Batch vs Continuous Brew Kombucha

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012

I love kombucha, that tasty, fizzy, probiotic filled traditional drink which originated in China and later in Russia.

My husband and I have been drinking it for over 10 years and I’ve never had a break in my brewing cycle in all that time.

Going on vacation?  No worries.  Just set a fresh batch on to brew just before you leave for vacation and even if you’re gone a month, the new batch will be perfect and ready for you when you return!  If it’s a little strong, just dilute with a bit of plain seltzer.

It’s amazing to me that I’m using today the great-great grandbaby culture of the original culture I purchased all those years ago!  What a great health investment it was to purchase an excellent quality kombucha culture!

I’ve tried making kombucha several different ways over the years including both the continuous brew and the batch kombucha methods.  About 7 years ago, I settled on a routine that works well for me.  I make huge batches of 7-8 gallons every 10 days or so split among 4 – 2 1/2 gallon clear glass jars that I purchased at Target for $12.99 each.

How I make my large kombucha batches is described in detail in these two videoblogs:

Advanced Kombucha Topics 1

Advanced Kombucha Topics 2

If you are a beginner and wish to make a small batch to start, check out these beginner video lessons:

How to Make Kombucha for Beginners 1

How to Make Kombucha for Beginners 2

Is Continuous Brew or Batch Kombucha Better?

I’ve been asked several times recently about why I do not use the continuous brew method for kombucha which adds fresh sweet tea to the fermenting vessel periodically to mix with tea in various stages of fermentation.   While this method is awesome for some folks, I’ve tried it myself and it just didn’t work for me.

My reasons for my sticking with batch kombucha for so many years are outlined below:

Mold Risk with Batch Kombucha Easily Eliminated by Increasing Starter Liquid

Some folks say that the continuous brew method reduces the risk for mold.

Despite living in Florida where it is hot and humid much of the year, I’ve only had mold one time in over 10 years of making kombucha and it was because I foolishly put the fermenting vessel quite near the fruit bowl.  In my experience, the risk is very small indeed for getting mold in your brewing kombucha, but if you wish to eliminate the risk to virtually nil, simply double the amount of starter you use for each batch.

It’s that simple.  Increasing the starter at the beginning increases the acidity of the initial brew and mold just won’t go there.

As a bonus, increasing the amount of starter ensures a faster brewing batch!

Batch Kombucha Does Not Contain Much If Any Caffeine or Sugar

I am a bit sensitive to caffeine and have never had a problem with batch kombucha causing any stimulant issues for me.  This is because caffeine is broken down during the fermentation cycle.  The sugar is also fermented away during the brewing cycle.

With continuous brew kombucha, however, sweet unfermented tea is periodically poured into the fermenting vessel which ensures that at least some caffeine and sugar that has not been fermented away by a completed brewing cycle will end up in your glass.

Since I don’t want to consume any caffeine or white sugar myself and I most certainly don’t want my children to have any on a regular basis, the batch method is the better choice for our family.

Continuous Brew Kombucha Containers of Concern

When I tried making continuous brew kombucha, I used 2 1/2 gallon clear glass jugs.  This is because the continuous brew fermenting vessels I examined at that time all had plastic spigots at the bottom which clogged up all the time from the bits of kombucha culture that came out when you filled a glass with your brew.

Another problem with the continuous brew kombucha fermentation vessels is that the kombucha really should not be in contact with plastic for any length of time as it will leech chemicals from the plastic into your drink!

The back of the spigot is inside the fermenting vessel and is exposed to brewing kombucha 24/7, so this didn’t make sense to me to choose this type of container given the possible health concerns.  To me, it does not matter if the spigots are BPA free or not – plastic is a a petroleum based product and there are plenty of other chemicals that would be of concern coming in contact with kombucha.

With much of the convenience of continuous brew kombucha lost due to the impracticality and possible health danger of the plastic spigots, I chose to stick with large glass jugs which lend themselves best to the batch approach.

In the final analysis having tried both methods, I find batch kombucha to be an overall easier and healthier choice than continuous brew.    It’s also a lot cheaper to set up for batch kombucha and you can still make huge batches quite conveniently (I make 7-8 gallons several times per month) with little to no mess after you get into the groove.

Does Kombucha Prevent Grey Hair?

On a side note, I’d like to take an informal poll of anyone who’s been drinking kombucha for a long time.

If you had no grey hair when you first started to drink it and have been drinking it consistently since, do you have much if any grey hair now?

Kombucha has anecdotally been linked to grey free hair.  My husband and I are both in our late 40′s and have basically none despite parents and siblings who went grey at much earlier ages so was wondering if anyone else has experienced the same?

Where to Source Kombucha Cultures of Excellent Quality

Please refer to my Resources page for where to source excellent quality kombucha cultures and equipment for very reasonable cost.

More Information

Want to know more about kombucha?  These articles provide more detail for your research.

Fluoride in Kombucha: Should You Be Concerned?
Can Candida Sufferers Drink Kombucha?
Does Kombucha Prevent Grey Hair?
Have You Tried Kombucha?
Safe Traveling with Kombucha
Kombucha: Drink It and Wear It?
Kombucha:  What it is and How to Make it

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (231)

  1. Pingback: New Farm Animals-millions of them! | Red Cabin Farm

  2. I was wondering what size jar you use & how much it yeals per week. I am looking to yield about 14c (112oz)/ a week. I am trying to decide between constand brew & batch brew. What is the diffetence time-wise? Ty

    Reply
  3. I had grey hair when I was a little girl and I don’t have anymore and I have been drinking kombucha for three years. It might be adding color and volume and I am not a negative person.

    Reply
  4. Not sure about Kombucha, but I have a small flock of ducks that are about 2 years old. They are normally black with a green irridescent tint (Cayuga breed) and their feathers started turning white this year. I started adding probiotics (Now brand) to their water every day and it seems like their feathers are turning back to black. It has taken awhile and they are not all completely back to their original color, but I do notice a difference.

    Reply
  5. Finally found the answer here to a question I’ve had for ages. I too am very sensitive to caffeine, and need to avoid it. For awhile I prepared kombucha with rooibos tea from South Africa, but if the caffeine in regular tea is broken down then I can go back to the usual mixure of green and black. Thanks for a very helpful post.

    Reply
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  7. What is secondary fermentation? Is that when you bottle it after the brew and let it sit a few more days? Is that when people add juice for flavor?

    Also, can I use brown beer bottles with the Grolsh-style lids (sorry, I don’t know what they’re called!) to store kombucha?

    Reply
  8. Questioning what I was taught, not to use metal pot to boil tea or tea bag with metal staples, or jewelry on hands when making. Was told no metal to touch any part of the Kombucha process. What I was looking for was can you make a smaller than 3 quart water base batch? I’m the only one drinking the brew and end up wasting large amounts and would rather make a small batch. Can I cut the recipe in half?

    Reply
  9. Sarah my question is,
    Can a pregnancy woman drink kombucha?
    Because I’ve heard that all fermented beverages have a little alcohol, that is what I’m concern about kombucha when a woman is pregnancy.

    Thanks
    Iva

    Reply
  10. I’m not ready to tackle the advanced because I’m still new at this, but I noticed that in the advanced video, you strained the tea with a metal strainer and maybe the cup was metal that you used to remove the tea. Is that okay when it’s important to stir with a wooden spoon and use glass containers?

    Reply
  11. I have a question regarding the sugar you are using when you make your kombucha, Sarah. Since finding out that most of the refined sugar we purchase comes from GMO sugar beets, I decided to try Rapadura, but I’m not at all happy with the results! I’ve been making 4 gallons of kombucha a week, and I just could NOT even drink this stuff! (Did give it to a friend who thinks it tastes just fine) however, the sugar question is still a concern. I DO have what looks more like sugar from Wholesome, but it is expensive so my question is…since the sugar is ‘consumed’ by the scoby, does it really matter??

    Reply
    • This is a very good question, can anybody please answer this? I’ve been wondering about this too and I don’t like the taste of my booch either, when I feed it with sucanat

      Reply
  12. Iv’e heard kombucha reverses greying hair. I never considered it a desease. MY wife turned 56 yesterday, she has long brown hair with now silver streaks, I like it alot, I always fuss at her when she dies it.
    I started making kombucha a year ago but scense have moved from city to country and kept my scoby in the fridge . Its not dehydrated,I think there are three of them now.It’s been six months
    This article has inspired me to start it up again. I’m curious to see how well my well water does in the process. I had to buy distilled water in Dallas.Clorine kills scobys.

