Safe Storage and Transport of Kombucha Tea

by Sarah Fermented Beverages, VideosComments: 72

kombucha tea in basket


School’s out – at least at our house.  Let the summertime fun begin!

Our family enjoys lots of outdoor activities during the warmer months, but heat and humidity and sweat and thirst just seem to go hand in hand, don’t they?

To stay hydrated and comfortable while you are enjoying all that summertime recreation, skip those nasty sports drinks laden with high fructose corn syrup or hidden artificial sweeteners and opt for the delicious, healthy, fermented drink from Russia – kombucha tea.

I have a number of videos on how to make kombucha, but have never done one on how to pack it safely in a lunch or cooler.

Kombucha must be packed in glass as it has an acidic, vinegar quality to it (don’t let that fool you – it  tastes yummy) that will leech chemicals from plastic and metal from stainless steel.

Kleen Kanteens are not appropriate for kombucha tea and neither is food grade plastic – ever!

But packing glass in a lunchbox with a young child is a bit of a dangerous venture, wouldn’t you agree?

In this short video below, I show you how I pack kombucha tea in a picnic basket or lunchbox to ensure that your child stays safe!

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?
Batch vs Continuous Brew Kombucha
Have You Tried Kombucha?
Kombucha: Drink It and Wear It?
Kombucha:  What it is and How to Make it
Jun Tea:  Kombucha Champagne


Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Source:  Mad As  a Hatter, Dr. Kaayla Daniel

Picture Credit

Comments (72)

  • anne

    hello there,

    soon i will be moving and part of my travel will be on a plane. my question is, how can i travel with my scoby so that I can continue to brew tasty Kombucha while in Thailand? the flight will be about 5-6 hours..

    thank you!

    June 3rd, 2013 3:18 am Reply
  • Olivia Halman via Facebook


    June 6th, 2012 9:35 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Just got off the phone with GTs and they use glass to ferment their kombucha not stainless steel! Hooray!

    June 6th, 2012 6:18 pm Reply
  • Helena Sorus via Facebook

    GT’s is using older scobies and a shorter brewing time, from what I read in a press release a while ago.

    June 3rd, 2012 5:58 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Angela, considering that the plastic spigot is bathing in kombucha 24/7, I don’t think that container is a good idea. Just use a large glass jar for brewing. I use a 2 1/2 gallon glass jar (4 of them) for each batch.

    June 3rd, 2012 9:38 am Reply
  • Megara

    Hi Sarah, Love your videos! I have a question . I was wondering if you know if I can use the whey from homemade coconut milk yogurt to ferment things like sauerkraut ,veggies,ketchup? I asked Jenny from get cultured she didn’t know and haven’t been able to find the answer from both of Sandor Katz books or from Nourishing Traditions. Any advise or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have learned so much from your videos! Thank you ,Megara

    June 3rd, 2012 7:33 am Reply
  • Solhild

    I use the bottles from Lifefactory ( Kids love them! The little ones because they give a good grip, the bigger ones because they come in lots of nice colors and look cool. My 1 year old drop (or throw…) his to the floor all the time, but still they never crack!
    Greate blogg you have! I often refer to it for people new to traditional cooking.

    June 3rd, 2012 1:22 am Reply
  • Liz

    Thank you for posting this because I have been using plastic! So what should I bottle my kombucha in when I do a second ferment? I have tried glass (big mason jar) and cracked it, even when I was burping it regularly.

