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Method of The Ancients: Continuous Brew!

Reader’s Questions Answered!


>> Do I Have to Use SUGAR?


I Have Questions About the BREWING PROCESS!


My SCOBY SINKS!


My SCOBY ISN’T GROWING!


What are these weird BROWN STRINGS?


Oh No! I THINK I HAVE MOLD – OR What is That? (Pictures!)


Arghh!  I DEFINITELY HAVE MOLD! (Pictures!)


Let’s Talk About FLAVORING Kombucha Tea


What in the Heck To Do With EXTRA SCOBYs?


My KOMBUCHA TEA Is Really Old.  CAN I DRINK IT?


I Think I Might Have A Dead Scoby!  Help!


OTHER FAQ

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SUGAR FAQ

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Hi Hannah!
I forgot to add the sugar to the batch of tea before adding my scoby! So I added it quickly after gave it a quick stir and then left it alone. Did I totally mess up my kombucha?? should I order new ingredients?? Help please :(
Ev.

Hi Evita!
No worries.  The sugar is in there and the culture will eat it all up!
Dissolving the sugar is to make it easier on the yeast and bacteria for digestion, but honestly, if there is sugar, they will consume it.
So, relax.  Breathe deep – your brew is doing great!  Leave it totally undisturbed (you can peek under the cover, but try not to move it) for the next 7 days.  Then, poke a straw below the new layer to take a taste.  Let your taste buds be your guide.  If it is too sweet, then give it a few more days and try it again.  If it is too sour, then you will know to shorten your cycle next time.
Happy Brewin!
V & <3 (peace and love)
Hannah


Hi Hannah!
What a relief! Thanks so much for your quick reply! I’m so glad I didn’t ruin my kombucha, I can’t wait to taste it! Thanks again!
Evita

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Hello Hannah,
About two months ago I changed my eating habits for my health. One of the things I have stopped consuming is SUGAR. So I was hoping you could tell me what you know for I seen that sugar is used in this process. Please share all your info for it will help me to decide if its benifitical for me!!!!! Thank you so much for your time and concern.
Thankfully Angela

Dear Angela,
The sugar used to make Kombucha is not for you, but is fuel for the culture. In fact, when you drink Kombucha, does it taste sweet?  No!  That is because the sugar is consumed by the yeast to create the healthful amino acids and B vitamins that you seek.  If you are concerned about consuming sugar, then I’d recommend you let your brew cycle be a bit longer until all of the sugar is consumed. If you find the KT is a bit tart, then you can add water or juice to improve the taste.
Let me know how it goes!
Happy Brewin!
Hannah


Thank you so much Hannah,
Now that makes sense! So next I guess I need to know how to make it.lol..And where to get all the stuff. So you have or carry everything that is needed or would you happen to know where I can get everything I need Too? Take you again so much for your time and your kindness!!!
Sincerely Angela

Dear Angela,
Here is the link to my Kits page. I sell a Brew Now Kit which includes everything you need to start brewing EXCEPT the brewing vessel (glass gallon size is best – I use old pickle jars or large glass bowls from Target).  If you need a brewing vessel, I also offer a continuous brewing system, which is the most convenient and healthful way to consume Kombucha, though I recommend it for experienced, consistent drinkers.
I hope that helps!
Take care,
Hannah
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DOMINO PURE CANE ORGANIC SUGAR CAN I USE THAT SUGAR OR DO I GOT TO USE SOMETHING ELSE THANK YOU ANGIE

That sugar is perfect!  Go ahead and make it!
Happy Brewin
Hannah
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Hannah

I made a batch this morning with 1.5 cup of sugar for 2 gallons.
Why do we have to add sugar? Can we avoid it?
Stephanie

Hi Stephanie,

Sugar is one of the most important ingredients in Kombucha.  The culture consumes the sugar, that’s why when you drink it, it doesn’t taste sweet. You are consuming the by product of the consumed tea and sugar.  You can try using honey (not raw honey), molasses, or other sweetner if you like (NOT STEVIA) – I’ve found the raw turbinado sugar is the least expensive and works great!
If you’d like to experiment with these other sugars, I recommend using a separate brewing vessel with a spare SCOBY so that you don’t (possibly) destroy your culture. Let me know if you experiment with anything!  I’d love to hear how it turns out.
Take care,
Hannah


Then now I have ½ a cup of sugar missing… is that alright to have 1.5 cup for almost 2 gallons?
Mahalo,
stephanie

Hi Stephanie,
No problem.  People claim varying amounts of sugar to use. You are not harming your culture by not adding enough sugar once.  However, in the future, I’d add 1 cup per gallon.
Mahalo!
Hannah
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BREWING PROCESS FAQ

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Hi hannah, do i need to remove the scoby and liquid from the container? it doesnt state that in the directions.  thanks!

