I will try to answer all of the questions, @John Brunner . I bought several flavors of kombucha to drink to see if I liked it and I saved those bottles and I re-use them. Then I found the swing-tops on sale and bought 6 of those, so I use all of the bottles over and over. I make the kombucha in two large gallon jugs, and always have one that is ready to do the second ferment. I use a half gallon jar for times when it needs to actually sit and ferment, like when I added the hops. Otherwise, I just use frozen fruit juice added to about a half gallon of the ready kombucha, and bottle it right away. Then, I leave it out for 4-5 days for the second ferment because I LOVE carbonation. After that, it goes into the refrigerator for another day. With the rotation, I always have some in every stage of the fermentation process. You can also just siphon out a cup of the plain kombucha and not do a second ferment. I have done that and it tastes okay, and a lot of people just drink it plain and uncarbonated. I didn’t get a crock, and it has not been an issue just using the glass jars. They are kind of under the kitchen cupboards, so not in any direct light, and I have the large blue towels over the top which also helps keep out the light. What I would suggest is to start the same way I did, and get a few bottles of bottled kombucha at the store and see if you enjoy it, and if you feel a difference after drinking it. Be sure to get the refrigerated bottles, not the canned stuff, so that you get actual live kombucha in it. Synergy is a good brand. Here is a picture of some of mine, stored in reused Synergy bottles. I think the carbonation is better with the swing-top bottles, but the plain bottles do carbonate if you tighten the lid down good. You can see the carbonation bubbles at the tops of the bottles.