Earlier this summer I piecemealed together a DIY kombucha kit so that I could save money by not buying kombucha from the store anymore.
I had originally considered a kombucha continuous brew system, but wasn’t sure how I felt about the price tag. I mean, $300 is a lot of money!
Plus I was new to brewing kombucha in the first place. How was I to know if a kombucha continuous brew system was worth it, or just a big waste of money?
Before I keep going, let’s back up for a second. For years I’ve been sharing ways to wisely steward your finances by saving money on real food. Although the term most often used is “frugal,” I’m not sure it’s accurate.
True, I try not to spend money if I don’t have to and I’m likely to do things myself versus paying for convenience – hence the reason for scraping together pickle jars, nut milk bags and tea balls from garage sales over the course of four months just to make fermented tea – but I also believe in paying for quality.
Perfect example – I own a Blendtec high powered blender. I also own a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. Both are on the high end for kitchen appliances and both can be easily replaced with items that cost less. However, I bought each one because of the quality and reputation.
I would rather spend more money up front for something that will last practically forever, than spend less money on something I will have to replace later on. And for some things, there’s a good chance I would have had to replace it multiple times. Which to me, defeats the purpose of spending less money in the first place.
Along this line of thinking, food quality is also something that is important to me. But our frugal budget doesn’t always allow for all organic produce or all pastured meats. I go over the process of evaluating food priorities in Grocery Budget Bootcamp. These thoughts can be applied to quality kitchen appliances too.
Back to the kombucha continuous brew kit. I didn’t buy one for two main reasons:
- They’re on the expensive side. What if I was able to brew kombucha without a kit just fine? Would I then regret spending the money on the continuous brew kit?
- I was BRAND NEW to making kombucha in the first place. What if I brewed kombucha for two weeks and then decided it wasn’t for me. Would the continuous brew kit have been a waste of money?
Not too long after I mastered the DIY version of making kombucha, I was given the opportunity to review a kombucha continuous brew kit from GetKombucha. Figuring you guys probably have the same hesitations and questions that I did, I said yes. Here are my honest thoughts on a kombucha continuous brew kit.
Pros to a Kombucha Continuous Brew Kit
Everything you need is in the box.
You could say that this is the whole point of buying the kit, but considering it took me 4 months to scavenge everything together to brew (tea balls, milk bags, tea, sugar, rubber bands, pH strips, scoby and starter tea), being able to open one single box with everything inside is a HUGE plus.
I especially appreciated having both tea and a scoby in the box. I don’t think any proper kombucha continuous brew kit would exclude them, but these two items are the hardest to source (in my opinion), so not having to think about where to find those ON TOP OF all the other little things you need to brew kombucha is really nice.
A 2 ½ gallon ceramic brewer.
Finding a container that is ready to go (as in you DON’T have to eat a gallon of pickles first) is not easy. I love that the kit not only comes with a brewer, but that it’s over twice the size of the biggest glass jar I could find.
The brewer stand.
With my bootstrap method, I kept the jar on a napkin (to catch any drips) and pulled the jar to the edge of the counter to dispense. When I was done, I pushed it back so that kids running through the kitchen (or mom cooking dinner) wouldn’t get their shirts caught on the nozzle, effectively pulling down and shattering the glass jar and freshly batched kombucha with it.
The brewer stand lets me store the kombucha on the back of the counter, fitting just fine under my kitchen cabinets. When I want a glass, I just stick it under the spout and fill up!
Quick start instructions.
Get Kombucha includes a cute comic-strip like instruction guide, which makes it SUPER easy to get started. I learned something new, even though I’ve been brewing for several months!
Extra tea, extra sugar, extra scoby and flavor boosters.
Whether you get these fun extras depends on what type of kombucha continuous brew kit you choose.
The Basic Edition set comes with everything I’ve mentioned so far, but does NOT include an extra bag of tea, sugar or flavor booster.
The Premium Edition comes with everything above AND the extra tea, sugar, scoby and flavor boosters. I personally haven’t used the extra scoby yet, but it’s nice to have in case mine dies or if I want to give it as a gift to a friend.
The Brewmaster Select Edition comes with everything above AND the extra tea, sugar, scoby and flavor boosters AND also includes:
- pH strips
- digital pH tester
- heater mat (so you can brew regardless of how cold your kitchen is!)