Hi Shane,
Thank you for your email! Yes, remove the culture and liquid to a separate glass container while making the nutrient solution.  The culture and starter liquid will be the very last things you add to the cooled down tea. Then cover with the cloth and secure with the rubber band!
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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Hannah, I want to know how do I know that the kombucha is ready to bottle (besides waiting for a vinegar smell and taste testing it)?  They developed a mother but VERY thin.  I keep thinking I’m going to leave it and let the mother get thicker, but I’m afraid of letting it sit too long!  The jars smell like yeast now.  Is that ok?
Thanks in advance!
Mary

Hi Mary,
Taste is your best guide. Use a straw to gently poke under the SCOBY and take a sample after 5-7 days.  Adjust longer or shorter to your preference. Part of the joy of brewing Kombucha is the process, the experimentation, the honing of your own favorite flavor.
Enjoy!
Hannah

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Ms. Hanna

One quick question. I know not to brew kombucha in plastic containers. I bought a glass jug, but it has a plastic spigot. Will that little bit a of plastic cause any problems after it has been brewed.
Tim

Tim
No problem. I have the same type for my continuous brew. With it being such a small part, I’m willing to use it.
Hannah
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How long of a waiting period do you have before you have to make another batch? Will the SCOBY be ok to sit in a shallow brew for a while?
Have a great day! Nicole

Hi Nicole,
I usually start the next batch the same time as I decant the one that is done. That way I have a constant supply of Kombucha brewing. As long as your culture is in some liquid it will be fine, but if it all evaporates, that will be a problem.  You are ready to go for the next batch now!
Happy Brewing!
h
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Hello Hannah,
What are your thoughts on using earl grey tea for brewing?  Should the tea and sugar have to be organic?
Hala

Hello Hala,
I use a combination of earl gray and green tea – the oil of bergamot seems to not harm the culture (most brewers agree with that assessment) and it helps to cut the tartness that is produced by the green tea..  I like to do a combination because there are different beneficial properties to each type of tea.
I recommend organics because then you aren’t consuming whatever pesticide or chemical residues that might still exist in the sugar or tea – but if they are too expensive or difficult to obtain, then regular white sugar and Lipton’s tea works as well.
Take care,
Hannah


Thank you.
My last batch wasn’t carbonated and was sweeter.  Does that mean it needed more fermenting or the scoby is old?
Hala

Hi Hala,
You may need to ferment it longer. If the temperature has cooled, then it will take longer to ferment.  It is a sensitive organism but the more you make it, the more you will understand it.
Hannah

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I just got my Kombucha yesterday and I was wondering where is dark ventilated place is? Can I put it in the pantry? The pantry does have a air gap that goes into the kitchen.
Thank you,
Liz

Yes!  The pantry is a great place to keep it.  Just avoid under the kitchen sink as it’s too moist under there.
h
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Aloha Hannah,
Thank you I just received the kombucha and I am very excited to the idea of growing a whole new family.
A few questions:
My container is about 2 gallon glass can I do a 2 gallons Kombucha at a time?
I leave in HI and it hot and humid is there is a maximal air temperature?
My jar has a little bit of plastic in it see the picture attached. Is that still ok?
Mahalo for your help
Stephanie

Hi Stephanie,
Yay!  It is an exciting adventure and a very rewarding one.  Welcome!
Yes – you can definitely do 2 gallons at once – just double the recipe. I’m not sure how much longer it will take for the brew to ferment, but since you have the hotter temps, it might be the same time as my 1 gallon vessel. The ideal temp is between 72-84 degrees – if it is much hotter you may consider placing it in a dark, cool cupboard.
No worries on the small piece of plastic - as long as there is no metal, you will be good.  I use a sun tea jar with a plastic spigot for my continuous brew and love it!
Also, you are going to want to leave the lid off of the vessel in order to allow oxygen to flow to your brew.  It ferments both aerobically and anaerobically.
Let me know if you have any further questions!
Take care,
Hannah
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so i bought a sun tea jar w/spout… the scoby has been fermenting the tea for two weeks now… could you explain how the “ever flowing” [“continuous brew”] kombucha works again? now that i’ve got it in action, i’m not quite sure if i refill at the top with more sweet tea… or… how it works!!  thanks, carrie