    Reply
  13. You know, I have to say that must be (at least one of) the reasons my grey hair has disappeared. I’m 51 and had a sizable patch right in the front part of my hair that is now completely gone. I’ve been kombucha-ing every single day for a couple of years now. Love the stuff for many reasons!

    Reply
  14. I just wanted to share a tip for those wanting to pursue the continuous brew method but who are rightfully considered about the plastic spigot issue you mentioned. The solution is to brew your kombucha in a traditional oak vinegar barrel. These generally come with wooden spigots that work very well so there is NO plastic or metal in contact with the kombucha. The barrels come in a variety of sizes. They look nice. Additionally, the barrels impart a very nice subtle oaky quality to the flavor.

    Reply
    • John,
      This sounds like a great idea. I looked it up online and found this site http://oakbarrelsltd.com/vinegar-barrels/ and it said “For brewing Kombucha – oak is the only way to go. These versatile specially designed upright oak barrels work great. They come complete with a low profile stand, all-wood spigot and for easy access into the barrel, a 3″ hole drilled in the head. We recommend our toasted-vinegar barrels for your Kombucha – the toasted oak adds a wonderful complex flavor to your brew. You just can’t beat the taste of your own home oak-brewed Kombucha!”

      Reply
  15. WOW! I have had a dehydrated scoby brewing for a month and it refuses to grow :0( How the heck do you do it in a crock? Thanks

    Reply
  16. Have had no problem with the continuous brew method. It should be noted that unless you brew your tea until it is very vinegar like – and I know no one who does – there is always sugar in the finished tea, mostly in the form of fructose. There is also caffeine. Culturing does not remove them completely. When I add tea to my crock, it is finished the next day. Since my family drinks a gallon a day, it is very convenient to add tea in the evening and have fresh finished kombucha the next morning. It cultures very quickly. I highly recommend continuous brewing. It should also be noted that that is the method that has been used by Chinese and Russian people, as well as others. for many many years.

    Reply
  17. Pingback: KOMBUCHA, MAGIC ELIXIR « tasteLAB

  18. I’ve been brewing Kombucha tea for several years now too. It is certainly healthy because it is proven to contain probiotics which boost immunity, enhance mood, detoxify the body and have many other benefits.

    Reply
  19. Let me ask this… Is there something physically wrong with greying? I didn’t think grey hair meant there was something like lack of nutrients, or a disease process. I guess I should maybe ask if it’s unhealthy to grey. I’ve been greying since I was 16 and at 33 I’m probably a good 35% grey. I didn’t think it was more than natural aging. Is there something important I am missing or is the hoopla just for vanity reasons? On a personal level I see nothing wrong with greying hair and I think it’s very beautiful. I would never dream of dying my hair.

    Reply
    • Grace, I have not researched the scientific answer to this question. However, my grandparents always had a garden during the warm months in New England. In the summer, when my grandmother ate largely fresh, home-grown vegetables, grown in soil fertilized with manure from my great-uncle’s grassfed cows, her hair would grow in the dark-brown color it was in her youth. By winter, when she had returned to eating grocery store produce her hair would all grow in gray. She kept her hair about an inch long, so it was easy to see the change. The change back-and-forth happened year after year from the time she was 50 to the time she was in her 80s. When my granparents were well into their 80s and no longer felt well enough to keep their garden, her hair stayed gray. Based on what I witnessed with my grandmother’s hair, I do suspect there is a nutrient-deficiency component involved in the graying of hair–although I admit an “n” of one is hardly scientific evidence.
      Nicole, The Non-Toxic Nurse\’s last post: Smart Meter Concerns Hit National Headlines . . . Finally!

      Reply
  20. Question.
    I have been trying to get a batch going. Started about 9 months ago. I moved and as a going away gift, a friend gave me a jar of 3 babys in it. Then, I kept it in my fridge for several months while we were getting started. Got them out and they brewed in about a month. I gave some away and they are working great. I can’t get them to work for me though. I had a friend give me a baby of one of hers ( a grand-daughter of mine) to try. The thought was maybe mine was too weak. Same thing happened. Through this time I have changed: my water, type of tea, type of sugar, container and scoby.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    Reply
  21. Kim Duggan Kelderman via Facebook May 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    A friend’s 65 year old mom regained ALL the color in her head of grey hair after several months of kombucha–wild!!

    Reply
  22. Great info! I was just about to experiment with continuous brewing since all we have done for 6 months is the batch method! You saved me the time. :)
    On another note, is there an optimal time to drink it to get the full benefits!

    Reply
  23. Brett Judd via Facebook May 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Just wanted to post a kombucha breakthrough in my home thanks to Sarah’s suggestion about adding seltzer water to a strong batch. I use G.T.’s bottles to store the brew. My wife does not like the strong flavor. When Sarah said that she thins strong batches with seltzer we tried it and she loved it. We also added 100% pomegranate juice. About 2/3 bottle brew, and then half and half juice and seltzer for the remaining 1/3 space. She loves it. Thanks for all the great insights and advice Sarah.

    Reply
  24. Brett Judd via Facebook May 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Just wanted to post a kombucha breakthrough in my home thanks to Sarah’s suggestion about adding seltzer water to a strong batch. I use G.T.’s bottles to store the brew. My wife does not like the strong flavor. When Sarah said that she thins strong batches with seltzer we tried it and she loved it. We also added 100% pomegranate juice. About 2/3 bottle brew, and then half and half juice and seltzer for the remaining 1/3 space. She loves it. Thanks for all the great insights and advice Sarah.

    Reply
  25. I agree with the batch method versus the continuous brew method and recommend that to purchasers of our kombuchas as well. When I drink kombucha consistently, my few gray hairs turn their natural color from the ends up. So the bottom few inches start turning their natural color. I am not sure if I have had them all turn natural. I suppose I should do an experiment and see. I have just a few in the back that are hardly noticable, but I actually watched the hairs to test the kombucha a while back, however I believe I forgot to follow the progress to see if the entire hair turned the natural color. We drink kefir more often than kombucha around here and also like it more in the warmer months, especially made with Mango Ceylon or Almond Blossom Oolong or even Chai tea. Yum!

    Nickole
    Nickole@savvyteasandherbs.com\’s last post: Headache Healer Herbal Blend

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  26. I’ve been making and drinking kombucha for at least 8 years now, with a brief break about 4 years ago (wasn’t making it then, but was still buying it). I made the batch method up until last fall, when I started the continuous brewing method. I have mixed feelings about it. It’s easier, I love filling my jars from a spigot instead of dipping out of a big glass jar, but the quality of the kombucha isn’t what it was. It is culturing, but strangely, my secondary fermentation isn’t going as well as it used to with batch brewing. I used to get marvelous complex flavors like a fine wine, perfectly balanced between sweet and sour. Now it’s always too sour. The secondary fermentation isn’t creating bubbles, and if I add a lot of juice to balance the sour, it just tastes too sweet. I removed some of the mothers to slow things down, but it still cultures very quickly, and I live in a cool climate so the kitchen is always cold. So, it’s fast-culturing in the initial fermentation step, then the secondary fermentation is not working well. Where oh where did the carbon dioxide go??

    As to the effects on gray hair, my dad started going grey in his late teens/early 20s, and I got my first grey hairs in my senior year in high school, when I was 16/17. I colored my dark hair from age 22 to about 49 or 50, when I briefly went blond, then let that fade into my naturally silver/white color now. I still have dark streaks, especially in the back. I don’t know whether it’s the kombucha or not, but my hair doesn’t seem to be getting more grey, it’s been about the same for several years. I’m now 54 and have been drinking kombucha for about 8 years, as I said. Maybe more like 7, I don’t remember just when I discovered the WAPF. Kombucha, along with lacto-fermented foods like sauerkraut, did definitely help me get over long-term, chronic systemic candidiasis.
    Jeanmarie\’s last post: Keukenhof Gardens: The Place to Be in Springtime

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  27. I have been making Kombucha for a couple years now. I have tried the continuous method and for the same reasons you said didn’t care for it. I have two going, in 1 gal sun tea (glass) vessels. They are alternated so we have some every few days, if there are any extras(which usually not) I will bottle it. I have found I prefer using a combo of green and white teas, they make for a light and crisp flavor. Sometimes I will add a ginger tea bag. This is what works the best for us. The sludge I give to the blueberries or the chickens.

    Reply
  28. I have not been making kombucha because our house is under a construction project. This is in addition to a lot of pet hair. How can I protect the brewing kombucha from the dust and dander? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Jean, did you get an answer to this? We live in a smaller apt and have pets also. I haven’t started this yet, but plan to this weekend and you have a good question. I don’t want to ruin my chances of a good brew because of the pet dander.

