Continuous vs batch brew kombucha: which one should you choose?
There are two ways to brew your own kombucha. The most common way is the batch brewing while some prefer the continuous brew kombucha (or continuous brewing kombucha).
Which one should you choose between these two?
Well, the answer is, “it depends.”
Each method has pros and cons, and depending on what you prefer, you could choose either of them.
Personally, I prefer batch brewing as I described in my earlier post on how to brew kombucha.
Let me first explain how these two methods are different.
DIY Kombucha Method 1. Batch brewing kombucha
This is the most common method to brew kombucha from home.
To simply put, you use a typical glass jar to brew kombucha, and when the first fermentation process is over, you pour out all the liquid and SCOBY from the jar.
If you want to make another batch of kombucha, you just reuse the glass jar to start over after washing it off.
The typical one-gallon glass jars kombucha brewers like to use looks like this.
DIY Kombucha Method 2. Continuous brew kombucha
While this is not a typical way to brew kombucha, it is a convenient way to brew kombucha as you want.
And there are plenty of kombucha brewers who use this method. And of course, it works.
As the naming is pretty self-explanatory, this method doesn’t require to pour out all the kombucha liquid from the container.
You can just pour out some for the second fermentation and keep brewing without having to rinse the jar all the time. Also, you don’t need to take out the scoby, and as you keep brewing, the scoby will just grow and get thicker.
This is a convenient method to brew kombucha if you don’t want to stay in the kitchen for an hour every time you brew kombucha.
In order to use the continuous brew method, you would need a different type of container for the first fermentation process.
Instead of using a regular glass jar, the continuous brew system requires a glass beverage dispenser with a stainless steel spigot like the picture.
Which one should you choose between batch and continuous brew kombucha?
Now that two methods are introduced, you might wonder which method you want to choose.
When I learned how to brew kombucha, people all said different things. Some people were saying continuous brew kombucha is better, and others say a different thing. I was so confused with so many different stories!
The answer is pretty simple. Each method has a perk, so choose what you would prefer to use according to the pros and cons of each method.
Benefits of Batch brew kombucha
- Easy to anticipate when to store for the second fermentation
You can always measure the exact amount of tea and sugar you use, so you have more control with the fermenting process.
You always know how much kombucha you are making. If you are a planner-type, this will probably help you to store kombucha always in the same way.
Batch brewing definitely helps you to make this kombucha brewing a weekly routine.
- Constant flavor
Batch brewing helps you to specifically measure how much kombucha tea and sugar you add every time. This means that you have control over the amount of yeast and bacteria.
- Not many additional containers are needed
You might wonder what this means.
While batch brewing requires to pour out all the liquid to brew another batch, you can always make the new tea + sugar mix using the same jar. If you are using the continuous kombucha method, you will need a separate container to make the tea + sugar mix and pour it to your jar.
This might be not an issue if you have plenty of containers to use.
However, in my case, I like the idea of making less of a mess in the kitchen.
Downsides of Batch brew kombucha
- It takes time to batch brew kombucha
Because every time you will brew a fresh batch, it takes time for the black tea to fully ferment.
This is not the case for continuous brew kombucha, because typically there are more bacteria and active yeast accumulated over time. Even the scoby is a lot thicker than what you would use for the batch brewing.
- Heavy lifting when brewing kombucha
Often times, I mean, almost every time you brew kombucha, you will need to lift the huge jar filled with a gallon of kombucha in order to pour the liquid out and clear the inside.
So, if you don’t like the heavy lifting workout required to pour out and relocate the jar, you would want to reconsider this.
Benefits of Continuous brew kombucha
- Quick setup for the second fermentation
The continuous brewing method helps you to move into the second fermentation process whenever you want.
Let’s imagine that you just want to make just 16 oz of kombucha this week.
- Large quantity is possible
While a typical jar for batch brewing is a gallon jar, for continuous kombucha, it is not limited to one gallon.
It is because you don’t really need to worry about lifting the heavy jar.
So, if you are using the continuous brewing method, you can even use a 2-gallon jar without having to worry about carrying the jar anywhere.
Note that it would take more time to brew if you try to brew a large quantity in one jar.
Downsides of Continuous brew kombucha
Typical issues reported on the continuous brewing method is related to the spigot.
- Clogged spigot
Imagine your scoby growing in the jar for many weeks and months. You can easily expect an issue caused by the strains of yeast when dispensing kombucha through the narrow spigot.
While it can be inconvenient, you can avoid this issue by 1) checking the jar regularly, 2) not letting the scoby grow too big, and 3) not trying to dispense the liquid right after shaking the liquid.
- Rusted spigot
Yes, this can be frustrating.
Although we typically expect the stainless steel spigot not to rust, we wouldn’t know the quality of the spigot until we use it for a while.
If you chose the continuous brewing method, make sure that the spigot can withstand the acidity of your kombucha.
Batch vs Continuous Brew Kombucha: Which One Should You Choose?
Yes, many people brew kombucha using the batch brewing method. However, it does not mean that the continuous brewing method is not as good as batch brewing.
Even the commercial kombuchas are brewed in either way!
If you need to choose between the two methods, thoroughly consider the benefits and downsides of each method.
There are reasons why many people choose batch brew kombucha, and at the same time, why the continuous brew kombucha is still considered an option. And no one can give you an ultimate answer.
I hope this post was helpful for you to learn about the two different ways to brew your kombucha.
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