Continuous Brew Kombucha (Step-By-Step & How-To)

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Continuous Brew Kombucha System

For many years now, our family has been drinking kombucha. From the days when, upon hearing the word “kombucha”, we were met with faces of utter confusion and questions like “kombu-what?!” to now, when we get replies of “Oh, what brand is your favorite” and “I make my own at home”. This centuries-old probiotic-rich drink has come a long way in recent years.

While there are a lot of fantastic brands you can buy in any chain grocery store these days (GT’s is our favorite), the monthly cost of drinking a 16 oz bottle of kombucha a day is pretty significant. For just 2 people to drink 1 bottle of kombucha a day, the store-bought cost can be between $200-$400 a month! That’s insane for just a daily beverage.

Continuous Brew Kombucha System

Because of this significant cost, I decided to try my hand at making my own at home. A few years ago, I setup a system in my pantry. It was not a continuous brew (which is what I’ll be discussing in this blog post) and I didn’t have much success. We didn’t like the flavor, the maintenance was too frustrating for me, and I gave up.

Fast forward to now, my continuous brew kombucha system is thriving and we love the results. In my experience, the continuous brew is absolutely the way to go. What we have right now is sufficient for sustaining 2 adults with daily kombucha, so I will likely double our production so there’s enough for the kids as well (so they will stop drinking ours!).

Getting started with your own continuous brew system is actually pretty simple. You will need to initially invest in some supplies, but the cost breakdown is much cheaper than a daily habit of picking up a bottle at the local Whole Foods.

Continuous Brew Kombucha System

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • A crock to brew in (we use a 2.2 gallon which is the perfect size for (2) 16oz drinks per day)
  • A tight-weave piece of fabric large enough to cover the opening of the crock with overhang on the edges (cheesecloth will not work, the weave is too loose and will let fruit flies in; organic quilting cotton is a great choice)
  • A large rubber band to hold the fabric on the crock
  • A brew-safe spigot for the crock. Plastic is great, but avoid the metal-look plastic ones, they flake off into the kombucha. We use a brew safe metal spigot (more on problems with metal later in the post)
  • Bottles (swing-top are best, but reusing store-bought kombucha bottles is fine too)
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Black, green, and/or white tea (we prefer a 50/50 blend of black tea and gunpowder green tea)
  • A SCOBY, or symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (while you can buy these online, it is best to try and find a friend or neighbor that has one they are willing to share with you)
  • Starter tea (if you’re getting your SCOBY from a friend, they will likely give you a cup or two of starter tea to go along with it)

Now that you’ve got the basic materials and ingredients, how do you use them to make your own kombucha and maintain a low-maintenance continuous brew system?

Continuous Brew Kombucha System

First things first, brew your tea. This is not your starter tea that you get with your kombucha, but the plain sweet tea that you add to the starter tea. The size of your crock will determine how much sweet tea you have to make. If you’re using a 2.2 gallon crock, 2 gallons of tea fits perfectly. If you only have 1 cup of starter tea, you should only start with 1 gallon of sweet tea, let that ferment, and on your second batch, bump up to the full 2 gallons. If you’re fortunate enough to get 2 cups of starter tea, you can go with 2 gallons of sweet tea right off the bat.

Everyone uses a different combination of teas to make their own kombucha, but my preferred combo is 50/50 black/green. To be more exact:

  • 2 gallons Water
  • 2 cups Organic Cane Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Black Tea
  • 2 Tbsp Gunpowder Green Tea

To brew the tea, I only use 1/2 gallon of water for all that sugar and tea. In a pot large enough to hold the 1/2 gallon of water, I add the water and sugar. For the loose tea, the easiest method I’ve found is to place a metal fine-mesh colander in the pot and place the loose tea leaves in that. Bring the water to a boil with the tea leaves in it, remove from heat, and let steep for about 30 minutes. This creates a nice, strong tea. Then simply lift the colander out of the tea and discard the tea leaves.

The reason I only use 1/2 gallon of water instead of the full 2 gallons is because I can cool it down faster by adding the remaining 1.5 gallons of cold water. You know how if you add fish to a fishbowl of water that is too hot or too cold it will kill them? Same goes for the SCOBY. The brewed tea needs to be close to room temperature to keep it alive.

