My apologies, but handing in job applications and seeing Michael Pollan (!!!) at the West Roxbury Branch Library got in the way of my posting the past few days.
I promised that I would talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of the continuous brewing method, so here it goes.
PROS of the Continuous Brewing Method
- It's quick & easy
- You have kombucha tea continuously on hand
- Less/no sanitizing
- Decreased bottling time
- Decreased mold risk (SCOBY stays in brewing vessel)
-Because you are drawing off how much KT you would like to drink/bottle each day, and because the SCOBY is constantly in the same container, the amount of time you need to sanitize the equipment/area is significantly less. This will save you time and decrease the chance that your SCOBY will become contaminated by mold (even though contamination by mold is rare, anyways- next post!).
- Health Benefits
-According to Happy Herbalist, the continuous brewing method produces the "fullest most complete range of beneficial nutrients available at any one time."
-Kombucha researcher Mike Roussin indicated that some beneficial acids do not even appear until 14-21 days of fermentation (1).
- The beverage dispensers that I found in stores had plastic and metal spigots, both materials of which can leach contaminants into the tea when they remain in contact with acid/kombucha tea. This is the very reason why I do not use the continuous brewing method (yet). But:
-Maybe the continuous brewing vessels sold on kombucha websites are specifically designed to avoid this problem? (They are $, however).
-Some people say to "pick your poison," plastic or metal.
-*Potential solution!* - Someone at my last workshop had the idea of brewing kombucha tea in its normal container, and then using the continuous brewing method by just siphoning off the liquid from the top. What a great idea!! Hm...I may need to try that soon...
- You won't be producing any more kombucha babies by this method, which may or may not be desirable. I also don't know how long SCOBYs live- some say 8 cycles, some say they last for months- it will depend on many factors. But case in point: kombucha mushrooms do not live forever.
If you would like to read another take on the Continuous Brewing Method, look here.
And remember- whether you decide to use the Continuous Brewing Method or brew the typical way, it all just depends on you and your lifestyle!
-Photos: http://www.happyherbalist.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=123 and http://getkombucha.com/porcelain.html