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Why I Do NOT Brew Continuous Brew Kombucha |

How To Brew Kombucha


I love kombucha and go through it quite quickly.  Have you seen my series of post about kombucha: “Everything You Need To Know About Kombucha!”

This course has 4 lessons.

  1. What is kombucha and why it is so good for you. {Part 1}
  2. Learn how to brew kombucha with an easy step by step tutorial. {Part 2}
  3. What to do with kombucha after it is done brewing & how to bottle kombucha. {Part 3}
  4. How To Make “Soda” Kombucha And A collection of 50 kombucha recipes. {Part 4}

Let me first start by saying start with these first four lessons when starting out with kombucha!  After you have some time and experience with kombucha, you may be inclined to start a continuous brew kombucha.

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I’d like to share my experience with a continuous brew kombucha method, but first lets define what the batch brew and continuous brew kombucha methods are.

What is Batch Brew Kombucha


When first starting out, you most likely will start out with the batch brew system.  This is simply brewing a batch of kombucha and then drinking the entire batch.

When you are finished you brew an entire new batch and continue on brewing this way in batches.

My family loves kombucha, so I would do 2 batches at a time (instructions above in the 4 post series). I was running out quickly and couldn’t brew it fast enough, so I thought I would try the continuous brew kombucha method.

What is Continuous Brew Kombucha


The continuous brew kombucha method is when you brew kombucha and then you allow it to ferment and then you drink what you want (draw off 25% at first, but then you can draw off the desired amount ) and then you replace the kombucha with the same amount that you drink with sweet tea. You can continuously draw off kombucha as you want to drink it and then you just replace that same amount with sweet tea.

So if I pour myself a bottle of kombucha (pictured above), then I would replace the kombucha with a bottle of fresh sweet tea.  Make sense?

This has been described as a simpler method and you consistently have kombucha to drink on a daily basis…never running out.

Sounded great to me…so I gave it a shot.

How I Brewed My Continuous Brew Kombucha


I bought a continuous brew container with a spigot (This Is The One I Bought).  Oh I could see it already…I was going to love this new continuous brew kombucha method!

I put it together and brewed 2 batches of kombucha and put it in with some starter and a healthy scoby.  I waited for 7-10 days and it was finished!  I was careful to draw off 25% and brewed up a batch of sweet tea in the kettle to replace the tea.

I allowed the tea to cool and replaced it.  I failed to see how this was any easier then batch Why I Do NOT Brew Continuous Brew Kombucha | WholelifestyleNutrition.combrew, I still had to brew fresh tea.  Now my husband is from the south (Savannah, Georgia) and we always have sweet tea in the fridge, so I thought this might work.

Why Continuous Brew Kombucha Did Not Work


But it didn’t work.  As time went on (I tried this method for several months), I had a very hard time getting a consistent brew. I had read that sometimes it was too sweet, but for me it turned to vinegar or became a VERY strong brew in a matter of two days.

I removed the extra scobies and started from scratch but could not get a desired brew that I was looking for.  And let me tell you, it was no more simpler, in fact took more time in my opinion, then batch brew.

Between my husband and I we were flying through sweet tea and I felt I was brewing sweet tea all the time, compared to when I was just doing the batch brew method.

Why I Choose Batch Brew Kombucha


So after a good effort at trying the continuous brew kombucha method, I have come to the conclusion that batch brew is a better fit for me and my family.

Here is why:

  • You are only brewing tea every 7-10 days, with continuous brew kombucha I was brewing it every few days.
  • Batch brewing offers a more consistent brew and has a better flavor then continuous brew kombucha in my opinion.
  • Batch brew kombucha has more fizz in the second ferment when making kombucha soda.  Continuous brew seemed a bit flat to me.
  • Batch brew taste better and I could more easily control the strength of the brew.
  • With Batch brew you just fix it and forget it!  I felt with continuous brew I was tending to it all the time.
  • I now use the Glass Jar with Plastic Spigot for my 2 batches of batch brew kombucha!  I love that container.  Simpler to pour into the flip top kombucha bottles and really is so much easier to use!

Maybe the continuous brew kombucha method wasn’t my favorite because I couldn’t get the desired brew I was wanting, but for me…it just wasn’t the right fit and took to much time.

What has been your experience with batch brew versus continuous brew?

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22 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Brew Continuous Brew Kombucha!”

