It is exciting and fun to experiment and make homemade kombucha. It only takes two essential pieces of equipment to make it, a brewing container and a cover. The material of the container chosen to ferment the kombucha can impact its quality.
It is not recommended to use plastic containers to make kombucha, because plastic is easily damaged. Scratches or marks on the container can house bacteria, and plastic can release harmful chemicals that can sabotage the kombucha SCOBY.
There are two fermentation processes to make kombucha, and plastic containers can only be used temporarily for one of the processes. When choosing a container, consider the size of the opening and the jar’s capacity. There are other pieces of equipment that can be purchased to make kombucha, but it is not essential.
Is It Safe To Make Kombucha In Plastic Containers?
It is highly recommended not to use plastic containers to make your kombucha, mostly during the first fermentation process. There are many reasons why plastic should not be used, which include:
- The plastic releases chemicals, like BPA, into the mixture that can destroy the kombucha. The Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) can be damaged by the chemicals released from the plastic because they are very sensitive. This is very important in the first fermentation.
- Plastic can be damaged easily with scratches and marks where bacteria can easily sit and grow.
- The amount of time the kombucha sits in the plastic container and how often the plastic is used will also have an impact. During primary fermentation, the container will be used for 6-10 days.
Over an extended period, the plastic will get damaged from the acidity and release harmful chemicals. This increases the more it is used so it should be avoided.
If you really prefer plastic containers, it’s best toÂ use one meant to brew wine, you can purchase one on Amazon.Â The plastic used in these containers can handle acidity better.
HOT TIP: It is highly recommended to never use cheap plastics when brewing kombucha.
You can consider using plastic containers temporarily for the second fermentation period only. It is not as harmful due to the change in acidity and SCOBY concentration in the kombucha during this stage.
TOP TIP: Learn all you need to know about flavoring kombucha in my full guide!
What Containers Should Be Used To Make Kombucha?
When making kombucha, it is imperative to select the right material for the container you use because it can impact the brew’s quality and flavor. It can also affect the person’s health who will be drinking it because chemicals or harmful bacteria may leach into it.
These are the best materials to use to make kombucha:
#1: Glass Containers
Glass is the best material to make kombucha because it can’t get damaged easily or scratched where bacteria can live. Glass does not release harmful chemicals that damage the kombucha, or react to the acidity of the blend, which is why it doesn’t wear and tear as quickly.
These glass containers are well-priced on Amazon and are simple to purchase. You can also find them in many different shapes and colors. With these glass jars, you can see the process of fermentation nicely as the kombucha brews.Â
For a continuous brew system, it’s best to get a larger jar with a spigot with a tap on the jar used to pour the kombucha, like this one from Amazon.Â It is vital to get a spigot made from:Â
- food-grade plastic
- stainless steel
HOT TIP: Avoid containers made of cheap plastic or metal as this can destroy the Kombucha SCOBY.
#2: Ceramic Containers
To ferment kombucha in a ceramic container, choose one made with a food-grade glaze inside the jar, like this one from Amazon. It is essential to have a glaze that doesn’t contain lead that can damage the kombucha and be unsafe for consumption.
A ceramic jar is an excellent choice if you would like to use a continuous brewing method. This type of container also looks really nice on the kitchen counter!
#3: Porcelain Containers
Porcelain jars are safe to use for making kombucha. It is crucial to make sure the glaze is food-grade to prevent any contact with lead. Porcelain containers that are not food-grade, such as vases and decorative pottery, should be avoided.
#4: Oak Barrel
An oak barrel like this one on Amazon can be a lovely container to use as it looks quite fancy! Using an oak barrel impacts the flavor profile of kombucha with a unique woody flavor, which is very tasty.Â
What Should Not Be Used to Make Kombucha
Some types of containers are not recommended for brewing kombucha, as they can damage it. It is useful to know what these are to make sure they are avoided. These include:
- Plastic should not be used at all for the first fermentation, as discussed above.
- Crystal jars should not be used as they contain lead that can be harmful to the kombucha.
- Jars made of metal should be avoided because metal containers can be detrimental to kombucha.
NOTE: The only metal that could sometimes be considered for brewing kombucha is stainless steel jars since they are strong and cannot be damaged easily. They are expensive but easy to clean and safe to use. Glass is still preferred.
Can Plastic Containers Be Used In The Second Fermentation?
During the second fermentation process, there are a few containers that you can consider to store your kombucha. In this stage, it is crucial to choose an airtight container that can close properly to ensure that the brew will maintain its carbonation.
The best kind of container to use for the second process is glass, as it is the most resilient and reliable for both stages. I recommend glass flip-top bottles with a plastic lid, like these sold on Amazon. If you cannot purchase glass bottles or do not get them in time, you can also try leftover store-bought kombucha bottlesÂ or bottles that have already been used for other drinks.Â
What Containers Can Be Used For Second Fermentation?
Sometimes we are not able to get the correct containers in time, or they are just too expensive. Here is a list of different bottles (some found on Amazon) you can use as a second option:
- Wine bottles: a cork or wine stopper is needed to seal them correctly.Â
- Already usedÂ store-bought kombucha bottles.Â
- Plastic soda or water bottles.Â
- Beer bottlesÂ that have been cleaned and a lid will be needed for these.Â
- Beer growlers.Â
- Mason jars with plastic lids. If they do not have plastic lids, then wax paper can be used between the lid and jar.Â
Before using any second-hand or already used jars, it is crucial to ensure all jars or bottles are cleaned and dried correctly and not damaged. Make sure the lids close adequately to ensure it is airtight to facilitate carbonation.
You can use plastic jars if you need to in the second fermentation process, but remember they are still not the best option. Plastic bottles can be used for a short period in the second fermentation. Since the SCOBY is removed it reduces the damage to the plastic that releases harmful chemicals.
If you decide to use plastic, it should only be used for a short period until you can purchase the correct bottles. It would be best to use plastic bottles only once because the more they are used, the more damage occurs.
Kombucha is a healthy drink with probiotics. The type of container used to make it can impact its contents, glass is best used for both primary and secondary fermentation.
Other important things to consider are the size of the container and its volume because these impact the rate of fermentation.
A container cover is also needed when making kombucha for the first fermentation as it helps protect it and the SCOBY. There are many options to use as a cover, and other supplies can be purchased but are not vital to have.
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