How To Tell If Your SCOBY Has Mold - Kombuchee (2023)

It’s every brewers worst nightmare – peering in to check on your SCOBY only to find a fuzzy cluster of mold growing on top.

Many brewers aren’t sure of exactly what they are seeing so they upload panicked pictures to brewing groups.

Unfortunately, most new brewers overreact when they see their new SCOBY forming and immediately think it’s mold. In most cases, it’s not.

Usually, it’s just the new SCOBY forming on top of the liquid. But it can also be a host of other things such as kahm yeast or carbonation bubbles (covered below).

Every so often, however, it is mold. Which means the entire brew must be thrown out and started over. This article will show you the many faces of a healthy brew as well as exactly what mold looks like.

I’ll cover what you need to do when you find mold and how to make sure it never enters your brew again. Let’s get started by taking a look at some healthy brews.

The Many Faces Of A Healthy SCOBY

Over the years I’ve collected pictures of the different ways a kombucha brew can develop. Some pictures are from my own brews, some are from brewers I know personally, and others are from brewing groups I’m a part of.

However, they all have one thing in common – the kombucha is growing perfectly fine!

When you’re new at brewing you have no reference to what is normal. No reason why so many new brewers freak out when they see their new SCOBY forming.

Hopefully this helps. Below are a number of brews that are completely normal.

The Look Of A Developing SCOBY

Below are pictures of what a new SCOBY looks like during development. This is a common stage where people suspect mold as the SCOBY had a tendency to develop in little white dots.

For the inexperienced eye, this can look suspiciously like mold. But don’t worry, this is completely normal!

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As the SCOBY develops, these white patches will begin to connect – eventually forming a thin layer of SCOBY.

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Kahm Yeast

One of the more disgusting looking SCOBYs are the ones that have developed Kahm yeast. While this doesn’t mean you need to throw the SCOBY out it does mean the taste of your brew may be affected.

Most people just try and scrap off the top layer of the SCOBY and continue brewing. However, if you have extra SCOBYs from your SCOBY hotel I’d recommend just starting over.

The taste will be slightly off and you don’t want to run the risk of developing Kahm yeast again.

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Dark Yeast Strains

Another common mistake is to think that the yeast is actually mold. Depending on the age and the type of tea you brew with the SCOBY, and the yeast from the SCOBY, can have different colors.

Kombucha brewed with black tea tends to have a much darker colored SCOBY as well as darker colored yeast.

(Video) How To Identify & Deal With Moldy Scoby & Kombucha

The yeast is usually hanging out at the bottom of the vessel, or on the bottom of the SCOBY, but it can also sometimes float to the top.

It doesn’t matter where the yeast is within the vessel. It’s fine if it’s near the top, or if it’s floated to the bottom. If it’s floated to the top, it can sometimes combine with the developing SCOBY to form what looks something like mold (see picture below.)

If you see something similar it’s nothing to worry about. It’s completely normal!

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Bubbles From Carbonation

If your brew is healthy it will be producing lots of carbonation bubbles. Usually these bubbles just vent off without a trace. Occasionally, they can interact with the dark yeast to form small groups of foam.

This can occasionally look like fuzzy mold if they are small enough. They usually dissipate over time and are nothing to be concerned with.

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I don’t blame people for wondering if their new SCOBY is actually mold – they can look similar. The may difference between normal SCOBY growth and mold growth is the fuzz.

Mold will have fuzz, yeast, kahm yeast, and regular SCOBY growth will not.

Sometimes, the old SCOBY will have plenty of leftover yeast from the last brew. This old yeast is often mistaken for mold when it floats to the top and joins with the new SCOBY. Yeasts can take many forms, some of which are not always obvious.

I find one of the best ways to understand when you have mold is to have a basic understanding of what it looks like. So, I’ve compiled a number of pictures from the same resources for your records.

Here’s What Mold Looks Like On Your SCOBY

Mold is actually fairly straightforward to diagnose. It’s going to have the same characteristics:

  • Fuzzy
  • Green, blue, black or a combination
  • Grows in small circles at first until it joins
  • Grows on the top of your SCOBY

Mold needs an oxygen supply to survive, therefore you won’t find mold growing on a SCOBY that has fallen to the bottom of your vessel (curious as to why your SCOBY sinks? Found out more here.)