Hi Carrie,
No problem!  :)  I’m here to help. When you have used 25% of the Kombucha from the suntea jar – top off with sweet tea. You can make a batch of sweet tea ahead of time and keep it in the fridge.  Then when you need to top off, just pour some in.  No worries if the tea from the fridge is cold, since most of the KT is room temp, it will quickly assimilate.  Since you have a greater ratio of fermented KT to sweet tea, it will ferment much faster.
Enjoy!
Hannah
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Hi Hannah,
I just finished my second batch of kombucha from your original mother SCOBY. I love it, and my friends are all into it now too. I just have one question.
My batches have been finishing in about 5 days. I am using a 3 gallon glass jug that is about 12 inches wide. the first batch was very vinegary after 9 days, and my second batch tastes almost perfect at 5 days. The average temperature has been in the high 60′s to low 70′s. Does this seem normal to you? Do you think I should try and slow down the process to allow more time for some of the acids to become present?
Thanks for you help,
Ben

Hi Ben,
Thank you for your positive feedback! There is some volumetrics going on here.  Because of the larger surface area (12 inches) of your vessel, the brew will ferment faster.  If you use a vessel with a smaller surface area (I use gallon size pickle jars mostly) then you can brew longer without having such a sour taste.
Also, you could try doing a continuous brew method. Basically as you draw off finished Kombucha, you then add fresh nutrient solution (sugar tea) to top it off.  This way the acids are able to be expressed and it doesn’t taste as sour.  You can drink it daily and because the ratio of finished KT to unfinished KT is higher, it ferments the freshly added solution more quickly.
Let me know how it goes!
Happy Brewing,
Hannah

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Ms Hanna,
I was looking online on how to make vinegar. The way they describe the Mother, it almosts sounds like a S.C.O.B.Y.. Are they the same?
Tim

Hi Tim,
Yes. Vinegar is made by a similar process to Kombucha – however their nutrient solution and culture are different from Kombucha’s.  While vinegar has MOV (mother of vinegar), the unique bacteria and yeast combo are what set Kombucha apart.
Very astute observation Tim!
Hannah
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Hello,
I have a question. Is it normal to have brewed the Kombucha 3 wks ago and have no scoby? All I see is what appears to be sediment in the bottom and huge bubbles floating on the top.  The bubbles on the top seem to want to form a very thin gel layer. I realize it’s winter and our rm temp is kept at 63 degrees.  Is that too cold and did I not add enough bottled kombucha?
Like I said, I don’t see a thick gel that forms after 3 wks!
Thanks!
Mary

Hi Mary,
Thank you for your inquiry.  The details helped a lot. It is most definitely too cold for your Kombucha.  The ideal brewing temp is 74-80 degrees F.  I recommend purchasing a heating pad - I got mine from the Happy Herbalist.
Take care,
Hannah
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Hi Hannah,
Do I need a stove for brewing?
Sincerely,
Dorian Austin

Dear Dorian,
Thank you for your inquiry. You do not need a stove if you have an electric tea kettle.
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hi mrs hannah how long should i leave the kumbucha ive got it in a 2gal jar and it a big glass jar it been a week now thank you angie

Hi Angie,
Take a straw or small cup to grab a taste. If it is to your liking, then it is ready. If you feel it still tastes too sweet, then give it another day or 3.
Trust your palate. It will let you know!  The brewing cycle varies based in several factors, one of which is temp. Since it is summer now, you may find that your brewing cycle is shorter than in the winter.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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SCOBY SINKS FAQ

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GOOD MORNING MRS HANNAH THIS IS ANGIE I DID MY KOMBUCHA AND THE SCOBY WENT TO THE BOTTOM IS THAT NORMAL OR WHAT DO I NEED TO DO

Hi! I just watch all your videos and start my first kombucha. I got from a lady, from my organic garden group. She brought some pieces in a Ziploc bag.
I left in the bag for 3 day out of the fridge, I follow you instructions and tonight I went to check on it and the mushroom is in the bottom of my glass jar. Is this normal or there is something wrong with it? Please let me know what to do.  Thanks, Andrea.

