How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha

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How to make continuous brew kombucha in your kitchen
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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

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

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:

Batch and Continuous Brew size chart courtesy The Big Book of KombuchaHow 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

The Recipe

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

Continuous Brew Kombucha Recipe

A great way to brew kombucha so you have a continuous supply without the need to constantly re-make and clean containers.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Calories 240kcal
Author Katie Wells


64 oz



  • 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.


Nutrition Facts
Continuous Brew Kombucha Recipe
Amount Per Serving (8 oz)
Calories 240
% Daily Value*
Sodium 80mg3%
Carbohydrates 56.3g19%
Sugar 16.3g18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

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!

  1. 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.
  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 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 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
  • mango
  • 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.

Less cleaning…

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:

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

Make continuous brew kombucha using this simple method to make this probiotic and digestive enzyme rich drink.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


424 responses to “How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha”

  1. Amber Avatar

    I tried looking through all the comments, but gave up and decided to just ask.
    I left my scoby in a batch (2 gallons) on the counter for the last 6 months. ?
    I didn’t realize I could refrigerate it to hibernate it, for some odd reason I thought you weren’t supposed to.
    My scoby still looks so healthy and doesn’t smell bad or anything. Do you think it’s still safe to use? I was finally ready to start making kombucha again when I stumbled on your website.

    1. Kimberly Lambdin Avatar
      Kimberly Lambdin

      I leave mine out at least that long… turns to vinegar and still works. I’ll add natural sugar here and there… but when tasting it…reminds me of ACV. I don’t know if it was here somewhere (with Wellness Mama) or another site…but I thought you were not supposed to hibernate it…best to let it rest in it’s liquid and they called it the SCOBY hotel because you could put multiple in the jar. Maybe this isn’t correct but so far I’ve had absolutely no problems…and when I want fresh kombucha I just make new tea and throw my SCOBY with a little of the fluid it was setting in to start it off.
      I’m curious to know Katy’s take on all of this… Good question!

  2. Lily Avatar

    Hi there, I am wondering if I can bottle my kombucha in mason jars with metal lids for just 2 days so that it can build carbonation. It says to use plastic lids but I do not have any. Is it dangerous to use metal? Thanks!

  3. Tara Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi there! I love kombucha, and have been reading about how to make my own…I am so impressed by how excited and happy to get started etc, everyone is, by the comments here because honestly as I travel down this road toward making my own, the choices – continuous brew or batch brew, the time that goes into it, whether or not I will get bacteria in what i am doing and make something dangerous(!), and the scoby itself – the whole process seems so intimidating! This is awkward and silly to admit but i am kind of grossed out by the scoby! I feel like this is such a terrible thing to say about something that makes something so healthy, but I am afraid I will mess it up, and it will turn into something like something forgotten in the back of a fridge!! And again, the time! I mean I am a dedicated meal planner, and alway curious about health etc, I think of Katie, and AL that she does, INCLUDING brew Kombucha….it just scares the …out of me!!! look forward to feedback – thanks a mil!

  4. Bronwen Avatar

    I have a beautiful stoneware crock with a brass spigot and rubber gaskets. It holds a bit more than a gallon. I would love to use it for continuous brew kombucha but am concerned about both the brass and the volume. Do you have any advice for me on these subjects?

  5. Blaine Avatar

    When I did the second ferment, most of my bottles also created a new scoby. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to prevent a new scoby from forming inside the bottle during the second ferment? The flavored tea is so yummy! I would just rather not have to remove the scoby from the bottle each time I flavor it.

  6. Billy Avatar

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing this Katie! It makes so much more sense to continuous brew now that I look back on my first brew. Why make it and then toss everything out at the end when I could just keep a steady supply coming in for my family to enjoy! It only makes sense. Thank you again for sharing, can’t wait to get a continuous brew going soon!

  7. catalina Avatar

    I bought a dehydrated scoby and started the process but after about 3 weeks it started to smell strange, cheesy like. After a few more days I’ve noticed mold on top of the brew. Now I want to make a scoby from scratch and I bought a bottle of raw,organic and unflavored kombucha. But when I look at the ingredients listed on the bottle, as a last ingredient is “a splash of ginger”. Can I use this bottle to stard a new process and create a scoby?

    1. Jeff Avatar

      Catalina, I used GTS Raw Kombucha to start my SCOBY and it worked very well. I wish I could give guidance on the impact the ginger may have on SCOBY, but it would only be an un-educated one.

