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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 Culture 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. While they taste great, homemade versions are a much more frugal alternative (and equally delicious in my opinion).
Continuous Brew Kombucha 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 into 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 kombucha method involves removing only some of the liquid each time and replacing with the same amount of fresh brewed sweetened tea. Leaving at least 30% of the brew after each decant is ideal, but you can drink a little at a time and add tea when the level gets low.
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 larger container with a spigot so some of the brewed kombucha can be removed, leaving enough mature brew to start again. This means the container, spigot, and other materials must be of proper quality for kombucha production.
To choose a good vessel for your homebrew, consider:
- Size. The best size for most families is between 2 and 5 gallons. It is important to have a larger capacity since at least half of the liquid will remain in the vessel at all times.
- Material. Kombucha is a powerful detoxifier and is best brewed in inert, food-safe materials such as porcelain, stainless steel, stoneware, or glass. Oak barrels are also a great way to brew up a batch of tasty booch! They have been used in fermentation since, forever! (I got my brewing vessel here.)
- Spigot. A continuous brew vessel works best with a spigot so kombucha can be drawn off easily into your bottles. It is important that the spigot be made of a quality material such as BPA-free plastic, stainless steel, or wood. Some cheap beverage dispensers have spigots covered in metallic paint that will chip off and give the brew an off flavor. Also avoid any spigots that use glues, epoxies, or other adhesives to attach to the vessel as you will want to remove the spigot at cleaning time. Be sure to test the container and spigot thoroughly for leaks prior to filling it with the kombucha mixture. (These are the spigots I’ve used.)
- Cover. The cloth cover is vital to prevent contamination from fruit flies while also permitting oxygen to penetrate the brew. It is important the cloth be of a tightly woven yet breathable material such as cotton. Cheesecloth has a loose weave that will allow fruit flies or ants to invade the brew. Make sure it is snug fitting so they can’t sneak in another way. While you could use a paper towel or coffee filter, we prefer to not waste paper products and use these cute fermentation covers instead.
Where to Get Fermentation Vessels
I have several friends who use a two gallon mason-type jar with a spigot or any of the fermentation crocks here. Really any glass or ceramic jar with a spigot works as long as the spigot is safe. Or, you can take the guesswork out by getting a complete brew package from here.
How to Get a SCOBY
SCOBYs are living and thriving colonies of bacteria and unfortunately, you can’t just pick up a high quality one at your grocery store. There are a couple of 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. Just make sure to ask them to include 1 cup of the brewed liquid to use as a strong starter liquid in making your own. You’ll need one SCOBY and 1 cup of starter liquid for each gallon you plan to brew.
- You can order a SCOBY (or two) 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.
Courtesy of The Big Book of Kombucha, here is a handy chart for batch and container size:
How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha
It’s easy to get started, and if you are a regular kombucha drinker, you’ll save so much money!
There’s a few things you’ll need before making a continuous brew, including:
- Brewing vessel – you’ll need a 2-5 gallon brewing vessel and spigot of a safe material. Check this page out for lots of options
- A stirring utensil – for making the sweetened tea
- A fermentation cover – you can use a coffee filter and a rubber band, but I love these reusable breathable fermentation covers
Continuous Brew Kombucha Recipe
- tea this is my favorite blend for a delicious finished brew
- starter tea from a previous batch of kombucha
- one kombucha SCOBY rehydrate first if you order a dehydrated one online
- filtered water preferably free of chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride
- 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. Do not use raw honey!
- Let tea cool to room temperature and make sure it really is cool! This step is very important as too hot of tea can kill your SCOBY.
- 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.
- With very clean hands, add the SCOBY. The SCOBY may sink or float, it makes no difference, as the new SCOBY will eventually form on the top.
- Cover the jar with a fermentation cover or coffee filter and rubber band.
- Put the jar in a warm (around 75-85 degrees is best) corner of the kitchen where it is at least a few feet away from any other fermenting products. If your kitchen isn't warm enough, it may help to use a heating mat on the side of the brewing vessel.
- Let sit to ferment for around 7-21 days, though the length of time may vary depending on your temperature and batch size. You can taste test the kombucha to see if it is done. It should taste tart but still very slightly sweet also.
- At this point, kombucha is ready for a second ferment to add carbonation. 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.
- For continuous brew, we dispense into several quart size mason jars with plastic storage caps (don't use metal!), leaving about 20% of the room on top.
For more specifics, here is a helpful video from my friend Hannah (the Kombucha Mamma) and you can watch the full series of tutorial videos here:
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!
- Dispense the kombucha into 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.
- Add fruit juice to almost fill the jar, or fresh fruit of choice and then cap tightly to allow the mixture to carbonate.
- Leave 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.
- Store in refrigerator until ready to drink.