    June 2nd, 2012 10:53 pm Reply
  • Olivia Halman via Facebook

    yes, the list of things i am able to buy at the health food store just gets smaller and smaller. i talked to GT’s a few weeks ago because i was curious how they changed their product so that the alcohol level wasn’t a concern anymore. i was told they are using a different strain of probiotics in the scoby that produces much lower alcohol content. no idea what this really means or how this could be done… maybe it’s not the real stuff anymore. some people i have spoken to say they won’t drink the stuff anymore because they sense it is “dead” aka pasteurized. i don’t have a sense for this, in fact i never tried the drink before it was taken off the shelves. gt’s says on their site it’s not pasteurized. the representative didn’t have good knowledge of how they changed the probiotics and told me to email dave. i did, but heard nothing back. i didn’t think to ask about the fermentation vessels. this relates to something else regarding pasteurization, irradiation, and labeling i have been trying to figure out. for irridiation, i guess everything is supposed to be labeled, right? with that little symbol. unless it is a product with irradiated ingredients, as long as the whole product is not irradiated. but, i heard produce PLU’s starting with the number 3 means it’s been irradiated. those aren’t labeled. then there was that whole proposal by the FDA to label irradiated foods as pasteurized. but organic foods can’t be irradiated right? …but can they be irradiated and then labeled as pasteurized as a sort of loophole? seems there is a lot of deception on the part of the FDA to keep customers in the dark.

    June 2nd, 2012 4:13 pm Reply
  • Angela Marie via Facebook

    Hi! I had a question–I have made kombucha in a glass suntea jar, but it has a plastic spout. Is this not okay to use? thanks!!

    June 2nd, 2012 3:44 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Nothing ever can beat homemade, eh? How disappointing that some of these kombucha makers are making such a crucial error in the production of their product. Very very disappointing.

    June 2nd, 2012 1:44 pm Reply
    • lance thomas

      Yes it is a shame. I don’t think these homebrewers mean to hurt themselves and the ones around them. I think they are using plastic because the lack of education in the kombucha world. Only with some experience or ones who learn the ph levels and effects of acidics on things like plastic are just uninformed and would switch to glass right away if they knew.

      September 12th, 2014 12:57 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Olivia, I had the same question .. I’m going to call them and see. I will stop buying their product if this is so. I will report back when I get an answer. If somebody already knows, please post.

    June 2nd, 2012 1:43 pm Reply
  • Olivia Halman via Facebook

    does anyone know if GT’s kombucha uses stainless steel for fermentation? if so i will have to stop buying their drinks when i’m out of mine…

    June 2nd, 2012 12:19 pm Reply
  • Aimee

    Or make seltzer at home – you will reduce your carbon footprint, and you can make endless egg creams!

    June 2nd, 2012 10:29 am Reply
  • Kristy Dellinger via Facebook

    You are so clever! Thanks for the tip!

    June 2nd, 2012 12:56 am Reply
  • Sarah

    What happened to the handle of the picnic basket in the picture? It looks broken. So unimportant of a detail, just had to ask though.

    June 2nd, 2012 12:17 am Reply
  • Katie

    Thank you for your post on safely packing kombucha! I’m just learning about this wonderful drink. My sister just made a batch for the first time (that we’re all anxious to try!) and knowing how to pack it while on-the-go is so helpful. Quick question – how long can it be out of the fridge and still be good? Will it make you sick if it sits out too long?

    June 1st, 2012 11:17 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      No, it can sit out all day and you would be fine. It doesn’t go bad .. it just gets stronger in flavor. I actually store my glass jugs of kombucha in the pantry and only refrigerate the 1/2 gallon we are currently drinking so it’s cold when we pour it.

      June 1st, 2012 11:21 pm Reply
  • Teresa

    Maybe you could show us what a typical day would be for you where you would consume 50 – 60 % fat- and less grains- it’s so hard to do a menu with % instead of tha actual food. Of course, everyone is dying to see what you eat because you look so good and healthy. You inspire us Sarah!

    June 1st, 2012 5:25 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Teresa, there are many different ways to implement traditional diet. I don’t post what I eat as folks will misunderstand and think that I am somehow promoting my diet as THE way to eat when it’s not. Also, keeping a food log is an incredibly boring exercise to me. I don’t do things that bore me unless i have to :) I rarely weigh myself or track the calories I burn when I exercise etc, but I know generally what I eat and its A LOT of saturated fat. I tracked it once many years ago and it was 50-60% fat (more in the winter, less is summer as I eat more fruit in summer and hardly any in winter).