Continuous Brew Kombucha System
Continuous Brew Kombucha System
Continuous Brew Kombucha System

Once you have brewed your tea and it’s close to room temp, before you start anything else, you must be sure to sanitize everything you’re using. The crock, spigot, bottles, everything. Don’t use dishsoap for this, just hot water and a rinse in vinegar will be just fine. And residual soap will be detrimental to the SCOBY, so avoid using it altogether.

Once everything (your hands included) is sanitized, pour your starter tea and brewed sweet tea into the crock. Learn from me and be absolutely positively sure that the spigot is closed before you pour in your tea. Not 1/2 open, but absolutely closed! Trust me. Very gently, place your SCOBY into the tea, trying to keep it on the top surface. It may sink to the bottom or even just float around the middle, and that’s fine. It will eventually find it’s way back to the top. Place the tight-weave fabric (quilting cotton is actually perfect for this) over the top and secure it with the rubber band.

Continuous Brew Kombucha System
Continuous Brew Kombucha System
Continuous Brew Kombucha System

Now you wait. The first fermentation has begun. Side note, I’m a tad bit forgetful (understatement of the year), so I like to write the date I start the fermentation on the side of the crock. A liquid chalk marker is perfect for this. It wipes off easily each time so I can change it with the next batch.

To determine when you should start to bottle the kombucha is a personal preference and also depends on the room temperature. If your kombucha is in a cool or drafty location, the process could take up to 2 weeks. If you have no other options for location, you could wrap traditional twinkle lights (not the new LED ones) around the crock to increase the heat, or get an actual heater meant for this. If the room temperature is too hot (like our kitchen in the summer months), the first ferment will take just days.

After about 3-4 days, I start to taste it. Once the sweetness is mostly gone (but still there just a bit) and the vinegary taste is more prominent, it’s time to bottle. The fastest way to do this is to fill a pitcher (glass is best, but I do use plastic on occasion), then using a non-metal/reactive funnel, pour the kombucha into each bottle. Make sure to leave some space to add about 1-2 ounces of fruit puree or juice if you plan to flavor your kombucha (some flavor ideas are at the end of this post).

Continuous Brew Kombucha System
Continuous Brew Kombucha System

Once you’ve filled your bottles with kombucha and flavors (and labeled them with that same liquid chalk marker), close them up tight and leave them at room temp for another 3-5 days for the second ferment. This is when that beautiful carbonation process happens. The sugars in the fruit keep the fermentation process going and create bubbly goodness. The higher the sugar content in your fruit (like strawberries), the faster this second ferment will be. After the first 2 days, you may want to “burp” the bottles to get a gauge on the process and make sure they don’t over-carbonate (exploding bottles are no fun!). To burp, just very barely open the top to let out some air and quickly close it. If you get a bunch of fizz very quickly, your second ferment is done. This really shouldn’t need more than 3-5 days.

Once you’ve got a nice second ferment done, place the bottle in the fridge. The cold temperature will stop the fermentation process. Now you’ve got a nice batch of kombucha ready to go all week.

Continuous Brew Kombucha System

But that was just the first batch. How does the “continuous” part of this work? Well, basically the same as the first batch, except that you’re not having to clean and sanitize the crock and spigot each time. When you draw the kombucha off for your first bottling, leave about 1/4 of the kombucha in the crock. This will serve as your starter tea for your next batch. This also means that from here on out, you only need to brew 1.5 gallons of tea each time. This means:

  • 1.5 gallons Water
  • 1.5 cups Organic Cane Sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp Black Tea
  • 1.5 Tbsp Gunpowder Green Tea

Once you’ve brewed and cooled your tea, remove the SCOBY (with sanitized hands, of course) and set it aside, pour in the tea, and add the SCOBY right back. Done. This should only need to be done once a week, if the temperature is right and your first ferment is done in 5-7 days.

