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. Neil Avatar

    During a second fermentation (when the SCOBY has been removed), is the sugar content or acidity changing at all?

    I’m asking because I’d like to start another batch, but i’d also like to have my kombucha a bit ‘stronger’ (less sweet). So, if i remove the SCOBY, bottle and leave out at room temperature will it continue to ferment?

  2. Neil G Avatar

    5 stars
    Hey Mama! Long time follower, first time commenter.

    I hope this question hasn’t already been answered, but here goes.

    Multiple SCOBYs:

    If one is good, then wouldn’t two (mother and baby) be better, fermenting faster?

    Large batches:

    So while a typical 1 gallon tea/1 cup sugar batch, it may take 7-10 days, if I doubled up on those parameters, should I also expect longer waiting times? I’m assuming Kombucha companies that make tons of kobucha at a time must have a big vat they brew in…

    Finally, to tea or not to tea:

    Is the tea simply for flavor? Does it affect the brewing process at all?

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      The SCOBY will actually grow, so one will eventually become much bigger and faster fermenting. Multiple SCOBYs, especially from different sources, might add different strains of bacteria but they would eventually grow into one large SCOBY. For brewing time and large batches, it depends on the initial acidity, the surface area of the container and a lot of other facts. In general, as long as you add the same percentage of starting liquid and have a big enough SCOBY, the brew time should be the same. The tea is necessary, as the tannings are important for the health of the SCOBY. Thanks so much for reading and for the comment!

  3. Kimberly Lambdin Avatar
    Kimberly Lambdin

    5 stars
    Well, you’ve done it now! I’m on my 4th week of Continuous Brew Kombucha, thanks to YOU! I’m having a hard time getting the kids to drink it but my husband and I are drinking it regularly!!! Any tips or tricks to get kids to drink it? Thank you so very much… you and a select few other bloggers have transformed my family into a healthy group of peeps….so very thankful to God above for crossing paths with your blog! God bless and thank you again!

    1. John Avatar

      5 stars
      Hi Kim, not sure if you have solved the “picky kids” predicament yet, but we use juice to flavor the teas. Our “kid approved” favorite is strawberry. I “juice” a lb or 2 of fresh strawberries and do about a 25% juice to 75% tea ratio. It tastes fantastic and everyone who tries it just loves it! We experiment all the time with different juices, combos and flavors. We even add just diced up fruit to it. Candied Ginger is my wife’s favorite. Anyway… hope that helps. God bless and happy Brewing!

  4. Ambra Avatar

    I made my kombucha a few times just in jars and absolutely loved the flavour… I recently started the continuous brew method and find it way way too sour. I get heartburn almost instantly so I’m reducing the amount I drink which has me throwing a whole lot of vinegary kombucha down the drain. Help!

  5. Mary Avatar

    Hi just got my SCOBY and excited to begin brewing but have two questions. Can you use decaf black tea as I have issues with caffeine, and can you use glucose powder rather than plain white sugar. Thanks for any help you can give! 🙂

    Mary, Sydney Australia

  6. Marina Avatar

    4 stars
    This is actually a scoby question…I’ve been using your continuous brew method for a while now and LOVE IT but my scoby has grown rather large. I brewed a fresh batch, used some as a face mask (which left my skin glowing and soft) and then used the remainder to make scoby candies. I’m wondering how long can you store scoby candies for? Also, do you think if I vacuum seal them it will extend the shelf life?? Now I have too many candies and I don’t think We can eat them all before they are bad!! Thanks!!

  7. Jason Avatar

    NOOB QUESTION: So if you make your own batch of kombucha using the method shown it will have the same “fizz” as the store bought brands? thanks

  8. Tanya S Avatar

    Any reviews on Trachealth? I just got these little Kombucha packets that are added into your water…I saw them in the grocery store last night…I figured I’d try it out (I’ve not brave enough nor do I have the equipment to make it myself).

  9. Marta Ramirez Avatar
    Marta Ramirez

    5 stars

    I used to brew Kombucha years ago and then I stopped. I just bought the ingredients to start again, but I’m having trouble finding a good place for it at home.