      Your best bet is to read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, examine your genetic heritage and focus on those traditional foods first and implement generous amounts of the sacred foods for those cultures closest to your heritage. That’s how I figured out what worked best for me. It’s a process, not a simple – eat this for breakfast, this for lunch type of exercise.

      June 1st, 2012 6:08 pm Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        I am glad that you are inspired though :) Be inspired to find the balance of traditional foods that works fantastically well for your physiology, genetics, previous health history, environment, family challenges, and budget.

        June 1st, 2012 6:14 pm Reply
      • Bev

        Genetic Heritage? Can you explain a little more about what that means to an “American”? We are the melting pot! I am German, Scottish, Irish, and Native American….. I have NO idea what my genetic heritage is and what I should be eating! I do have the book Nutrition and Physican Degeneration… but have found it very difficult to get into. Any thoughts?

        January 16th, 2013 12:59 pm Reply
  • sandy

    Thanks for the tip sarah! I ordered a starter kit from Laurel Farms almost a month ago and have not heard a word from them. Tried calling and emailing but no response. So ready to start making kombucha. Do you happen to know her or if somethings going on since she’s in your area?

    June 1st, 2012 4:24 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Please do NOT order from Laurel Farms. That company is having delivery issues. Please only order kombucha cultures from the sources on my Resources page as they are reliable.

      June 1st, 2012 10:44 pm Reply
  • Sarah VanTassel via Facebook

    I LOVE love love this tip! Thanks!!! I will actually use it for anytime I pack lunch! :-)

    June 1st, 2012 3:38 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Olivia I like what you’re doing though. I like glass the absolute best but it isn’t always practical. I absolutely will not use stainless for acidic foods though. Using stainless for kombucha is just asking for a heavy metal problem.

    June 1st, 2012 3:04 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Olivia 1/4 cup vinegar in a gallon or two of water does not make the overall water acidic only very very slightly so. This is very different than all the liquid being vinegar. Taste the stock water … does it taste acidic? No.

    June 1st, 2012 3:02 pm Reply
  • Olivia Halman via Facebook

    sarah, don’t you make stock in stainless steel pots? that has vinegar.. i am using a glass visions corning ware 5L pot for stock, it is the biggest i have found, but i would like to find something bigger.

    June 1st, 2012 2:57 pm Reply
  • Sarah Nelson Miller via Facebook

    Thank you for the response and the link. :)

    June 1st, 2012 2:52 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    Let me be clear and not misunderstood: stainless steel is FINE except for acidic foods.

    June 1st, 2012 2:43 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Sarah YIKES! I wouldn’t be buying that kombucha. Anything acidic leeches alloys from stainless steel (nickel, cobalt, chromium)

    June 1st, 2012 2:42 pm Reply
  • Carrie

    What about water kefir in plastic bottles? Should I avoid that as well?

    June 1st, 2012 2:15 pm Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Glass would be best, but water kefir is not as acidic as kombucha so plastic would be ok unless it is really strong .. fermenting in the fridge for a long time for example.

      June 1st, 2012 2:39 pm Reply
  • Kat

    What a cool idea! Thank you. I really enjoy your informative videos. Keep ’em coming.

    June 1st, 2012 1:43 pm Reply
  • Sarah Nelson Miller via Facebook

    Is stainless steel really a problem? There is a local kombucha company here that brews in stainless steel tanks.

    June 1st, 2012 1:41 pm Reply
  • Carla Saner via Facebook

    Kombucha is Great and sooooo Healthy….I have found that you need to keep Kombucha COLD all the time though. If it sits out for a period of time (several hours 3-4+) and someone drinks it warm…they might (in my case) feel a little icky (if it’s such a word). I believe it is best and taste the best COLD.

    June 1st, 2012 1:40 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Linda the soda sleeves are available at the grocery store usually by the beer or soda cans LOL

    June 1st, 2012 1:09 pm Reply
  • Rose

    Nourishing Traditions says its ok to store Kombucha in stainless steel. I know some people that even say its safe to brew in stainless steel. I have personally been leery of doing either, but wonder if it really is safe.