Instead, you’ll find it growing on the top of your SCOBY at the surface of your brewing vessel.

Mold generally grows on brews that have been left alone for a couple of months, but it can also form in a matter of days if you’re unlucky.

Below are different pictures of mold. Notice how they all have one thing in common: fuzz. This is the key to knowing if your kombucha has mold or not.

Pro Tip

All mold on kombucha will have a fuzzy texture. This is the easiest way to distinguish possible mold from yeast.

While the mold won’t always be the same color, it will generally have a similar shape and texture.

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(Video) Moldy Kombucha. How to identify it, resolve it and prevent it.
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Mold can be different shapes and sizes – it all depends on how long you’ve left it to grow. But no matter the size, the remedy is always the same: throw out your kombucha and start again!

What To Do If Your Kombucha Has Mold

Unfortunately, there is no saving a batch of kombucha once it has mold on it. Some people may try to scrape the mold off if it’s small, but this only takes care of the mold that is visible to the eye.

By the time you can see the sporagnium (the fuzzy bits) the mold may have already made its way throughout the brew. It’s not worth testing your luck!

Here are the steps you need to take if you’re unlucky enough to discover mold in your brew:

  1. Throw out the SCOBY
  2. Dump any of the kombucha down the drain
  3. Thoroughly disinfect the brewing container and anything else that came in contact with the brew (spoons, funnels, bowls, etc.)
  4. Find out why the mold occured and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again
  5. Start a new brew

1. Throw Out The SCOBY

Don’t try and scrape or cut off any visible parts of the SCOBY to try and salvage it. Mold has what are called rhizoids which can penetrate far into the food you are eating.

The spores, which are visible to the naked eye, are only a small part of the actual mold.

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This means your entire SCOBY, and any other SCOBY present in the brew, should be considered toxic and must be thrown out.

2. Dump Any Kombucha Down The Drain

For the same reasons as your SCOBY you are going to want to get rid of any kombucha in the brew.

The fungus from the mold will still be present in the kombucha and trying to reuse the brew will just result in another moldy brew.

Spores can be difficult to get rid of, especially those that can survive in the acidic environment of kombucha. Dump the SCOBY, dump the kombucha liquid, and move on to stage 3 – cleaning.

3. Deep Clean Your Brewing Equipment

In order to get rid of all of the mold spores you are going to want to wash everything thoroughly.

The exact advice on how you wash your equipment will vary from brewer to brewer. Some say to use hot and soapy water, while others say to only use pasteurized vinegar (the vinegar must be pasteurized in order to prevent vinegar eels!)

Some brewers even do both – washing first with hot and soapy water with a final rinse with vinegar.

The issue some brewers have with using soap is the antibacterial properties. Their thinking is as follows: “why use antibacterial soap when I’m trying to grow my own bacteria?”

They think you are only creating an uphill battle for your SCOBY if you use soap.

Personally, I’m fine with using hot and soapy water. It’s never really made a big difference for me and I just find it easier to use. Just make sure you thoroughly rinse everything before you start brewing.

4. Find Out Why The Mold Occurred In The First Place

This step is also important to making sure the mold doesn’t come back.

I’ve heard stories of people who repeatedly battled mold issues brew after brew. Don’t be one of these people!

There is a section below that will cover this step in detail, but here are the basics:

(Video) Kombucha Basics: Is it mold?

  • Ensure your brewing vessel is covered
  • Keep your vessel away from sources of mold such as an open garbage can or a fruit bowl.
  • Ensure you are using the correct ingredients (most importantly – acidic starting liquid and a healthy SCOBY)
  • Ensure all your brewing equipment is clean before use

5. Start A New Brew

Don’t feel discouraged if you have a case of mold. It’s not always necessarily caused by a mistake in the brewing process – it may just be bad luck!

Just follow the above steps and try again! You’ll be up and brewing again in no time.

How To Prevent Mold In Kombucha

There are a number of different causes of mold. Sometimes it’s an overly humid environment, while other times it’s an unlucky cross-contamination from other mold sources in your kitchen.

