The Second Brew or Top Off

Kombucha: The Second Brew or Top Off Brew

Once you have bottled your first batch of kombucha, you are left with a vessel that is 1/2 full. The Second Brew or Top Off is what you make to refill your vessel and start another batch of kombucha. 

Preparing the top-off is very similar to the first brew, but we are only preparing 1 gallon of booch, so the ingredient measurements are reduced.

Supplies and Ingredients


1/2 filled 2 gallon brewing container

Pot for heating water (3 quarts)

1 or 2 cup measuring cup

One Tablespoon measuring spoon

Large reusable tea bag

Large spoon for stirring


1 gallon room temperature filtered water

3/4 to 1 cup organic evaporated cane sugar

2 Tablespoons Organic Gunpowder Green Tea


Measuring the Tea and Water

1. Measure 2 Tablespoons of loose leaf tea into tea brewing bag. Loosely tie bag.

2. Measure 6 cups of water into the pot for heating water. 

3. Heat the water to about 160/165°F.

  • Use a digital thermometer to measure the temperature.
  • If you do not have a thermometer, watch the water and remove from the heat just as small bubbles start to form on the bottom of the pot.
  • Temperatures will vary based on the type of tea used.
  • (If you have an electric tea kettle, you may use it to bring the water to a boil. Measure 5 cups boiling water into a pan and add 1 cup room temperature water. This will bring the water temp down to about 160/165°F.)

Steeping the Tea

4. Remove the pot from the heat source once temp reaches 165°F

5. Place the tea brewing bag into the 165°F water.

6. Set a timer for 15 minutes and steep (soak the tea bag in the water).

  • Steeping times may vary based on the type of tea used.
  • Be sure to put the entire tea bag into the water.
  • If the bag hangs over the side of the pot, the tea will wick up the bag and you will have tea everywhere! Take it from one who knows!!

7. When the timer goes off, remove the tea bag from the water and place in the sink for later disposal.

Combining the Tea, Sugar, and Water

8. Stir 1 cup of sugar into the 6 cups of brewed tea. 

9. When the sugar is dissolved, mix the tea with the remainder of the one gallon filtered water and stir well.

  • You want to be sure the mixture has cooled.
  • That is why you only heat 6 cups of water and then add in the remaining room temperature water.
  • If the water is too hot, it can kill the SCOBY.

Filling the Kombucha Vessel

10. Gently transfer the tea/sugar/water mixture to the half full brew container.

  • Be sure the container is ½ full or less to accept a full gallon of liquid.
  • I use a 2 cup measuring cup to transfer most of the liquid into the brew container.
  • I complete the process by pouring the remainder from the pot into the brew.
  • I find this process to work best so that I get the liquid into the vessel and not running down the outside.

Final Steps

11. The SCOBY may sink when you add the new brew and that is OK. It will rise back to the top and create a new baby SCOBY.

12. Cover the container with the cloth and secure with a rubber band to keep dust, dirt and the fruit flies out of your Kombucha.

13. Return the container to its special place.

  • I place my brew container on a thin flexible cutting board.
  • It makes it easy to slide out for tasting and filling bottles.

Honoring Your New Brew

14. Take time to thank your new brew for bringing health and happiness into you and your family’s life. 


When Will My Booch Be Ready?

Your second brew may take a shorter time to brew.

  • The more brews, the shorter the time as the base brew gets stronger and stronger.
  • tasting and testing the pH is a great way to understand your brew.
  • Bottling and drinking from the tap are the same as after the first brew.

A Final Word

As with many of the holistic foods, drinks, lotions and oils, the benefits may still be under scrutiny by doctors, the FDA and other organizations.  Many of the rave reviews are from people who have actually used them and report amazing results. 

If you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer them, but also ask your doctor, or try it, and make your own decisions.

Most of all . . . have fun! Enjoy making a healthy drink that you and your family can enjoy!


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