      Reply
      • Hi Jean and Grace,
        we have pets, too, and I don’t have any problems with my kombucha or any other fermented cultures. I just cover my large kombucha jars with tea towels and fix them with rubber elastics. I do the same with my sourdough and I also cover my kefir and mesophilic yogurts with a cotton washcloth. No pet hair in any of my cultures :)

        Reply
  29. I’ve been drinking Kombucha using the batch method continuously for about 3 years. I didn’t have any gray hair before i started and don’t have any now. Although… that my be because I’m only 23… >.>

    Reply
  30. Sarah,

    I started brewing kombucha after I had a slow virus that caused me to run fevers for a month. After doctors could offer me no solutions, I suddenly remember kombucha. My husband stopped at the natural food store and picked me up some. Within 24 hours my fever was gone and never came back. A few weeks later I got a kombucha culture and have been brewing since. I already had salt and pepper gray hair the I believe is a result of a lifetime of undiagnosed Celiac (again, I’ve been a victim of bad medicine). I can honestly say that I don’t think it has gotten any grayer.

    Reply
  31. thanks for the post. I’ve been thinking about brewing Kombucha for awhile now. I’ve investigated and put the word out, but no one I know is brewing so I’ll either have to “science experiment” with growing my own mother or order online. Doesn’t a mother that you order online come packaged in plastic? I had a kidney stone about 6 months ago. I know from the scan they did that there are 2 more lurking in my left kidney. Was wondering if kombucha would help to keep kidney stones at bay. Curious.

    Reply
  32. Doing an anaerobic fermentation a few days into it after removing the scoby and adding juice or ginger produces the finest quality of kombucha, fizzy and less vinegary.

    It is also ridiculously easy to start a scoby from a bottle of store bought kombucha. I know you want people to support your site with affiliate purchases but worth informing people.

    I have jun cultures which eat raw honey, I have never gone back to kombucha!

    Reply
    • Wow, I just purchased the Pickl-it jars, I didn’t know they could be used for bucha! How long do you use the anaerobic jar?
      Where did you get your jun cultures?? I’ve been trying to find out more about jun for quite a while now…Are they more like water kefir berries or an actual scoby?

      Reply
  33. I noticed what I have been considering yeast overgrowth symptoms reoccur full force after drinking store bought Kombucha for two days in a row. Couldn’t think of anything else that changed, so I wondered about the Kombucha. I saw one post mention that it helped with Candida. Would you expect that as a sign of die off or detox?

    Reply
  34. My hair was fairly white in my late 40′s when I started drinking kombucha. Now at 54 my hair color is returning to a lighter shade of my natural color. I can live with that. I truly believe it was the kombucha, BUT it really kicked in after doing the GAPS diet 2 years ago. As I see it, gut health is integral to the kombucha. Perhaps kombucha alone would do it in the long run, but I think it would have taken much longer time. My parents and sisters want to know my secret. I told them and of course they think I am one brick short of a load. They swear I am coloring my hair, NOT. No way, that stuff is toxic!!

    I too do not take breaks from kombucha and make several gallons a week for our family. I am so grateful to my middle daughter for bringing that strange looking thing home one day and showiing me how to get started. It is definely not a cure-all, but another tool for better health!

    Reply
  35. I have been batch brewing Kombucha about a year now and most often double ferment with organic fruit or ginger root. I am 52 and have dark brown hair that I have been coloring for about 5 years. About 6 months into drinking Kombucha we have noticed that my roots are almost back to my natural color with little to no grey growth.

    Reply
  36. I have been drinking Kombucha for awhile (been a bit off it for the last few weeks though… need to get back on with a new batch). I don’t think I’ve been drinking it long enough to see whether it benefits my graying hair or not!! I would LOVE it if it stopped/reversed my grays as I am NOT ready to embrace them!! I henna my hair once a month to cover the grays (as I refuse to use any chemical colours)… but I’d rather be able to cut down on the frequency ;). I wouldn’t do it nearly as often except the grays show, and I find them terribly ageing!! (Apart from my gray hair I can pass for mid 20s or younger and I’m almost 39)

    Reply
  37. I have been doing the batch method for 6 months now. The whole family loves it. Usually it only brews for 7 days and then I put it in the Grolsch bottles for the second ferment. My husband and I have been paying attention to how full the bottles are when we do that second ferment, as it seems that the ones that aren’t as full up the neck have more effervecensce when we go to drink them. Also, the flavour has been more favourable to us when the green/black tea is at a 3:1 ratio. I also add more, rather than less starter, to each batch, and haven’t had an issue with mold.

    Does it matter for effective detoxing what type of green tea is used……jasmine, or oolong or other?

    Must the SCOBY baby be separated after each ferment, or can it just continue to grow together unless you need to share with a friend? Mine has been growing together . :)

    Thanks Sarah for all of your valuable info and teaching. It has been a blessing to me and our family.

    Reply
  38. my sons {ages 2 and 4} love the stuff. i’ve been buying GTs, but a friend is dropping off one of her baby scobys, as the GT habit is bankrupting.

    my oldest son has autism, and it has helped his gut and liver function tremendously. i believe much of his progress, thus far, can be attributed to his “boocha”.

    my greys still pop, but i’ve been getting them since my mid 20s.

    kombucha, and a real-food/gluten-free diet has given me and {also my son’s} my health back…

    Reply
  39. Sarah, I really wonder if it is the liver with the kombucha that keeps the gray away! I want to use both of these things regularly to get rid of my gray.

    Reply
    • I think it is the combination of the Kombucha, liver and FCLO!! See Candice Robins comment above and you’ll know what I’m getting at.

      Reply
  40. My grandfather ate good, healthy real food all of his life… even had a glass of milk at breakfast and lunch. He never drank or smoked or drank coffee. His hair was dark brown until his eighties! My mom has his genes except had some health problems more recently. She started to see grays a lot sooner, but is still pretty dark after healing. I do think there’s something to eating good food. My husband is 42 and has dark, thick hair with a few little grays and I’m 45 and have yet to really see any (I’m also blonde)! People always tell us we look a lot younger than our ages. I absolutely know it’s because we adopted a healthy lifestyle.

    Reply
  41. I used to drink kombucha, but I stopped because I wasn’t convinced that the sugar was really gone by the time I drank it; it was just so sweet. The things I read make me want to start making it again, though. How can I know I’m not feeding my family a bunch of white sugar and caffeine?

    Also, when I was making it – maybe 4 years ago – I was told by the people that sold kombucha ‘mushrooms’ that you have to use a bowl that is wider that it is deep for it to ferment properly. Is that not the case any more?

    Reply
  42. I did a brew for the first time and forgot about it in my basement. Three months later…I got it out yesterday and it’s huge. Probably four or five inches thick. One big mass. It smells vinegary and yeasty – no evidence of mold. If I want to use it to brew properly, should I give it a go? Anything i should do to it?

    Reply
  43. I’ve been drinking about 32 oz of home brew kombucha for about 4 years now and it has not stopped my gray hair one bit! I am 39 and love my gray hair but wouldn’t mind if the kombucha gave me back my lovely brown hair!

    Reply
  44. I’ve read through the whole of this from start to finish and am getting excited at the thought of getting a brew on the go! However, I don’t see a definitive answer over drinking Kombucha when you have metal fillings?

    Reply
  45. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Wellness Hammock

  46. I have been drinking Kombucha using the batch method for about 2 years. I am 56 years old & have ‘salt & pepper’ hair, which I love. I have not seen any difference in my hair since drinking it weekly. I previously colored my hair, but then wanted a natual approach & stopped. I also use a baking soda ‘no-poo’ method to clean it. I think grey hair looks beautiful, especially on women who were once burnettes.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      I don’t use shampoo either. Haven’t shampooed my hair in ages. Baking soda in a warm bath is perfect. No residue, no chemicals. I love it.

      Reply
  47. I’ve been drinking kombucha for 3 years. I make about 8-10 gallons a week for several families in our community. I was gray haired to start with and am still gray. I love using organic flavored teas and have never had a problem with herbal teas in the fermenting process. I also buy organic juice concentrates and add a little to a green or black tea kombucha. The grams of sugar go up dramatically with that but it is a really yummy treat. It’s my drink of choice.

