So, you have decide that you like the idea of making kombucha at home, but not sure exactly what you'll need.
Good news! Making kombucha at home requires only two, very simple supplies: a brewing vessel and cover. It's that simple!
There are a few other supplies that can come in handy for brewing, but aside from these two items, everything else is optional. Keep in mind the below tips when picking out a container and cover and you'll be ready to make homemade kombucha in no time.
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. You will need something that is at least 1.5L in size but 2L or larger is better. For continuous brew systems a larger glass jar with tap is needed. Be sure the spigot inside the jar is plastic, not metal, as metal can damage the kombucha SCOBY. This Kombucha Brewing Jar by Mortier Pilon is specially designed for continuous kombucha brewing and even includes a lid with a re-writable label to make it easy to keep track of your batches and they look really retro and cool. Please do remember that glass jars should not be sterilized with heat as generally speaking the jars with the taps are NOT suitable for hot liquids.
- Plastic. Plastic is cheap and easy but there are cautions if you are using plastic. Only certain types of plastic are suitable for brewing kombucha due to the acidity of the brew. All the plastic containers we sell are suitable. Only BPA free Polypropylene is safe to use. Plastic is generally cheaper than glass but you do need to ensure that it does not become scratched or crack and they are sometimes not as strong (and they nearly always don't look quite as nice!)
- Porcelain. Porcelain is generally safe for brewing kombucha, as long as it is food-grade, all our porcelain vessels are food grade and have a lead free glaze. Avoid porcelain pieces such as vases or decorative pottery that are not food-grade and check any check to make sure the glaze is food-grade to prevent potential contact with lead.
Material Options: What to avoid
- Crystal. Because crystal contains lead you should never use 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 however the quality of the stainless steel and if it is solid or plated are all important factors to consider. We recommend that you steer clear of stainless steel as there are too many pitfalls and potential issues.
The size on the whole is not important so long as it is big enough to hold all the ingredients while maintaining the correct ratio's and leaves room at the top for the brew to bubble and breathe (at least an inch but more if possible)
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.
You do also need to consider the neck size as you need to be able to get your hand in and out to remove and pop in the scoby so a narrow neck is no good. Also the surface area at the top will influence brew speed. the larger the surface are the faster it will brew however If your kombucha gets fermenting too quickly, the batch may become too vinegary in flavour. 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 YOUR BREW
Fermenting kombucha can attract fruit flies. 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. Or some of the fabric type kitchen paper. Just make sure it has a tight weave.
- Canning jar rings that come with mason jars work well to secure fabric over the top of the jar.
- 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.
What else might you need?
Plastic Strainer/Filter funnel
A Plastic Strainer or filtering funnel, while not necessary, can certainly be useful for making homemade kombucha. Use it to strain yeast strings from finished kombucha or scoop out the SCOBY. We carry BPA-free plastic sieves and filtering funnels which are great for other culturing projects too.
Bottles with a tight seal such as our swing lid fermenting bottles work well for making fizzy kombucha.