Our Favorite Flavors (so far…)


2 cups Fresh Strawberries
A bit of Plain Kombucha to thin it out


1 cup Tart Cherries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
2 tsp Sugar (to enhance carbonation)
A bit of Plain Kombucha to thin it out

Blueberry Lemon

1 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tsp Sugar (to counteract the citrus and enhance carbonation)
A bit of Plain Kombucha to thin it out

Mixed Berry

1 cup Mixed Berries
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Sugar (to counteract the citrus and enhance carbonation)
1″ Grated Ginger
A bit of Plain Kombucha to thin it out

With all the fruit purees I make, I strain them through cheesecloth, a nut milk bag, or a metal mesh strainer. It’s okay to use metal at this step because it is not coming in direct contact with the kombucha itself. Straining the puree makes the texture of the end product much more palatable, so you don’t have chunks of fruit or seeds to contend with.

Helpful Info

  • For more info, tips, advice, experiences, failures, success, and new flavors, be sure to follow along on Instagram using the hashtag #OPLkombucha.
  • Metal should never come in contact with kombucha or the SCOBY. It is okay to brew the tea in a metal pot, or to strain the fruit puree in a metal mesh colander, but the kombucha itself cannot touch metal. The exception to this rule is stainless steel with no lead in it. We do use a metal spigot and the flow rate is phenomenal!
  • After you’ve been brewing a while, your SCOBY will get pretty big. It grows a new layer with each batch. Peeling off layers and keeping them in a “SCOBY hotel” (a smaller crock with extra sweet tea to keep them from drying out, cover with a tight-weave fabric just like the brewing crock) is a good way to hang on to extras in case something causes yours to die, you want to expand your system, or you have a friend that would like to begin brewing their own.
  • Get creative with your flavors. Fruits with low sugar content may need a boost with a teaspoon or two of sugar to help the second ferment get the kombucha bubbly enough. Adding sugar is not creating a sugary drink, it is aiding in the secondary fermenting process to create the carbonation.
  • Citrus will kill the carbonation in the second ferment, so pair citrus with high-sugar fruits or add a teaspoon or two of sugar to aid in the carbonation of the secondary ferment.
  • Kombucha ferments faster in warmer temperatures but try to keep it out of direct sunlight.
  • If you notice a large layer of yeasty buildup in the bottom of the crock after a long time (I’m talking many months up to a year), you can remove the remaining tea after a bottling session and the SCOBY, and resanitize everything, removing the extra buildup in the process. It’s like spring cleaning.
  • SCOBYs don’t last forever. When it starts to get big (think a couple inches), peel off the top layer and either throw it in the SCOBY hotel, or repurpose it. There are a few ideas floating around on Pinterest (none of which I have tried yet), but I prefer to feed it to my chickens. They LOVE it and it’s such a great treat for them.
  • If your SCOBY is on it’s last leg or has already died, here are some signs to look for:
    • a change in texture (like turning leathery or gummy);
    • mold, fuzzy/green/blue/white/red/etc but not the stingy brown stuff that’s normal on a SCOBY from the tannin in the tea (you will have to restart the entire system if you find mold, sanitizing everything);
    • the SCOBY no longer floats back up to the top of the crock

And just for fun, if you’re curious like I was, here is the cost breakdown per bottle of homemade kombucha. This does not take into account the cost of the startup supplies, including bottles, because they are reusable for many, many years.

This is only the cost of ingredients for the plain, unflavored kombucha (since the various fruits/flavors are variable costs).

  • Gunpowder Green Tea: $16 (approx 90 Tbsp) = $0.17/gallon
  • Black Tea: $17 (approx 90 Tbsp) = $0.18/gallon
  • Organic Cane Sugar: $24 (approx 23 cups) = $1.04/gallon

Total Cost: $2.08 for 1.5 gallons

1.5 gallons = 12 bottles of plain, unflavored kombucha = $0.17/bottle

SEVENTEEN CENTS! $0.17 for the actual kombucha. Just for fun, let’s round that up to $0.30 per bottle with flavor added, which I really don’t think it’s that much the majority of the time. If you drink a bottle a day for an entire year, that’s $109.50/year per person. Compare that to store-bought every day for a year: $1095 – $1825/year per person. Just in case you needed a little more convincing that this is absolutely worth it. Plus, it’s so satisfying knowing that you are in complete control of what you’re consuming.

