What does a healthy SCOBY look like? SCOBYs do not look exactly alike, but they have similar qualities. The top of a SCOBY is smooth and has a white/light beige hue. The underside is generally darker and more stringy.
|The top of the SCOBY|
|The underside of the SCOBY|
How many times can I use the SCOBY? A SCOBY can be used many times. Since it naturally multiplies, you can eventually compost or throw out your mother SCOBY and use the baby - which then becomes the mother. Theoretically, however, with proper care you should be able to continue using the original SCOBY indefinitely.
If I can't find a friend who will send me a SCOBY, can I grow my own SCOBY instead of purchasing a dehydrated one? I have heard that this is possible. I haven't done it myself, but these are the directions: mix 1 cup org. black tea, 1 tablespoon org. sugar, and 16 oz. of plain kombucha (this can be purchased at your local grocery store or health food store). Cover with a tea towel and rubberband, let it sit for a couple weeks, and your SCOBY should grow.
How long does it take for a "baby" SCOBY to grow? The time varies, so don't be alarmed if you don't have a new SCOBY with every fermentation. It can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months. Also, wait until the new SCOBY detaches itself from the mother; do not pull them apart. If you do, you risk detaching it when it is not yet fully formed.
My SCOBY sank. Is something wrong? No! A SCOBY generally floats, but there is nothing wrong if it sinks to the bottom, or floats somewhere in the middle.
My SCOBY looks cloudy or foamy. Is something wrong? When the SCOBY looks cloudy or has a whitish foam on top, it means the baby has started to grow, which is actually a sign that your kombucha is fermenting properly.
How do I know if my SCOBY is bad? If you see black, fuzzy mold growing, then you need to toss the SCOBY. With most fermentations, if it smells gross, don't eat it. But, if you follow the directions you shouldn't have an issue with this.
I'm going on vacation. Can I store my SCOBY? How long can I leave it? The best idea is to start another batch. My husband and I visited family for two weeks over Christmas. We started a batch right before we left, and it was ready for drinking when we arrived back home. If you are going to be gone longer than two weeks, place the SCOBY in a glass container and cover it with brewed kombucha. Place it in the fridge until you're ready to brew again.
Can I use plastic to brew my kombucha? I generally don't recommend this. Even though food-grade shouldn't cause any damage to the culture, plastic has the potential of leaching chemicals into your kombucha. Glass is best to use.
Where is the best place to brew kombucha? It is best to keep the brew out of direct sunlight and away from extreme temperatures. It also does best if given plenty of air, so don't stuff your kombucha in the pantry or a closet. You can keep it out on the countertop, or in an area where it won't be disturbed and is able to breathe. The ideal space will maintain a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees.
What is the best type of sugar, tea, and water to use? Check out this page for excellent information in regards to this question.
Do I need to strain my kombucha? No! Actually, the little strings you find in your kombucha are good for you to consume. It is just yeast that was part of the SCOBY.
|The tiny strings have detached from the mother, |
but are fine for you to consume.
Can kombucha be consumed while pregnant or breastfeeding? If you started drinking kombucha prior to getting pregnant, then it is perfectly safe to continue drinking throughout pregnancy. It is not a good idea to start during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to your chance of experiencing a die-off reaction.
If I'm making other fermented foods, how far away do I need them from the kombucha? When you are fermenting different things (without lids), it is important to keep a distance of several feet (more, if possible) between the cultures. The kombucha should also be kept at a great distance from any garbage or compost bins as transient bacteria can be harmful to the SCOBY.
Do you have any other questions about brewing kombucha that were not answered above?