To make kombucha at home, there are only a couple of necessary supplies: a brewing vessel and cover. Beyond that, everything else is optional.
Kombucha brewing container
Material Options: What to Use
- Glass. Glass is the best option for brewing kombucha. Not only will it not react to the acidity of the brew, it doesn't scratch easily or contain chemicals such as BPA. Glass containers are also easy and inexpensive to obtain. Canning jars and storage jars in quart, half-gallon, and gallon sizes work well. For continuous brew systems a larger glass jar with spigot is a good choice. Be sure the spigot inside the jar is plastic, not metal, as metal can damage the kombucha SCOBY.
- Ceramic. If you would like to culture kombucha in a ceramic container, check to make sure the glaze is food-grade to prevent potential contact with lead.
- Porcelain. Porcelain is generally safe for brewing kombucha, as long as it is food-grade. Avoid porcelain pieces such as vases or decorative pottery that are not food-grade.
Material Options: What to Avoid
- Plastic. We do not recommend using plastic containers for brewing kombucha. Plastic is easily damaged, and scratches in the plastic can harbor foreign bacteria. Plastic, even food-grade, may contain undesirable chemicals that can be harmful to the kombucha SCOBY.
- Crystal. Because crystal contains lead we do not advise using crystal to brew kombucha.
- Metal. Metal is generally detrimental to kombucha. The only possible exception is stainless steel. Because it is relatively inert, some brewers feel it is a reasonable alternative to glass. While we do not recommend using it, some people do have success doing so.
What Size Container to Use
You can brew kombucha in any size container, provided it is large enough to hold all the kombucha ingredients while maintaining the correct ingredient ratios. (When activating a dehydrated kombucha SCOBY, be sure to follow the ingredient amounts included in the instructions.)
When choosing a container size, consider that kombucha brewing time is 7 to 30 days. The batch size should be large enough to provide kombucha for drinking plus starter tea needed for the next batch.
Be Aware of Surface Area
Since the surface area at the top of the liquid will influence the rate at which kombucha brews, keep in mind the size of the surface area when choosing a container.
A brew with a 9-inch diameter surface will culture significantly faster than a brew with a 3-inch diameter surface. While it may be tempting to speed up the fermentation process by using a container with a larger surface area, faster isn’t necessarily better.
If your kombucha gets fermenting too quickly, the batch may become quite vinegary in flavor. In short, be aware that the size of the surface area may affect how fast your kombucha ferments, and be ready to adjust you fermentation time accordingly.
Covering the kombucha brewing container
Fermenting kombucha tea can tend to attract fruit flies and other critters. To keep these out, you'll want to cover your brewing container to protect your kombucha and SCOBY. Keep in mind the following when choosing a cover:
- A coffee filter or tight-weave dish towel, secured with a rubber band, is an excellent choice.
- Avoid loose-weave fabric or screens, as these will not keep out tiny bugs like ants and fruit flies.
- Do not use a tight lid. In order for your kombucha to ferment effectively, it needs sufficient airflow. A tight lid will inhibit this airflow and prevent your kombucha from fermenting properly.
While by no means required, a few additional supplies that can be helpful while brewing kombucha.
- A mesh tea ball is handy when using loose tea to brew kombucha. Metal tea balls are fine to use, as they will be removed before the SCOBY and starter tea are added.
- A Plastic Strainer can be useful in removing the SCOBY from the finished kombucha. We carry bpa-free plastic strainers in two sizes which are great for other culturing projects like making milk kefir and water kefir.
- Bottles with a tight seal such as our Grolsch-Style Flip-Top Bottles work well for making a fizzy finished kombucha tea.