How Much Kombucha Brew Should You Brew
How much ‘booch’ to brew?
When you first start brewing Kombucha, you likely start off with a small vessel — half a gallon (2 liters) or maybe even a quarter of a gallon. You’ll find though, however, after a couple brews, that 1 or 2 or even 3 litres of this stuff won’t equal a lot of Kombucha. If it takes you about 10 to 14 days to finish your brew cycle (counting the second fermentation), you’ll spend a good portion of that time without any kombucha to drink.
If you want to keep yourself and possible your family in constant supply of Kombucha, you are going to have to brew more at once. You have two options: large single brew batches or a continuous brewing system. The continuous brewing system will cost more initially since you will probably need to buy some special large containers, but once you set it up, you’ll have pretty much as much ‘buch’ as you can handle. However, the kombucha may end up inconsistent since you are constantly adding more tea every week to the same batch which may end up stronger or weaker from time to time. Single brews are far more consistent and you can experiment with the brewing process more. The choice is up to you.
How Much Booch Do I Need to Brew?
First off, how much do you want to drink?
Consider that most commercial bottles are 16 ounces (2 cups). And you can easily drink just one of these — maybe even two or three a day if you really enjoy kombucha.
Here’s a commercial Kombucha bottle (about 2 cups).
You could easily drink ONE or TWO of these every day.
Mind you, when you first start making Kombucha, you should start with half a glass to see if your body has any reactions to it — especially raw Kombucha which is far more potent the commercialized Kombucha (which is often pasteurized).
How Much Kombucha Should You Drink?
About a glass a day gives you all the benefits you need, but you can easily drink 2, 3 or or even more cups per day.
Let’s base our calculations then on drinking 2 cups per day or 1 bottle of kombucha.
Kombucha Calculations: How Much Brew Should You Brew
If you drink 2 cups a day, that’s 14 cups a week. That’s roughly a gallon of Kombucha a week (1 gallon = 16 cups). You have to remove 1 to 2 cups of Kombucha from each brew as the starter for the next batch, which leaves you with 14 or 15 cups a week or about 1 gallon.
Now if you do not do second ferment, it takes you about 7 days minimum to brew your kombucha (and 7 days might give you a sweet kombucha. If you want a more tart version, you’ll need 3 days to a week more). But most people want to drink flavorful ‘buch’ and that means a second ferment for at least 2 or three days.
So to play it safe, let’s count 10 days for the first ferment and 4 days for the second ferment. That gives us 2 weeks per brewing cycle.
This is a rough estimation, so there is variance in time and quantity.
So let’s calculate the quantity we need for 2 cups a day for 1 person.
1. One Person Drinking 1 Cup Every Day
If you are just starting out brewing booch, you’ll likely be having half a cup or a cup a day, 5-7 days a week.
That means you’ll need 7 cups a week, or 14 cups every 2 weeks. If it takes about 2 weeks to brew the first ferment + second ferment, that means you’ll need to brew a gallon every two weeks. Keep in mind you will drink 14 cups and a gallon holds 16 cups with the usable amount of booch about 14 or 15 cups (1-2 cups for the starter).
You need to brew 1 gallon per brewing cycle
2. One Person Drinking 2 Cups Every Day
To keep one person with a steady supply of kombucha for two weeks, assuming 2 cups a day of drinking (or two people drinking a cup a day) we will need to brew about two gallons per (2 week) brewing cycle.
Keep in mind 2 cups is about 450 ml, or 1 commercial bottle of Kombucha, as in the picture below.
It’s easy to drink one or two of these every day!
You could brew enough booch to give you 2 cups (or 1 450 ml bottle) either with a single 2 gallon container or two 1 gallon containers (you’ll need 2 SCOBYs or to divide your single SCOBY in half).
If you want to drink two bottles of ‘booch’ a day (i.e. 4 cups) of the week, then you’ll need double this — 4 gallons brewed every 2 weeks. If you want to do that we recommend using two 2 gallon jugs to get your 4 gallons or look at a continuous brewing system.