Either way, your kombucha should naturally be able to fend itself off from mold. This means, if you have mold you may have missed an important step of the process.

1. Make Sure Your Starter Liquid Is Kombucha Vinegar

The first place you need to consider is your starter liquid.

For a gallon batch brew you need around 2 cups of low pH starter liquid. Ensuring the starter liquid has a low pH is crucial for the protection of your brew.

Not allowing your starter liquid to turn to kombucha vinegar is a common mistake new brewers make. Not only will this negatively impact the brewing process, it’s also a likely culprit of mold.

Pro Tip

Make sure your starter liquid has turned to kombucha vinegar before each brew!

This low pH starter liquid is required to create an environment that is inhospitable to foreign bacteria and fungai. Because your brew is going to be diluted by the addition of the sweet tea you need to make sure it’s extra strong before you dilute it.

For most people, the easiest solution is to take the starter liquid from the SCOBY hotel. This liquid, as long as you are feeding your hotel every so often, will always be ripe with healthy yeast, bacteria, and the acids required to lower the pH.

If you don’t have a hotel, try waiting a few extra days with your SCOBY in the brewing vessel with your starter liquid in order for it to turn to vinegar.

If you immediately start a new brew without waiting it’s likely your starter liquid was not strong enough.

This is also a common culprit of carbonation issues.

The acidic environment will kill any spores or foreign bacteria that happen to land in your kombucha while it’s brewing – thus becoming the last defense against mold. Don’t skip this step!

What If You Don’t Have The Right Starter Liquid?

If you aren’t able to secure kombucha vinegar for your starter liquid then you are going to want to use a higher portion of regular starter for your brew.

Instead of using only 2 cups, use 4.

This will help bring down the pH level of the brew closer where it needs to be.

2. Your Kombucha Vessel Should Be Covered With The Right Material

Ideally, we’d be able to seal off the kombucha brew completely from the surrounding environment. This way, no mold spores would be able to enter the batch.

Unfortunately, the kombucha development requires oxygen in order to thrive. This is why we choose vessels with wide openings and use cloth covers.

The bacteria need oxygen during the aerobic stage of fermentation in order to produce the healthy acids that lower the pH. Sealing off the vessel will stifle this acid production, in turn harming the yeast.

But this doesn’t mean you should leave your brewing vessel completely open to the surrounding air!

Instead, you should be using a tightly woven cloth that will both allow the air flow while filtering out any mold spores.

This is the reason why using cheesecloth isn’t the best option. The mesh is too loose to filter out mold spores and can even allow fruit flies to pass through and land on your SCOBY.

(Video) How To Tell If Your Kombucha Is Moldy... And What To Do About It! | #AskWardee 103

Pro Tip

Avoid using cheesecloth for your covering. Instead, use a tightly woven dishcloth.

3. Keep Your Vessel Away From Sources Of Mold

Another key component in preventing mold is keeping your brewing vessel away from other sources of mold. Some common sources are:

  • House plants
  • Open garbage containers
  • Fruit bowls

The less you expose your vessel to mold spores, the less chance you will have of growing mold.

Now this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to lock your vessel away in the cupboard (in fact, I don’t recommend you keep your vessel in the cupboard as it restricts the airflow.)

It just means you should avoid placing your brewing vessel next to a fruit bowl or open garbage can.

4. Using Flavored Teas or Fruit In Your Primary Ferment Can Sometimes Lead To Mold

As you know by now, regular kombucha is not a friendly place for mold spores. If your pH is low enough and your SCOBY healthy the chances of growing mold is very rare.

Things change when you start adding foreign ingredients to your primary ferment (the stage where you’re brewing in your brewing vessel.)

The bacteria and yeast in your brew need the right environment (more on that below) as well as the right nutrients in order to thrive. And when your bacteria and yeast thrive, the mold will not.

The tea you use in your primary ferment should be one form or another of Camellia Sinensis.

In other words, should be either:

  • Black tea
  • White tea
  • Green tea
  • Oolong tea
  • Pu-erh tea

These teas will provide the right nutrients and minerals required for your kombucha to thrive. You can find out more about the best teas for kombucha in my article here.

If you want to use a flavored tea, you can add it to the second ferment stage.

