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3 Things That Cause Mold on a Kombucha SCOBY

Health YEABUCHA SCOBY. Read our quick read article if you are wonder what to do if you've got mold on your 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:

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. 

photo gallery of moldy kombucha SCOBYs

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  • Mayar Shakeb on

    How can I make kombucha from scratch? Like without raw kombucha or a SCOBY? Because every recipe I found online requires a previous kombucha or a SCOBY so I was wondering how did kombucha start in the first?

  • Amy on

    I’ve made many batches and they’ve been great. Then I used some organic sugar (it’s. Tiny bit yellowish) and my scoby got moldy. I was to
    Do the organic sugar can have a little molasses in it. Anyone else run into this problem?

  • The YEABUCHA Sisters on

    While you can grow your own SCOBY to start brewing, we don’t recommend it. When you start brewing, you need a strong & healthy SCOBY & starter liquid, which a home grown SCOBY might not be able to provide you with. This opens you up to a weak brew, mold and other brewing issues.  If you are interested, we sell a single SCOBY & Starter Liquid in our shop if you’ve already got all your other brew supplies. Otherwise check out our brew kits that come with everything you need to start brewing a strong and healthy Kombucha brew.

  • Donna on

    I just grew a Scooby. Can I use that liquid for my first batch of kombucha?

  • The YEABUCHA Sisters on

    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

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