You need to brew 2 gallons per brewing cycle
3. Two People Drinking 2 Cups a Day Each
In this case, we have two people from the same household drinking 2 cups of Kombucha a day, which is equivalent to two 450 ml bottles of commercial kombucha a day.
For example, two of these a day:
To give you enough Kombucha to last between 2 week brew cycles, you’ll need to brew enough booch for 56 cups (2 cups a day for 14 days, which is the length of the first ferment + second ferment to get the new batch).
This means you’ll need to brew 4 gallon batches every two weeks. This will give you enough brew for 56 cups every 14 days (assuming 14 cups out of 16 cups is used for drink while the other 2 cups is for starter.
So here’s the calculations:
16 cups (1 gallon) x 4 = 64 cups (1 gallon)
64 – 8 (starter for next batch) = 56 drinkable cups of Kombucha from the brew.
2 cups for Person A per day
2 cups for Person B per day
= 56 cups of brew, which takes 4 gallons.
So you need to brew 4 gallons per brewing cycle!
3. A Family of Four Drinking 2 Cups a Day Each
A family of four a reasonable expectation if you have a typical household of 4 people with a mom, dad, and two or three kids. To keep a steady supply of 2 cups of ‘booch’ a day for each person in this family, then you are going to need 8 gallons brewed every two weeks.
At this point, we highly recommend looking at a continuous brewing system in a large 7.5 gallon container (such as a nice toasted oak barrel or a stainless steel vat). All you’ll need to do is top it up with new tea each week to keep the SCOBYs healthy and, when you want to flavor it, remove and bottle separately with herbs/fruit/spices. A continuous brewing system will mean you won’t have to deal with refrigerating and storing your finished brews, since you’ll constantly be siphoning of booch from the container each day — rather than handling a big batch every couple weeks at once.
For this quantity of ‘booch’ brewing, you should have a Continuous Brewing System — it’s a LOT easier than doing single brew batches!
If you don’t want a continuous brewing system, you might want to brew in big batches of 2 gallon containers — 4 of these at once OR do a couple 3 gallon containers. If you don’t mind having an entire room full of booch, you could look at 1 gallon batches — 8 of them. Just remember though, you will need enough refrigerator space to store your booch and each brewing session, you’ll have 8 gallons to refrigerate!
You need to brew 8 gallons per brewing cycle
What Sized Kombucha Containers Do You Need?
You can choose a number of different glass/stoneware/porcelain/stainless steel vessel sizes, depths, and shapes. Typically, we recommend 1 gallon to 2 gallon glass jars for single batch brews (for individuals — families will need more).
The advantage of 1 gallon containers is they can fit in your fridge if you wish to store them that way. Or you can use larger 2 gallon containers and bottle the ‘booch’ after the second ferment. If you don’t mind splurging, you can buy 1-2 gallon oak containers.
For continuous brewing systems, we recommend a 2 to 5 gallons container. You have a variety of material choices: stainless steel, porcelain, or stoneware containers in this size. You can check out our best kombucha containers article for more information about kombucha containers suitable for large batch brewing.
My Brewing Container Recommendations
1 Gallon Container
If you want to do single batches, 1 gallon containers have the advantage because it’s easy to place a the 1 gallon container into your fridge. Any jar will do at this point. If you want a recommendation, the simple Anchor 1 gallon jar will do just fine.
2 Gallon Container
Using a 2 gallon glass jar might have cause some problems when fitting into it into your fridge. However, if you do a second ferment, you’ll be putting your booch into bottles anyways, so the size of the first ferment container won’t matter.
If you want a cost-per-quantity breakdown, please read my Brewing Kombucha on a Budget article which estimates your weekly, monthly, and yearly kombucha brewing costs for both cheap ingredients and top-end ingredients.
5 Gallon Container
Our personal favorite container for large batch brewing is a 5 gallon toasted oak barrel, best used a a continuous brewing system vessel, which imparts additional flavor into your brew. Unlike the single batch brewing method, continuous brews only take a few days to ferment your booch due to more concentrated kombucha. You also get higher levels of organic acids. And it’s heck of a lot easier to brew large amounts of Kombucha!