    Reply
  48. Sarah, I have been drinking kombucha for about 4 years now, but have been drinking kefir and eating other probiotic veggies and such for much longer. Not too long ago, my oldest daughter mentioned to me that I didn’t seem to have as much grey hair as I had before. Mind you, I didn’t have very much and my hair is blonde, so the grey is not as noticeable. I looked in the mirror and I think she was right. I didn’t think of the kombucha. I just thought it was the healthier eating in general. I am 64 years old, mother of 5, and grandmother of 5 and I look and feel better than I did 20 years ago with a lot more energy too.

    Reply
  49. Two friends of mine, both middle 50′s had been drinking the tea for about a year, neither knew about the grey hair benefits until they both, in the same week, got home from work, took off their hats and each wife made the comment, “your hair is darker!”. The wives did not talk with each other, did not know of this benefit, in fact, the men didn’t know about it till I happened to mention it to them. So, yes it even helps some people darken already grey hair.

    Reply
  50. That is too bad about Laurel’s Farm, Sarah. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll order elsewhere.

    Reply
  51. I have decided that the continuous brew would expose us to a health drink that had been soaking in plastic chemicals, too. And for that reason I’ve never made the continuous brew.

    I stopped making kombucha after the Japan earthquake last year because I used white leaf tea to make my kombucha and the only white leaf tea I know comes from China or Japan.

    Reply
  52. I ordered a kombucha starter kit from Laurel’s Farm a couple of months ago. My check was cashed on April 2, but I have not received my order or heard anything about it. I called them, but all I got was an answering machine. Couldn’t even leave a voice mail because the box was full. Maybe they are just busy? I am thinking it is time to give up waiting and order from someone else. Has anyone else had this problem? Advice?
    Wendy Haught\’s last post: Fun with Popovers

    Reply
    • I ordered from Laurel Farm and had the same experience you had. My Kombucha came finally, months later! I brewed with the scoby I received and got mold the second time around. Their customer service is bad. I have been trying to contact them for help, but only get an answering machine and a full mailbox. Very frustrating! Im ready to go on to someone else!!

      Reply
      • I got my scoby a few years ago from Julie at http://www.culturesforhealth.com/ I believe this is one of the recommended places to get a scoby and other fermented products. I actually lived in Portland at the time so I bought my scoby directly from Julie at her home. She is fabulous and my scoby has been perfect.

        Reply
    • I had the same thing happen with Laurel Farms a year ago. I got a free SCOBY through a local Nourishing Traditions Yahoo group, and it’s working great!

      Reply
  53. I was surprised to hear you say that you have the great-great grandbaby of your original. Mine makes a baby everytime! They are thin but work fine. I would love to have one BIG, thick SCOBY but I have several all somewhat clumped together in big 2 1/2 gallons. How do you make one big one and keep it like that?

    Reply
  54. I’ve been drinking it for years and have gone pretty grey during that time. That has been the experience of some of my friends that drink it also. So no, it’s not magic, but I love it and find it helps my digestion and detoxes my liver wonderfully! In fact when I go on vacation, especially when visiting and being fed by family that don’t share the same dietary convictions, and come back home I know I’ll experience some milk detox symptoms when I start drinking it again that go away within a few days.

    Reply
  55. Yeah, I’d forgotten about B12 and the gray hair associated with “pernicious anemia” that used to be talked about a lot years ago. Gray hair is also associated with thyroid issues. Re: kombucha, a question that I’ve been meaning to ask for some time – may have been answered previously – is whether commercial kombucha – e.g. Synergy – is approved, at least until I can get my act together enough to make my own. It’s certainly very sweet and pretty brightly-colored so wonder if it’s yet another of the health-food-store-pretend traps. Janet

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      I drink Synergy on occasion and love it. It’s fabulous when you are on the road or out for the day and parched and need a drink of something that is decent.

      Reply
      • Thanks, Sarah. There are so many detours on the decent-eating road, especially when life is so busy, that it’s nice to know that making some decisions based on convenience isn’t all bad. My youngest daughter has Down’s syndrome and, though very smart and capable, is also in what seems to be permanent high school/college independent mode – “I’m 49 years old and I can handle it myself!” She’s pretty good about most of the stipulations, including gluten-free, but I’m glad to have a good range of substitues for SAD offerings that she really likes. That includes some that make her feel as though she’s somewhat in the same territory as teenage soda-happy relatives and neighbors. Would be nice if Synergy were cheaper though. Janet

        Reply
  56. Thanks so much for the post! It answered several questions that I had and confirmed my suspicions about the residual caffeine and sugar still left using the continuous brew method. I would so appreciate it if you could do a followup article on whether it is a good idea for pregnant women to drink bucha in moderation (I’m hoping to be pregnant in the next few months) and what age you think is appropriate for children to start drinking it.
    I really love your scientific approach to questions, I respond to logic like no other form of argument ;)

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Logic is great but sometimes you just have to throw it out the window if your intuition about something is very strong and you feel the need to override it! :)

      Reply
  57. Sarah, I am learning so much from you and others about healthy eating. It has changed my life. I am slow to learn and get frustrated with all the change and info. I have bad fibro fog days and it gets hard to manage this and feel well enough to put in the time it takes to be healthy. Has anyone ever thought of having people stay with them to learn the ropes? I know that farms do this and thought that the people who learn best by seeing and then doing this would be wonderful. I grew up on packaged mac and cheese and hot dogs and pepsi. This kind of eating is so different that the obvious is not obvious to me. I need a lot of learning time.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Stay the course and you will get better. Stay happy too … don’t let so much negative news bring you down as this leads to poor health as well. The world has always had tons of problems – no different today than at any other time. Just different manifestations of the same ole things.

      Reply
  58. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama May 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I love kombucha so much I made my own video on it. :)

    It would be hard for me to tell about gray hair. I do not have any but I am only 27. My mother has only a tiny sprinkling at her temples and she is 60 (and eats SAD). Late graying runs in my family. Although my dad has been entirely gray for 5 years or more now and he is 62. His hair didn’t start to turn until his mid- to late 40s though. So, ask me in 30 or 40 years! lol.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      You are a complete natural on camera Kate :) Not like me .. I had to look ridiculous for a very long time before getting the hang of it somewhat.

      Reply
  59. Just wondering, some websites discourage drinking both Kombucha and kefir water.
    They suggest doing one or the other. Any thoughts? They also suggested Kombucha
    could increase the heaviness of menstrual cycles.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      The wider variety of fermented foods and beverages in the diet the better. Kombucha increases heaviness of menstrual cycles? Never heard that one before. Sounds far fetched unless there is some good research to back it up. I’ve never heard of anyone experiencing this. If anything, cycles improve given the improved gut balance that results from consuming traditionally fermented beverage.

      Reply
    • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama May 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      I have been drinking kombucha for two years and have never even heard about it being related to menstrual cycles…plus I’ve experienced the opposite, if anything. I don’t think that’s valid. Did they cite any studies?
      Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama\’s last post: Recipe Collection: Simple Chicken Rice

      Reply
      • Yep – since I’ve been eating better I have 5 day periods rather than the 7/8 days I had for many years.

        Reply
  60. Sarah Nelson Miller via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Everyone in my family drinks kombucha, ages 2 and up. Even the dog gets some every day! I’m thinking of switching to a continuous brew because my house is small so when I bottle a bunch at once it’s hard to find places to store it.

    Reply
  61. Sarah Nelson Miller via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Everyone in my family drinks kombucha, ages 2 and up. Even the dog gets some every day! I’m thinking of switching to a continuous brew because my house is small so when I bottle a bunch at once it’s hard to find places to store it.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

      I sucked down plenty when I was expecting :) I found that it helped ease any back/hip pain I was having particularly during the final trimester when you feel like a beached whale :)

      Reply
  62. About the gray hair. When I started eating from the Nourishing Traditions cook book people noticed that my gray hair is not as gray as it used to be. I was acussed of lyeing and coloring my hair!!! Maybe its the probiotics that has the effect on the gray hair.

    Reply
    • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama May 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      It may also be the nutrient-density of the diet. I think that as you age, your body doesn’t absorb nutrients as well, leading to minor deficiencies. It would be exacerbated on SAD. On a traditional diet, though, it would be helped.
      Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama\’s last post: Recipe Collection: Simple Chicken Rice

      Reply
  63. I am thinking about adding this to my diet. I have fibromyalgia really bad and when my muscles hurt I am in bed for several days. I was told that lactic acid was building up in my muscles and than was why they hurt so much. If this drink can clear the lactic acid it would be wonderful for my fibro. I would love to hear if anyone else has experience with this.

    Reply
    • I have a friend with fibromyalgia and she says that drinking kombucha is really helpful for her. She feels a difference when she is drinking it regularly.

