallons of brew. Should I add another cup of vinegar or another cup of store bought Kombucha? Cheers.

  74. Hi, and thank you for the great info. We have been doing this for a couple years using a ceramic crock with spigot, but you mention that ceramic is problematic. Could you explain why? TIA!

  75. I used decaffinated black tea, Earl grey. Did all the proper steps and now realized its a double NO! I need caffeine and no earl grey. Is this save able? It’s been in 6 hrs.

    • I make it with Earl Grey all the time, it turns out lovely. It is one of my preferred teas to make it with. I’ve also made it with Jasmine Tea, Lychee Tea, Rose Tea. These are all natural flavors in the teas from flowers and fruit and none of those will affect the growth of your kombucha one bit.

      Also, the caffeine isn’t necessary, I know people who make it with decaf tea regularly, and they’ve never had an issue.

      So my advice would be to let this batch grow, and next time try something different if you don’t like the results.

        • Likely it would turn out just fine. In kombucha, the tea provides necessary nutrients and the sugar the food/fuel. Raspberry leaf is very nutrient dense and full of almost everything kombucha would need to be healthy. Switching to any alternate medium from herbal teas to juices is almost always successful for the first batch, which is identical to a second ferment, it is pretty hard to get the first batch wrong. Where things can go wrong in an alternate medium is over time the scoby could weaken or the yeast/bacteria balance could shift out of balance. These symptoms are usually evident by the 3rd to 5th generation batches. So keep an eye on it, if you get to the 8th – 10th generation batches and everything is still good you know you’ve successfully and stably transitioned your mother/scoby to the new medium and don’t have too worry much from that point on.

          You might consider the foolproof method of having several scoby mothers, and alternating them to make raspberry leaf tea batches, and letting them rest in a standard black tea sugar solution between batches. this will keep them strong and is guaranteed to work and keep them healthy and balanced. I use a similar method to make coconut milk kefir using milk kefir grains, it works great. I’ve done this with kombucha and juice had it work well, and juice isn’t nearly as close as raspberry leaf tea is to kombucha’s ideal nutrients.

          Best of luck and feel free to post back with progress or questions. I’d love to hear how it goes, we all would. We are all in this together and the more info we share about our experience both successes and failures, the better off we all are for it. :-) Cheers.

          • google and read up on “scoby hotels” if you want to read more about how to rest and alternate scoby mothers between batches. Yeah it is a funny name, but that is what the jars you rest them in are called. :-)

  76. My son in law gave me a scoby in a ziplock bag in some sweet tea. She has been in the frig for about a month. I made sweet tea, let it cool and put it in a clean jar. Then slid the scoby into the new tea. The medium she was in smelled like old, spoiled tea. I poured most of that down the drain. She sunk to the bottom of the jar, but a day later, she is at the top. Does all this sound normal?

    • It’s possible your starter mix was just very fermented. Left unrefrigerated, fermentation continues into a (very!) vinegary state. Refrigerated, the brew and scoby go dormant and can keep for a few months. The vinegary “tea” is fine to drink, if you are the sort who can drink vinegar for those health benefits (not me!), or for whatever uses for vinegar you may have, i.e. salad dressing.

      Everything I’ve read says to always use some (1/2 cup or more) of the last brew’s tea with the scoby when starting a new batch, and although you tossed most of the liquid, some tea is permeating the scoby, so I’d think the new batch your have just prepared is fine.

      Signs that it isn’t working are: you don’t smell the increasingly stronger odor of fermentation as days go by; a new baby scoby does not grow on top; and your friend’s scoby doesn’t drop to the bottom (eventually); and you do not achieve a sweet, fruity, I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Tea drink.

      TIPS (I don’t think I saw in the posts):

      RETIREMENT: A reused mother scoby will darken after so many batches. Half dozen? More? When the mother scoby darkens (mine turned brownish, or is that tea color?), it is recommended to retire it. DO NOT put it down your drain/garbage disposal, in case it grows and clogs up plumbing. It can be thrown away or returned to Nature, however, if in a vinegary state, vinegar instantly kills (dehydrates) flora that it TOUCHES. So if the kids run outside to take it back to Nature and you find a scoby-sized dead spot in your lawn, you’ll know what happened. :-)

      WASHING: It still works fine if you wash a scoby going into a new batch in clean water (boiled & cooled water is one way). I just rub clean hands over it very lightly to remove slime and any stringy stuff, or pull off a loosely-clinging odd layer wannabe-scoby. All are parts that contain healthy goodness, but freak me out, lol, so I start “clean.” More will grow anyway.

      • In Gunther W. Frank’s book, “Kombuca: Healthy beverage and natural remedy from the Far East, Its correct preparation and use,” pages 101-103, there are guidelines for both refrigerating and freezing the SCOBY. (Scoby is properly capped, but please allow the ease of lower case).

        I rely on the “wisdom of the ages” in Frank’s book as a kind of bible on Kombucha. It includes years of study, experimentation and interviews, along with consultations with scores of professionals backed with their scientific data.