I’d also recommend adding the fruit to the second ferment (F2) and not to the primary ferment if you are having mold issues.

I remember one brewing friend who always ended up with mold when she added berries to the primary ferment. Fruit can bring unwanted mold spores into the vessel. They are also prime places for mold to grow and develop.

5. Make Sure Your Brew Is In Its Optimal Environment

Another friend of my who brews in Singapore was constantly having mold problems. Her brew was always surrounded by a very humid environment which is very prone to growing mold.

I’m not suggesting that you cannot brew kombucha in a humid environment, only that this may be a key factor in why you are having mold problems.

If you are having mold, make sure your brewing environment meets the following criteria:

  1. Lots of airflow
  2. Temperatures around 68-78°F
  3. Away from sunlight

While the above points don’t all prevent mold, they do help maintain a healthy brew. A healthy brew is your best defense against mold.

This also means you may want to try and use a base heater, or non-LED Christmas lights for your brews during the winter months. This helps keep the temperature in the “happy” range.

6. Keep Your Workstation Clean

The cleaner your workstation, the less likely it is you will end up with mold. This applies to everything your brew will come in contact with.

Including your hands, brewing utensils, where you’re going to place your SCOBY, your brewing vessel itself.

This one just requires common sense. You’ll know what needs to be cleaned and what you can ignore.


Mold is actually very rare. You have to be pretty unlucky to have it once, and even more unlucky to have it twice.

(Video) I got MOLD on my Kombucha SCOBY

If you have a constant mold problem that means there is something going wrong with your brewing method. Review what I suggested above, and if it still continues you can send me an email.

If you’re just starting out, I wouldn’t stress out about mold. Just make sure you follow what I suggested above and you will likely never see mold during your brewing career.

Good luck and happy brewing!


How To Tell If Your SCOBY Has Mold - Kombuchee? ›

If you see any discoloration or spores, or notice an odd smell (not normal kombucha vinegar-like smell), these are all signs that your kombucha has gone bad and is no longer safe to drink. If you see any mold on your SCOBY, you should remove it immediately and throw it out.

How do I know if my Kombucha scoby is moldy? ›

Kombucha Mold Identification

Those blue circles of mold are the problem, while the white circles of SCOBY growth are normal. Powdery tan mold covers much of a new SCOBY – mold is always DRY! White fuzzy dry mold is easy to spot.

Can you save a SCOBY from mold? ›

Do not ingest any of it or try to “save” it. A moldy brew is a lost cause, unfortunately. You cannot salvage a SCOBY that's already been infected with mold. Clean and sanitize/sterilize all equipment that's come in contact with your kombucha and start over with a new SCOBY and new starter tea.

What does an unhealthy SCOBY look like? ›

A healthy SCOBY is always white or light tan, or some shade in between. A darker brown SCOBY might just mean that the SCOBY is older, and probably won't work to brew kombucha. A SCOBY can have streaks of brown or black on it – this is just leftover remnants of tea from the last brew.

What SCOBY mold looks like and how to prevent it? ›

Mold also usually develops in a circular shape and can be white, green black or blue. To avoid a moldy SCOBY, keep the acidity of your kombucha brew high, store it at 70-80 degrees fahrenheit, and use pure and organic ingredients.

When should you throw out a SCOBY? ›

You will only need to replace your SCOBY if it has developed mold or if it is continuously struggling to ferment. Often with struggling SCOBYs, things can be done to help bring balance to your culture depending on the situation, and you won't need to start over completely.

When should you throw out an old SCOBY? ›

With proper care, SCOBYs can last many generations. But when you see excessive, dark yeast growth on a SCOBY layer, or if it starts producing Kombucha that tastes bad or overly acidic, it's time to get a new one.

Can you leave a SCOBY for too long? ›

The scoby then goes dormant and can be stored for up to 6 months. However, we have seen scobys forgotten in a corner of the fridge for more than a year that have come back to life without any problems.

What happens if I leave my SCOBY too long? ›

However, if the kombucha brew is left for several weeks or even months beyond that target time, the SCOBY continues to feed off the liquid in the fermentation vessel. Meaning, it will eat up every bit of available sugar and tea that it can, converting it into acetic acid instead – aka, vinegar.