  1. Halle –

    Yet another great Kombucha post! I just keep finding myself coming back. I also really liked your article about Kombucha Smoothies :)


  2. Tamara says:

    I had the same issue. It wasn’t much easier than batch brew and my brews were either too sweet or way too vinegar-y. I prefer batch brew. Plus I like to have a few smaller jars going with different flavor teas!!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      I am about to try water kefir soda, have you tried that yet? I am told you have a bubbly soda in 24-48 hours and it is delicious!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I like brewing kombucha better than water kefir because it doesn’t take the constant monitoring that kefir does – which is another reason why I stick with batch-brewing rather than continuous! I like things that flourish under my benign neglect :) This is probably the cause of my sourdough and gardening failures, lol!

    So glad I’m not missing out by batch-brewing…We drink an absurd amount here – my husband will go through 4 gallons in one week.

    I’ve heard that those glass jars with the plastic spigots should be avoided because the kombucha leeches out the chemicals in the plastic – what do you think?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Well you can’t use metal because that will interact negatively with beneficial bacteria. I made sure mine was BPA Free, so I would just make sure that the plastic is of high standards.

  4. anon says:

    I also prefer batch brews., (but “more simpler” ? egad!)

  5. Lacey says:

    I think you may have been led a little astray on the benefits of continuous versus batch kombucha brewing because, as you have seen, both methods are really quite similar in terms of their simplicity. The main benefits (that I have found) to brewing continuous instead of batch is that you can make a large quantity of kombucha at one time (using a very large glass vessel with a spigot, which you most likely will not want to empty and move scoby from each time), and the number of vessels you need to use is dramatically reduced, among other things. The total benefits may be different for each person, but those are the ones I noticed the most for me when I made the switch. As for the taste quality of your final brew, I find that I actually get a MORE consistent product with continuous brew since I am not moving the scoby from container to container, disturbing or upsetting the bacterial ecosystem. The key is using a special heating mat in cooler months depending on where you live, which keeps the brew at a consistent temperature between 70 and 80 degrees. This ensures that your brew will produce the correct balance of bacteria versus yeast (too cold gets very yeasty), and will predictably ferment in the same amount of time with each new batch.

    The reason I love continuous brew so much is because I go through my kombucha so quickly once it has brewed that I need to brew a lot at one time so that I’m not waiting for the next batch to ferment. With one batch of continuous brew in my 2 gallon vessel, I can pour off about four large mason jars per vessel, while still leaving enough starter kombucha to begin the next batch. I then let my jars ferment sealed on the counter for two to three more days, adding in fruit or whatever other taste enhancing elements I like, then transfer to my fridge for storage.

    The process of making the tea is relatively the same for each method: I boil about 4 cups of water, then split into two two-cup amounts and add each half to a glass jar with one cup of sugar. Once that dissolves I add my tea bags. Once cooled, I pour into a large glass container and bring up to 3 quarts with room temperature water. I then pour this into my continuous brew vessels if I’ve poured off enough to allow the entire amount. If I don’t need this entire amount yet, I pour in what I need and refrigerate the rest, adding to the brew vessel as needed.

    When I brewed using the batch method, I found that I was going through a ton of glassware trying to keep up with my brewing since I had to change containers each time I was ready to make a new batch, and my product tasted different almost every single time. I also had to brew tea each and every time I started a new batch since I didn’t know how long it would be until the current one was ready, which meant I was brewing tea for every container of kombucha, whereas with continuous brew I’m only brewing tea every eight containers. So to me that is less work. Plus you don’t have to clean out the continuous brew container unless the spigot gets clogged or you decide to start using a different type of tea, whereas with batch brewing you have to clean out at least one container every single time you make a new batch or transfer the final product to a new container.

    It all comes down to preference and what works for you. I tried both and found that I love continuous brewing far more than batch.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Thank you so much for your insight! :)

  6. Ramona says:

    I have been using the continuous brew method from the beginning but I think I do it like batch brewing without removing the SCOBY. I draw off all but about a cup-ish of the finished Kombucha and then fill the vessel with fresh tea. I do this exactly 7 days at a time as I find that this is pretty much exactly the sourness that I like. There has been a slight taste change as the weather has gotten cold but not really enough to bother me. I have been changing the flavoring to try and get my husband to drink more if it. My SCOBY got really big and I had to peel the top new one off and put the old one in a ziplock bag in the fridge. I did give my last one away straight out of the fridge and it is making great Kombucha for a friend. I find this easy and I almost never touch the SCOBY so I am less afraid that I will get mold or some other disaster that will damage my brew. All in all it was WAY easier to really do than it was to read about doing. If you are reading this and have not tried to make it; jump in!!!