        When I read the different recipes and sweet substances we Westerners are trying, appearing successful (tastes good, made a scoby), I have to ask, is it really the health tea we’re intending? Likely not, especially if using honey, even though it may have some of the benefits. Here’s where the collected science in Frank’s book is a HUGE help, i.e., offering a multitude of opinions and data that allows readers to make informed decisions on ingredients necessary for creating true Kombucha.

        His topic of refrigeration covers how to care for the scoby when being gone for a prolonged time. He prefers cold cellar storage, partly because of no need to keep a refrigerator running during a long absence and certainly concerned about the lack of oxygen to the scoby.

        He comments hearing about refrigerating in a screw-top jar filled with ready-fermented Kombucha, which is apparently successful, but points out the lack of oxygen causes the micro-organisms to “virtually completely cease their vital functions,” which results in a “marked phase of delayed activity.” So there he indicates there is no death of the scoby, only a longer period to ferment.

        Freezing is more complicated, doable at home with freezer temp adjustments so as to not create ice crystals that damage cell walls, on the order of flash freezing. One quoted professional confirms that “death by freezing is hardly possible.”

  77. Katie, i have a question. Once i fermented my kombucha, can i serve and drink it in a stainless steal container?
    I know that for fermentation i shouldn’t

  78. two questions. one. curious, for the continuous brew…once you dispense them in to mason jars. do you just repeat steps one through seven again???? only skipping step 4 (adding the scoby, because it’s already in your gallon jug)? just wondering how you keep continually making it. two. i have a scoby from a friend in a little bit of liquid. can i use that liquid as the starter tea or should i buy kombucha at the store?

  79. Question, I only had one scoby, so i started with a gallon. I pour some off and replace with the same amount. but my question is, can i still turn my brewing batch into a larger batch or will i have to start fresh (over), I wanted to brew gallon at a time but my scoby was for only one gallon. I have read some comments on how scoby grows but still confuse as if i can increase my current batch without starting over or it i needed two scoby? I am new to all this and it is a lot to take in…….

  80. I read a few articles advising against the consumption of more than 4 oz of Kombuha a day because of the risk of metabolic acidosis, which can be fatal, as well as liver damage. How much Kombucha do you drink a day?
    I really want to try this, but my husband is not much of a water drinker, and I’m afraid the risk of metabolic acidosis will be increased if one is perpetually dehydrated.

    • I was never much of a water drinker either and this will sound like a sales pitch, but so be it. As an Army brat, during world travels sometimes the color of the water (green, purple, blue, brown, OMG…) determined even whether we’d bathe that night or even brave the toilet!, and out of the question to drink even boiled and then chlorinated water.

      Here in Colorado Springs we have really great tap water (just heard we’re now best in the nation), that is, as treated water and chlorine goes. Still, I’d make myself drink half a glass, ditch the rest, then chide myself however do I think I’ll get 8 glasses a day; of course, with my attitude (life’s experiences), NEVER have.

      Then with a small inheritance, a gift if you will, I thought I’d get some cool health stuff, not remotely thinking WATER (visions of memory foam and a far infrared sauna dancing in my head). I accidentally ran into an amazing thing, so simple and natural, I took a risk, even with no real interest in water. Now I choose water over most anything else (and my coffee is dang good with this water!), delicious, oxygenated, even FEELS good in my mouth, seriously; and my skin and hair are soooo soft!, and I’m a very dry person, so this is really quite the testimonial.

      Once I got it, I went crazy over KNOWING that this was one answer to the global water crisis, and became a distributor a week later. Kid you knot. My web site for the hows and whys is, and this is a simple plumbing pipe (no filters, one time purchase, no maintenance EVER — see, just to talk about it is a sale pitch, can’t be helped), a pipe that vortexes and implodes water molecules just like waterfalls and the eddies/whirlpools in rivers, which implosions break molecular bonds to toxins, chlorine, pollutants, and releases them, restoring the water to a pristine state. Nature’s natural cleansing system and maddeningly enough, it’s been out since the 30’s in Europe, but then it took awhile for Kombucha to get to us, too.

      Now I’d never had waterfall water before, but next time I’m near one, I will! (Rainwater is great and undergoes a similar restructuring, except loses the minerals and drags pollutants down with it from where we blew them…)

      Maybe your husband would have a change of heart like I did (believe me, I’m a stubborn one), and dehydration would not be a problem anymore. Then neither would Kombucha. :-)

      I’ve, BTW, just started rehydrating a scoby with my vortexed, imploded water — the restructured stuff that has no chlorine, likely no flouride, and the oxygen is now un-bonded and available to be easily absorbed and useful again as a natural antibacterial, but which is still just water out of my faucet! — so I’ll let you know how that goes.

