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kombucha brewing equipment

Kombucha Brewing Equipment

Kombucha is a fermented tea gaining immense popularity as a probiotic health drink. Commercial production requires specialized kombucha brewing equipment to brew, ferment and package safely. This guide covers kombucha equipment in detail.

Introduction to Kombucha Brewing Equipment

Key equipment for kombucha production:

  • Brewing and mixing vessels
  • Fermentation tanks
  • Filtration systems
  • Carbonation systems
  • Bottling/canning lines
  • Sterilization systems
  • Temperature control systems

Equipment design considerations:

  • Food-grade stainless steel
  • Smooth surfaces for easy cleaning
  • Corrosion resistance to acids
  • Process automation and controls
  • Adhering to food safety standards

Investing in purpose-built kombucha equipment ensures high quality, safe production to meet rising market demand.

Brewing and Mixing Equipment

Kombucha brewing starts with making sweetened tea:

Brewing Vessels

  • Jacketed stainless steel boiling pans
  • Automatic temperature control
  • Mixing or recirculation loops
  • CIP spray balls for cleaning
  • Scales for batch size control

Mixing Tanks

  • Blend brewed tea, sugars, flavors
  • Agitators for homogenous mixing
  • Load cells for ingredient dosing
  • Integrated heating/cooling jackets

Automated vessels improve process control and reproducibility.

kombucha brewing equipment

Fermentation Systems

Fermentation tanks allow controlled kombucha fermentation:

Fermentation Vessel Design

  • Stainless steel (304/316 grade)
  • Conical or cylindrical tanks with dished ends
  • Smooth electro-polished interiors
  • Spray balls for hot water CIP cleaning
  • Cooling jackets for temperature control

Unit Sizes

  • 1 bbl to 100 bbl working volumes
  • Smaller units for pilot facilities
  • Larger tanks up to 5000 bbl for mass production

Monitoring and Control

  • pH, temperature, pressure sensors
  • PLC automation systems
  • Data logging software
  • Remote monitoring capability
  • Integrated SCADA systems

Advanced fermentation systems maximize yield and prevent contamination.

Filtration Equipment

Filtration removes yeast, sediments and particles:

Filter Types

  • Plate and frame filters
  • Pad filters
  • Cartridge filters
  • Membrane microfilters


  • Food-grade filter media (DE, cellulose, SS mesh)
  • Fully-enclosed housing designed for CIP
  • Automated backwashing and cleaning
  • Leak-proof sealing to prevent air ingress
  • Variable flow and pressure control

Proper filtration provides clarity and extends shelf life.

Carbonation Systems

Carbonation produces CO2 bubbles and unique flavors:

Carbonation Options

  • Direct CO2 injection
  • Addition of priming sugar or fruit juice
  • Secondary fermentation in sealed tanks

Process Equipment

  • Carbonation vessels with agitators
  • CO2 supply from food-grade cylinders
  • Fine pore diffusers for uniform microbubble dispersion
  • Flow meters for precise CO2 metering
  • Inline carbonators for continuous processes


  • Controlled carbonation levels from 1-5 volumes
  • Imparts carbonic acid flavor
  • Provides effervescence and refreshing feel

Packaging Equipment

Kombucha can be packaged in glass bottles, cans or kegs:

Bottling Line

  • 8-12 head rotary fillers for glass bottles
  • Automatic crown capper
  • Labellers and sleeve applicators
  • Fill level sensors
  • Leak detection systems
  • Ozonated water bottle rinser

Canning Line

  • Automatic can fillers and seamer
  • Gas flushing to remove oxygen
  • Automated multi-pack wrap around carton packer
  • Printer for date codes and logos


  • Stainless steel kegs (5 gallon, 15.5 gallon)
  • Automated keg fillers and closers
  • Keg washer

Packaging equipment must have good oxygen barrier properties.

CIP and Sterilization Systems

Clean-in-place (CIP) systems are used to sanitize equipment:

CIP Process

  • Hot alkaline detergent wash
  • Intermediate potable water rinse
  • Acid wash for descaling
  • Final fresh water rinse
  • Air/steam drying

CIP Equipment

  • Integrated CIP tanks and dosing systems
  • Spray balls and rotating wash heads
  • Programmable CIP sequencer and HMI
  • Automatic temperature control
  • Flow meters and cleaning data logging

Proper CIP ensures food safety and prevents contamination between batches.

Temperature Control Systems

Precise temperature control is critical during kombucha fermentation:

Jacketed Tanks

  • Stainless steel dimpled jackets
  • Integrated cooling jackets using chilled glycol
  • Steam jackets also available for heating
  • Insulated vessels to minimize heat loss


  • Packaged water or glycol chillers
  • Cooling capacity from 10 to 500 tons
  • Scroll, reciprocating or screw compressors
  • Stainless steel evaporators and condensers


  • Automated control of cooling loops and valves
  • Integrated with central SCADA system
  • Programmable ramps and temperature holds
  • Temperature data logging

Additional Equipment

  • Ozone sanitation systems
  • Air handling units (AHUs)
  • Cooling towers
  • Glycol loop distribution manifolds
  • CIP return tanks
  • Process pipework, valves and pumps
  • Instrumentation like pressure sensors, flow meters
  • Remote monitoring software and hardware

Supplier Selection Factors

Consider these factors when selecting kombucha equipment:

  • Specialization in brewing equipment
  • Stainless steel material and construction
  • Smooth crevice-free interiors
  • Valve-free CIP-able designs
  • Automation expertise
  • Adherence to hygienic standards
  • Certifications like 3-A, EHEDG
  • Flexibility for customization
  • After-sales support and training
  • Global install base and references
  • Cost-benefit ratio

Partnering with the right supplier ensures long equipment lifetime and safe operations.