10 Gallon Container
If you need more than 5 gallons, you are a serious brewer indeed. You’ll need either a large oak barrel or a stainless steel vat. Here’s a 10 gallon oak barrel for brewing. Another alternative is to look at a large stainless steel vat.
Kombucha Brewing Chart Quantity
|Serving Amount||Container Size||Drinkable Kombucha||Sweet Tea Amount||Tea Amount||Sugar Amount||SCOBY Size||Starter Amount||Brew Length||Brewing Method||Cost*|
|1 cup per day||1/2 - 1 gallon||6 cups||1/2 gallon||2 tea bags||.5 cups||1 small||.5 cups||3-7 days||Batch||.62 c|
|2 cups per day||1 gallon||3/4 gallon||3/4 gallon||3-6 Tea Bags|
|1 cup sugar||2 small or 1 large||1 - 2 cups||7-14 days||Batch||$1.24 |
|3 cups per day||1.5 gallons||1 gallon||1 gallon||4-7 Tea bags|
|1.5 - 2 cups sugar||1 large||1.5 - 2 cups||7-21 days||Batch||$1.86|
|4 cups per day||2 gallons||1.5 gallon||1.5 gallon||7-9 tea bags|
|1.5 cups - 3 cups||2 large||2 - 2.5 cups||10-24 days (max)||Batch or Continuous Brew||$2.48|
|6 cups per day||3 gallons||2.5 gallons||2.5 gallons||9-11 tea bags|
|3 cups - 4 cups||2-4 large||3 - 4 cups||12-24 days (max)||Continuous Brew||$3.1|
|8 cups per day||4 gallons||3 - 3.5 gallons||3 - 3.5 gallons||11-16 tea bags|
|4 cups to 5 cups||4 - 6 large||4 - 6 cups||14 - 26 days (max)||Continuous Brew||$4.96|
|10 cups per day||5 gallons||4 - 4.5 gallons||4 - 4.5 gallons||16-25 tea bags|
|4 cups to 9 cups||5 - 6 large||5 - 8 cups||16 - 45 days (max)||Continuous Brew||$6.21|
|Notes||for cheapest ingredients|
Here’s a chart showing you the how much Kombucha you need to brew and the ingredients needed, if you want a certain amount of Kombucha.
This is a very useful chart and should give you a pretty good idea to base your own kombucha quantity. This is a ROUGH estimate, so keep in mind you can fiddle with the ingredient ratios and the brewing times. Things like temperature will change the brewing times. I’ve also included a calculation for the brewing costs, assuming the cheapest ingredients (as calculated here in my other article). It’s slightly more expensive if you use top-end ingredients, but only a few dollars more.
Also note that IF you brew with a continuous brewing method, it’s much faster to brew large quantities of Kombucha — you don’t need to wait the full brew cycles (12 + days), assuming you regularly top it up every week with sweet tea.
Kombucha Brewing Costs Compared
|Costs||Cheap Brewed Kombucha||Quality Brewed Kombucha||Store Bought Kombucha|
|1 Cup||7 cents||23 cents||$7.25|
|1 Day||14 cents (2.2 cups per day)||46 cents (2.2 cups per day)||$14.5 (16 ounces / 2 cups)|
|1 Week||$1.24 (1 Gallon per week)||$3.70 (1 Gallon per week)||$116 (1 Gallon per week)|
|Kombucha Tea & Sugar Ingredients||Domino White Sugar 25lbs = $24|
1 Box of 312 Lipton's tea bags = $29
Rapunzel Pure Organic Whole Cane Sugar 9lbs = $43
Davidson's English (Black) Tea 16 ounces = $14.25
|assuming: 12 pack of 16oz Synergy Organic and Raw Kombucha Trilogy bottles for $177.49 on Amazon.com|
Here’s a cost estimate based on how much you want to brew. I give both the cheapest (low quality ingredients and equipment) and the most expensive (premium ingredients and equipment). This calculation comes from my budget guide to brewing Kombucha.