      Thought it would be interesting to see what a scoby would do with it since my plants are THRIVING on it and my pets SHOW me which water they want. They don’t lick, lick, lick…they lap, Lap, LAP, LAAAAAP, you can HEAR the much greater gulping of it. Pretty amazing stuff. (Even sweeter smelling laundry; cleaner water, right?)

      Anyway, not exactly an answer to you, but maybe so? If someone doesn’t like water, THIS will change THAT. 99.95% positive. (After all, I don’t own the market on stubborn.) 😀

      • I am curious to know the name of the water filter you are mentioning, and it sounds like it filters all the water in your home not just drinking water? i hope you can explain, I am very curious….

        I have an alkaline water filtration system and was wondering which setting of water to use for this. Since we will boil the water to make the tea I was considering using level 2–cooking water.

        Does anyone know how alkaline water does making kombucha? Im thinking, it will work great1

  81. I am allergic to cane sugar, beets ( so no sugar beets) and corn (so no corn sweeteners). Have you heard of anyone having success with another form of sugar? I know no honey. I wondered about coconut sugar, rice syrup, maple syrup or some combination of both. I am hoping there is an option for me! Thanks!

    • Just a thought, cane sugar properties are changed after fermentation, maybe like the radical changing of lye to skin soap, but I’m no scientist to know what actually happens to the sugar. I have read, however, that the sugar ingredient is no longer the threat of its original form, so with Kombucha such an aid, you might try making a batch and seeing if you still have a problem with it??? Kombucha does best with cane sugar. I would think, however, continuous brewing would not work for you, as it would usually contain some unprocessed sugar still undergoing fermentation. So just a thought. Hope you find a way. :-)

    • Have you considered Jun fermented tea? It uses a Jun culture, green tea, and honey as the ingredients. I hear it is similar to Kombucha but with a lighter taste.

    • I made wonderful kombucha 20 years ago and we always used honey and it was so good I could never stop drinking it! Divine.

  82. Thank you! I did some research and from what I am studying the other options don’t work. However, I did read that honey can be used as long as it has been pasteurized first ( I usually do local raw honey). I will give it a try!

  83. I have recently started making kombucha at work (County of Maui) with my co-workers and we are loving it….we did not know about the metal utensils restictions and thus far have scooped sugar and starter komucha with metal unensils. We have also cut the scoby with metal knives and used metal mason jar lids with no problem. We are changing our ways now as we don’t wann hurt the scoby but so far ours have persevered and multiplied well!!

    We have used store bought kombucha as starter and have also used our own kombucha and tried starting with vinegar…I did not like the vinegar kombucha to drink but it worked fine to start a new batch with.

    In my office we have let batches go ranging from 7 days to 12 and have found the longer it goes the more vinegarey it is but always drinkable.

    We recently learned about the second fermentation process and have begun experimenting with that and by using 3 different teas to start to then test and see how each tastes relative to each other…to those batches we plan to add fruit and herbs and see how that goes!!! Very excited bunch we are. One co-woker found that she could start drinking hers at 4 days to which she added tumeric ginger and lemon, YUM!

    We are very excited to try some new flavor combos….I recently decided to try it at home and added fesh squeezed lime and orange juice and a passionfruit with a touch of agave and my family is in love!!!! I am starting my first round of second fementation with one batch now…we added lime juice, lilikoi and ginger slices….yipppie!! cant wait to try it!!!!!

    btw, we tried with agave and it didn’t work :( so far we have been using plain white sugar but plan to switch to evap cane sugar next time we buy a bag…..

    Can anyone advise what sugar they found is best and/or recommend some great second ferment recipies??

    Also: Do you add more sugar to the second fementation batch?

    • Stacia, that’s great that you’re doing this with coworkers! I wonder if the agave didn’t work because it’s all or almost all fructose??? I have used Rapunzel Rapadura sugar. I think it’s called whole cane sugar now or something (instead of rapadura). It’s not heated and the molasses stream isn’t ever separated in the process. I love the taste but NOT in kombucha. My whole family thought it was so awful we threw out that batch and went back to plain ol’ organic sugar. It tasted like something was wrong. I mentioned it to a group online and they all thought it was fine in their kombucha. Our favorite second ferment addition is hibiscus. Everyone who has tasted it says it’s the best they’ve had. It always gives us a nice fizz. We also like adding a couple blueberries or one strawberry. Oh yeah, and a piece of ginger with a piece of lemon (no peel). We don’t add juice or any sweetener to the second ferment. If we let it go too long we might add a drop of liquid stevia to each bottle. Hope you’re still having fun creating flavors!

      • I am using organic coconut sugar and my kombuca is delicious. I also use organic green or black tea and filtered water.

        I am traveling for ten days next week and would like to bring some kombuca. I read the second fermented batch turns vinegary if not refrigerated — if it is in a cool place how fast does that happen? Hoping to travel with this!

        Thanks for any thoughts, Patricia

  84. I’ve been wanting to make kombucha for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to it. It’s definitely on my long to-do list (getting tired of spending nearly $4 a bottle at the store).

