Choosing the right kombucha brewing vessel
If you’re in the market for a good kombucha brewing vessel
for 1st fermentation, I can give you some tips on what to
But before we get started, just a quick refresher on what 1st
fermentation is. To brew kombucha, you have to go through
two phases: 1st fermentation and 2nd fermentation.
1st fermentation (F1): F1 typically takes around 7-12 days.
During that time, the sweet tea ferments and is transformed
into kombucha by the starter culture and a SCOBY. At the end
of first fermentation, you’ll have unflavored, largely
2nd fermentation (F2): This is when your kombucha tea is flavored (usually with fruit)
and bottled in a sealed container for around 3-4 days at room temperature to create
carbonation. You can read this post for info for choosing the right bottles for F2.
Tips for F1 Kombucha Brew Vessels
Glass is great. I like to use 1-gallon clear glass jars.
- You can use larger or smaller vessels, but just make sure you adjust the
proportion of your ingredients accordingly! Some brewers report that larger
vessels make the process take longer or throw off the final flavor of the brew.
- I like clear glass since you can monitor your brew without messing around with
the lid or moving it around.
Ceramic is also great as long as it’s food-grade and not glazed with paint that could leach into your brew.
Food-grade stainless steel is OK (grade 304 or higher).
Do not use plastic or metal containers since they could leach when exposed to your kombucha for long periods of time.
Covering Your Brew Vessel
While it’s fermenting, you’ll want to cover it with a clean, breathable cover that allows for good airflow but keeps dust and insects out of your brew. Secure your cover with a rubber band to make sure it doesn’t move around. Here are some options:
Clean cotton cloth.
I honestly use a clean t-shirt that I never wear anymore, which I’ve cut into pieces that fit my brew vessels. Bandanas work well!
Fine weave cheesecloth is OK as long as you make sure it has a very tight weave. Flies can burrow through cheesecloth that’s more open or loose. And if your cheesecloth sheds at all, that could be harmful to your brew if the cloth is treated with bleach or other chemicals.
Coffee filters also work as long as they cover the whole opening.
What about continuous brew (CB) vessels?
The recommendations I outline above are for batch brew vessels. I personally do not continuous brew, and I don’t recommend it for folks who are just starting out or for people who want more control over their brew cycle. So I don’t have a whole ton of tips for CB here (sorry!).
If you want to read more about batch vs. continuous brew methods, you can go here.
But if you are in the market for a continuous brew vessel, make sure it’s food-grade glass, ceramic or stainless steel. And most importantly: make sure the spigot is made of food-grade material as well, since plastic or other metals can leach into your brew.