Dear Andrea,
The culture can float on top or sink to the bottom, it is perfectly fine. The new culture will always grow on the top of your brew, but the mother can be anywhere in the vessel.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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hi hannah. i checked in on my scoby just now – it’s at the bottom of the jar… i’m worried.  is that normal?  let me know please!  thank you, carrie

No worries!  Everything is all good. The new baby will form at the top regardless of where the Mother culture chooses to hang out.
Give it at least a week – then check again :)
h
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SCOBY DOESN’T GROW FAQ

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thank you for trying to help me figure out any problem I have to my scobies lack of growth. I just poured a tea that was fermenting for 9 days. It still has a sweetness to it and very little fizz. Although my 2 year old daughter loves the flavor I am wondering if it has the Kombucha benefits to it. Here is my brewing process
…8. store in a cabinet in our dining room. Although we occasionally open the cabinet it really does not get moved in any way.
thanks, Susan

Hi Susan,
Thank you for sharing your brewing process with me. I’ve pin-pointed the problem – AIRFLOW.  Kombucha fermentation is 2-fold.  The initial fermentation is aerobic – which means it needs oxygen – that is why we use the cloth cover – to allow the air to mingle with the culture. Storing cultures in a closed cupboard doesn’t allow for the necessary amount of airflow needed.
Move your cultures to a location outside of a cupboard and out of direct sunlight. I keep some of mine on a bookshelf, some on top of the fridge (they like the warmth of the exhaust).  I think you will see a noticeable difference.  While SCOBYS are nice to look at, they aren’t necessarily the only indicator of Kombucha health – definitely use your taste as your guide.
Keep me informed on how it goes!
Brew long & prosper!
☮ & ♥
Hannah
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Hello,
I have a question.  Is it normal to have brewed the Kombucha 3 wks ago and have no scoby? All I see is what appears to be sediment in the bottom and huge bubbles floating on the top.  The bubbles on the top seem to want to form a very thin gel layer.
The jar has been left in a dark cabinet and left untouched for now about 3 wks.  I realize it’s winter and our rm temp is kept at 63 degrees.  Is that too cold and did I not add enough bottled kombucha?
Like I said, I don’t see a thick gel that forms after 3 wks!
Thanks!
Mary

Hi Mary,
Thank you for your inquiry.  The details helped a lot. It is most definitely too cold for your Kombucha.  The ideal brewing temp is 74-80 degrees F.  I recommend purchasing a heating pad - I got mine from the Happy Herbalist.  Also consider whether there is enough airflow in the cabinet to foster healthy SCOBY growth. Kombucha needs oxygen to complete it’s fermentation cycle.
The initial “mother” may be thick or thin, but the longer you brew it, the thicker it will be.
Let me know how it goes!
Take care,
Hannah

Hi Hannah,
Thanks for your response!  I appreciate your expert advise!  I purchased a couple of heating pads like you suggested.  That certainly did help!
Thanks!

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hi Hannah,
I think I killed – or severely injured – my scoby…
I left it in a batch of kombucha for several months… but then tossed that batch and made another one.  but the scoby hasn’t been the same since.  it grew really thick – and the new one that it grew while in there for months didn’t separate in once piece. so I used the thick one again.  the first batch I made with it wasn’t bubbly at all – although other than that it seemed to taste ok (but w/o bubbles – what’s the point!). Now I’m making another one – and it’s been going for about 2 weeks.  the new scoby it made is paper thin….  which is weird cuz usually by now, especially since it’s been so warm -it should be much bigger.  did I kill the main one by leaving in there all winter?

I’m thinking I need to start all over… I guess I need to learn a better winter hibernation technique or something…
thanks!
-Lisa

Hi Lisa
Sounds like your Scoby went dormant. No problem. You likely DO NOT need a new SCOBY.  It’ll just take a couple of brewing cycles to get it back to normal. How does the Kombucha taste?  That’s the most important factor. Let me know how the next batch turns out.
Take care
Hannah
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BROWN STRINGS FAQ
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Hi Hannah,

Slimy brown threads are growing next to the scoby (please see attached pictures). Is that normal? Is my culture contaminated? Can I drink it?
Thanks,
Houman