    My question — I’ve heard that it’s important to maintain an optimum temperature when brewing kombucha. How do you all do that?

    • I’ve never checked the temperature and was making it for 2 yrs. If you keep your house warmer it might ferment faster.

  85. I love this website! Lots of great info here. I have been making kombucha tea for many years.The process is super simple. I use a 1 gal glass jar such as the type used for sun tea. It has no spigot as it is just me drinking the kombucha. I use organic black tea and organic sugar. I got some mason jars at the thrift store and fill these with my fermented tea leaving about 2 cups starter with the ‘mother’ mushroom in the gal jar. I just pour it off the top into the mason jars. I close the mason jars with plastic lids and place them in the refrigerator to drink during the week. I pour the black tea I made and cooled into the gallon jar with the ‘mother’ and the starter, cover it with a coffee filter and rubber band and put the whole works into a cupboard, shut the door and done for another week. I found it interesting that no one mentioned when making the black tea you will pour into your container you must use only a glass or stainless steel pot to boil the water. Also noticed no mention of using distilled water only. Stainless and glass or wood only should be used in this process. This is how I learned from an American Indian tribe and have had great success. Yes my finished product is very tangy! The longer you let the tea ferment the tangier it gets. I have not let it ferment longer than 10-14 days.

  86. hi i have just been given some kombucha and a scoby.
    just wondering how do i store scoby and if i can and for how long ??

  87. I have been using the continuous brew method for a few months now but recently neglected my whole batch until it was complete vinegar and the scoby was HUGE – I’m talkin’ 3-4 inches thick here) and I decided to start over with a chunk of the scoby and a starter amount of the existing vinegary tea. I used Oolong tea instead of black tea for the first time. It is 8 days into the brew, and while it does have a general kombucha flavor, and has formed a new SCOBY, it is still surprisingly sweet and has no carbonation to it whatsoever. Is it possible that my SCOBY is dead (or suffering somewhat due to being neglected for so long)? Or, do you think the different kind of tea is just making it taste that much different? Or, do I just need to wait a little longer since this is the first brew of a new batch? I am very excited to try a second brew as you described to help the amount of fizziness.

  88. I’m new to making Kombucha and it’s going really well and I love it. I have a quick question – does the Scoby have a limited lifetime? Should I throw out the original Scoby after a certain number of brews, or a certain time, or how do I know when it’s no longer healthy?

    Thanks so much for any input you can give me

  89. I was wondering if you could use a SCOBY to ferment a pure pressed fruit juice like pomegranate juice without adding water or additional sugar. There is significant health benefits to fermented pomegranate juice and I’m trying to find a decent way to do it. Any thoughts?

    • Why not add pomegranate seeds to your second ferment?!

      Someone asked a question about coconut oil followed by kombuca. It is my understanding you should have your kombucha first thing in the am or last thing at night. It is your probiotic. Coconut oil is a good healthy fat – your omegas! Coconut oil or coconut products are not probiotics. Have this with your food.

  90. Thanks for the great article! Excited to get my Kombucha going. I clicked the link for the bulk tea you order from, it took me to the main page of their site. Which tea do you use for Kombucha? Can you use any tea? Thank you in advance

  91. Have you ever flavored the kombucha with liquid stevia and then bottled it? I bottled it and it tasted great when it was done but it had a sulfur type smell to it – quite unpleasant. Any idea what happened? Would it be possible to sweeten it with xylitol before bottling?

    Basically, I am trying to make a sugar free kombucha that is still sweetened with a natural sweetener that doesn’t spike the blood sugar at all (stevia/xylitol).. End product is supposed to be a bottled, fizzy, kombucha with stevia sweetner or xylitol. I just do not know what caused the sulfur type smell! Thanks in advance for your help! Love your stuff.

  92. I have started to brew Kombucha at home and at first before I started, I conducted a little research on Kombucha. The Internet provided me with horror stories of problems with Kombucha which put me off making it. After careful consideration I cautiously began to brew Kombucha and conducted further research. Personally I was surprised to find that over 3000 and more different types of food additives which we are exposed to have more serious side effects and health concerns are not addressed by the health and drug authorities. Kombucha has been unnecessarily highlighted while food additive which have been scientifically proved that they cause cancers and other illnesses don’t receive the attention and that they should be concerned about.
    Unfortunately the very ill or desperate people use Kombucha when they have an array of health problems and when they get ill or die they try to lay blame on Kombucha Tea. They also don’t tell you that the victim was also on all sorts of other toxic medication. Thousands of people die every year from toxic effects of medication and nothing is done or said about those cases.

    Kombucha is perfectly safe and it has changed my life.

  93. i made kombucha tea over 20 years ago, drank it every day for at least 6 years.,most of my friends did also, we quit making it because the house smelled like vinegar we didn’t know about the second fermenting process for flavors and fizz. i’m anxious to try this , also we used punch bowls and pyrex bowls which made a real large Mother. i will prefer a smaller one from a jar.

