The key to good home brew kombucha is the health and quality of your mother culture-- the Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast that we call SCOBY. It is a cellulose disc that makes the fermentation process happen turning your sweet tea into kombucha. Home brew kombucha is made with just three ingredients. That is why we think the quality of your sugar, tea, and SCOBY really matter. Unfortunately not all SCOBY sources are equal. We believe these living cultures should be grown with the highest quality ingredients and in a loving and positive environment to promote SCOBY health. Here are 3 promises of what we, the YEABUCHA Sisters, will NEVER to do our SCOBYs - and what you should promise to never do either!
Never dehydrate a kombucha SCOBY. We all know what happens when living things become dehydrated- we don't perform well. This is not just the case with humans, but for SCOBYs as well. While the brew liquid will eventually rehydrate the SCOBY is definitely at a disadvantage. If the SCOBY is able to rally and produce kombucha, there is a greater chance that it may eventually become moldy. The bacteria will most likely not be able to reproduce at the necessary rate needed to achieve balanced fermentation, leaving you with a brew that has too much yeast. The bacteria and yeast work in a symbiotic (remember the “S” in SCOBY) relationship that must maintain a proper balance of bacteria and yeast for a kombucha brew to be powerful and effective.
Never freeze or refrigerate a kombucha SCOBY. SCOBYs are at their best in warm temps, we find 75-80 grows the best SCOBYs. This living culture can be negatively impacted by extremely hot and cold temps. We recommend our brewers keep their brew no cooler than 64 degrees. Yes, we think the fridge is too cold for a SCOBY. When a SCOBY gets cold the bacteria go to sleep. Without bacteria the fermentation process cannot occur. The good bacteria in kombucha also provide a layer of protection to your brew and can protect it from mold.
Never cut a kombucha SCOBY down into mini or test tube sized culture. The size of your SCOBY matters. Just like continuous brewing makes SCOBYs that are too big and speed up the fermentation process to much, small SCOBYs can slow down the fermentation process. It is next to impossible to get a healthy brew going with such a small SCOBY. The diameter of the SCOBY should be similar to the diameter of your brewing vessel. A successful brew undergoes two processes: respiration (aerobic) & fermentation (anaerobic), and these occur naturally as oxygen goes from being readily available in the very beginning to the oxygen being cut off as the new layer of cellulose forms a seal at the top of the culture. A tiny SCOBY will not be able to grow a layer big enough to foster the beautiful symbiosis that is necessary to brew flavorful and powerful kombucha.
SCOBYs are very hearty cultures, which is why a quality sourced SCOBY is so important if you are going to home brew. We are committed to growing healthy SCOBYs at YEABUCHA! This sister run business happens because we want to support others and their health and wellness journey. Our SCOBYs are packaged right before they ship, which means they spend all their time in an ideal environment until we send them to you (they will never sit in a warehouse.)
We also know that our brewers grow SCOBYs each week and love to share. A wonderful perk of home brew is getting your family and friends involved. Kombucha naturally encourages sharing by continuously growing new SCOBYs. Just remember it's not just sharing but also preparing that is caring, so make sure you get an Everything but the SCOBY kit before you get a SCOBY from a friend or family. Find the right brew kit for you in our shop!
Hi Tina – we recommend not refrigerating SCOBYs as the drop in temperature can kill the bacteria and lead to a mold problem. Best practice is to start with a new SCOBY from your SCOBY Hotel or grab one from our shop if you need one!