KOMBU: Home Brewing Appliance

Michael Churchill and his wife Natalia Amijo are industrial designers living in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have employed their design chops to create KOMBU — a sleek, if pricey, appliance for home brewing kombucha. Their “Fermenstation” features a modern design that is purpose built to craft-brew kombucha. It will become available in 2025 at a price of $500 a unit.

The system comprises two compartments: a 3.5 liter (approx. a gallon) front glass jar holding starter and sweet tea where primary fermentation (F1) takes place, with a second rear container holding four bottles for flavoring and secondary fermentation (F2).

The two-stage process is managed with temperature-controlled heating pads on each side. As an added bonus, home brewers can stay connected using a mobile app to control the device from their smart phones to set timers and monitor the temperature.

Continuous brew

Each new batch of sweet tea needs about 20% starter kombucha. After filling the bottles, starter kombucha is left over in the jar. The tap is positioned at the correct height to stop flowing when 20% of the liquid remains.

Cost-benefit

Michael’s background as an automotive designer might be what led him to create the Rolls-Royce (or, if you prefer, the Cadillac) of home brewing fermentation systems.

While the $500 price might cause sticker shock for some, The Kombu website highlights that store–bought kombucha costs $3.99 a bottle and home-brew no more than $0.39, or a savings of $3.60 a bottle. Running these numbers shows, we estimate, that the $500 investment is recouped after 140 bottles.

A Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to launch July 30th with an initial discount of 30 percent when completed units ship in 2025.

Podcast

Check out he podcast to hear The Kombu story in Michael’s own words.

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