  94. Have been making kombucha for a little over a year and just recently switched to continuous brew…SO much easier! However, unsure of how many scobies I have growing in my jar. Am I suppose to remove them each time? Because each time i pour in more sweet tea (same temp. as cont. brew) the scoby sinks a little and either separates from the top and then a new scoby forms on top or sinks and then a new scoby forms on top. Just seems like a lot of scobies in one jar? Any suggestions?

  95. I’ve been following you for some time (less than a year) and I am very grateful for all your insight in being well. I am starting to brew my own Kombucha. I guess my question is: when you add your new tea, does it matter that it disturbs the one already there?

    • No. You will get something completely different. In fact, nobody mentioned it but if you have to use vinegar as a starter it should be distilled white vinegar. At least that’s what I’ve always read.

  96. I’ve just drawn off my second batch of continuous brew. Just as before, it is already ‘carbonated’ and fizzy. This isn’t mentioned in anything I’ve researched. The top of the 2gal jug is covered in cloth so gases can escape. What would cause it to fizz already? Also, I tried a secondary ferment with blended cherries on the first draw off. The glass jars were tightly sealed with plastic lids and after 4 days at room temp (75F), they were refrigerated for 4 days. Just opened one and there was no fizz left. It’s flat?! The taste is fine but the straight-from-the-mother kombucha has fizz and a secondary ferment doesn’t…?

  97. So when first starting the batch, exactly how much liquid from a previous batch of kombucha do I need to add? All it says is the “correct amount,” so I’m a little lost!

  98. He’ll Katie. I was just wondering if you have ever tried using flavored teas such as hibiscus and coconut water instead of water?

  99. Crap! I stuck my hands in the tea. They were clean, but then I went back and re-read the instructions, which clearly state, “Do not stick your hands in the tea.”

  100. Do you have any concerns about the flouride level in kombucha? I just read an article that raised that concern….

  101. Hi all, great thread…
    I’m about to start brewing my first batch of Kombucha. It was a store-bought scoby in liquid in a sealed jar and has been in my fridge a couple of days. I’m going to try the continuous brewing option as I have an 8 Litre glass dispenser with a plastic tap.
    However I’m currently breatsfeeding my 6 month old and my question is whether Kombucha is safe to drink when breastfeeding?

  102. After I make my gallon of Kombucha and put my Scoby in a quart jar (with one cup of the Kombucha) and leave on the counter do I need to feed it? I wondered if I should add a teaspoon of sugar to it to keep it viable or is it OK to just leave it. I wasn’t going to make a new batch just now. I’m concerned it will turn to vinegar.

  103. This is all very new to me but I don’t drink tea. Is there a way I can make kumbacha with any kind of fruit juice or other nutritious drinks?

    • Just wanted to mention that if you haven’t tried kombucha it won’t taste like tea when it is done and almost all the caffeine is gone. If it’s caffeine you’re concerned about you could use white tea. It’s very low in caffeine and better for you than green. I’m very sensitive to caffeine though and I haven’t been bothered by any kombucha. I think WM said somewhere that you can also use part reg. tea and part herbal tea. There might be other ways I don’t know about too!

  104. Hello, this is my first time to the continuous brew batch and there are a few questions I have, if you wouldn’t mind answering!

    If you want to start your next batch without a high content of sugar, I know you suggest about 2-3 weeks, however how much should you leave in the dispenser (if any at all) and do you remove the scoby before pouring in the new batch of tea?

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I am eager to try it out!

  105. Sorry if this was asked already… say you remove 16 oz a day, you add 16oz of black tea (how much sugar do you add to the tea prior to replacing the liquid you removed) and if your removing 16oz a day and adding 16oz in, is that ok with the continuous batch. Or do you need to have a certain amount like 3 gallons or more of your continuous batch if you removing that amount daily. I hope that makes sense.

  106. Wellnessmama,
    I have read that the kombucha needs to brew in a dark place and that is why some containers sold for them are not glass but block the light. Have you found this not to be true? Does yours work just fine in glass? Do you cover it all with a cloth so its dark? Or is it placed in a dark room? Or is this something I do not need to worry about as long as it is not sitting directly in front of a window? Please reply as I’d love to get started with continuous brew… thank you!

    • I brewed kombucha in gallon glass jars for a couple years and never had a problem. Most people seem to use glass. I do think I read it shouldn’t be in a bright window but I don’t remember reading that it had to be in the dark. In fact, did I read that it SHOULDN’T be in the dark? I’m not sure.

  107. One more question…I just went to the link of the brewer that you own and it says it is crystal. I have read that this is a bad material (I forget why but maybe the lead content?) Have you heard this, or do you know otherwise? I’d like to get me one but have the two reservations (crystal and it being see through glass for lighting) that I’d like clarification on PLEASE. Thank you!!!! :)

  108. I have no liquid left in my scoby which was left in the fridge unused for a few months. It looks fine and smells fine. What should I do to start a new batch?