  7. Sherry Silveira says:

    I appreciate the information you gave regarding continuous brew kombucha. I have only done the batch kombucha. I have been trying to understand what benefit there could be from continuous brewing. Your reasons seem valid to me so I don’t think that I will even try continuous brew. I like to make my kombucha every 7 – 10 days and then just forget about it. It really does seem like less work this way. And I like my kombucha to be consistent in flavor. Thank you.

    1. Laurel says:

      One of the main benefits of continuous brew as I understand it, is that it takes more than 7 – 14 days for the full spectrum of beneficial enzymes to develop.

  8. Dee says:

    The Weston Price website recommends brewing a gallon of concentrated replacement tea & storing it in the refrigerator (good for about 2 weeks). You basically add 3/4 cup of the concentrate + 3 1/4 cup water to your continuous brew vessel. This would solve the problem of having to brew fresh tea every time.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Thank you Dee!! I will try this for sure!

  9. Julie says:

    According to The Kombucha Mama (kombuchakamp), continuous brew kombucha is more nutrient dense because of the fact that there’s always a good portion of the brew in the vessel and it has had a much longer time to ferment. I do both continuous and batch brewing and I definitely think continuous brewing is easier. I have a 2 gallon glass brewing vessel for continuous brew and the way I do it is I decant one gallon of the brew into my flip top bottles and then replace a gallon of the sweet tea and I let it go for a week to 10 days, depending on the weather. It’s very uncomplicated! But batch brewing is great too…it’s great to have different ways to brew!

  10. Diana K says:

    I too follow kombucha mama.
    And the continuous brew method. I fill my second brew bottles with fruits for flavor create new sweet tea n replace in the vessel. I have found the warmer weather speeds the process and green verse black tea. I now prefer green. The great thing is you have options to brewing and to flavoring …I am just happy to have made the commitment…enjoy! :-)

  11. Lindsay says:

    Can you please tell me if the spigot for the glass jar you have linked is removable. I was thinking maybe it could be switched out for a wooden spigot, available from Kombucha Kamp.

    1. Laurel says:

      Lindsay – the spigot on that container would be removable, but you can get comparable glass containers for less money than that. I bought two of this one: I just switched out the spigots that came with it for stainless steel ones that I bought on Amazon.

    2. Halle Cottis says:

      Yep it is a removable spigot.

  12. Sam says:

    I like to make full batches with my continuous brew container. To start, I make a gallon of sweet tea, and add my starter. After a week or so, you can use the spigot on the container to drain 3/4 of the kombucha directly into bottles. Then you can just brew another gallon of sweet tea and pour it over the leftover kombucha. Really, the best parts about the continuous brew method are the spigot on the brewing container and fewer dishes to clean

  13. Hannah Crum says:

    CB is the healthiest, safest & easiest way to brew Kombucha. Based on your experience it sounds like the vessel needed to be cleaned which is why it was souring so quickly. As yeast build up on the bottom, they will push the brew out of balance (we always take our starter from the top to encourage the bacteria, rather than the bottom where all the yeastie bits reside).

    The advantage to getting a whole kit rather than piecing it together is making sure you have the right information to succeed – such as our support videos & Complete Handbook. They are also available a la carte for anyone who has supplies and needs addl info.

    Also, we recommend making sweet tea in 1 gal batches so that when you pour off 25% (half a gallon), you already have the next batch of sweet tea ready to go. Simply pour it from the fridge on to your brew – easy peasy!

    When decanting from the spigot right into the bottle, no additional funnels or pitchers are needed making it very streamline. Plus the cultures stay in a pH protected environment which reduces the risk of mold or contamination.

    The healthy acids in Kombucha peak at the 15 day mark and again at the 30 day mark and recent evidence suggest that continuous may actually produce more glucuronic acid due to the reintroduction of sugar at different times in the brewing cycle. Glucuronic acid is made by the body and assists with healthy liver function.

    Of course, everyone has to trust THEIR gut and select the method that makes the most sense for them.

    I hope you will consider these suggestions and give it another try to see if it works for your family. Because while it may not “work” for everyone, it truly is the “Method of the Ancients” that yields the healthiest brew.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Thank you so much for your feedback Hannah! Yes indeed, I might have to give it another go, with your tips of course! :)

  14. Ann says:

    I have had the same experiences as you with continuous. Batch brewing works so much better for me and my family. It’s niceto hear that I’m not the only one! 😉

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