      Reply
      • Thank you Beth. I got to get started on this. I have been trying the ginger soda. Love it!! Maybe boocha is similar.

        Reply
  64. Just curious if you (or anyone else) knows anything about possibly using an American oak barrel with a wooden spigot for continuous brewing…like what is used for vinegar? I’ve heard that it’s excellent for kombucha and eliminates the worry of the kombucha coming in contact with any metal / plastic, etc. Obviously, there is still the caffeine/sugar issue. I was just wondering if anybody uses an oak barrel and likes it, or, Sarah, if you know of a reason (outside of the caffeine/sugar issue) why oak would be a problem.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      That might work just fine.. I myself would never consider anything with metal or plastic even if the plastic is BPA free or considered “food grade”.

      It would have to be pure wood with nothing added to coat it or waterproof it.

      Reply
  65. We do one gallon batches, about two times a week. I agree about plastic. We use berries or ginger in ours. My children love it. Its like our own version of soda, only healthy! Only been brewing about a year but not much gray hair. Guess I will have to keep an eye on that and see what happens.

    Reply
  66. Lauralee Lien via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Resa! Too funny. That is how I have made all mine. I actually came upon it by accidentally leaving a 1/2 empty jar of it out in the summer once and grew one. ;)

    Reply
  67. I am fighting a candida overgrowth. I drink water kefir every day because it just seems easier.
    Would Kombucha be better for candida than water kefir? Do you know?

    Reply
  68. Nathalie Farquet via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I did try it while pregnant, it made me contract… but 1 glass per day was OK for me during nursing… and as kombucha is a diuretic, I did drink a glass of water after the kombucha. And I’ve nursed twins for 14 months and my son for 23 months…

    Reply
  69. I’ve been having trouble making Kombucha — each batch comes out moldy. Does that mean there is a mold problem in my house or is it the tea I am using. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Lesa

      I’m new to brewing kombucha too, however from my readings and viewing Sarah’s extremely helpful video blogs I gather that you’ll need to put more kombucha into your batch as it helps prevent the growth of bad bacteria (gives the good bacteria a head start). For 3 quarts of kombucha Sarah brews with 2 tea bags of black tea and 2 tea bags of green tea.

      Watch her videos if you can, they’re very helpful.

      Hope that’s helped :)
      Diana

      Reply
  70. Lauralee Lien via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Stephanie it is pronounced kŏmˌbo͞oˈchäˌ but if you listen to Sarahs videos you can hear her say it too. ;)

    Reply
  71. Resa Gobs via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 11:44 am

    @Mel N Ian, I used this method to grow my own SCOBY- http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2010/05/how-to-grow-a-motherscoby-from-store-bought-kombucha/
    It worked really well & I am currently brewing huge batches like Sarah mentioned in her post. :-D I do everything she does in her videos & love this method! The bottle of kombucha I used did *not* say ‘enlightened’ on it, it was the exact one in the picture of this link. Not sure if that matters. Kombucha does take some patience though! ;-)

    Reply
    • I am pregnant (32 weeks #10) and I have no fear of it. This is my first pregnancy drinking it and it is going great and I enjoy it, but it’s not reversing my grey. Based on the ingredients and the final product. I have come to the conclusion (self made) that lack of information on the subject has brought on this warnings.

      Reply
    • I’ve read if your body is used to it before you get pregnant, it’s fine while pregnant (b/c of the detoxifying effects – you don’t want to do any kind of major detox while pregnant or nursing). I was drinking it when I first got pregnant (right before the reformulation) and was having some pretty strong detox effects so I stopped and started brewing my own – my body handled the bacteria/yeast from my own environment way better than the bottled stuff. I’m nursing a 15mo and I drink it almost every day, no problems. Some folks think it help w/milk production, I haven’t seen any difference personally. At 15mo he’s also drinking a bit each day himself, too.
      danielle\’s last post: Recipe: Homemade Chocolate Chunks

      Reply
  72. P.j. Adams via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I flat out love that stuff !! I had to drop soda pops and bubbly kombucha is the perfect drink and I am helping my health!!!

    Reply
  73. Do you or your husband have amalgams(sp)
    aka metal fillings? My hubby and I want to try it but we both have fillings and always hear its not a good idea. I just make it form my 3 sons.
    Thanks!!!
    Christin

    Reply
  74. Mel N Ian via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

    ok, this post couldn’t have come any sooner! JUST started a list of things i WANT to start. thing is, now i’m impatient!!! so, question, can i “make” my own starter? or do i have to get a starter? if i DO have to get a starter, where can i get it from the fastest?

    Reply
    • You can “make” a baby out of just kombucha, even Dave’s store bought, but use the raw organic blue label. Just put one bottle of kombucha with two cups of sweetened tea in a mason jar, cover with a tea towel and a new baby will grow. I tested it both with Dave’s and with my own brewed tea.

      Reply
  75. I have been making and drinking kombucha for about 4 years. I have a ton of gray hair and it seems to be getting worse. I also take FCLO and drink raw milk so I’m not sure where my deficiency is. I am having problems with my teeth so I am working on getting that under control. Ever since my twins were born in 2006, my teeth and adrenal glands have been pretty bad. I actually just got back to making kombucha after about a 2 year hiatus. I put my scoby in the refrigerator with some kombucha and it survived 2 moves and is now making great kombucha again. It took 3 batches to really come back strong. I like to use kukicha (roasted green tea) and hibiscus. this combo makes a delicious kombucha. it’s pretty tart from the hibiscus but the kukicha brings in a really chocolaty flavor.

    Reply
  76. Merina Amos via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

    After drinking kombucha regularly for a year (switched to a traditional diet too) I noticed several stands of hair that were grey only at the ends of my long strands! I only had a few to start with, now I have less! I do a continuous brew with green and black tea combined. I usually drink it straight from the crock.

    Reply
  77. Does Kombucha prevent gray hair? Sheesh, I shoulda had that info a few years ago, lol.

    We’ve been drinking it for about 2 years now and can’t see ever giving it up. We and our teens drink 1-2 gallons a week. We continuous brew in two 5-gallon jugs with taps so maybe we are getting some “unwanted” flavorings from the inside of the tap, but the convenience right now is pretty critical to us.

    At first, it seemed a little overwhelming to make but, like you say, once you get in the groove, it’s a breeze. And once you are addicted, well, it’s never too much trouble!

    What do you do with your extra SCOBY? Maybe I should try putting some on that gray hair…?
    Sally_Oh\’s last post: How To Make Kombucha

    Reply
  78. I love drinking kombucha! However, I usually only do small amounts at a time in half gallon jugs cause I really can’t afford any bigger jugs.

    Reply
  79. I went to your source link for getting good starter mushrooms and she has a heating device to keep them warm. I live where our home is 60 degrees almost year round inside. Do you recommend this? or something else? My mushrooms look really sad and bumpy ( no mold) is that due to the temps being so cold? It takes alot longer to get going but by then the new scoby kinda welds itself to the old one. Was going to order new ones but wanted to figure out the best way to keep them warm year round without using electricity but not sure how?

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Bumpy kombucha babies are ok!! It just means the temperature was variable during brewing cycle.

      As long as the babies get 1/8 of an inch thick or larger, you are fine even in a cool home.

      Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
        Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

        Be careful about using a kombucha heating pad. The EMFs from a device like that would weaken and possibly kill your culture over time I would think and reduce the beneficial aspects of the brew. Kind of like using an electric blanket is not good for people’s health long term.

        Reply
        • I’ve been trying to brew Kombucha for 1/2 year. It has not worked for me so far. The babies are very thin and bumpy. The taste doesn’t come close to GT’s bottled Kombucha from the health food store. Its not as strong and effervescent (which is how I like it). And, yes, I’m brewing for 10-14 days and longer.
          I have a feeling my house is too cold, but have been leery of using a heating pad or any heating device. Lately I was thinking about using an incubator. My question is: Would that be safe to use as far as EMF’s or other harmful electricty is concerned?

          I should add too that I have had a lot of problems with mold… don’t know if it is connected with the above problem.

          Reply
        • I can testify to EMFs killing a mother culture. I moved my brewing jar to a new location near an outlet where my cordless phone was plugged in. Even though I left that jar for 3 weeks, it never formed a baby. :( Fortunately for me, I had another mother in the fridge. (That sounds funny. So does bumpy babies.)