    • I think there’s a way to use WHITE vinegar as the starter but look it up. Or you could get some plain unpasteurized and unflavored kombucha from the store and use that.

  109. I use to make Kombucha years ago in cleaned wine bottles. I just purchased a SCOBY from Kombucha Kamp, got here in 2 days!!. I want to try the continuous brew. Would a ceramic water jug work? It has a spigot on the bottom. I get bottled water in 5 gallon jugs, and I have an extra jug. Thanks!

  110. Quick question, I know You shouldn’t put two fermenting items close to each other like Kombucha and sauerkraut as they could cross contaminate but what about two jugs of Kombucha?? I don’t have a very large container so I want to add a second container to have a larger supply ready at any given time but wasn’t sure if I could have a “Kombucha korner” or if I need to spread them out! I figured they would have the same properties so it would likely be okay but all my googling has not found anything to support it negate this theory!

  111. Hi, I have a quiestion, do anyone knows if I can give Combucha to my two years old. I bought some the other day and gave it to her and she drank it like milk. She really liked it.

  112. Hi there,
    Question on the continuous batch method. Since you are leaving 20% or more of your kombucha in the vessel, do you still have to use 2 cups of starter tea when making a gallon of new sweet tea? Feeling like that is redundant and if so, do I just make the receipe without the starter tea, using the same ratios?

  113. I have been given a kombucha. It has sat idle for 3 weeks in a 1 gallon jar with no spigot. I want this to happen, how should I proceed?

  114. Very happy I tried a bottle of this stuff before making it. I am in no way a picky eater, and this stuff goes under the not a fan section of my eating repertoire. It joins liver , the only other thing I dislike! Lol
    Guess it’s not my cup of tea. Pun intended! Lol

  115. Finally, I have time to try this, I think the fermented version will be perfect for the family as well.

  116. You clearly state to not use stainless steel spigot, yet the 2 gallon one you recommend has a stainless steel spigot. Is it because it contains no iron? What type do you recommend?

  117. I purchased a 2.5 glass container with a stainless steel spigot. Can I use this for the continuous making of the kombucha?

  118. I started batch brewing over a year ago and for Christmas received a continuous brewer…yahoo!! I LOVE continuous brew because I don’t have to wait so long for the second fermentation (2F).

    Into one of my 2Fs, I added dried Chai Spice mix from Kombucha Kamp and chopped fresh Honey Crisp apple. To my surprise and delight, it tasted like tart apple pie! I make it often and call it Apple Pie!

  119. Hey Katie,
    I bought a very large class container, I think it is 2 Gallons and I followed the receipe for a gallon on Kombucha, so I only have liquid to half way up my jar, so my scoby won’t be at the surface near the lid of the jar. Is this going to damage the process? I am just thinking that the top of the liquid won’t get as much air to form the Scoby. Or will I be ok? I just started this morning, so technically I could make another batch of the tea and sugar mixture and add it into the jar.

  120. I would like to make the prunes and vanilla Kombucha. How many prunes and how much vanilla in each mason jar? Love this column!

  121. Has anybody used a green tea to start a batch of kombucha, I have a girl friend who has cancer and will be undergoing chemo and radiation. Green tea is supposed to explode cancer cells. I want to combine it with chia seeds for ultimate hydration and ginger to reduce inflammation… any other suggestion would be helpful, please know comments about the chemo and radiation treatment this is choice…

    thanks kel

    • Yes! It’s good. I’ve also used matcha green tea (the whole leaf powder). My favorite is white tea though and I’ve heard it’s even better for you than green.

  122. Hi katty, I bought the supplies for brewing kombucha, but I have a quiestion. Where do you buy the family size tea bags or where can I buy a good quality of black tea. Thanks!!

    • You can get good quality tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. I think that’s where she buys hers. I just use whatever organic white or green tea I have.

  123. Thanks for this post. This information is so great! I’m new to making kombucha but am really enjoying it so far.

    I’m interested in making the “prune and vanilla” combination flavor. Do you mean that we should use vanilla extract? Or vanilla beans? How much of each should be used? Thanks!

  124. Hi Katie,
    I have followed your continuous brew method for making Kombucha very successfully. My son loves it but someone told him that if it is not brewed properly it can be unhealthy for you. My Kombucha smells fine, tastes fine and hasn’t made us sick. Is there any other way or test to know if the Kombucha I am brewing is safe to drink? Thanks

  125. Katie,

    Is there a way to make Kombucha without using sugar? Can something else be substituted?


    • I don’t think there is any other way since the SCOBY needs the sugar. You can let it ferment until it’s vinegary enough for you. The kind I buy has 4 g of sugar for 16 oz and the stuff I make at home tastes about the same or less sweet. I avoid sugar like the plague (even watch fruit consumption) and my kombucha isn’t too sweet for me. It’s all gone by the time I drink it. Hope that helps.