Budgeting and Pricing

Equipment costs vary based on:

  • Production capacity needed
  • Degree of automation
  • Additional integrated functionality like CIP
  • Customization needs
  • Additional spares, accessories, installation

Typical price ranges:

  • Brewing vessels – $5,000 to $15,000
  • Fermentation tanks – $8,000 to $60,000
  • Filtration system – $6,000 to $25,000
  • Carbonation system – $3,500 to $12,000
  • Packaging line – $50,000 to $250,000
  • Chiller – $15,000 to $60,000
  • CIP system – $8,000 to $38,000

Quotes from shortlisted suppliers should be compared based on lifecycle costs.

kombucha brewing equipment

Installation, Commissioning and Training

Installation guidelines:

  • Civil and structural works completed prior to equipment delivery
  • Power, water and compressed air connections readied per specs
  • Equipment uncrating and placement per supplier instructions
  • Levelling, alignments and securing of equipment
  • Utility, instrumentation and pipe connections
  • Calibration and loop testing of sensors and devices
  • Powering up equipment and dry test runs
  • Wet testing with water and repeat with product


  • Checking for any leaks and rectifying
  • Hygiene and microbiological tests
  • Optimizing process cycle times and automation
  • Trial runs and final sign-off


  • Classroom and hands-on plant operator training
  • Engineering team process training
  • Maintenance team equipment training
  • Assistance during initial commercial runs

Thorough installation and staff training reduces issues during daily production.

Operation and Process Workflow

Typical kombucha production workflow:

  1. Make sweetened tea in brewhouse
  2. Cool tea to fermentation temperature
  3. Transfer to fermentation tanks and add culture
  4. Monitor and control fermentation to target acidity
  5. Transfer to intermediate tank and mix flavors (optional)
  6. Filter to remove sediments
  7. Carbonate if producing effervescent kombucha
  8. Transfer filtered kombucha to buffer tank
  9. Package into bottles/cans/kegs
  10. Label, shrink-wrap, palletize
  11. Store packaged kombucha refrigerated

Packaging SOPs:

  • Thoroughly clean and sanitize lines prior to packaging
  • Inspect bottles/cans for defects before filling
  • Use ozone for final bottle sanitization
  • CO2 sparging of kombucha prior to filling for oxygen removal
  • Minimize oxygen ingress during filling and sealing steps
  • Leak and pressure testing of sealed vessels
  • Label verification and inspection during cartoning
  • Refrigerated storage and distribution

Maintenance and Hygiene Practices

Maintenance best practices:

  • Daily inspections and walkthroughs
  • Scheduled preventive maintenance
  • Daily cleaning after production
  • Weekly deep cleaning and sanitization
  • Routine replacement of wear parts like seals
  • Annual equipment overhaul and parts replacement


  • Validated cleaning procedures with verification
  • Avoiding unsanitized equipment idle time
  • Swab testing for microbes in high-risk areas
  • Environmental monitoring for pathogens
  • Allergen control and avoidance of cross-contamination
  • Safety-first food handling culture

Following a HACCP-based food safety plan is essential.

Pros and Cons of Automated Kombucha Equipment


  • Improved batch-to-batch consistency
  • Better process control and repeatability
  • Higher production capacity and flexibility
  • Reduced risk of contamination
  • Tighter control on fermentation
  • Efficient packaging with low oxygen levels
  • Compliance with food safety regulations
  • Lower operating costs at scale


  • High initial capital investment
  • Technical skill required for operation
  • Regular maintenance of equipment
  • May still need some manual operations
  • Changeover time between product variants
  • Long lead times for custom equipment

Troubleshooting Equipment Issues

IssuePossible CausesCorrective Actions
Slow fermentationEquipment not properly sanitizedImprove CIP procedures
Low yeast viabilityUse fresh starter culture
Temperature fluctuationsMaintain constant temperature
Nutrient deficiencyAdjust tea recipe
OvercarbonationExcessive secondary fermentationReduce secondary fermentation time
High priming sugarLower priming sugar dosage
Low temperatureIncrease storage temperature
Hazy productInadequate filtrationIncrease filter size or use multistage filtration
Yeast growthUse sterile filtration to remove yeast
Starch contaminationImprove CIP and equipment hygiene

Seeking equipment supplier support helps resolve issues.

kombucha brewing equipment


Q: What material is used to construct kombucha equipment?

A: Food-grade stainless steel grades like 304 and 316L are commonly used due to corrosion resistance.

Q: What are common automation systems used?

A: PLCs, industrial PCs, and touchscreen HMIs help automate and control the process.

Q: How can oxygen exposure be minimized during packaging?

A: Flushing with CO2 or nitrogen gas, using oxygen scavengers, or crowning/seaming in oxygen-free environment.

Q: What are critical hygiene and sanitation requirements?

A: Daily cleaning, avoiding contamination, microbiological and swab testing, allergen control, and following food safety plans.

Q: How much production capacity is needed for a commercial kombucha plant?

A: Starting around 100 liters per batch is viable. Larger producers have over 5000 liter fermentation volumes.

Q: What temperature is ideal for kombucha fermentation?

A: The optimum fermentation temperature is around 23°C. Control within +/- 1°C is recommended.


Kombucha production requires specialized stainless steel brewing, fermentation, packaging and cleaning equipment tailored for high acid food products. While automation increases efficiency and safety, the equipment must also be meticulously maintained and sanitized. Partnering with an experienced kombucha equipment vendor and investing in training helps new producersramp up quickly to make high-quality, safe kombucha reliably and profitably. With the rise of kombucha, purpose-built equipment solutions will continue to evolve and provide customized solutions from pilot to industrial scale.

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