  8. Jill Busl Avatar
    Jill Busl

    Hi Jeff. Congratulations on your first batch of kombucha! I’ve made so many that I can’t count them, and am experimenting with different teas and fruits now. It’s fun.
    As for the SCOBY, you can do 3 things with the old one: 1. get rid of it 2. save it in a glass jar with a little bit of the kombucha (enough to cover it), put it in the fridge, it will keep for quite a while (weeks to months) 3. use it to make another batch of kombucha.
    With the new SCOBY, you can make another batch of kombucha or store it as it #2 above.
    I’ve done both. I always keep at least one spare SCOBY on hand in case something happens to the one I’m using – I have had a mold problem and had to destroy a whole batch, which didn’t make me happy! Mold happens because the pH of the tea gets too high (above about 4.0). I use pH paper to make sure the tea is staying acidic enough to prevent mold. Mold can also occur due to contamination. If the pH starts rising, I add a cup of organic white vinegar to the next batch to bring it down. Vinegar is acetic acid, a weak acid, so it lowers the pH.
    Good luck and enjoy your kombucha!

    1. Jeff Avatar

      Thank you for the help. I took out one of the starter SCOBYs and will take out the second soon. I had another starter SCOBY ready to go and will probably make a batch of green tea Kombucha also. The black tea kombucha is tasting good, but I need to get something to test pH levels.


  9. Jeff Avatar

    5 stars
    Katie, thank you for the Continuous Kombucha guide. I started with two Raw GTS Kombucha bottles poured in respective mason jars to create my starter SCOBY. The SCOBYs took the shape of the mason jars. I used both SCOBYs and one of the mason jars contents to begin making Kombucha. I now need advice.

    The original SCOBYs sank to bottom of my 2 gallon container until I began using a warmer to raise the temperature to about 75 degrees. A new SCOBY has formed at top of container and is the original two SCOBYs have now risen to top also and have kept their original shapes. What do I do with the original SCOBYs? Do I remove them? Your guidance would be most appreciated. I can share a pic of my container with the SCOBYs. I envision that I only need the newly formed SCOBY, but I’m not sure.

  10. Dave Avatar

    5 stars
    I am not a big fan of kombucha but my fiancee makes me drink it because of the health benefits. She absolutely loves the stuff and makes her own.

  11. Lisa Avatar

    I am so thankful to you Katie for all of tge information you pist on your blog. I have become so aware of natural healthy food and personal care alternatives. I want to try continuously brewing kombucha, but I live in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and winters up here are pretty brutal. How can i keep my kombucha brew warm during these times????? How do you do it? I know you live in a colder area as well. I saw that the kombucha kamp has a crock warmer, but it’s pretty pricey. There aren’t any reviews so I have no idea if it’s worked for other people. If I could know how you do it it could save me alot of money. Please respond as soon as you can. I am awaiting purchasing more supplies for a continous brew through the winter. Thanks a bunch!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I have use one of their heating mats and it works really well. Before that, I also used a regular heating pad I found at a thrift store on the lowest setting and used it mostly at night. Hope that helps!

  12. Kirsten Avatar

    The room temperature in our house is colder than 70 deg especially in the winter making it harder to ferment. When I ferment kefir I put the jar in a small cooler with a glass of hot water to create a warmer micro-climate. Any suggestions for fermenting a larger kombucha container (won’t fit in a cooler) to create a warmer environment or will it still ferment in a colder house but just take longer? I would love suggestions!

    1. Jill Avatar

      I accidentally figured out a way to ferment that grew a lovely, thick healthy SCOBY. I had been baking in the oven, and turned the oven off, but it was still warm – I’d say 200 degrees or so. I needed to get the big jar I use to ferment out of the way, so I thought, I’ll just pop it in the oven for a minute and then take it out. Well, I forgot about it for about 3 days! When I took it out, it had the loveliest SCOBY on top and made a great batch of kombucha. So perhaps if you warm your oven (and then turn it off) and then put the container in, it’ll stay warm enough to ferment. Of course, you have to make sure it’s not in there if you pre-heat the oven for baking something! The other thing I do now is keep it in my laundry room, as the heat from the dryer always makes that room warmer than the rest of the house.