My favorite add-ins:
- minced ginger root and blueberries
- ½ organic lemon (quartered) and ½ tsp grated ginger (tastes like Sprite)
- minced ginger root and citrus
- ¼ cup fresh or frozen berries
- prunes and vanilla (Dr. Pepper/Cream soda type taste)
Special Notes for Continuous Brew
Continuous brew can be even easier than the batch method and is my method of choice. It just requires a few small tweaks for best flavor:
When to add sweet tea?
You can add it right away after decanting, or wait until you are ready for more kombucha. After adding the tea, wait at least 2 days and then begin tasting. The more mature the brew is, the faster it will turn that sweet tea into kombucha, so when you first start the continuous brew, it may take a little longer to be ready. The longer it ferments, the more tart the brew will be, so harvest when you like the flavor.
Flavor is the key!
The brew is ready when you like the flavor, that is the most important factor. If you don’t like the taste, you won’t drink it! Of course, the longer it brews, the less sugar is present, so those who are concerned with keeping sugar content low should ferment a few extra days until the flavor is more sour. Trust your taste buds to let you know.
One of the great things about continuous brew is not having to clean the vessel between each brew. However, every couple of months it will be time to clean out the vessel, remove excess yeast from the spigot, and even cut down the SCOBY so that it doesn’t take up too much room in the vessel.
To clean, remove the large SCOBY and remaining liquid to another vessel or bowl, then remove the spigot and rinse all elements clean. If soap is used, rinse again very well to prevent any residue from causing issues with the brew. Then trim down the SCOBY as needed (you can use a knife or scissors as brief contact won’t be a problem) and re-start just as before.
FAQs and more info
If you would like more detailed instructions, I highly recommend The Big Book of Kombucha as the ideal resource for all your kombucha questions. Or you could choose to get an online kit that includes the book, videos, and complete instructions, as well as the supplies. They have taken out all the guesswork!
For even more on the science and lore of kombucha, check out my podcasts with Hannah Krum:
- 269: Kombucha Questions Answered: Alcohol, Candida, Pregnancy, and More With Kombucha Kamp
- 36: Getting Started With Homemade Kombucha
Do you make kombucha? Ever tried this method? Share below!
Discussion (424 Comments)
can you use stevia to sweeten instead of sugar?
Not with kombucha… it actually feeds on the sugar so it is fermented out, but it needs that form for proper healthy bacteria growth…
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?
Mine get it starting at a year in tiny amounts and then I work up to a cup or two a day…
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.
Remey, have you gotten any info on these concerns yet? I would be interested to hear.
I am not doing continuous brew and will be traveling for a month. How can I safely & properly leave my SCOBY – is placing it in a jar with a cup of the liquid and a non metal lid ok? I should not refrigerate, correct?
Also am I understanding correctly that my SCOBY should not grow so large it covers the surface of brew? How can I keep the extra SCOBY then until I find someone to share it with?
Allegra Smith Wetzel
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?
I do, but I worked up very slowly…
Allegra Smith Wetzel
I just read my message again, LOL Just in case it gets misinterpreted later at some point, I meant, “Do you drink KOMBUCHA while pregnant and/or nursing?”.
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?
I was wondering this as well… did you get an answer to this?
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.
That was very helpful. Thanks.
Thanks Joshua, That was a great answer, I was wondering about plastic spigot too.
wow that was a nice bit of entry level plastics 101 ….thanks G
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!
I have been using stainless steel for a couple years without any problems.
This is the spigot I use: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074VH4PDY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=wellnessmama-20&linkId=9deb0ed567cf8bc9f7e41543c55850cf&language=en_US
The glass jars I have had plastic spigots and one had an ancient brass one (that tended to leak). No leakage with this one!
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?
I just order black tea… I don’t know if coconut palm sugar would work or not or if it is the right kind of sugar to feed the SCOBY…
Cultures for Health has a live chat that you can ask them all kinds of questions about various cultures! They should be able to answer about the coconut palm sugar 🙂
Thank you. Helpful1
Any information if you can use coconut palm oil?
You really need to use a sugar because that’s what the SCOBY will be using for food. Oil won’t feed the SCOBY and will make a huge mess of the kombucha.
When you do the second fermentation for a fizzy fruit version, you remove the original SCOBY – correct?
Yes… so with this method, you’d just use the spigot to pour some out and add the fruit/juice to that…
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??
Katie - Wellness Mama
Are you sure it is mold? If so, you should be able to use part of it that hasn’t been contaminated, but a scoby baby sometimes takes on a white appearance that can be confused with mold
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.
Go to Kombucha Kamp and compare pictures of SCOBYS with mold. I realize that these are all old questions but the information is still needed.
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.
So when I take liquid out, do I put the same amount in? Or restart the above methods with the scoby?
Put the same amount of sweetened, cooled tea back in 🙂
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??
I was wondering that too!
I have read that you can dispense as you want to drink it, and then just add a proportionate amount of sweet tea (as recipe suggests) to replace the kombucha you bottled. It may take a day or two to eat the sugar and become ready to drink. But it all depends on how sweet or vinegary you like it! I like mine less sweet so I wait a bit longer.