How often should you replace your SCOBY? ›

Every scoby can be used four times before it gets too old and needs to be discarded. With each batch of kombucha a baby scoby is produced and the process starts again, you will have a fridge full of scobys before you know it.

Can you get sick from a bad SCOBY? ›

As a result, the SCOBY can produce harmful bacteria and aspergillus (a toxin-producing fungus), which can cause illness.

Is it mold or pellicle? ›

Mold tends to look "fuzzy" or "hairy" and often has green, red, black, white, or grey colors, whereas yeast activity or pellicles tend to have evidence of CO2 production (bubbles) and look "creamy", "powdery", or "chalky" and is never green, red, or black in color (unless there is material in the beer that is ...

Can I rinse my SCOBY in water? ›

A SCOBY, by contrast, doesn't need rinsing. You'll rinse away some of the microbes that are responsible for helping your sweet tea to transform into kombucha, so, as a best practice, move your SCOBY directly from one batch of kombucha to the next, with minimal handling and it'll do just fine.

Should I keep my SCOBY in the dark? ›

Follow this tip: One of the most important elements of making kombucha is storing it in a place that's warm enough to keep the scoby alive, but not in a place that gets hot, which can kill the scoby. It's best to keep it at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

What is the white film on top of SCOBY? ›

A pellicle refers to the membrane or skin. During kombucha fermentation, a pellicle will form on the surface or air-liquid barrier. This little (or sometimes very big if left alone) membrane has become the face of kombucha, sometimes referred to as the mother, mushroom, baby, or simply SCOBY.

What kills a SCOBY? ›

SCOBYs are tough and resilient creatures that don't die easily. However, if you fail to take care of a SCOBY by not storing it within 65-85 degrees F, shocking it with temperature changes, not protecting it from mold, or not feeding it enough sugar, you could kill it.

Can I use a 2 year old SCOBY? ›

Put simply, kombucha SCOBYs can be reused for many years. Realistically, however, you simply won't need it to last that long. Your SCOBY grows and divides with each batch of kombucha, so you will constantly be growing new SCOBYs. Simply remove the older layers and transfer the new layers to your next batch.

How do I know if my homemade kombucha is safe? ›

If your kombucha doesn't smell or taste right, we recommend trusting your senses. Fresh, living kombucha should be fizzy, tart, and lightly sweet. It should be refreshing and tasty, not off-putting in taste or smell. If in doubt, toss it and try again, perhaps opting for a different flavor or brand next time.

Can you cut your SCOBY in half? ›

We recommend cutting the scoby into quarters. Cut along the scored lines. Scobies can be tough to cut (especially since plastic knives don't tend to be the sharpest) so keep tight hold of the scoby (slippery remember, you don't want it shooting off the chopping board!) and just cut through it.

Can you touch SCOBY with bare hands? ›

When working with your scoby, make sure you have thoroughly washed your hands prior to touching the scoby. You can wash with natural, unscented dish soap like this one, or use food-grade gloves.

How long can a SCOBY live in a bag? ›

Once the SCOBYs are dehydrated, place them in a sealable plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator (not the freezer). Dehydrated SCOBYs will generally survive in the refrigerator for at least 3 months. Once you are ready to begin making kombucha again, follow our instructions on how to rehydrate the SCOBY.

Can you bury a SCOBY? ›

Just cut up your older SCOBYs with kitchen scissors or a knife and add the chunks right into the soil before planting. You will want to put the SCOBYs at the bottom of your hole or pot. Animals could be drawn to the SCOBYs if they are not buried. Nutrient rich soil will lead to better plant growth and health.

How big should you let your SCOBY get? ›

You want the scoby to be 1/4 inch thick. At day 20, it had reached that thickness, but I let it hang out until day 25 until I had enough time to make the next batch of sweet tea to brew the actual kombucha.

Should you stir kombucha while brewing? ›

Stirring before bottling distributes yeast evenly and helps make your kombucha more consistent. This is especially a problem with people who use the continuous brew (CB) method to make kombucha.