  13. Jill Avatar

    I’ve used Hibiscus tea for most of my brews, and haven’t used regular black tea since the first batch. I LOVE the slight tang of the Hibiscus tea and the red color makes it look as delicious as it tastes. I use it as the “base” tea for the first fermentation. If you want to do half raspberry and half hibiscus, I’ve done that, too. If I’m brewing a gallon, which is 8 cups, I put in one bag for each cup of tea. So 4 raspberry tea bags and 4 hibiscus tea bags in a gallon of boiled pure water. I steep them for 15 to 20 minutes because I like a strong flavor, then add 2 – 3 cups sugar. I cool it to almost room temp and add the SCOBY. I let it ferment for about 7 days or until I taste it and it has the tart flavor I’m looking for. During the second fermentation I add a slice of fresh organic apple and a piece of fresh ginger to each bottle. I like the “zing” the ginger gives. I also like my bucha fizzy so I let the second ferment go for at least a week. To get the fizz, I have to really make sure the bottle top is tight. I use bottle tops with plastic liners to get a good seal, or the CO2 will escape and then I have flat bucha – yuck! If you want a bit of lemon flavor, I would add it after the bucha is done, as I’ve tried lemon and it just didn’t give the tart lemon flavor at all – it was kind of like rotten lemon. Maybe someone who has used lemon can provide some advice here.

    1. Kirsten Avatar

      Thank you Jill! This helps a lot since I am new to this. The red color is also important to my young son so I will definitely try this! Cheers!

  14. Kirsten Avatar

    Thank you for all of the information! I am preparing to start making my own Kombucha. My son loves the Trilogy flavor (bottle says raspberry juice, lemon juice, and pressed ginger). What kind of tea will I need to use for a continuous batch method to make this? Do I use regular tea and then add these 3 ingredients as add ins for a second fermentation or do I use a different kind of tea (like raspberry or hibiscus?) Do you know how much of these to add? Have you ever used hibiscus tea as a flavor add in or for brewing? Thanks for your help!

  15. Jennifer Avatar

    5 stars
    Is it possible to brew kombucha from organic Ceylon loose-leaf tea?

  16. Holly Avatar

    Hi, can I use infusions in this? As in fruity “teas” that actually don’t contain tea? or fruit water even?

  17. Jill Busl Avatar
    Jill Busl

    When I brew my kombucha, I take out the original SCOBY and put it in some tea in a jar in the fridge , just in case something happens to the next batch. I have a SCOBY in reserve. This did come in handy when I got a fruit fly infestation in my brewing jar and had to pitch everything, including the SCOBY that was in it. The baby is fresher, so I think it’s more metabolically active (will do a better job of fermenting the next batch) than the mother SCOBY. I take the baby out to add more fresh tea and then replace it, being careful not to contaminate it with anything (I usually put it in a bowl with some of the old tea and let it sit until I add the new tea to the jar). Then I carefully place it on the top of the new tea and it usually sinks to the bottom. But in a few days, I have a new SCOBY on top.

  18. Tammy Avatar

    I am brewing my first batch of kombucha. I now have a baby scoby. Do I leave the original and the baby in the vessel, and just add more tea after I drain it into bottles?

    If I have to take one out, which one stays in the vessel to brew the next batch?

    Thank you.

  19. John Avatar

    5 stars
    Hello WM! I have just started my continuous brew and the wife and I love it! My question is this: Can Essiac Tea be used in Kombucha brews? I have read much about the medical benefits of this tea, and would like to incorporate if possible. In your opinion would the taste be much different? bitter? better? or even not retain the benefits of Essiac? I am currently using the “CHOICE” brand of organic teas and doing a 50-50 ratio of Premium Japanese Green and Classic black. I use that ratio because I feel the tannins in black tea are crucial to a good batch and prefer the sweetness of green. Thank you so much!

  20. Joan Avatar

    I have been making continuous brew for about 3 months now and it’s so much easier. I just make a pot of tea and let it cool down and add to the few cups that we have just removed that day or two before. However, my jug does have a metal spigot on the inside, yet my scooy is doing ok and continues to grow. I have read that when it’s in trouble or too old it will turn black. My continues to look fine and grows so that I have to remove some so that it doesn’t get ahead of the amount of liquid in the container.

    So I wonder – because I’m pulling off some all the time and then adding every day or other day, has this slowed down any problem with the metal spigot? I have had to remove once to clean it out and just give it a quick rinse and everything looked good. Thanks for you input.

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