Continuous Brew Kombucha System

Do you have any tips, advice, personal experiences, or questions about home brewing kombucha? Share them in the comments. I’d also love to hear some of your favorite flavor combinations.

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  1. This is SUPER helpful and is something I’d love to share with our community. Personally, my SCOBY’s have been neglected for months now because despite loving the impact on my budget, I found doing 4-5 batches every couple of weeks to keep up was really demanding and I lost interest. I’m definitely going to be giving this a shot. It’s also helpful to know that SCOBY’s don’t last forever. Mine likely need rehabbed. Do you have any rehab suggestions, or know if they’re ok for a few months without use? Thanks!

    1. I have very successfully allowed my SCOBYs to hibernate in the fridge (in a plastic or glass container and covered by kombucha from the previous batch) for several months at a time, and then have pulled them out to warm up to room temp and brewed without incident. In that case, I’ve found it helpful to also add some fresh kombucha to the beginning of the round of fermentation (either store-bought or home-brewed from a previous batch), as I find that kicks off the next round well. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for this info. I have not yet had to hibernate or rehab my SCOBY so I didn’t have much info on that.

        1. Sure thing! And thank you for this excellent post! It just gave me the nudge to finally start brewing continuously, and to try some new second ferment combos. Thanks for the time you put into this!

  2. hi i hve the same container as you have in the picture, but i dont think the spout is stainless steel. did you replace your spout?

    1. Yup, it’s mentioned towards the top of the post in the “supplies” section that we replaced our spigot with a brew-safe metal one. The flow is infinitely better than the one that came with the container. You can see it here:

  3. You mentioned in your video about a cherry limeade flavor. Could you post the recipe you use for that? Thanks

    1. Yes, so long as it’s the plain, unflavored stuff. You can also use the plain store-bought kombucha to grow your own SCOBY if you can’t find one. I’ve heard people have excellent results with the GT’s brand, can’t vouch for any other brands though. Best of luck!

  4. I just started making my own kombucha this summer. I am on my third batch. My favorite is Asian pear and fresh ginger with a little fresh tumeric for my arthritis. I also just did a batch with fresh figs and Ginger. Also so good. I ferment in a second jar then strain and bottle. Could you recommend a juice I could use so I could cut that out and just bottle?

  5. What do I do with the tea in the jar the Scoby was made in? (I made my own Scoby)
    Can I put it back in storage to make another Scoby?

    1. You will need starter kombucha to get your first batch up and running, so if you don’t have any, you would use that tea you used to make your SCOBY. Or, you could definitely make another SCOBY with it.

    1. Ours never lasts more than a week (10 days at the most) before it’s gone. It can last in the fridge a looong time though. Because of the fermentation, bacteria can’t really thrive in kombucha. Also, once you refrigerate the kombucha, the fermentation process is halted, so it won’t get more vinegary since it’s no longer fermenting. I probably would want to drink it within 6-ish months though. Just in case 🙂

  6. Just got all my supplies coming via Amazon Prime! Ready to start brewing, been putting off for ages, but I think it’s a perfect edition to my current Whole30 and a little healthy reward for myself 🙂

  7. Hi Hi Hello,

    Looking forward to making a continuous brew! Thank you

    What should I do with the large rubbery white thing that grows on top of all my batches ?
    It’s not mold –
    I’ve been saving them in their own hotel. They actually have grown babies
    So I assume they are a new scoby?

    1. Hi Hayley. Yes, your mother will grow a new SCOBY in each batch. My hotel is massive right now. I use the same SCOBY for a few batches until the layers start falling apart and then I just keep the most recent for my next batch. Hope that helps.

        1. That is completely normal. Each new batch will produce a new SCOBY, either on it’s own, or attached as a layer to the mother. Either way is perfectly fine.

  8. I just LOVE this article! Thanks for taking the time to lay it all out step by step! I just LOVE the Ginger flavoured one I usually buy, do you have an idea how you would do a syrup/pulp for that, have you ever done that particular flavour? What about brewing really strong fruit teas for flavourings?