  126. I was given a SCOBY and its tea about a month ago. We have been very busy with company, and I am just now It has been kept in the frig with the lid on the pint mason jar. At one point, the jar fell over and leaked. I don’t know how long it was left like that before I found it. After all this reading about metal, do you think this is safe to use now or should I get a new SCOBY? Thanks.

  127. Hi, it’s my first time brewing kombucha tea and I am really grateful for this site. I have a few questions about the brewing process:

    1.) A few doctors wrote articles about kombucha is not safe to consume since because the equipment is not sanitary and can produce infectious diseases, how do I know if my batch of kombucha tea is safe to consume?

    2.) I brew my first batch for 2 weeks and then bottle them in glass Ball jars with blue berries and strawberries and left it in room temp for 2 days before I put it in the fridge. I notice cloudy floaty things cling to the blue berries after a few days, does that mean my kombucha has gone bad? What is that cloudy floating thingy?

    How long can I keep the bottled kombucha in the fridge for?

    Thank you very much!

    • I’ve been reading about and making kombucha for several years and I’ve never heard of it being unsanitary and causing diseases. I personally wouldn’t listen to the doctors. Where did they get that?

      The cloudy stuff might be yeast. Is it stringy? I had a batch that was really cloudy once and just rinsed the scoby off and pulled off most of the stringy yeasty stuff. The next batch was fine.

  128. Hi. I just started my first batch of Kombucha five days ago. It looks great, but we used a recipe from a friend which had us use just two quarts of water. I had been hoping to make a gallon but didn’t want to mess up on my first try. I see that your recipe says to start with a gallon of sweat tea (I also used a whole cup of tea to 2 quarts of water, sound too sweet). Can I add tea to this batch? Should I wait until its done and just go with a full gallon for the next batch?

    • If you meant to say whole cup of sugar then that sounds like too much but you could add some unsweetened tea to it.

  129. I do a continuous brew in a large pickle jar that has no spigot. Most days I pour out a bottleful for a second ferment with my homemade elderberrry syrup, and a half cupful for my green smoothie. I replace it using only green tea and demerera sugar and it all seems to work fine. My brew is tart, slightly sweet and fruity and after the second ferment, which I leave for a week, is back to a refreshing tartness with a fizz.
    This is my second session of making kombucha. My first attempt left me overwhelmed with too large an amount continuously brewed in a gallon container with a spigot and it frequently became too sour for my taste, despite following the instructions from the company who supplied the kit. I feel more in control of the process with this smaller amount.
    I think the key is to not be afraid to experiment a little and find out what works for you.

  130. My tea has been brewing for 14 days, in a glass container about 8″x8″ and 12″ tall. It is forming large grumps of what looks like a developing Scoby. But it is far from a solid piece that I can lift out. Do I keep waiting until it is solid enough to lift? Thanks!

    • A lot of the spigots are made to look like metal but they are plastic.
      The one I have is silver, it looks like metal, but its plastic–the brews are working in it.
      I can’t even tell, I have to ask my children to tap on them and look at them with their excellent eyes : )
      Here’s the one I got on Amazon. The spigot is plastic, but its reallly hard to tell that it is.

      • Had to let you all know… Yesterday, I found the EXACT same container that I just posted about above at Kmart (in CA.) for 1/2 the price of Amazon’s!
        It wasn’t on display and it was up on a super high shelf.
        Only found it by asking.
        It is EXACTLY the same. Don’t pay double on Amazon ($32.99) Pay $16.97 at Kmart.
        And then you have 2 continuous brew containers going for the same price!

  131. I recently made a SCOBY from bottled kombucha. Katalyst Kombucha is made in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and it seems to be VERY active and useful for making a SCOBY. I think that GT is still useful for that…..I hope so.

  132. I made a SCOBY in a jar that is 14.5 inches in diameter, but now I want to make my first batch in a much larger jar that is 17.5 inches in diameter. Is it a problem that the scoby will not be able to cover entire surface? Should I change jars and continue to grow the socby before making my first batch?

  133. My friend has a kombucha scobe & has been using honey instead of sugar for the past year. Was curious on why honey is not recommended

  134. When doing the second brew, can I reuse the glass bottles from store bought Kombucha and still get the fizz? I’m not sure how air-tight it needs to be.

  135. We bought the 2.5 gallon jar from your link and spigot from your next link, it does not fit the jar. The original spigot from the jar started crumbling paint into glasses after second use.

  136. Completely new to Kombucha. Only ever had one store brought one and loved it. Just wondering, if some people say it has taken over a month for their’s to be ready, is there a length of time you should not go past or can you leave it in the 1st container and just drain the amount needed each night to put in the fridge the next day?

    • HI! I’m pretty new too, but my first brew was ready after 9 days. You can brew up to 30 days but that is more vinegary than I like, so I bottled after 9 days with some juice and then did a second fermentation for 3 days before I started drinking these (burping the bottles in the morning every day :-)). It all depends on your tastes how long you ferment, but once you find the flavor you like, you’ll get a rhythm to your brew. You only need to refrigerate when you want to stop the fermentation of your brew. Hope that helps.

