Frequently Asked Questions About Kombucha
The SCOBY will last a long time, but not forever. If it turns black or starts to develop mold, or if it stops culturing your tea, it’s time to toss it. It's always best to use the newest scoby to make your next batch of tea, this scoby will be the strongest one to culture your tea.
Yes! Feel free to check on it every so often to see how it’s doing. To do this, just pour off a couple ounces for a taste test. Such a test might go like this:
- 4 to 6 Days—Too sweet; not all sugar converted.
- 7 to 9 Days—Tastes like sparkling apple cider.
- 10+ Days—Vinegar taste becomes prominent.
Remember to cover it back up after checking it!
Store your scoby with enough kombucha tea to cover the scoby, in a glass jar with a lid, preferably plastic. Store on your counter at room temperature. This will last at least a month, or a little longer stored this way. You can add bunches of scobys to your jar and they stay preserved. Just make sure they're covered in kombucha tea and you're good!
It is 100 percent okay if your SCOBY sinks. Sink or float—it makes no difference to your kombucha. It won’t affect the brew or the taste.Sometimes it will float for a few days then sink and then rise again. Scobys have a mind of their own and either way it's fine.
My kombucha is still sweet. What did I do wrong?
Your house is probably on the cooler end of the spectrum, and kombucha takes longer to ferment at lower temperatures. Just leave it to ferment longer. I use a brew belt for a dependable temperature. You can also use a heating pad, but brew belts provide a consistent temperature that is more easily controlled than that of a heating pad.
Absolutely. You may also see dark brown spots. Both of these are normal. They’re simply a by-product of the good yeasts eating the sugar out of your tea. They look scary but are actually a good sign that your brew is fermenting properly.
Don’t be alarmed! This is your new SCOBY forming! It will grow to the diameter of the jar or crock it is in. So if you have a wide jar, you will have a big SCOBY each time you make kombucha. Make Bubbly Fruit Favored Kombucha
Ahhh, the eternal question. Since you grow a new SCOBY each time you make kombucha, you’ll have to get creative. The SCOBYs can stack on top of each other and form a SCOBY hotel. I’ve fed them to a friend’s chickens, used them as fertilizer in my garden, given them away—the list goes on and on. We have lots of creative and delicious ways to use and even consume your extra SCOBYs. Scobys are good for you too! Here are 20 Ways to Use Your Extra Scobys!
No, it’s not safe! If there is mold then you should throw the tea and the SCOBY out. As for why this happened, there are a couple of possibilities. Sometimes people do not use the right ratio of sugar and tea to starter culture, and so the tea doesn’t ferment properly. Be exact in your measurements. The other cause can be airborne molds in the house. I have had a few people develop this problem because of a leaky roof or by placing their pot in a closet that had poor air circulation.
Having said that, many times people who are brewing their kombucha see what they think is mold, but it’s actually just normal discoloration that is part of the fermenting process. If it’s he hairy or fuzzy it’s probably mold. Unless you are absolutely sure that there is mold, send us a picture of your brew, and we’ll let you know.
My kombucha is not bubbly?
How do I increase the carbonation of my kombucha tea? One of the reasons your kombucha may not be bubbly is because it’s fermented for too long.The good yeasts in kombucha eat the sugar and then release carbon dioxide. This is what creates carbonation. If you let it ferment too long, the kombucha goes flat. If you don’t let it get vinegary, it will stay bubbly. When the yeasts eat the sugars out of the tea, they make carbonation. When they run out of sugar to eat, they start to die and so do the bubbles. Second-fermenting is another way to achieve carbonation. The process requires adding juices or extra sugars and then capping off bottles and letting them ferment so the yeast can transform the sugars into natural carbonation. Here's how to Make Bubbly Fruit Favored Kombucha
Yes, absolutely. You need only part of the SCOBY to ferment the tea.You can cut, tear, or rip, your scoby and it won't hurt it. It will still make great kombucha tea!
A sulfur smell in kombucha isn't harmful, but the taste can be very unpleasant. Here are a few reasons this can happen.
- The water source you're using has hydrogen sulfide in the water giving it a strong taste of sulfur.
- The tea you're using has nitrogen present in the tea leaves, which can cause a sulfur taste in your brew.
- Wild airborne yeasts have become a part of your brew and although this isn't bad it can become a taste you don't like.
What to do: Try changing to a new water source and tea source and see if it changes. You can also let it brew longer -allowing it to go to a more vinegar stage and see if it subsides. If the above don't help then the smell and taste has gotten into your scoby and you'll need to get a new one and dump your brew.
This is usually caused by your brew not being warm enough. Kombucha like to ferment at 75-80 degrees. Getting a heating strip will help keep your scoby at the perfect temperature, especially in the colder months. It can also be that your starter tea isn't strong enough. Let it keep fermenting at a warmer temperature and see if it gets a thicker scoby. Get a Heating Strip