  9. Kendra-

    I am currently growing my own scoby and I’m pleased to say it is going well! It has been about 2 weeks and I think it is almost ready to brew a batch of kombucha. I used GTs brand original.

    My question is, do you do the second ferment when you make plain? Is there anything you should add to the bottle to aid in the second fermentation? Thanks so much!

    1. I would definitely do a 2nd ferment on the plain as well, bubbly kombucha is the best. What you could do for that is start your second ferment a little early, while it’s still a little sweet, so that the remaining sugar in the tea could be used for the 2nd ferment. If you start it too late, you could always add a bit more sugar to each bottle to help boost the 2nd ferment and get more carbonation.

    1. Depending on how large your jar is, you could cut the SCOBY into 1/4 pieces and divide it out that way (use a plastic knife, not metal). They only need that much to get going, and a new SCOBY will grow in their jar from that. Your SCOBY will create a new layer with each batch, and before you know it, you’ll be swimming in SCOBYs.

  10. I currently have my scoby in my kombucha jar with a little over a cup of kombucha in it. I got lazy after I bottled my last batch and just put the scoby and the starter liquid in the jar without starting a new brew. How long can the scoby sit out like this in just a cup of starter liquid?

      1. The SCOBY can stay there as long as you need it, but the starter tea will eventually turn into vinegar. You’ve basically got a little SCOBY Hotel going. If the SCOBY gets too old, and it created a new SCOBY in the starter (which is likely), you could just use that new baby SCOBY for the next batch.

  11. What do you do with the scobys that form in your individual jars? I have my large scoby in my crock. I flavored mine with the mixed berry recipe and made individual 16 oz mason jars. Now I have small scobys in each of those jars – what do I do with them? They’re dark from being made with mixed berries.

    1. We either drink them (if you can stand the texture – I can’t, my son doesn’t mind it) or toss them. We’re overflowing in SCOBYs so we don’t need to start any new ones, but I suppose you could. I don’t think a SCOBY that small with fruit in it would affect a large batch.

  12. Thank you very much for the recipe and your tips. I have followed them and have prepared 3 batches of delicious tasting plain komboucha. I look forward trying the Whole 360 and getting tips from you on your site. Once again, Thank you!

  13. This is exactly what I needed. I’ve had so many questions about how long one SCOBY lasts, the difference between a starter tea, which is essentially older ‘booch, right?

    I currently am growing my own SCOBY and it’s been such an exciting process. I can’t wait to start bottling! One question — how many batches does your SCOBY usually last for? And as you peel the layers, does the SCOBY float in the hotel or just kind of hang there? Really hope to hear back. Thank you!

    1. Yes, starter tea is just leftover kombucha from a previous batch (or plain store-bought kombucha). I’m honestly not sure how many batches I get out of one SCOBY. It’s sort of an ever-evolving process. I just peel and place the old layers as we go and keep the SCOBY in the brewing crock less then an inch thick. I always leave the newest growth in there too. Sometimes the SCOBY will sink when I put it back in, but it almost always floats back up to the top. The Hotel looks like a massive pile of pancakes. I don’t have much liquid in mine, so there isn’t really any room to float, they are all just stacked. I should probably add more liquid…

      1. Ahhh thank you! For some reason didn’t get a follow up email about your reply. One more thing. I just pulled my first batch and I’m in the north of China, so it’s very cold here. Would you say adding sugar to the 2nd ferment would “fool-proof” the kombucha so it carbonates, or is it more so about the condition? Thanks again!

        1. I always add at least a tiny bit of sugar to the bottles for the second ferment. Our house gets chilly in the winter as well, so the second ferment takes for-ev-er! The sugar makes sure it will carbonate, the temperature determines how fast it happens. If you have a heating mat or non-LED Christmas lights to wrap around the bottles, that will speed up the second ferment.

          1. Excellent. And one final question that you may not have an exact answer to. Is it ever too late in the second ferment to add a bit of sugar? For example, today is day 6 for me and it’s clear there is no CO2 being built up. I repeat, it’s very cold up here and I have yet to invest in a heating pad, haha Thanks so much for your quick replies and Happy Year of the Rooster!!