          Reply
        • Just now saw your reply.lol Thanks for answering. Yes my scobys get quite thick. It tends to take longer to get my kombucha to where I want it because we are much cooler here but glad the bumpy scary looking ones are still ok. I think I figured out my issue though. I was waiting for my Organic tea from Frontier and had bought Newmans Own organic black and green teas. Whatever is in the Newmans Own makes my Scobys look really quite nasty instead of pretty and smooth. So I am no longer using that brand and the new ones I started from my GT’s enlightened organic raw Kombucha look really good. They are actually really big and fit my large jars ( like you have in your advanced kombucha making videos). :)

          Reply
  80. I will pick some up at my local farm. They make it there. I’m curious to see what it does for my white hairs since I started getting the coarse, white hairs after highlighting my hair for the first time. My sister has the same right when she started dyeing her hair. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
  81. Sarah, one thing you did not consider is the maturity and blend of the cultures. It is my understanding that with batch brewing, the organisms never mature and and get to the complexity that they do with continuous brew. Kombucha is very healthful either way, and like you, I have done both batch and continuous. I do have to admit that the continuous brew, much like people say about fine wine, does have a better, more complex flavor.

    Also, it may have been years since you looked at brewing vessels, but now there are plenty of certified, lead free containers with BPA and chemical-free spigots.

    I came out differently than you. I have been drinking kombucha for years and have settled into a nice routine with continuous brew. I only pull off two times per week and only after the fresh sweet tea has been in the vessel for at least three days (avoids the sugar and caffeine issue you note above). For example, I pull off on Sunday, add sweet tea to replace. Then pull off on Wednesday, add sweet tea to replace. Over and over again. I keep two vessels going constantly. I only have to clean them out about every 4 months and also cut down the scoby as it gets huge!

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Just my opinion, but I don’t feel that it matters much if the spigots are BPA free. There are plenty of other chemicals in plastic that would be leeched into the brew.

      Plastic is a petroleum based product .. don’t want that anywhere near my kombucha!

      The caffeine and sugar in the continuous brew cannot be avoided either. I don’t think this method is best particularly if children will be drinking it.

      I am overly cautious and will only use clear glass and completely thoroughly brewed kombucha if my children will be consuming it.

      Reply
    • Tina, how does your kombucha taste after leaving it to brew for only 3 or 4 days? I just started making kombucha with continuous brew, about 2 months ago. I left my first batch 7 days and it was too sweet. I bottle it and do a 2nd fermentation, trying to get some carbonation. I left the next one 10 days, still no carbonation. The current batch is on day 12 and the taste from the keg is getting a little bit of a tingle to it. I’m hoping to bottle it Saturday (day 14) and finally see some carbonation bubbles.

      Reply
      • Mary, when you first set it up, you have to let it ferment a couple of weeks. Just keep testing it. My vessels are 2 1/2 gallons each and I only pull off 6 to 7 cups every 3 or 4 days from each vessel. Therefore, I am leaving most of the brew still in the vessel. This causes the new tea to be used for “fuel” for the scoby/mother and the sugar and caffeine is eaten up very quickly. Once I got past the initial ferment to get going, this has worked out wonderfully and has definitely cut back my time dealing with kombucha. I like my kombucha more on the “sour” than sweet side and this has worked out great for me. I like the fact that I am not handling the scobys often and, therefore, limiting the chance that I am adding undesirable organisms.

        Reply
    • This is what kind of confuses me, too. I guess what I do is maybe a mix between batch and continuous. When I first read about kombucha 10 years ago, I was told that for batch brewing you had to completely empty the jar and use a new jar for your next batch, but continual just meant you removed most of the kombucha and left the scoby and a few cups of kombucha in the brewing vessel. So that’s what I do. I’d never heard of drawing off tea before at least 7 days before! And I’ve very rarely left mine brew past 10 days. In the winter, when my kitchen is below 65 degrees, sometimes it takes 3-4 weeks, but normally the temps in my house are 75 or more, and then it cultures really fast.
      Tracey @ Good Life Menus\’s last post: Menu for The Week of April 28, 2012

      Reply
    • That’s interesting, Tina. My experience has actually been that my batch-brewed kombucha, with secondary fermentation using fruit juice, usually grape juice, produced much more complex flavors than I’m getting now with continuous brewing.

      I am also sensitive to caffeine but that hasn’t been a problem with either method. I am still brewing about once a week, which is more often than I’d like. Too busy!

      Reply
    • Tina, do you have the plastic or wooden spigot? What temp is your house? I’m considering continuous brewing in the cask with wooden spigot and am concerned about how hard it would be to clean. What do you do when you clean your cask? Do you see any disadvantages with a 5 gallon cask over 2 2.5 gallon ones?
      Thanks! Connie

      Reply
  82. I’ve been batch brewing for three plus years. My intake slacks off a little in winter (maybe a gallon a month) and picks WAY up in summer (more than a gallon a week.) I couldn’t get the kids or hubby interested in it at ALL until my youngest tasted GT Dave’s Cherry Chia Kombucha. I now make a batch for her with chia seeds and a second ferment of cherry juice. It really helps her eczema.

    I’m 53 and have a strand or two of gray that the kids call “sparklies.” When I was 40 and they started coming in, I’d pull each out and hand it to a child and say, “Remember the time you…” and relate some horror (but funny) story from their youth. We all had a good laugh about them. I have almost no sparklies left anymore in my red hair, which is fine, because I’m all out of funny stories!

    Reply
  83. I’ve been drinking kombucha for a few years, frequently in the past two (brew own). I just started getting a few gray hairs in the past month (I’m 43). My sister, non kombucha drinker, is quite gray (41). My son (only 9) has had a small gray patch on his head for a few years, the kombucha hasn’t changed it, but it hasn’t gotten worse.

    Reply
  84. Again, I wish you had this information in text form. I can’t always download videos. Yesterday I asked about the lime for the corn. I don’t know how much, what proportions. Do I drain and start again. And now I can’t follow directions for the kombucha. It is frustrating.

    Reply
  85. I am a holistic hairdresser who also believes in real food/FLCO and fermented foods. I have been working in this way for over 30 years and have seen many miraculous things. I am convinced that hair loss/gray hair are nutritional deficiencies. Hair loss and early gray hair is epidemic and especially apparent in vegans and vegetarians (unless they are eating lots of raw milk/pastured eggs/fermented dairy. Clearly it is a lack of Vitamin B12, fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K).. But also many people notice changes when they eat food that contain the enzyme catalase – which is found abundantly in liver, kefir and fermented foods. I have seen gray hair go away and/or diminish in my clientele many times over the years. I am 58 and have very little gray hair..Hair quality (as teeth) is a barometer of health. Everyone has beautiful lustrous hair if they are healthy no matter what the texture..

    Reply
    • You are right about catalase. It protects against hydroxyl groups: hydrogen peroxide free radicals like peroxynitrite, a natural end product of nitric oxide. The peroxides deplete copper from the body and inhibit tyrosinase, which helps copper to pigment the hair and skin. Kombucha protects the liver so catalase can be made. The liver protective herb picrorrhiza (“picro reeza”) encourages the liver to make catalase. Vitamin E tocotrienols and gamma tocopherol also protect against peroxynitrite, the free radical that causes white and gray hair.

      Fructose, mercury, iron, zinc, antioxidants, citric acid, sulfur (garlic/onions), cysteine and glycine are copper depleters. Fructose containing probiotics deplete copper too, as I experienced a bleaching effect to my hair when I took a bit of the powder. Fructose in kombucha does not mess with the hair colour, though. It is eaten by the culture.

      There are now catalase supplements available under various private label names like No More Gray Hair, Go Away Gray, Catalase Hx. But they are very expensive and can take between 3 and 8 months to work. I saw them on Amazon and Invite Health websites. They know people will pay. The simpler way is unflavoured Kombucha (fruits or spices added will be tyrosinase inhibitors so will bleach hair further), as well as raw fermented sauerkraut–Bubbies brand has live cultures and is made with California well water. I use GT Dave’s Original kombucha and it helps my hair absorb my copper supplement, Water Oz 4x strength ionic copper. Kefir bleaches my hair due to its glutathione which contains sulfur. I take gamma vitamin E and an hour later the tocotrienols. They all work together well but my hair is not completely brown yet, still some golden and beige sections, but it is not grey or white anymore so I don’t need to colour. I only need to drink about 2 ounces of kombucha per day to help with the grays. Any more than that doesn’t colour the hair better and makes me lose weight which I do not want to do. My homemade kombucha did not work for my hair. I’ve been doing this routine for almost a year with good results.

      Reply
      • What kind of copper supplement do you like to use? I have a lot of gray hairs post mercury detox and would love to get my color back!