  137. I have a question on the second fermentation of my kombucha. Everything I’m reading indicates that second fermentation should take place in bottles, but I’m wondering if I could do a second fermentation in a continuous brew container instead as long as I burp it every day. That would allow me to draw off the flavored bucha daily and flavor it with whole ingredients without having to strain it before drinking. Anyone have success with that or am I missing something crucial that would just create a ticking bomb or a leaking vessel in my kitchen?? :-)

  138. How do you actually do the continued brew? After I pulled all but next starter tea out, do I pour freshly made, cooled tea over the SCOBY? How do I discard the old SCOBY? Thanks!

  139. You posted a link for where you buy your tea in bulk, but there are so many kinds. Can you share what type of tea you purchase for your kombucha?

  140. Hi! My first batch of continuous brew kombucha is a-brewing. So excited. Any tips about how to downsize the Scoby once I draw off the first batch. For instance, should I peel the top or bottom layer off? Or remove an entire chunk, like half? Also, any tips on mailing the Scoby to a friend would be appreciated…


  141. I was gifted a Scoby from a friend and have been using it in a 1 gallon jar with a spigot so have already been doing a continuous brew method. I now want to move it to a larger 2.15 gallon container and was wondering if it makes any difference that the Scoby will not be the same diameter as the larger container. Will it eventually grow to the same diameter? I see that most Scobys tend to cover the entire top area of the liquid so I wanted to know if this necessary. Thanks

  142. Hi!

    I’m trying to make Kombucha for the first time. My Kombucha produced a beautiful scoby. I decanted the Kombucha into jars with some fruit to sodarize it (ha ha is that a word?), the Kombucha did not become fizzy and in 2 days grew new scoby’s in every jar I was trying to fizz! Any advice, because I really love the fizz!?

  143. The first link you posted on a jar system describes it as crystal. The article from Cultures from Health you put a piece of in your article says not to use crystal?

  144. Do you only use black tea for Kombucha or can I also use green tea?
    Can I use coconut sugar or only white sugar?
    Thanks for help.


  145. I made a batch last night and I was kind of in a rush (kids running around and trying to make dinner). I pulled up a quick recipe and did it exactly as instructed: Organic black tea, organic sugar, all instuments used were cleaned with vinegar, let it cool down to room temp. However, I used a SCOBY I ordered off Amazon. It was kind of small and only gave me 1/4-1/2 cup of starter liquid. The recipe I used didn’t say to add starter liquid or vinegar so I didn’t give it any thought. My batch was a gallon. Is it too late to add vinegar to the batch? Will my SCOBY survive? Looking over other recipes today, has me a bit concerned.

  146. If I take coconut oil with my breakfast everyday, can I still drink half a glass of kombucha before that?

    Will they cancel out each other’s health benefits?

  147. Hi there! I have the glass decanter with spout but my spout is always clogged it seems with kombucha scoby pieces or something…. It only drips out kombucha very very slowly. Do you ever have this problem? What is the best way you have found to clean it?

  148. I’m very new to brewing kombucha. I’ve read A LOT of places not to use teas with oils, like earl grey. However I LOVE the flavor of earl grey. I was curious if there was a good way to use flavored or herbal teas during the second fermentation so it will get a really good strong flavor. I’ve been scouring the internet, but all I can find is repeated advice to not use those types of teas during the initial fermentation. Would you possibly just make another sweet tea (but with earl grey or herbal tea) and use it like you would juice? I’m just thinking that small amount might not be enough to really infuse it with that wonderful earl grey flavor.
    Any advice is much appreciated! Thank you so much!

  149. I have a basic question. I just pulled my first batch of kombucha, and added some apple and ginger to the jars, and it is now doing the 2nd ferment. My question is….how do I get the apple and ginger back out of the jars to actually drink the kombucha?? I could strain it, but I feel like that’d make the kombucha go flat. I don’t really wanna dig around in the jars with my hands (the ginger sunk to the bottom…). Thoughts? Thanks Katie! This post has been my Bible during the Kombucha learning process :)

  150. I’ve been trying to figure out if the ceramic water dispenser I’ve been using for continuous brewing this year is the right recepticle for the task. It’s a little hard to ask this question on the sites that sell continuous brew kits since they of course believe their dispensing product can’t be beat! I live overseas, so the shipping is more of a hurdle than even the basic price tag. My two questions are:
    How do i know if my ceramic dispenser is leaching chemicals (like lead) into the kombucha?
    What is the sugary syrup seeping through the crock? Does that possibly show it’s not a good container for anything but kombucha? Thanks for anyone’s insight, Karen

    • Since there were no responders, I am going to answer my own Question. Based on my results…yes, you can and it is delicious! My first batch of Kombucha! I don’t like all the fizz so I am now just drinking it! My mother is now being stored in a Kombucha hotel.

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