          2. You may not need to add more sugar for the second if you already added it. If it’s cold, you can expect a long second ferment, even with added sugar. In the winter here, it can take 2 weeks for us to see any carbonation in our bottles. It’s frustrating!

  14. When you are peeling apart the Scoby, which part do you save, the top white layer or the brown colored layer underneath? (Which is the new growth for use?)

    1. The top light layer is the new growth, so I keep that in the crock and put the older layer in the “hotel”.

  15. Hi Kendra!!

    Just curious if you are able to incorporate the Kambucha into your Keto diet macros? If so, any recommendations would be great!

    1. Yes, but very carefully. I try to drink half what I normally would. So on keto, instead of 8oz a day, I drop down to 4oz and limit my dairy intake so my gut isn’t too irritated. This seems to be a good balance for me. 4oz of flavored kombucha is about 4 carbs. It’s indulgent, but worth it for the gut benefits, in my opinion.

    1. I have an extra crock that I use for my hotel, and it’s covered with a piece of quilting fabric, just like my brewing crock. You need pretty minimal liquid in there, just enough to cover the SCOBYs by less than an inch. I keep mine right next to the brewing crock so they are in a similar environment.

      1. Thank you! And how long can you keep a scoby for in a hotel vs. what you use to make your continuous brew? And would you use the kombucha in the scoby hotel as starter Tea to give someone who is starting their first batch? Or just use a couple of cups from your continuous brew? Sorry! So many questions!

        1. The SCOBY can stay in the hotel indefinitely as long as it stays in liquid and doesn’t grow mold. I never have enough liquid in mine to give as starter tea, so I usually just pour some out of the continuous brew for the starter. BUT, if you have enough in the hotel, it should be fine as starter.

  16. This was awesome, thank you! I’m just about to start my first brew. Do you know what equivalent the tea would be in bags instead of powder?

    1. I’m not sure, I’ve never used bags (it’s typically more cost effective to use loose tea). I’m guessing you’d need between 8-16 bags of each (green and black teas) if you’d normally use 1 tea bag for 8oz of water. I tend to go a little heavy on the tea and make a strong brew.

  17. Hi, I am looking to set up a continuous brew system myself! I was wondering if you just screwed the brew safe spigot into your crock? The instructions on Amazon show placing a nut and bolt on the inside of the glass for the spigot but know metal would hurt the scoby. Thanks!

    1. Hi Brittney. The spigot I link to on Amazon is brew-safe, meaning that it’s okay if the metal on that spigot comes in contact with the SCOBY and kombucha. You will have to screw it on from the inside to ensure a leak-proof seal.

  18. Just the article I have been looking for. I have a CB system set up and have my first bottles on their 2nd ferment. I really appreciate your step-step explanation it’s just what I needed. THANKS!

  19. I have made a couple of batchs of Kombucha, but this is my first time to flavor , so I need to ferment out side of the fridge right .

    1. Hi Maria. Yes, you will do the second ferment (in the bottles, with flavor added) at room temperature. Cold temperatures stop the fermentation process, so once you’ve reached the right level of fizz for your liking, you will refrigerate the bottles to stop the process.

    1. You don’t have to if you bottle it when it still has a bit of sweetness to it. If you let it go until almost all the sweetness is gone, you may need to add just a small amount to help aid in the carbonation.

    1. I use tap water (I know, I shouldn’t but I do) and it works fine for me. Tap water probably shouldn’t be used some parts of the country, but where I live, it’s not an issue.

  20. This has been by far the most thorough and understandable CB kombucha info on the Internet! I started small batch brewing a few years ago and then went to the continuous brew but most was trial and error. I give the extra SCOBYs to our local organic restaurant. If someone wants one they purchase a bottle of the commercial brand they sell and they can start their own brew. I’m happy when healthy ways catch on. Now I’m making milk and water kefir also. Delicious!

    One question…does your concentrated juice you make for the 2nd fermentation need to be refrigerated?
    Thanks for all your great help!