- 4 kombucha tinctures (extract, probiotic concentrate, tonic drops and facial toner)
You can choose your choice of kombucha continuous brew kit when you sign up for a free kombucha recipe booklet.
- Once you enter your email address, you’ll be given the chance to purchase a scoby OR a starter kit – choose the starter kit.
- Enter your information and you’ll see the 3 kombucha continuous brew kits available. Choose the one that’s right for you (more on that below).
- Regardless of which you choose, the cost of the starter kit will be taken off so you’re not buying the same thing twice.
Cons to a Kombucha Continuous Brew Kit
After lots of consideration, my only con to a continuous brew kit is the cost. It’s hard to justify a large expense when you know you can do it yourself for less, BUT there is something to be said for the convenience factor.
My scoby sat on my counter for 4 months because I didn’t have everything else I needed to brew. If I was buying kombucha while I waited, I would have been wasting tons of money.
Say for example the average 16 oz bottle of kombucha costs $3 and you buy 5 bottles each week. That’s $15. At this rate, you’ll have paid for the The Basic Edition continuous brew kit in just 3 months.
The savings add up quicker if you drink more kombucha or have several members in the family who drink it. I personally drink 16 oz every day and my husband drinks about 24 oz each week. That’s 11 1/2 bottles at $3 each for a total cost of $34.50 each week. We would hit the threshold for The Basic Edition kit in less than 6 weeks!!
Which kit is right for you?
I’ve experimented with both ends of the kombucha brewing spectrum, from the DIY bootstrap version all the way up to The Brewmaster Select edition of kombucha continuous brew kits. Here’s how to decide which kit is right for you.
Choose the DIY bootstrap version if you:
- don’t have the funds for an entire kit but do have some funds to piecemeal it together over time
- prefer the thrill of the hunt to find the pieces needed to make your own kit
- really like pickles (I’m not joking when I say one gallon of pickles is A LOT)
To get started with the DIY bootstrap version, use this kombucha recipe tutorial.
Choose The Basic Edition kombucha continuous brew kit if you:
- already drink a lot of kombucha (i.e. 16 oz several times a week yourself and/or combined household)
- prefer the convenience of having everything ready to go for you in one box
- have always wanted to brew kombucha but feel overwhelmed at the idea of putting together your own kit
To get started with The Basic Edition kombucha continuous brew kit, sign up for a free recipe booklet, choose the starter kit on the next page, fill out your information and choose The Basic Edition at checkout ($199).
Choose The Premium Edition kombucha continous brew kit if you align with everything said in the The Basic Edition description AND:
- are ready to brew kombucha for the long haul
- want to experiment with different flavors of kombucha on the first ferment
- are particular about the type of tea and type of sugar you use
- anticipate drinking more than 2 gallons of kombucha each week (for yourself and/or combined household)
To get started with The Premium Edition kombucha continuous brew kit, sign up for a free recipe booklet, choose the starter kit on the next page, fill out your information and choose The Premium Edition at checkout ($299).
Choose The Brewmaster Select Edition kombucha continous brew kit if you align with everything said in the The Premium Edition description AND:
- live in a colder climate
- travel often (the tinctures are especially helpful when you don’t have access to kombucha)
- are brewing for people other than your family (the pH strips would be vital here for safety reasons)
To get started with The Brewmaster Select Edition kombucha continuous brew kit, sign up for a free recipe booklet, choose the starter kit on the next page, fill out your information and choose The Brewmaster Select at checkout ($399).
Which is best for you?
After using my bootstrap version for several months and then testing out the kombucha continuous brew kit, I have to admit that I’ve put away my gallon glass jars and my pretty spout from ALDI and have officially converted to the kombucha continuous brew kit. Using the ceramic jug on the stand is incredibly easy and convenient. Plus now I can make a new batch just a hair bit less often, or share willingly with my friends when they come over (without worrying about running out!).
When I make more tea, I make 1 1/2 gallons in a big stock pot and when it’s cool, I dump it into the ceramic jug. No more moving the scoby around and dirtying several dishes in the process. I now dirty just the stock pot and silicone tongs (to remove the tea) and call it done!
Do you like a second ferment and fizzy kombucha?? Try these recipes: