There is nothing that can beat the bright and crisp flavors of Kombucha fermented at home! And it is not just about the flavors.
I am sure your interest in brewing Kombucha has a lot to do with your health as well. You have learned how drinking Kombucha tea could provide your body with a natural antioxidant power to fight diseases.
And how can we forget the immense probiotic properties of this tea? They could enhance your digestive functions and protect you against stomach upsets, indigestion, and other bowel diseases.
However, brewing perfect Kombucha tea at home requires you to assemble a few essentials.
And Kombucha jar and containers are the first ones you will need to begin with.
A jar? A container?
You might think you have plenty of jars at home that you can use to brew your fermented beverage. But, hold! Not all jars and containers are suitable for brewing Kombucha.
You will need a Kombucha jar of specific material, size, and opening.
Using an incorrect kind of brewing vessel could spoil your tea and even affect the fermentation process. That is why selecting safe Kombucha jars or containers is the critical step to brewing Kombucha successfully.
If you have realized the importance of using proper containers, read on to learn how you can find the best Kombucha supplies for brewing and the things you should look for in the vessels.
P.S. If you are looking for Kombucha bottles, see my post The Best Kombucha Bottles for Home Brewing.
The best Kombucha jar materials
Kombucha jars and containers are available in a range of materials each of which has its own pros and cons. You can choose the best jar for brewing tea at home depending on what you are looking for and your preferences.
Jars made of glass are commonly used for brewing Kombucha as it is non-reactive in nature.
It will not affect the flavors of the tea. Glass jars are also easy to find. Also, being transparent, they can allow you to monitor the brewing process by just having a glance from the outside.
So, you need not open the lid to check how well the process of fermentation is going.
This benefit comes with another hidden advantage. If you do not prefer your kombucha tea to burp and let some yeast escape, a glass jar will also you to skip the step entirely. You can simply assess the brewing process through the transparent walls of the glass container so that you need not open it causing the tea to burp!
One factor that you may not like about Kombucha glass containers is it can prevent you from brewing the tea discreetly. Your family members and housemates may not appreciate or even get a bit freaked out looking at all that yeast and SCOBY!
But, we have a solution for this. You can still opt for a glass jar and use a cloth cover t-shirt to block the view. This way, you will be able to monitor the fermentation process easily while letting the tea brew discreetly.
Here are two glass jar we found to be good options for you to brew kombucha.
If you are looking for a cost-effective option for large jars, you can trust the wide mouth mason Jar from Kitchentoolz.
The 2 pack 1 gallon each is enough for brewing a large batch of Kombucha. However, it doesn’t come with a handle and spigot, which, we feel, could make things a bit inconvenient for you.
You will have to be very careful while handling it. Not having a spigot may make it difficult for you to carry or clean it.
However, if you are a beginner and don’t care about fancy accessories like a spigot or handle, and really need something less expensive, then these jars would work perfectly for you.
You can easily brew Kombucha lasting for about 2 weeks using these jars.
The KooK 2 Gallon Jar Drink Dispenser is an excellent choice for continuous brewing of Kombucha.
The larger capacity of 2 gallons allows you to brew Kombucha lasting for at least 2 weeks. The height, width, and depth of this container is suitable for you to handle easily while also monitoring the contents through the larger opening.
It is very versatile and can be used for many other purposes (cold drinks only so don’t pour hot liquid in it). The big positive is that it has a stainless steel spigot. These are much better than plastic as they don’t leak. The container is hand wash only.
KooK is also a safe and healthy choice as it does not discolor, leach chemicals into Kombucha or retain any smell.
Porcelain, Stoneware, and Ceramic
These materials have been used traditionally for fermentation. The opaque nature of these materials is perfect for preventing light from interfering with the brewing process. It can also provide for a more discreet Kombucha brewing experience.
However, Porcelain, Stoneware and Ceramic jars you use must be made of food grade quality. Yes, you must take care of this because most vessels made of these materials are not meant to brew or store foods.
Also, some Porcelain, Stoneware, and Ceramic containers contain lead. Hence, you need to find out whether the container you plan to buy is free of lead. Most food grade containers made of these materials have lead-free glazes. Still, you may accidentally choose a decorative pot or vase for brewing and that could be dangerous! Hence, a safer way would be to source the vessel from a reputed brand or a trusted Kombucha store.
If you are planning to use porcelain jars for brewing Kombucha, take a look at the 2 containers we found to be the good ones.
If the aesthetics of porcelain container appeal to you, you can use New Wave Enviro Porcelain Dispenser jars for brewing Kombucha.
You can brew 2.5 gallons of Kombucha in these jars. With its easier-to-hold spigot, you can remove some tea during the process itself. You can also remove the contents once it’s ready to consume through the kombucha dispenser and then, pour the sugar and sweet tea back into it for your next batch. The dispenser of these containers is perfect for brewing a continuous batch.
Some other features of these jars we appreciate are the spout that we found offered more convenience than a ladle. Also, the Crock ring included with it can keep the cloth in place and the faucets can be cleaned and replaced easily.
Keeping in mind the safety and health of brewers, these jars have been made of a material that is free of lead and cadmium. Moreover, the lever faucet is BPA free making it one of the safest, and reasonably priced jars you can use to brew Kombucha at home.
We are sure it would become a nice decorative piece in your home as well, thanks to the lovely wooden stand it comes with.
This 2.5-gallon porcelain container is designed to help you brew Kombucha with a continuous batch method. It has ring included that can keep the cloth in place and a spout that is easier to handle than a ladle.
These kombucha jars have most features similar to the previous porcelain jar we had a look at. This one too comes with a Kombucha Crock ring and faucet and is free of harmful elements like lead, cadmium, and BPA.
The only feature lacking here is the wooden stand. However, if you would like to save a few bucks and do not really need a stand, you can definitely opt for these porcelain jars.
Some brewers prefer Kombucha stainless steel jars for brewing kombucha as it does not interact with the culture and allows the SCOBY to grow fine. However, you must choose a container made of a high-grade, nonmagnetic stainless steel.
A magnetic stainless-steel container may not be suitable for kombucha brewing as the process of fermentation may cause the metal to leach out of it.
Stainless steel containers are also preferred for secondary fermentation provided they are not scratched, and not made of a low-quality alloy.
Some other advantages of using stainless-steel Kombucha containers is they do not break and are easily available in larger sizes.
However, stainless steel containers are heavy making them inconvenient to handle, carry, and clean. They are also not easily available in smaller sizes. And, we know it well you can not use the larger ones for single brewing batches.
If you are planning to brew a larger batch in a stainless-steel kombucha container, have a look at some of the best and safer containers we have found.
A massive capacity of 16 gallons is what attracted us to these containers. What makes them even better is they are made of high-quality stainless steel.
The side calibration marks in quarts and gallons and the half an inch ball valve spigot add to your convenience. The stainless-steel vented lid and a side opening of these pots can make it easier for you to monitor and control the brewing process.
However, we couldn’t find any reliable information about the material being non-magnetic. Yet, for brewing massive quantities of kombucha, we do not think you will find a better, and cheaper alternative to these containers.
To begin with, let us make it clear that we do not specifically consider plastic containers suitable for brewing Kombucha. However, they do have certain advantages, which some brewers might be looking for.
What makes plastic containers a good option for beginners is they are easy to find, available in a range of sizes, and cost less.
However, you must choose containers made of food-grade plastic, which is tough and thick and resists warping. Above all, the plastic containers you choose must be free of BPA or Bisphenol A (BPA) that is known to be dangerous for health.
Our concern with using plastic is even the high-quality food grade containers do come with a risk of leaching into your mix. So, if you are using these containers for a longer duration, you may find some unacceptable flavors in your brew.
If you want to try out brewing Kombucha for the first time and would prefer a plastic container priced in a lower range, look at the ones we found to be acceptable and safer than other plastic containers.
If safety is your prime concern, you can choose these 5-gallon buckets from Living Whole Foods. Made of food grade, BPA-free plastic, these containers can be a good place to start with.
The large capacity of 5 gallons makes them a good option to brew a larger batch of Kombucha. However, you need to keep in mind, there is still a risk of unknown chemicals leaching from plastic into your brew.
Wooden casks and barrels can be excellent for brewing Kombucha. These containers are, however, usually quite large and hence, preferred for larger batches and continuous brewing setups only.
We would recommend choosing a wooden Kombucha brewing barrel made of Oak as the soothing fragrance of this wood can add in some extra flavors to your brew.
However, not all brewers prefer to use wooden casks and barrels due to their large sizes, heaviness, and higher costs. You can buy one if you are particularly interested in enhancing the flavors of the tea or moving to the continuous brewing system.