        Reply
  86. Brett Judd via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 10:55 am

    My daughter got me started on “boocha” last summer. I love it. It is too sour/vinegar for my wife unless I add a fruit puree. I lost my first “mother” to mold last fall when the temps dropped below 6o and we were canning apples. Now I use a heat pad to keep the temp at 75*

    As to the grey, I have a few and they keep coming.

    Reply
    • Where did you get your heat pad and how does it work? I’m in New Zealand and winter is fast approaching. I have my underfloor heating set at 22 degree celcius but think this isn’t enough (any hotter though and I’ll overheat myself). Any help would be much appreciated as I’m on my first brew and it’s already been two weeks with only a tiny baby forming.

      Cheers :)

      Reply
  87. Nathalie Farquet via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I use rooibos in my kombucha, but I always add at least 1 tsp of green tea per quart of tea, because the scoby needs nutrients from the camelia sinenis (tea) plant… and green tea contains less coffeine than black tea and the amount will be reduced after the brew.

    Reply
  88. Nathalie Farquet via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I give it to my toddler (at least the one that likes it… other prefer water kefir), the alcohol content is really low, not a problem to me.

    Reply
    • I love my graying hair too and just started drinking kombucha a few weeks ago. I hope it doesn’t halt the graying – that would stink! (I’m 46, found my first grey hairs at 30)

      Reply
  89. We’ve been brewing and drinking Kombucha for 4 years and we (my wife and I) both had a little grey…. still do. Much less then our siblings at our age (46,47)

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

      My baby sister who is 8 years younger than me has grey already and she teases me about not having any :)

      Reply
      • Wow, I’ve been making and drinking it for about 10 years, and my hair is completely gray (pretty much WHITE)! I am 52 and I started going gray in my early 30′s. BTW, I do not color my hair and I get complemented on it quite often.

        Reply
  90. Kelly Jenkins Villarreal via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I started dring 3 years ago when I was completely bald after chemo. I had no grey before cancer and now have quit a few. Clearly I’m not a good test subject…but love the booch. I’m a contious brewer.

    Reply
  91. We’ll be finishing up our first year of brewing kombucha some time mid-summer. We prefer the batch brew since our goal is also little to no sugar of caffeine. We’ve also gotten several friends hooked and brewing their own as well. We love this stuff! We have no grey hair yet, though we have no family history of early greying and we’re both yet in our early 30′s. Time will tell. :)
    Natalie C\’s last post: A Recipe for Avacado Gazpacho

    Reply
  92. I have been brewing now for about 9 months. My mother came from a friend and has now started at least 3 others brewing. One major thing I noticed this past winter is that for the first time that I can recall, I did not get laid up with a seasonal cold or the flu which has always set in in Nov and often again in spring. I feel great. My son and I are the only drinkers in the house, though my wife will if I blend it with a raspberry puree. I have one daughter in college who is brewing from a daughter of my culture. She started us on it with store brands. It has eliminated my soda habit/crave as well. I do a two jar staggered brew so that I have a fresh batch about 4 days off from the other all the time.

    Reply
  93. Well, Sarah…funny you should ask about grey hair! I’m now 66 and have been drinking kombucha off and on for about 4 years. (Had problems with my scoby’s and took some time off) but I digress…I have a fabulous streak of grey hair right in the front and I really LIKE IT, but I’ve noticed lately it is getting more difficult to FIND it! LOL! It certainly ‘could’ be the kombucha…

    Blessings,
    Sunny

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 11:06 am

      Oh, I would LOVE a streak of grey hair in my hair! I’ve often said that when I go grey I won’t color my hair but will streak it grey instead to make it interesting looking.

      Reply
      • I love your thinking. I’m 43 and I refuse to dye my hair. I don’t have a lot of grey, but it’s starting to be noticeable. I really want to start this drink. I have never heard of it. I’m sure I didn’t read properly but where is the best place to buy the tea and what type of sugar to use? Thank you so much for all this wonderful information. Also, can toddlers drink it?

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  94. I have a question. Someone gave me a scoby and I didn’t have time to use it. I put it in a jar full of kombucha in the fridge and it has been there for a couple of months – is it dead or do you think it would make a batch?

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 11:05 am

      It might be fine. Brew a small batch and see .. if you get a baby to form that is nice and thick after 7-10 days you are good to go.

      Reply
      • Is that how you tell if the SCOBY is working, if a baby forms? I got a dehydrated one and it’s been in the correct solution for 2 weeks now with absolutely nothing happening on top- not even a haze, today is the first day I have checked it. I keep it on my dresser covered with a coffee filter and then a tea towel. It’s between 66-68 in the room (live in the north west). Does anyone have experience with the dehydrated ones and does this sound normal? I used organic oolong and green teas, organic sugar and organic white wine vinegar to begin. I thought there should at least be a haze on top by now.

        Reply
    • I kept my scoby dormant in the refrigerator (in a jar w/ kombucha with a plastic lid) for 2 years and it survived to moves. I just started making it again and I’m on my 3rd batch and this batch is looking really good. I read that it can take a few batches to get your scoby back to normal after being dormant. a couple of months is fine.

      Reply
  95. I am 57 and HAD a good bit of gray hair, especially around my temples and “sideburns”. Since recently (Jan) moving to the Tampa area, I began culturing foods and eating a lot of kraut and kimchi. I have just begun kombucha and water kefir and my husband and I drink it every day now. I do color my hair (I know….arg!) but I let the roots grow out some about a month ago and had less than half the gray I had before and the gray I did have was a lot darker, like it was going back to my brown color. I attributed it to the fermented cabbage as I have known of people who took extended mission trips to Korea and ate kimchi every day for months and came back with no gray hair! I think there is something in the fermenting process that does this. I’m hopeful and will continue to grow out my roots….I would love to not color any more!

    Reply
  96. @Kelly above- I used all sorts of flavored teas. I’ve read that it can kill your scoby, but scobys reproduce every batch. I came to have dozens after a few months brewing I figured I might as well try flavored teas too. No problems & I’ve been brewing flavored teas for at least a year.

    Reply
  97. This is fantastic! I have grays sprouting and have been dabbling in Ana Bret’s Kundalini Yoga since her health archives address that as well and sure enough I found a few grays that went back brown at the root. BUT now I have a new weapon to add to my arsenal lol YOU ROCK!!!

    Reply
  98. I’ll be 82 in August and have only begun to have any gray hair in the past couple of years but appear dark-haired unless you get up close. My mother began to get gray hair much earlier than this – 50′s maybe – and her two sisters were totally white quite early. I don’t drink kombucha but would love to have time to start making it. However, I suspect the later graying might be more the result of the better diets kombucha-makers are likely to be eating. I have heard that B vitamins can influence this – maybe because pantothenic acid is anti-stress – and we’ve all heard people joke about their kids giving them gray hair. I’ve seen a couple of reports that hairdressers who work with nursing home residents report darkening hair when they’ve been put on vitamins. I also remember a story by Rafael Sabatini – a favorite of my father’s – where one of the characters’ hair turned white overnight from some devastating shock.

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Yes, kombucha is loaded with B vitamins. Perhaps this is part of the anti-greying effect. Thank you for chiming in :)

      Reply
      • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
        Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

        I should add that my husband’s mother went grey in a matter of weeks in her early 40′s after surgery. She thought it was the anesthesia (she’s a nurse).

        Reply
        • Last year a teen daughter of a friend of mine woke up one morning to to find her beautiful long & naturally curly/kinky hair totally straight. They think it must have been stress related as they were getting ready to make a major family move/life change. Stress can affect our bodies in so many different ways.

          Reply
    • According to Sarah’s videos of kombucha for beginners, it’s important to have at least one bag of black tea in the brew because the culture feeds off the tannins (sp?) in the tea. Why is it that you don’t drink green/black tea? The fermentation process might eliminate those factors for you.

      Reply
    • I’m LDS, and don’t drink any green or black tea either. According to my friend who is WPF rchapter leader and also LDS, the tea is completely consumed by the scoby, so there are no issues with drinking it once it is fermented.

      Reply
      • i’m also LDS and had those same questions. i have since found out that the fermentation process does get rid of the caffeine and tannins. i have also read that roobios (my favorite) is appropriate for kombucha, according to primal fenix/kombucharista.
        i have made some with black, green and roobios and the roobios is by far my favorite flavor, but i’m still experimenting with them all.

        Reply
  99. AMy Lee Waters via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Mine daughter has had kombucha since she was old enough to drink from a cup. I had mold in my batch last year and had to dump the whole thing and have not restarted making it and started seeing gray hairs after a few months without. Never thought about that being the problem. I will be 50 this year, must get another scoby soon!