What do I do with my SCOBY between batches? ›

Storing a SCOBY between brews (1 week)

Fortunately, this is super easy – just leave it. Leave your SCOBY and some first fermentation kombucha (i.e. your starter for the next batch) in the jar at room temperature for up to a week. (Learn the best places to store kombucha).

Is my SCOBY dead if it doesn t float? ›

If your SCOBY sinks, don't worry! Your SCOBY and, more importantly, your kombucha brew will be just fine. The position of the SCOBY pellicle, during your kombucha brew, is irrelevant. The placement of the SCOBY should never be used as an indicator of the health of your kombucha batch.

Can you revive a dried up SCOBY? ›

Always use distilled white vinegar when activating the culture. Distilled white vinegar produces the best and most consistent results for activating a dehydrated SCOBY.

How do you know if kombucha is over fermented? ›

Vinegary or overly tart kombucha is simply over fermented. It is safe to drink, but not very tasty. Floaties or brown stringy things floating in the kombucha are normal.

What does an old SCOBY look like? ›


A moldy or dead scoby is quite distinctive, and there is no mistaking it when you see it. The mold will be white or colorful, fuzzy and dry. It can appear as spots on the scoby, or cover the scoby altogether. A dead scoby will be black.

What to do with retired SCOBY? ›

You can use your spare scobies to experiment with new tea's (or even coffee) or different sugars and then throw the scoby away when you have finished. Add a small piece of scoby to smoothies or juices to add a bit of extra zing and nutition and probiotics (not too much though!)

Why do I feel weird after drinking kombucha? ›

Excess caffeine

For those sensitive to caffeine or who already drink caffeinated beverages, adding kombucha may increase caffeine consumption and cause symptoms such as: anxiety. irritability. headache.

Can kombucha affect your liver? ›

However, usnic acid, a component of kombucha tea has been reported to cause hepatic necrosis in humans and experimental mice models. 12, 13, 14,16 The mechanism of usnic acid causing liver necrosis was related to oxidative phosphorylation causing apoptosis and lysis of liver cells in animal models.

Why do I feel sick after drinking kombucha? ›

Drinking carbonated beverages delivers carbon dioxide (CO2) into the digestive system, which may cause bloating and excess gas ( 11 ). Additionally, kombucha contains compounds called FODMAPs, specific types of carbohydrates that can cause digestive distress in many people, particularly those with IBS ( 12 ).

How do you tell if it's mold? ›

How do I know if I have a mold problem? You can usually see or smell a mold problem. Mold can appear as slightly fuzzy, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Most molds produce musty odors that are the first indication of a problem.

What kills water mold? ›

Use a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup (8 ounces) household laundry bleach per 1 gallon of water to kill mold on surfaces.

How do you tell if it's mold or mildew? ›

Mold generally looks slimy or fuzzy, tends to have a raised texture, and can come in a rainbow of colors, including deep green and black. Mildew is powdery, looks white or gray, always appears flat, and grows on surfaces.

What if I forgot to add sugar to my kombucha? ›

If it's been longer than a few days, the results may be more hit and miss. The longer the batch has been without sugar, the more likely it is best to simply toss it and start over with a new culture and liquid from your SCOBY Hotel.

Can I touch SCOBY? ›

Touching your SCOBY or kombucha with metal temporary will not cause any problems. If you're taking the time to brew your kombucha, you shouldn't have to worry about more than you need to.

Do I keep my SCOBY hotel in the fridge? ›

Don't keep your SCOBYs or your SCOBY hotel in the fridge. There's absolutely no need for it when they do just fine at room temp. Cold temperatures make SCOBYs go dormant and put it at risk for mold.

What temperature kills kombucha? ›

Kombucha thrives between 72-85 degrees. Temperatures in the 90's will eventually kill the SCOBY. Temperatures in the 60's will put it to sleep.

How long can a SCOBY last in a jar? ›

Then, as soon as the pellicles start to pile up you may move them to a SCOBY hotel. Storing SCOBY in the fridge: Low temperature makes SCOBY dormant or asleep. You can keep a SCOBY in the fridge for 6 to 7 months to ensure its quality. If it's longer than that, the SCOBY may age.