    1. Wow, thank you for your compliment, Sandra! I hard such a hard time finding any decent info, I really wanted to share everything that I learned along the way.

      As for your question, I make the juice shortly before I use it, but if you’re making it days in advance, yes, I would definitely refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.

  21. When making the Strawberry Kombucha from your above recipe…. do you find the particles that float on top have an awful odor when popping the top to burp or even turn up the glass bottle to drink. The actual liquid tastes wonderful but to get past that smell… did I do something wrong? I did strain my fruit purée through a metal strainer but there was still a small amount of fruit particles that floated to the top.

    1. I have never noticed an odor on the strawberry batches. I do get some smaller pieces of fruit that clump together, but they’ve never had a smell. How long did you let the second ferment go?

    1. That definitely doesn’t seem like enough time to make anything smell, whether it was the berries or the kombucha. I’m not really sure what to tell you. Maybe try it with frozen berries next time and see if that helps.

  22. Hi there!!! This is so amazing and I’m so excited to try my first batch, which is currently in its 2nd fermentation.
    Do I have to take out the new scoby that forms each time?
    I read this a few times, and the comments, to see if that is okay.
    I don’t have a hotel yet…I will be getting to the store eventually, but is it big deal to have a couple in the brew?

    1. Thanks, Amber! I hope your second ferment turns out great.

      You can use that SCOBY plenty of times. I usually just peel off a layer every now and then if it gets too thick. My current SCOBY is over an inch thick (I sometimes just let it go) so I’ll peel off a few layers for the next batch. There’s no harm in extra SCOBY’s in there, though.

  23. Do you leave your kombucha on the counter during the first ferment or do you put it in a closet or cabinet? I have seen it done both ways. Thanks!

    1. I don’t have space in a closet or cabinet, so it just stays out on the counter. You can just do whatever is convenient for you, just try to keep it out of direct sunlight.

  24. I would like to mail a few scoby to a friend a few states away.. what would be the best way to do this.. can I put it in a zip lock bag or a Tupperware type container or does it have to be in glass?? Any help would be beneficial as I know she would love to start brewing kombusha

    1. Hi Deb, I haven’t personally shipped a SCOBY before, but I have received one in the mail. I think a ziploc bag wouldn’t be secure or sturdy enough. It doesn’t have to be shipped in glass, and actually shouldn’t be (more chance for it to break). The SCOBY I received was in a sturdy plastic bag that was heat sealed shut (and of course it also had the starter tea in it as well). I’d also worry about a Tupperware container, since it could leak. Whatever you use, it would need to be fairly sturdy (thick plastic) and 100% leakproof.

  25. So glad I found your blog! We have decided to start a paleo/primal lifestyle change. Our house is split, LOL. We also recently got 6 chickens which I have been begging to get for 3 years now! I am so excited to expand our healthy lifestyle!!

  26. I started my continuous brew last week and am having a hard time keeping my son from drinking it. I’ve been just adding smaller amounts of sweet tea to replace what he’s drinking, but only giving it a couple of days to ferment. Is it going to harm my SCOBY if it’s not getting a long enough brew time?

    1. That should be fine, you just might have a less strong kombucha (closer to sweet tea) if it ferments for less time. But the SCOBY shouldn’t have a problem with that schedule/system as long as you’re adding room temp tea (not too hot or cold).

  27. Thank you for this amazing tutorial!!
    If I have leftover fruit puree, can I store it in the fridge until my next batch is done fermenting, or is it better to toss it?

  28. I’ve always wanted to continuous brew kombucha, I was always just afraid that I would mess up my SCOBY and not know how to keep it going. Thank you for your informative guidance on how to make it work! Definitely excited to try at home.

  29. First timer here….I bought a SCOBY and followed the directions. The SCOBY stayed at the bottom of the crock. I’m on day five and when I took the cloth off the top it looks like a new SCOBY is forming on the top, but there are greenish patches on it. Do I trash this batch and start over? If so, I wonder what went wrong.