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!
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.
Good to know… what brand did you use?
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!
Here’s a video on how to make your own scoby. I did it this way and we are now enjoying our very own homemade kombucha! I currently have 4 batches brewing..but I’m now thinking the continuous brew would be best for us!
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.
Do you use a pH meter? If so, can you provide a link? Thanks!
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:)
You can start in a large jar if you have an established scoby. Just follow the ingredients and then gently place the scoby on top of the sweet tea water (at room temp) and watch it grow! I have made my own scoby from GT’s many times and always start in large jars, it takes a lot longer to get a strong scoby but it will eventually!
Just three weeks ago I made a scoby from RAW store bought kombucha.
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.
I know this is an old post, however, this isn’t true as of 2015. Using GT’s plain kombucha I grew a nice and healthy Scoby using your method. Good luck out there.
This is not true! I successfully made a SCOBY from store bought GTs Enlightened in 2015. As long as it isn’t pasteurized it will work.
Actually I just made one from “health ade” brand kombucha. It took some extra time. I live in hawaii, and it’s very warm, but it still took about three weeks to grow my initial SCOBY. My first batch of kombucha is now fermenting. I think as long as it’s raw unflavored kombucha it can work.
I have made my first brew, and refrigerated it accidently before adding the ginger flavoring. Can I take it out of the frig and add the ginger now? Also, I havenough kombucha for a few weeks and don’t want to brew more for a while, how to I save the scoby in my container until I’m ready to make more.
I grew my own scoby using black tea and the GT Kombucha ginger flavour. I used twice the sugar for that batch and put a 500ml bottle in with 1 litre of sweet tea. It was about 80 degrees in the apartment and afte 9 days the scoby was a huge 1/4″ thick disc with a nice tart Kombucha. I just did this in 2016 so there is no problem still using the store bought to make your own.
I just started my first starter batch using half a bottle of GTS gingerade. It’s been 7 days and my SCOBY is still an infant, but has a nice string hanging from it. I have it in a Ball mason jar cuddled in a towel to stay warm. I started with two family sized black teabags and two heaping tablespoons of sugar. I’ve been checking it every couple days. I’m hoping this works. I did buy a SCOBY online with some starter… has anyone combined the two, homemade and purchased?
I did it from store bought 10 months ago and it worked out perfect.
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
Just the scoby will work and yep, you just pour out through the spigot and replace with the same amount…
Thank you so much for your prompt answer. And thank you for all the information you gather and share with everybody!
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.
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 🙂
I am new at this and so excited. My Continuous Kombucha has already given me 6 quarts of the most delicious brew. I used a litchi pear natural mix to flavor the second ferment.
I do have a question. We will be away for about 4-5 weeks. What is the best way to keep our scabby alive? Will it go to sleep in the fridge in a bowl of Kombucha of will it survive in a gallon of sweet tea at room temperature or do I have to just resign my self to getting a new scabby when I get back? That would be sad since the currant one is so delicious.
Susan S.- This may be too late to help you before you go out of town, but I would not recommend putting in “hibernation” in the fridge. While many people do keep extra scobys in the fridge and I have revived one stored in the fridge myself, it is not necessary and could potentially reduce the scoby’s natural ability to protect itself from pathogens in subsequent batches. making it “go to sleep” prevents the culture from processing the sugars in the brew and can give mold and other bacteria a chance to take over. I would recommend simply leaving it in the brewer with enough kombucha to cover it and be sure that it will not dry out while you are away. You may want to feed it before you leave, but I would actually leave it with as strong (read long brewed) as you can as the increased acidity will protect it while you are not around to notice any problems. The more free sugar in the liquid, the more likely it is to mold.
When you return you will have a large amount of VERY sour kombucha, which you probably won’t want to drink as is. I recommend using this in recipes (salad dressings, marinades, etc) much as you would apple cider vinegar, as it will probably be a fairly mild vinegar. I have also found this makes a wonderful skin tonic- I dilute it and use it on my face (seriously your skin will never be softer) and soaking your feet in it removes lots of dead skin and callouses and can kill off fungal infections. I think that Kombucha vinegar is actually quite undervalued and I have experimented a lot with it since I dove into continuous brewing headlong with a 5 gallon oak barrel for my booch and a 3 gallon glass brewer for my Jun. I frequently leave one or the other alone for months and have never had any problems – other than figuring out what to do with the vinegar (herb-infused facial toner for everyone at the holidays!)
After you drain most of the vinegar out you can simply start again with new sweet tea, and because your starter fluid is so strong you won’t need very much to get your new batch going again.
I hope this is helpful for anyone worried about their booch when they go out of town ( or get too busy) for a while.
Thank you for the information!!!
Simone, this is helpful, thanks for sharing your tips. I am intrigued by the idea of making kombucha vinegar and it’s use in skin care. I will be trying it as a toner and hair rinse. I also want to find out how it might replace ACV in many cases.