Should SCOBY float or sink? ›

When you drop in your SCOBY, it will initially sink but then slowly float back up to the surface. As carbonation develops in the brew, it will lift the SCOBY back to the top. If the natural carbonation of your first fermentation kombucha is slowed, this could cause the SCOBY to sink.

What are the bumps on the top of my SCOBY? ›

This is absolutely normal— sometimes as the kombucha ferments, bubbles of carbonation are let off, creating upwards pressure on the SCOBY. This results in bumps of various sizes on the SCOBYs surface. In short, it means your SCOBY has a healthy, active yeast population.

What is fungus SCOBY? ›

SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It has been falsely called a mushroom because the organism kind of looks like a mushroom cap. In scientific terms a SCOBY might be referred to as a zoogleal mat, biofilm or pellicle. Essentially its a mat of cells that grows on top of your kombucha!

Is it OK if SCOBY sinks? ›

Your kombucha scoby sank to the bottom? That's OK! You don't have to do anything except leave it alone. After a few days, a new scoby will form on the surface of the liquid shaped like the mouth of the jar.

Is vinegar mother a SCOBY? ›

A vinegar mother is a cellulose composed of various bacteria a yeast – also known as a SCOBY. The bacteria and yeasts in the SCOBY eat the sugar during the fermentation process and produce acetic acid and many beneficial bacterias.

How hot is too hot for SCOBY? ›

You don't really have to worry about killing your SCOBY unless the liquid reaches above 100 degrees F. If this happens, you could: Move your vessel to the coolest, darkest spot in your home. It's OK to keep it in a closet and just take it out at night when it's less hot.

What does fermentation mold look like? ›

Mold can be many different colors. The colors most often seen in ferments are white, black and green.

Can you get food poisoning from homemade kombucha? ›

Is drinking kombucha safe? If you're drinking kombucha that someone else has made, remember that the alcohol content can vary greatly in homemade brews. There is also a risk of food poisoning, even with store-bought kombucha, because it does contain live, active bacteria cultures.

What are the symptoms of kombucha poisoning? ›

Symptoms such as gas, nausea, and vomiting may occur. These side effects may be more likely in people who drink too much kombucha. Additionally, some people may not tolerate kombucha well, or have a poor digestive reaction when drinking it.

Is white mold OK when fermenting? ›

Mould and Yeast in Fermentation

If there is a whitish layer on the surface of your fermented vegetables jar, it is probably a biofilm that is called “Kham yeast”. Don't worry, it's safe! Microorganisms can form a delicate and almost odourless white biofilm.

Is white mold on when fermenting? ›

When fermenting vegetables, it is common to notice a white layer forming on top of the liquid after a few days. Often this white film is mistaken for mold, and the entire ferment is discarded. However, the white film is usually a type of yeast known as kahm yeast.

What is the white film on the top of SCOBY? ›

A pellicle refers to the membrane or skin. During kombucha fermentation, a pellicle will form on the surface or air-liquid barrier. This little (or sometimes very big if left alone) membrane has become the face of kombucha, sometimes referred to as the mother, mushroom, baby, or simply SCOBY.

Should a SCOBY hotel be airtight? ›

Cover your SCOBY hotel with a tight-weave, breathable cloth cover to allow airflow, but keep dust + insects out. Some people like to cover their SCOBY hotels with an airtight lid to prevent evaporation. That's OK too.

How do you identify mold? ›

Most often, a mold problem will be readily identified by a musty smell that becomes obvious in damp environments. Mold also likes to play hide and seek, so if you suspect there is a problem, then check under carpets, behind drywall, inside ductwork, in between bathroom tiles and in other moisture-prone areas.

What does the start of mold look like? ›

Inside your home molds grow quickly on damp surfaces like bathroom walls and trim around windows. Molds may look like furry growth, black stains, or specks of black, white, orange, green or brown.


1. It's NOT MOLD 4 Most Common times people think they have mold but they actually don't
2. Is my SCOBY dead? How to tell if your SCOBY is alive!
3. Top 3 Reasons for MOLD in your KOMBUCHA
4. Oh No! Moldy Kombucha SCOBY!
(Fermenters Club)
5. My Kombucha SCOBY has Mold! Or does it? #shorts
(ZIGGING by Mark Sigg)
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