    I have no room in my kitchen, and the only area where I can find a spot could get a bit warm in summer or cold in winter. But the main issue is that it’s a dark place.

    Would that stop it from brewing properly? Also, does it need to be in a well ventilated area, because the only way to stop this area to get too hot or too cold is to close the outside door.

    I would appreciate your help.

    Thank you and kind regards,

    Marta – Western Australia

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It should be fine to be in the dark as many crocks are completely opaque and don’t let in light. As long as it isn’t getting drastically hot or cold, the temperature should be fine too, and if anything it may just need a little more time in cooler months. Good luck.

  10. mary Avatar

    Curious about using a ceramic crock. The directions above seem to contradict one another….

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

    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.

    1. Tai Avatar

      Not true. Good quality stainless is a great alternative, and you don’t have to worry about unknown toxic chemical leach. No matter what anyone says, there are over 80,000 chemicals that are toxic to the human body in free circulation today regarded as safe by the FDA, because they were grandfathered in. It takes an near act of God to attempt to argue the health hazards of chemicals in this world. Money buys reality. At least you more or less know what you’re getting with stainless steel. It’s not perfect…actually…glass would be best…but it’s better than plastic.

  11. john marque Avatar
    john marque

    Hi and thank you for all your valuable info, You have helped change my life and health for the MUCH better! My question is this: I already have a container & trying to avoid purchasing a new one, but I believe it is made of Earthenware. Would you approve/disapprove of this model? Please and thank you!

  12. Raelyn Mosher Avatar
    Raelyn Mosher

    I am wanting to make my first batch and use the continuous method.mive read most of the comments and the directions but still have a couple of questions…

    I have kombucha from a friend that made it and one jar has grown a SCOBY about 3″ wide.

    If I use the apprpriate amount of her brew with that SCOBY to start my own in a 2gal jar is that good? I think I read somewhere else that I would need to grow a SCOBY from that piece first and then brew.

    Also, if I take say half out and I replace it with fresh tea, I just leave the SCOBY in the jar, add the replacement and let it brew about 7 days… Does that sound right?


    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      You can start with a SCOBY that is not the same size and it will grow one as it brews. The main thing is that you’ll need enough starter liquid (about a pint for a two gallon jar) to give it enough pH to get started correctly. The first brew will take longer, and then after that, you can remove and replace liquid as often as needed.

    1. Lael Avatar

      5 stars
      I’ve heated up a whole gallon of water at a time, dunked in teabags and then left them to steep in for as long as it took to cool to room temperature (which was about 8 hours!). This kombucha batch turned out tasting fine, I’ve since read that most leave their bags in for a shorter period and so I experimented by leaving mine in for only 10 minutes and I like the taste of those 10 minute steep batches even better.

  13. Leticia Z Avatar

    Hello! I finally got my scoby from a friend yesterday and happily started making my first batch om kombucha ever yesterday… but… I already made a big mistake. Because I only had one cup of starter kombucha liquid, I decided to make a half gallon / 7cups of sweetened tea batch.
    However I totally forgot to scale down the tea and used 6 bags of black tea + 1/2 tablespoon of loose green tea (which is the proportion in a 14 cups of sweetened tea batch…)
    Will the scoby survive in this double tea environment? Should I do something to save it? I only started yesterday, didn’t want to mess up…
    Thanks for the help!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It should be fine but if you are concerned, you could remove some of the strong tea and add some water and also add a teaspoon or so of apple cider vinegar with the mother to get the pH back to normal.

  14. Shivani Avatar

    5 stars
    Thank you for this great work your are doing. This is the first time I am reading about continours brewing. I’ve just tried it out.

  15. Patty Avatar

    Hello, can I add lemon and ginger to my first batch that is fermenting or 7 days?

    1. Patty Avatar

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

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Have you had it tested? In some cases, well water can be awesome, as long as you make sure there aren’t any contaminants from groundwater or runnoff.

  16. Karen Avatar

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

  17. Kat Avatar

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

  18. Krystine Avatar

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

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