Read on to find the best wooden barrels you can buy to brew a highly flavored Kombucha tea.
We really appreciate the high-quality material of this 20-Liter American White Oak Aging Barrel from Sofia’s Findings, which is a reputable brand for kombucha brewing supplies. These barrels are designed to help you brew Kombucha as well as Tequila, Bourbon, Whiskey, Rum, and Wine.
These barrels are handcrafted from American White Oak Wood. The black steel hoops add to the aesthetics while its charred interiors would surely infuse your Kombucha tea with some great authentic flavors.
Though priced in a higher range, we feel these wooden barrels are highly suitable for seasoned brewers who would like to take their brewing experience to the next level.
Here’s another American Premium Oak Aging Barrel by Sofia’s Findings that provides you an option to personalize it with Laser Engravings. These barrels can be engraved with logos, as well as graphics. You just need to send the engraving instructions after purchasing while mentioning “Will send LOGO”.
Made of American White Oak Wood, these barrels are handcrafted to allow you to brew Kombucha, spirits, beer, rum, whiskey, wine, tequila, honey, and vinegar in large quantities. The black steel hoops and charred interiors are other features you would appreciate.
The aesthetic appeal, larger size, and the option to engrave do justify the higher price commanded by these barrels.
Well… These are some of the best materials you can choose to brew Kombucha. We would also like you to be aware of the materials that are just not acceptable and shouldn’t be used for brewing purposes. Let’s have a look at them as well:
Kombucha containers you can use for fermentation
The primary fermentation may take anywhere between 7 to 30 days depending on the quantity of the tea you plan to brew, the temperature conditions, and the ingredients you are using.
So, you need to be very careful about the type of container you use for primary fermentation. The Kombucha brewing jar should allow the process of fermentation to occur at a faster rate.
However, having said that, it should also support the fermentation process in a healthy way such that you do not lose the benefits of the tea.
Let us now start with some basic parameters you need to consider while choosing Kombucha brewing jars.
The container should be:
- Easy to hold, lift, and carry
- Fits in the space where you plan to store it
- Suitable for long-term storage
Size of the container
The size of the container, of course, would depend on the amount of Kombucha you plan to brew as well as the storage space available.
A one-gallon jar, half-gallon jar, or a quart jar is often adequate to brew Kombucha for the family.
Homebrewers usually do not need larger two-gallon jars. However, if you need a steady supply of Kombucha, you would need to have 3 to 6 batches of one or half a gallon of Kombucha brewing continuously.
In this case, it would be easier for you to have fewer, say one or two, but larger containers in which you can brew the tea continuously. This would be convenient for you compared to having several containers of smaller batches of tea brewing.
So, it all depends on how much of Kombucha you need. If you need a larger portion, it would be convenient for you to have larger jars and vice versa.
Personally, we feel for the single batch brews, 1- or 2-gallon vessels are preferable and for continuous system brews, a larger jar having a capacity of about 5 to 7 gallon may be needed.
Keep in mind that smaller batches of Kombucha may not produce enough tea for you to enjoy and larger batches may have an inconsistent flavor and take a long time to ferment.
Huge vessels can also be heavy and hence, hard to carry or clean! Hence, for homebrewers, we would still recommend jars with a smaller size like half or one gallon.
Some more points to consider:
- One gallon or 4 liters of Kombucha usually takes about 7 to 14 days to ferment while 10 liters or 2.5 gallons of the tea would need about 10 to 24 days. A larger batch size of 5 gallons or 20 liters may take nearly 18 to 42 days to ferment.
Consider these facts while deciding whether you would like a smaller or a larger kombucha brewing vessel.
- You need to consider whether you want to use the same jar to store kombucha as you used for brewing it.
If you are planning to transfer the brew from the two-gallon jar to many 12-ounce bottles, you may simply choose smaller jars so that you can skip the process of transferring it from a bigger container to a smaller one.
However, if you plan to remove the SCOBY and store the brew in the refrigerator; you may need a larger container so that you can store it ‘as-it-is’ without the need to transfer the contents.
Ask yourself these questions so that you can choose the best container that suits your requirements.
Opening of the container
Other than the size of the jar, you also need to check the size of its opening so that checking the contents once in a while and cleaning the container become easier for you.
A wide-mouth jar would definitely be a good thing for you to ease the cleaning process. It would also allow you to check the contents more easily without having to peep through a narrow opening.