    1. You could, and I have done that when I’m just bottling a few at a time. But it’s definitely easier to fill an entire pitcher from the spigot and then pour that through a funnel into each bottle, rather than opening and closing the spigot each time (far less room for error and mess with the pitcher method).

  30. Would bottles similar to wine bottles work? My nutrition supplements come in glass bottles like wine bottles and they are too pretty to throw out. LOL They have tight screw on lids.

    1. I prefer swing-top bottles because they allow for easier burping without releasing too much carbonation. Screw-top bottles also have a better chance of exploding if too much carbonation builds up during the second ferment. You could use those bottles, just be sure you don’t let the second ferment go too long (and it goes pretty fast in warmer temps).

  31. Thank you so much for this informative post. I have my very first batch going now…not gna lie…very nervous to fail miserably. Luckily, I know I can start all over again and succeed. I’m so excited to make my own kombucha finally and stop wasting money when it’s just a few cents to make.

  32. Hi, I’m wondering why we need starter tea and the scoby… is it possible to just put the scoby in the brewed tea and ferment that way, or should I buy a plain kombucha and use that as well? Thanks!

    1. All SCOBY’s should come in a starter tea, so if you have a SCOBY (whether you bought it or got it from a friend), it should already be in a starter. It helps to jump start the fermentation process. Plain, unflavored kombucha is basically starter tea, so yes, you could definitely use that in a pinch with no problem.

  33. I have been Brewing kombucha for a very short time now.
    I found that it was not as carbonated as I would like it to be.
    I use to brew water kefir and to increase carbonation I would add molasses.
    I am using filtered water and feel I may need minerals that the filter removes . So I started adding about a 1/4 tsp. of molasses to my first ferment of Kombucha. I have had great results with this. My kombucha is very carbonated.

    1. You can, but it will probably go a little slower. I fill an entire pitcher from the spigot and then pour the pitcher into each bottle (using a funnel to prevent spills).

    1. Yes, but it’s not ideal. The metal from the lids shouldn’t touch the kombucha inside, and it’s much harder to “burp” the jars to test for carbonation with a screw-on lid as opposed to the swing-top lids.

      1. Thank you, that makes sense! This is my first attempt at Kombucha, so I have one more question, is there supposed to be a slight film on top and brownish stuff growing on the scoby ?

  34. This is my first attempt at making kombucha. What should the first ferment tea look like? Mine has some film at the top and brown “stuff” on the scoby at day 4.

    1. I assume your SCOBY is not floating on top of the tea, but somewhere in the middle or bottom? If so, the film you’re seeing on top of the tea is a new baby SCOBY that’s growing. And the brown stuff on the SCOBY is just staining and particles from the tea.

  35. Can I make the starter tea with flavored tea bags such as Rose Hip & Hibiscus and then add some ginger for the second ferment? I have made the starter tea with Blueberry tea bags and then added blueberry and pomegranate juices to the bottles for the second ferment. I’m hooked on the stuff and it’s way cheaper to make your own

    1. I have only made starter tea with the green/black combo, but I’ve heard others have had success with other tea variations.

  36. Hi Kendra,

    Thank you for such an informative post! I’m a little less scared to start my first brew!

    Do you think using a black tea “with vanilla” for 1/2 and the gunpowder green tea would be okay??


  37. Thanks for your great information!
    Even after straining out my fruit for the carbonation phase, I still get baby scoby’s in my bottles. I don’t want to drink them, but also don’t want to strain the bottles again before going in the fridge as I’d kill the carbonation I just achieved. Any suggestions?

    1. Those baby SCOBY’s are just fine and completely expected during the second ferment. Just leave them in there when you put the bottles in the fridge. If you don’t want to drink it, sip carefully when you drink from the bottle, or strain it out right before you drink it so you still get the carbonation.

  38. Thank you for all your info I live in S.E. Alaska made some k and it turned out great… But I never kepted up with it it’s been in a gallon jar for eight months now and is growing great..butthe tea is thinking out .. I’ve learned so much from your article…that I’m going to get it going again thanks

  39. Do i HAVE to add sugar? I am allergic to sugar, not so bad that it cant be in the SCOBY, but can i just omit it from the 2nd fermentation?

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