    June 1st, 2012 1:07 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      This is perhaps before stainless steel was found to leech metal alloys (nickel etc) when an acidic liquid or food is in it. There is an article on the WAPF website about this.

      I DO NOT agree that brewing/storing kombucha in stainless steel is safe. This is a recipe for heavy metal toxicity. If you already have heavy metal issues, this is particularly foolish. If you can’t brew kombucha safely best to not drink it at all. Just use glass .. simple solution.

      June 1st, 2012 1:13 pm Reply
  • Joie

    Hi Sarah,
    I read where Organic Pastures Dairy Co. claimed Kefir caused and/or exacerbated the children to get sick in California– in a letter McAfee stated, “We do know that at least two of the most sickened children did not drink raw milk,….but drank OPDC after it had been ‘fermented and cultured with store bought Kefir cultures ‘ ”

    He said the Kefir cultures came from an online store, but didn’t say which one. I had just ordered kefir culture from an online source (Cultures For Health), and couldn’t help but wonder after reading that portion of his letter. How do we know what we are buying is safe? My order is for water kefir because I can’t get the raw milk in my area. Still I wonder. How do we know what is safe?

    Thank you for all you do to keep us informed.

    June 1st, 2012 12:52 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I trust Cultures for Health. I doubt it was from this source. I could be wrong, but this company is a quality source. Why don’t you call Organic Pastures and just ask?

      June 1st, 2012 12:55 pm Reply
  • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

    Just watch those grains and sugars. I eat grains but they are a small amount of my diet in comparison with most Americans where grain based foods are the staple. You also need to exercise. Trying to maintain your figure just with diet is a losing proposition. You need to move your body in a way that you enjoy be it gardening, yoga, the gym whatever. I actually hate predefined workouts and the gym in general. I prefer sports and activities for my exercise. They key is to do what you enjoy. Moving your body should not be an unpleasant activity which is why this blog has a fitness aspect to it as well (new fitness post tomorrow :)

    June 1st, 2012 12:47 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Also Linda, you should not feel ANY guilt about eating saturated fats! Saturated fats are the MAJORITY of my diet … 50-60%. Without saturated fats, I would be 30 lbs heavier overnight I guarantee it. I should show you my chubby pictures from college when I was eating lowfat.

      June 1st, 2012 12:53 pm Reply
      • Jaime

        1 vote here for posting the college photos! I agree with other posts- Sarah you look so great and I was amazed when you’ve stated your age previously! You really are a great promotion for traditional foods! (and I’d love to see the difference you experienced when you were eating low fat).

        June 1st, 2012 9:57 pm Reply
        • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

          Hahahaha. I showed one of them at my talk in St. Louis. Lots of hoots of laughter on that one especially the Flashdance 80’s hair. Very embarrassing :) You’ll have to come and see me speak at a WAPF Conference to see them. LOL

          June 1st, 2012 10:41 pm Reply
          • Jaime

            Awww! Flashdance 80’s hair to boot! Be sure to bring them when you come “down under” for a WAPF promotional tour! You’re doing one of them soon aren’t you? My budget couldn’t stretch to a trip to the states for a WAPF conference, although I would LOVE to!

            June 1st, 2012 10:47 pm
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            I just don’t want those photos to get loose on the internet. Waaayyyy too embarrassing.

            June 1st, 2012 11:03 pm
  • Bonnie

    Although the container itself is glass, the cap is made of plastic. Unless someone does not allow the bottle to bounce around at all and drinks the content in one sitting, wouldn’t you be bound to have kombucha to be in contact with the cap and leaches chemical?

    June 1st, 2012 12:46 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      No this is not a problem. Don’t fill the container full (see how high I fill it in the video) and you will avoid this to a large extent. Perhaps a drop or two might touch the lid but this is quite different than the entire container sitting in plastic.

