Mold in Kombucha - 3 Things That Cause Mold on a SCOBY

Mold - let’s talk about it. Everyone is afraid of growing mold on their SCOBY. The truth is, when we first started home brewing kombucha we had that fear too! But here’s what we learned: It’s REALLY hard to grow mold. We’ve actually found it to be a super uncommon problem. What most people think is mold, is usually just yeast which is essential to the brewing process. The symbiotic nature of kombucha actually PROTECTS your SCOBY from mold by creating an environment too acidic for other microbes to survive in (which generally takes 3 days, so if you’re mold free after day 3, you’re in the clear)! But if you’re still worried about mold, here are 3 things to avoid:

Photo of brewing kombucha and how to avoid growing mold on your SCOBY. Not enough starter liquid & a weak SCOBY - If you compromise on quality, you open your brew up to the potential of moldy invaders. (Don’t worry-when you order your kit from YEABUCHA, you’re guaranteed to get the highest quality SCOBY and strong starter liquid). Make sure you always save 2 cups of starter from your F1 brew and make sure to not separate the layers of a single SCOBY -  you need that thick barrier to keep the mold out.  

 

 

How cold temperature is bad for brewing kombucha. Cold brew - Continuously having your brew temperatures fall below 64 degrees will slow down the fermentation process. Remember, it’s the fermentation that produces the acidic environment which keep unwanted mold away.  Keep your brew strong and healthy by keeping the temp in mid 70s - if it sounds like perfect weather to you, you’re SCOBY will love it too! 

 

 

 

 

Brewing kombucha with flavored tea can cause mold grow on a SCOBY.Brewing with flavored tea- When you introduce oils and other flavor compound into the first fermentation phase of your brew, the environment within your brew is altered. Essential Oils or other chemical flavoring, aka “natural flavors” may make the tea taste delicious, but it can harm the SCOBY, (which will inhibit the natural protection of your brew). We source the highest quality, organic black tea, that we know grows beautiful SCOBYs and brews delicious booch. If you want to try using flavored teas be sure to use only organic blends without any additives.

 
If in the off chance you do end up running into mold in your brew, you’ve got to throw it away. It unfortunately cannot be washed off or removed, and once it’s there it will continue to grow back. Go ahead and compost that batch and start fresh from your SCOBY Hotel! Didn't have a SCOBY Hotel set up? We’ve got you covered with our Single SCOBY to restart your brewing!

 

 

 

Below is a photo gallery of moldy SCOBYs. 

photo gallery of moldy kombucha SCOBYs

 


12 comments

  • Unfortunately, you are not gonna want to drink any kombucha in that batch. Mold spores get into your brew and contaminate the whole batch, even if you can’t see it. Despite growing what might look like a healthy SCOBY after removing the moldy one, the brew is still contaminated and you could get sick if you drink it! You’ll have to toss everything and start over with a fresh SCOBY and starter liquid. You can order a new Brew Kit from our online shop, that comes our YEABUCHA Method Brew Card, Brewers Community Digital access and everything you need to get re-started, plus the tea we source is free from any additives that might cause mold! If you think you’ve got it down and everything you need to brew, we do also have just the SCOBY & Starter Liquids to get back up and running! We hope this helps! Mold is no fun and such a bummer to find on your brew

    The YEABUCHA Sisters
  • Hi there! I made a big big batch of tea, put the SCOBYs and days later mold start to appear on the top, I could see sugar on the bottom and no growth of SCOBYs was happening, so I went through away half of the batch, removing all the mold, and after shaking well to mix all the sugar, at this point I removed to inside the pantry, dark and cooler, now after 4 days I see a big SCOBY baby on the top and all looks good, it smells like kombucha in my pantry. My question is even though it looks ok and kombucha is growing and looks healthy now is it safe to hv that tea that was previous contaminated with mold? And if I toss that tea can I still make a new batch of tea use the same scoby? How do I start without the starter tea? Appreciate your help and information

    Sisi
  • Hi William, It sounds like something is off in your brew-likely a balance issue with an overabundance of yeast. Home brewing can be confusing, and that is exactly why we created our homebrew kits. The YEABUCHA Method simplifies the process of making and flavoring your kombucha into 3 simple steps and our brewer community is a great resource for all of your specific questions! We would love to help you repurpose your current brew setup into a SCOBY Hotel so you can start fresh with one of our amazing kits.

    The YEABUCHA Sisters
  • I have made 5 brews and every time I bottle up (after about 13 days), I have sediment in the bottom of the bottles, is this normal?
    But more concerning I also have lumps of jelly (the same colour as the fermented brew) and have to use a tea strainer to separate the jelly to pour into the glass (especially the last third of the bottle) is this again normal and if not what am I doing wrong?

    William Nash
  • Hi Mattia! We always recommend tossing everything and starting over when it comes to mold in the brew. Even though the mold may appear to be contained to one area, the mold spores have likely spread through out and will continue to grow and potentially cause harm if ingested. Always best to be safe!

    We’d recommend starting fresh with either our Essential Brew Kit or Deluxe Brew Kit. We are happy to help you with tips to avoid mold in the future and any other brew tips!

    The YEABUCHA Sisters

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