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ACK! Attack of the Killer Mold

So just writing about my Kombucha angst yesterday inspired me to get up and brew some fresh Kombucha. I reduced the number of jars I’m brewing from 4 to 2 and put the month old stuff into my vinegar bottle.

And then I opened up my jar with my Betsey Pryor SCOBY and look what I saw.

A very bad case of mold on top of a kombucha culture appears in large green circles and black coloring. The mold is dry and dusty, and completely foreign to the culture.

YIKES! I have NEVER had mold on any of my SCOBYs ever. So I guess I’ll just have to say goodbye to Betsey’s SCOBY for now. I threw the whole thing away. The SCOBY was covered with mold and very thin. The original mother stayed on the bottom the whole time.

Truthfully, I did not follow Betsey’s directions to the letter. I used filtered water like in all my other Kombucha and organic tea and evaporated cane juice. None of which is recommended by her.

Oh well.


If you encounter mold, it is imperative that you throw everything away. DO NOT wash off the SCOBY and try to reuse it. DO NOT save any of the liquid that had mold.  The spores persist despite rising in vinegar.  Mold, while not deadly, is not to be consumed.  It is fuzzy, blue or black, grow on top of the SCOBY and is immediately identifiable.  If you’ve seen mold on bread, then you know exactly what it looks like.

This is one of the reason why you have got to have a SCOBY HOTEL.

If you are unsure if your culture is growing mold or not, send me multiple photos from different angles and I will help you figure out what is going on.

This is still the only time I’ve ever encountered mold – it is quite rare.

Hannah Crum, the Kombucha Mamma!Hannah Crum is The Kombucha Mamma, founder of Kombucha Kamp, Industry Journalist & Master Brewer, educating others about Kombucha since 2004. Connect with her on Google +