Just open the lid and have a look to get an idea of how well your Kombucha is brewing. That’s the benefits of buying a wide mouth container!
That’s not all. A wide-mouth container comes with a few more benefits. The wider opening can allow more oxygen to enter the container. This can be of great advantage for the fermenting Kombucha that needs oxygen to support the process.
Keep in mind that the primary fermentation of Kombucha is an aerobic process, which means it can occur only in the presence of oxygen. The more the better!
This is why you will need to buy a container that has a wider opening so that more oxygen can enter it and ferment the tea.
However, during secondary fermentation, you may switch to a gallon jug or a recycled wine bottle having a narrow opening as this process is anaerobic and does not need oxygen.
Container with or without a Spigot
Most brewers are not sure whether they should buy jars with spigots or without.
What we feel is a glass jar with spigot can make it pretty convenient for you to drain the liquid without having to lift the container. And this convenience can be of higher importance if you are brewing Kombucha in a larger vessel.
Just imagine trying to lift a 2-gallon container to drain the liquid! It can get too heavy for you to lift a larger container. You may even risk losing your grip causing the contents to spill or even worse, the container to slip out of your hands!
This is why we strongly recommend using a Kombucha container with a Spigot. You may opt for a jar without a spigot if you are brewing a smaller batch in a smaller container.
A smaller batch brewing vessel like half or one-gallon jar would be lighter and hence, easier to handle. A spigot is usually not available and even not necessary for such jars.
You can also use a siphon or ladle if the spigot is not available. However, they can create a mess and are sometimes difficult to maneuver.
If you are choosing a jar that comes with a spigot, make sure it is made of materials safe for brewing. Ideally, the spigot should have the following qualities:
- Made of stainless steel (304 grade or better), wood, or professional-grade plastic
- Uncoated and unpainted
- Held together with corrosion-resistant washers and nuts
- Free of glues or epoxies in attachment or assembly
- Can be removed for cleaning quickly and easily
The shape of the jar
Other than the size, you also need to consider that shape of the vessel you plan to use to brew Kombucha. The shape may not matter much if you are brewing a smaller batch of about half or one gallon.
However, since the shape of the vessel can influence the speed of fermentation, it does matter a lot when brewing a larger batch. For example; the higher surface area and a reduced depth can let more oxygen to enter and stay in the brewing contents. Exposure of the fermenting Kombucha to a higher amount of oxygen can stimulate bacteria and yeast and thus, help the tea to ferment faster.
A taller and narrower vessel, on the other hand, will slow down the process of fermentation and a shorter and wider vessel can ferment it more rapidly. These effects are more important when you are brewing a larger batch or planning for Continuous Brew.
Also, it is advisable to avoid extremely shallow and wide vessels as this can turn the flavors sour too quickly. At the same time, using a very narrow and tall container is also not recommended as it can prevent the tea from fermenting evenly and even slow down the process.
The ways by which the shape can affect the brewing process as discussed above can give you an idea of what type of container you need to choose.
One more thing… The mouth of the container must be wide enough to allow you to remove the new SCOBY formed during brewing.
Other than these features, you also need to pay special attention to the material of the jars. Below is an in-depth discussion about the various jar materials recommended for brewing Kombucha. We will also take a look at jar and containers that are suitable for brewing tea for each category of material.
Materials you shouldn’t use for brewing Kombucha
- Metals and non-stainless steel: metal containers made of regular steel, copper, bronze, aluminum, and iron are not suitable for brewing as they may leak toxic chemicals into the brew and harm your health.
- Crystal containers: these containers may have toxic metals like lead that can leach into your tea and pose health risks.
- Painted Ceramic and colored glass containers: the paint may contain lead that is harmful to your health.
- Rubber: never use a container made of rubber as it may leak dangerous chemicals into your tea and increase the risk of certain diseases.
Choosing the right container is the key to brewing a perfect Kombucha. You need to consider how much tea you need to brew and your other preferences and constraints before choosing a container.
Based on various parameters, we found KooK 2 Gallon Jar Drink Dispenser to be the best jar for kombucha brewing for beginners as well as seasoned brewers. It would allow you to brew a larger batch of Kombucha while offering convenience in handling and cleaning.
This Kombucha container does not affect the natural flavors of the tea and allow you to enjoy the immense health benefits of Kombucha.