      June 1st, 2012 12:50 pm Reply
  • Linda Burniac

    Hi Sarah
    I really enjoy your news letter it’s so informative and right to the point . I have been following Weston A Price Foundation eating guide for about 6 months. I love eating this way but lately I’ve noticed a slight weight gain. You look so trim and fit, I would love to know how you manage staying thin eating butter, cream, grains and even desserts. I remember reading a WAP blog and the members were asked what they generally ate, it was a surprising high in calories. It’s still hard for me to consume a lot of saturated fats without the guilt.

    June 1st, 2012 12:30 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Oops … answered you below.

      June 1st, 2012 12:52 pm Reply
  • martine

    What is the seltzer brand for the glas bottle?

    And where can I find the foam stuff to protect the bottle ?

    Thanks for letting me know…

    June 1st, 2012 12:05 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Syfo seltzer … your grocery store carries the foam sleeves usually over near the soda or beer section LOL

      June 1st, 2012 12:44 pm Reply
  • Aimee

    What a great idea! I am always looking for ways to incorporate traditional foods into my kids diet. I’m giving it a try.

    June 1st, 2012 11:44 am Reply
  • Our Small Hours

    Great idea!

    I never thought of using seltzer water to dilute the kombucha. I like mine pretty fizzy, so that’s perfect.

    We kept all of our GT’s bottles from before we began making KT at home. That’s what we fill for on-the-go. I like the small size of the seltzer bottles, though, and the fact that they fit in a koozie.

    June 1st, 2012 11:41 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, the GT bottles are too big for a foam sleeve and too large for little hands to grasp safely.

      June 1st, 2012 11:59 am Reply
  • Louise Baker via Facebook

    This is great thinking. But I don’t have unlimited gigabytes for downloading, and for simpler ideas like this one, I would love if you could also just put a quick written version. Thanks, always appreciate your tips.

    June 1st, 2012 11:40 am Reply
    • Jodi

      I like the videos, personally.

      June 1st, 2012 3:39 pm Reply
  • Julie Jacobs Helscher via Facebook


    June 1st, 2012 11:22 am Reply
  • Michelle Roysden via Facebook

    Linda…you can find those at about any store, especially this time of year. Alot of folks call them beer ‘sleeves’ here in the South. :)

    June 1st, 2012 11:18 am Reply
  • Donna

    Thank you for taking the time to show us so much. Your website is addictive and I’ve learn a lot from it. I don’t use seltzer water and I’d like to know if there is a difference in brands. I did not catch the name of the brand you use and I’d like to get it to use and also use the bottle afterwards as you mentioned. Good idea.

    June 1st, 2012 11:05 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I use Syfo seltzer in 10 oz glass bottles.

      June 1st, 2012 11:58 am Reply
      • Donna

        A big Thank You.

        June 1st, 2012 12:04 pm Reply
  • Kim Buesing via Facebook

    Love it, thank you! We are a home school family & this is a great tip for travel!

    June 1st, 2012 11:03 am Reply
  • Linda Fritch McDonald via Facebook

    Great idea! Where do you get the soda sleeves?

    June 1st, 2012 11:00 am Reply
  • Teresa

    I hope this is not a stupid question but what is the difference between club soda & seltzer water. I have never used either one but the idea of adding to kombucha sounds interesting.
    I look forward to your blog everyday Sarah!

    June 1st, 2012 10:56 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I actually prefer natural sparkling mineral water like pellagrino to a manufactured club soda or seltzer but can’t get that in little glass bottles that I’ve seen anywhere and the small 10 oz size is so perfect for a foam sleeve and packing kombucha in a lunchbox.

      June 1st, 2012 12:01 pm Reply
  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    Totally random but, that shirt looks cute on you! :)

    June 1st, 2012 10:25 am Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I love that blouse! I ripped it off the mannequin at Kohl’s. LOL It was the last one in stock and the colors and the cut of it just did it for me!

      June 1st, 2012 10:36 am Reply
    • Jodi

      Ditto! That was the first thing I noticed in this video. Very classy and looks *great* on you!

      June 1st, 2012 3:38 pm Reply
      • GTH

        I agree. I thought the same thing!

        June 2nd, 2012 4:36 am Reply

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