    Reply
  100. Ive been drinking it for probably 4 years now, I really crave it as i was saying last night when i was at my moms house that i wish i had my kombucha when i was eating dinner. Ive gotten a lot grayer since i started drinking kombucha. Im sure its not because of kombucha, but it definately did not help.

    Reply
    • It tastes like vinegar.
      I know it’s very good for you, but I cannot drink it. I have had it flavored 1 time, but really don’t like it. How do the rest of you drink it? I’ve made it and it’s very easy and cheap, and if you have a good TF group, someone ususally has the babies and give them away.
      Can you explain more on how you drink it or what I was doing wrong? I do like kimchee and sauerkraut, but this was bad. My kids will drink the coconut kefir, but that can get expensive and I need to make more.
      What about water kefir? I have heard about it and that you can flavor it to taste like soda.
      I really need to eat more fermented foods.
      Thanks

      Reply
      • Sorry to say I didnt like it either. Everyone talks about how great it is, I wish I liked the taste.

        I was drinking water kefir but I think I was drinking way to much and started getting monster headaches. I had to mix it into a thick juice to drink it. Not an easy taste either…in my opinion.

        Maybe I was just doing it all wrong.

        Reply
      • It tastes more like iced tea with a fizz and a ‘hint’ of vinegar. It tastes like vinegar when you let it ferment for more then 3 weeks. My normal fermentation time is 2 weeks or more, but I’m in NW, so pretty chilly here. I get my Organic Oolong tea at Amazon and use organic sugar to make my kombucha. It tastes wonderful, my mom is always impressed and she makes hers with just regular black tea and non organic sugar. She says my Scoby grows faster then hers too.

        This is how I flavor my Kombucha which I just recently started, otherwise we just drank it plain because it was tasty just the way it was! When the fermentation process is done, I pour them into these glass Voss water bottles that you can find at a WF store, and then add frozen berries into each individual bottle, I tried cherries, raspberries, and strawberries and the strawberry wins in flavor, raspberries being second, my husband marveled how delicious these were! And he’s not easy to please either, so that says something :)

        I say give Kombucha a try, it really does matter what type of tea and sugar you use. Previously I tried some green tea and it really just wasn’t tasty. So I settled on org. Oolong tea, makes the tastiest Kombucha!

        Reply
        • I think it has an apple cider taste, plus vinegar. But then I let mine sit awhile to get rid of all sugar, 3 weeks. Buy the plain GT Daves at the store to get an idea. I thought GT Daves tasted like a hard apple cider. :)

          I do like it.

          Reply
        • We’ve just recently started making our own Kombucha (actually tried it a year ago, but the friend that gave us a SCOBY didn’t give us enough starter to go with it, and it got moldy). In the meantime I’ve been buying it (mostly GT Dave’s) and was really excited to find someone else that had a baby to give us along with enough starter.

          This is about how we make ours too, following Sarah’s helpful videos. We have been using 1/2 Organic Black tea and 1/2 Organic Green tea, but I’ve been wanting to get some Organic Oolong tea to use. We also do the 2nd fermentation, so far we’ve used a little bit of muscadine grape juice, and the last few batches was pureed strawberries.

          Yum, it’s so delicious!!! We need to start making ours in the huge batches (mega kombucha ;-) ) as 5 out of 6 of my boys like it just as much as I do.

          I just turned 51, and only see a grey hair here and there. Nothing really discernible though. I was really excited to see your comments about this, and what an added bonus that would be!!!

          Thanks Sarah, for your blog, I’ve learned a lot. :-)

          Reply
        • I think it is so interesting how we all have such different opinions! I personally LOVE using the Uncle Lee’s Green Tea. It isn’t at all vinegary to me. I find the black tea to give a much stronger or rather different flavor altogether. I’ve also read there is no need to use organic sugar as it is all ‘used up’ in the process, but if the scoby’s grow faster, sounds like something to think about. I have a friend who puts chia seeds in her kombucha, (after brewing) but I didn’t care for it.

          Reply
  101. I have been brewing and drinking kombucha for 5 years. When I started at 47 I’d occasionally find a random grey hair. Now at 52 I still have brown hair, with very few greys.

    Reply
  102. I’m 30 and have been drinking kombucha for almost 2 years. I had gray hair before it and have been growing more while I drink it, i never noticed a connection, and if anything its giving me more gray hair, hah! I have had other health issues which may contribute, so maybe the longer I’m on a nourishing diet the grays will slow down…..i hope!!

    Reply
    • Did you see the youtube video of the toddler EATING the scoby? I think people do give this to their kids, but I will be curious what Sarah or others say.

      Reply
    • Lots of people do, but in moderation. My understanding is that sometimes there is a SLIGHT amount of alchohol. Even if there wasn’t, it is something to drink in moderation. I know most people who drink it give it to their kids because it is so beneficial.

      Reply
    • My toddler LOVES kombucha and has been having sips since he was just under a year. He flips his lid anytime he sees us pour a glass (he’s trying to climb up on my chair to get some as I type this!). He never drinks more than 4 oz in a day. We homebrew and I’m not worried about the alcohol. There’s a tiny bit of alcohol in most (all?) fermented foods and fermented foods are notoriously good for you.
      danielle\’s last post: Recipe: Homemade Chocolate Chunks

      Reply
    • My boys (3&5) are nuts about it. They think it’s some amazing special drink to have. My littlest clamors for “boocha.” They have been drinking for probably a year, year and a half. I let them have about 4 oz at one meal (usu lunch) per day. Sometimes they have more, but not often.

      Last winter was the first winter we drank it regularly, and we had no colds except one right at the beginning of the cooler weather. Could this be why??

      Reply
  103. Nathalie Farquet via Facebook May 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I use 2 batches, started like 3-4 days apart, so I have a great amound of fresh kombucha every 3-4 days.

    Reply
    • I just watched the videos on how to make kombucha. They were very helpful, but I’m not sure how to store it once it’s made. Do you keep it in the glass bowl and store it in the fridge?

      Reply
      • I put mine in old store bought kombucha bottles and I bought some beer brewing bottles that I use also. They seal well and I’ll get some carbonation if I let them sit on the counter for a few days. (I add grape juice when I bottle it too–maybe 3-4 TBLS per liter)

        Reply
  104. Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
    Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I do think you can drink too much. Just like with anything, moderation is a good policy but if you need to gulp down a quart in a single day occasionally because you’ve done some incredibly strenuous and sweaty yardwork, that is fine of course. If you do heavy outside work regularly then more would be warranted. But most folks don’t so I would keep it at a glass or two every day in the majority of cases.

    Reply
  105. I am 53, I have been making kombucha consistently for a year. My hair is dark and I had some grey hair when I started drinking kombucha but I haven’t gotten any “greyer”. I also have siblings younger and my mother was grey early in life. I think there is something to it! I’m a believer. I have been thinking about continous vs. batch brewing. I currently brew 5 – 6 gallons a week and have a very good system and never had a mold issue.
    I add crystalized ginger to the final brew, that is the only flavoring I use. I have 2 questions, can you drink too much and should it be refrigerated or left out after the fermentation process? We love it and when it’s hot outside and the kombucha is cold it is just the ticket to quench our thirst. We even drink it over ice. I seem to be the neighborhood go to for “babies”.
    Thank you for posting this.
    Cathy

    Reply
  106. It has been awhile since I have made kombucha. Maybe I need to buy another culture. I have used your method with great success. It was one of the first things I tried when we started eating more cultured food. My boys love kombucha. Do you drink it straight or add anything flavors in after?
    kaley\’s last post: Natural Remedy for Chickenpox

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 9:44 am

      We sometimes add fresh fruit juice to it or plain seltzer water. Just depends on what we are in the mood for at the time :)

      Reply
      • thanks. I bet seltzer would taste good. By the way- you don’t look a day over 30 :) Probiotic diets are like the “fountain of youth”.

        Reply
  107. I am 27 and have been brewing kombucha for three years. I really wish it would stop my prematurely greying hair, but it hasn’t so far )-: Did stop my yeast infections and tastes delicious though!

    Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Thanks for the info A.B. Did you have any grey hair when you started drinking it?

      Reply
      • A bit, but it’s been really speeding up. It runs in my family. I should mention that my kombucha drinking is a bit irregular – large amounts and then none for a few days. I am really going to amp it up and see if I see a difference. Dying your hair is such a pain and I don’t want to start.

        Reply

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