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:
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.
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 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.
Using a store bought kombucha to grow a SCOBY can often create this problem with mold appearing. If you suspect mold, it’s best to toss the brew entirely as the mold contaminates everything and can make you sick if consumed. We recommend starting with a fresh SCOBY and starter liquid from a safe and reliable source, like us!