Continuous Brew Kombucha

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

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 Continuous Brew Kombucha

Making Continuous Brew Kombucha

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


  • 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 14 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.

Our 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. Amy says

    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. says

    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.

    • says

      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?

      • Sarah says

        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.

      • Patti says

        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.

          • Patti says

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

          • Dani says

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

          • Lauren Baldwin says

            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?

          • Kristin says

            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!

        • Farnal says

          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!

        • Harmony says

          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!

      • Robin Lommori says

        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!

      • Hannah says

        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!

      • Nicole says

        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.

      • dr. catlin osborne says

        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?

      • Holly says

        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!

    • sofia says

      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

  3. Caitlin says

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

  4. Tim Hibbetts says

    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!

    • cary says

      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!

      • Margo says

        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. Kristi Hard says

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

      • sofia says

        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

  6. Ally Huang says

    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. Joaquin says

    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?

    • Joshua Jarman says

      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.

  8. Allegra Smith Wetzel says

    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. Joli says

    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?

  10. Kate Miller says

    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.

    • Caleb says

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

  11. Jaclyn Mamer says

    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?

      • Alyson says

        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!

      • Julie Reeves says

        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. Michelle says

    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.) :)

      • Tabitha Teeter says

        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. Karen says

    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.

    • says

      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.

    • Joshua Jarman says

      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. Kirsten Cleigh says

    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. Lillian Meyer Bristol says

    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?

    • says

      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…

    • Judy says

      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. Sheila Holben says

    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. Dan says

    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. Nancy Dougherty says

    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. Justin says

    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. Lindsay says

    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?

    • Josh says

      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. Hugh says

    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!

    • sean says

      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??

      • Josh says

        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. Queenie says

    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. Ella says

    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. Tia Persons says

    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. Luda says

    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. Umm Talha says

    hello wellness mama! i love your blog! I was curious, do you know the alcohol content of kombucha? I hear wonderful things about it but I am Muslim and we can not consume alcohol. are there any alcohol free brews?

  27. Kim says

    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?

  28. Veronica says

    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”

  29. melanie says

    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.

  30. Vickie Miller Parker says

    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?

    • tami says

      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?

  31. Joe says

    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?

  32. Danielle Vinton says

    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?

  33. mary alma says

    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.

    • Sarah says

      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!

  34. Mia says

    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!

    • Karyn says

      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.

  35. Bill says

    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.

  36. Jessica says

    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

  37. Cori says

    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?

  38. Lisa says

    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?

  39. Dani says

    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.

  40. Leto says

    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!

  41. Raegan McAdams says

    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?

  42. Amanda says

    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!!

  43. Rochuk says

    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!?

  44. Seth says

    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!!

  45. Linda says

    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?

  46. Carol says

    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?

  47. Jessica says

    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.

  48. Jeanette k says

    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?

  49. Tracey says

    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 :)

  50. Nora says

    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?

  51. Gary says

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

  52. Samantha says

    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.

  53. Kate says

    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.

  54. Adam says

    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?

  55. Nicole says

    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!

  56. Crystal says

    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?

    • Ruth says

      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.

  57. Whitney Bouwlare says

    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!!!

    • says

      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…

  58. Oxana says

    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.

  59. Sara says

    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?

  60. Christelle says

    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?

  61. RoxAnn says

    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!

  62. Lindsay says

    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?

    • Josh says

      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?

      • Lindsay says

        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.

  63. Marion says

    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?

  64. Marion says

    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?

  65. Susan says

    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!

  66. Terry says

    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!

  67. teresa says

    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

  68. Elie says

    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?

    • Johanna says

      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.

  69. Brenda says

    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.

    • Terry says

      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.

  70. Matt Williams says

    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

  71. Shana says

    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.

    • stacia ash says

      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….

  72. Tyler says

    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,

  73. Kit says

    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. :-)

  74. Cody says

    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.

  75. Kathryn says

    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!

  76. April says

    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.

    • Joshua Jarman says

      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.

        • Joshua Jarman says

          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.

          • Joshua Jarman says

            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. :-)

  77. Jennie says

    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?

    • Kit says

      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.

      • Kit says

        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.”

  78. Silvia Gilbert says

    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

  79. tara says

    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?

  80. anita says

    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…….

  81. Adriana says

    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.

    • Kit says

      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.) :-D

      • Ange says

        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

  82. Kassy says

    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!

    • Kit says

      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. :-)

    • Lin says

      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.

    • Ange says

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

  83. Kassy says

    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!

  84. stacia says

    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?

    • Laura says

      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!

  85. Samantha says

    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?

    • Laura says

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

  86. Joy says

    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.

  87. dianne says

    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 ??

  88. Griffin says

    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.

  89. Lena says

    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

  90. Rachel says

    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?

  91. Holly says

    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

  92. Dan Rosenak says

    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.

  93. Myles Wittstock says

    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.

  94. Cassandra eicher says

    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.

  95. Corrie says

    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?

  96. Marce says

    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?

    • Laura says

      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.

  97. Wendy says

    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…?

  98. Mary says

    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!

  99. Kris Whitted says

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

  100. Rena says

    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.”

  101. Rachel says

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

  102. Jodi says

    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?

  103. Denise says

    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.

  104. Jane says

    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?

    • Laura says

      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!

  105. Anastasia says

    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!

  106. Carissa says

    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.

  107. anita says

    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!

    • Laura says

      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.

  108. anita says

    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!!!! :)

  109. Sharon says

    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?

  110. jennifer says

    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!

  111. Anne-Marie says

    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!

  112. Blanca says

    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.

  113. Ysraelya Dolinger says

    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?

  114. ross munro says

    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?

  115. Lola says

    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

  116. Lori says

    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. Deanna says

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

  118. Jenny says

    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!

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