How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha

If you know how to make kombucha and are successfully brewing, you’ve mastered the messiest part of the process! Yay! Now you’re ready to stop doing that “start from scratch” thing and learn how to make continuous brew kombucha.

Disclaimer: not only am I a non-cook who stumbles on getting it right sometimes, I’m a non-scientist. Surprise! Mostly because all those facts and figures spin my pretty little head. I love reading the facts and figures… it’s the ability to recall them when I need them. I’m more of your basic “go by your gut” kinda gal. That’s what I call my “fair warning.”

Here’s the basic Continuous Brew Kombucha process:

1. Draw off what you will drink in a week.

2. Make fresh tea and replenish what you took.

3. Next week repeat.

4. Aaaannnnndddd here’s the tricky part: how big ‘a batch ‘o booch do you start with, so you can draw off what you will drink in a week, yet leave enough brew to take in the fresh sweet tea and still have it all be fermented in a week so you can draw off that week’s batch?

Figuring out the answer to question #4 is the hardest part of this process. Once you got that — and, hey, trial and error worked for me — you are good to go!

The “How Big a Batch o Booch To Start With” Formula

We drink 2 gallons o booch a week. Easy. The goal is to leave approx 75% of ready booch in the continuous brew after drawing off your weekly use. This is more than enough to makes sure your brew stays good and fermented and can absorb the fresh sweet tea.

If my goal is to leave 75% in the brewing jug, then 2 gallons is 25% of how much? Divide .25 by 2 and you get 8, so 8 gallons is the batch I start with. I have two 5-gallon containers, so I have plenty of brewed booch to handle fresh incoming kt.

What If There’s Not Enough Brewed Left in the Jug?

In fact, I’ve taken the level down to as little as 50% and still had good brewed booch the next week. But I probably wouldn’t get away with that for too many weeks in a row before the brewed booch was overwhelmed by the new kt and less fermented than we like. Not to mention, less fermented than is required to get the good bacteria going! Eventually, we’d have to wait longer than a week to get the bite back in our booch.

Wait longer than a week for more booch? Seriously, the thought is actually painful.

Why Bother With Continuous Brew Kombucha?

1. It’s easier: no starting over every time!

2. No long wait for kombucha — the part that takes the longest is always done!

3. According to Kombucha Mama,  continuous brew kombucha is even better for you:

Basically, while regular brews of Kombucha are healthy, researchers have noted that when homebrewers allowed their Kombucha to ferment longer than 10-14 days, as you do in a Continuous Brewing System, an even greater number of beneficial acids formed in much higher concentrations than in shorter brewing cycles.

In fact, shockingly, some of the absolute best acids for your health don’t begin to form until 2 weeks into the fermentation process. Some not till 21 days into fermentation. Once you’ve begun using your Continuous Brew, not only will the acids be expressed more fully, the bacteria and yeast will have time to mature.

What worldwide researchers have discovered is that some of the acids found in the more mature Kombucha brews can successfully bind to toxins and allow the body to flush them from the liver and gut more efficiently than without Kombucha. Like bodyguards carrying troublemakers out of a club and tossing them on the street. Get out and don’t come back!

New 2nd Ferment Recipe to Try Out!

I’ve been making Ginger Grape Kombucha for awhile now. We love it so much and the recipe is, well, perfect, thank you very much. I hate to mess with success… but while I was roaming around Kombucha Kamp, I found this recipe with turmeric. We ♥ our turmeric around here!

ORANGE BLAST OFF KOMBUCHA: ½ tsp of turmeric, 1 Tbsp fresh squeeze orange juice, ½ tsp of cinnamon. This is for one 16 oz bottle.

Since I mix my 2nd ferment flavorings in 64 oz Mason jars, I’ll do 4x these amounts per jar: 2 t turmeric, 4 T fresh oj, 2 t cinnamon.

I’m ordering organic turmeric and cinnamon from Mountain Rose Herbs next week, then we’ll give this one a go. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, let me know your favorite flavoring. Suddenly, I’m feeling adventurous! (Uh oh.)

 

Sally Oh lives in the Bluegrass area of Kentucky with her husband of 21 years and two gigantic sons. She is a Weston A. Price chapter leader and blogs to meet like-minded farm food freedom advocates. She’s hoping you join us in the real food rEVOLution!

If you are here in KY and want to join our in-person fun, sign up on Meetup or like us on Facebook.

  • robin

    Ok i need to find a place to set up. Is there a temp
    range that bucha likes? It rarely hits 70* in the
    house but that just means it will take longer?

    My big ? Is… I have 2 one gallon jars w/ no way to draw
    off the bottom. Can i take from the top and then
    add fresh tea? Just move ol scoby to the side, or
    remove for a min.?

    Thx a ton for doing this! :D

  • Robin Phillips-Knotts

    Hey there, did my comment come through from a few days ago? I don’t see it. It was about temp {my kitchen might be too cold?} and how to do it sans spigot on the bottom… just take from the top and add to the top? Ty!! :D

  • http://www.fiftytolife.com/who/ Sally Oh

    Found the other comment :) Either I didn’t get a notice or it went to spam and I deleted it by accident. Probably numero dos…

    Yes, it will just take longer. Some people have a kombucha blanket that their brew sits on or a heating pad. I don’t ever check the temp and it always brews just fine. Right now, I live without ac in the kitchen/living area (which is rarely awful because we have huge ceilings) so it brews pretty quick!

    Yes, just draw from the top. And I also just read that you might want to trim the mother in a corner occasionally so the brew can breathe… so moving it aside to ladle or dish out might actually be beneficial.
    Sally Oh recently posted..How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha

  • Jess

    Hi there, I love this site. Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Quick question on kombucha continuous brew supplies. I’m looking for a replacement valve/spigot for my crock. Any suggestions? I’m concerned ones listed online that say they are plastic may have metal somewhere in them. Thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Jess

  • http://www.fiftytolife.com/who/ Sally Oh

    Hi Jess, If you can get someone on the phone at the store, I would try that first. Next I would try to contact the manufacturer of the crock if you know and ask them pointed questions. If not those two places, I would head over to KombuchaKamp.com. Hannah, the Kombucha mama lol, is very good about answering questions. Good luck with it!
    Sally Oh recently posted..How to Make Continuous Brew Kombucha

  • Sally_Oh

    I have been drinking my kombucha for so long now and I’ve never gotten even a tiny bit high off of it. Sometimes it has the burn but it’s like a coke burn, not like a whiskey burn. I love it and can’t imagine not drinking it! If there’s one place I need help, it’s the gut and kombucha is the mother load of probiotics.

    also, I have to wait until it’s really fermented (talking about the second ferment here) before I drink or else the caffeine will keep me up. Otherwise, it’s a perfect drink!