Dear Houman,
Thank you for your email.  I can definitely help you with that :D Those brown strands are the yeasties (aren’t they interesting looking)! They are a part of the SCOBYsymbiotic culture of bacteria & YEAST!  They consume the sugar and convert it to alcohol and also help create carbonation.  The dead, spent yeast collect at the bottom the brewing vessel.  Be sure to wash it out with some purified water, vinegar or a little kombucha. Check out some photos and info here.
Brew long and prosper!
☮ & ♥,
Hannah
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ok.  i separated the top scoby from the one underneath and now it seems that maybe some of the brown membrane underneath it may have been causing that blue’ish tint… possibly not mold?  two more pictures for your assessment!  first pic is the top scoby separated.  the second pic is the membranish brown stuff that may have been causing the top scoby to look blue… does this all look normal to you?  cultures are tricky!!!  i’m feeling relieved though, i think all is well.  thanks again, carrie

The brown strings and stuff is yeast bits.  Healthy, normal SCOBY activity.
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I THINK I HAVE MOLD – OR IS THAT A SCOBY FAQ
If you are unsure, please email me pictures!!
Don’t e-mail without pictures please.
If you are still unsure, THROW IT OUT!  :) ——————————

Dear Hannah,
I received my kit on August 12.  I immediately prepared the brewing solution and covered the 1 gal. clear glass cookie jar with the red plaid cloth and elastic and placed it on a dark shelf with ventilation in my pantry.  I just checked it as it is day 8, and found that the scoby has sunk to the bottom (I know can be normal) and there is a thin scum layer on the top and it appears to have white mold in several spots on the top.  What should I do? I used to brew this years ago and never had anything that looked like this.
Thank you,
Amy

Hi Amy,
Thanks for your email! I have a suspicion that what looks like mold, is actually the new culture starting to form across the top. It doesn’t matter where in the vessel the mother lives, the new layer ALWAYS forms on the top. It can look quite scummy in the early stages but will thicken up over time.  Drop me a photo when you have a chance so that I can confirm and in the meantime, check out this post about mold - you can see that it is black or blue and fuzzy – just like bread mold.
I look forward to seeing your photo(s)!
Cheers!
☮ & ♥,
Hannah

Hi Hannah,
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I have attached 3 photos for you. Tried to get a good shot without the reflection of the flash. (scoby’s first picture) The top layer is still very thin, but it smells normal.(love that smell).  Looking  forward to good news.
Amy

Yep – it is the new culture forming!! Yay!  Just set it aside and check back in a few days and it should thicken up.
When you are ready to test the flavor, slip a straw beneath the SCOBY and have a taste.
Happy Brewin!
☮ & ♥,
Hannah
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Hi Hannah,
So sorry to bother you. I just finished our very first batch of kombucha and we went to drink it today and it looked like this and we were not sure if that was bad or not or if we should just mix it up and drink it anyway!
thanks so much for your help!
warmly,
kristy

Dear Kristy,
What you are seeing is the beginnings of your new SCOBY!! Yay!  The layer starts out translucent and then gradually fills in to be opaque.  So beautiful!  It starts out white and then the tannins in the tea turn it brown.
Mold is disgusting and looks like this. Mold is also potentially deadly and should your culture get moldy, it needs to be immediately disposed of. Mold is fairly rare, I’ve only experienced it once!  That is why I recommend always having a SCOBY Hotel for backups.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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Hi,
you guy’s are busy, so i will make this quick.
i bought a starter kit from you and started it in a glass jar. the top of the liquid has developed a white dotted film.  i am worried about it being mold.
i’ve attached a picture (i hope it loads well).  please tell me if my scoby is dead. Darren

Hi Darren!
Thanks for your inquiry! Your Kombucha looks fabulous!  What you are seeing on the top is the formation of a new culture. The white spots are the bacteria and yeast creating their cellulose condo, soon it will become more solid, more opaque, similar to the piece of culture that is already floating in your jar.  Rest assured – you are on the right track!
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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So, I just moved to Seattle with my scoby.  I stored it with its original juice/ tea for about a week because I was unable to brew a new batch due to the lack of equipment. Is it okay if it is a darker color? I don’t believe there is any mold because nothing was fuzzy, but on the places where the scoby was folded over itself, there was a clear layer of film.  Any thoughts?  Am I still good to go?  Thanks a bunch.
Sarah

Sounds like you are doing great!  The SCOBY gets darker over time due to the tannins in the tea and the clear layer is a new SCOBY that is forming.
Happy Brewing!
Hannah
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Normal SCOBYs

i’m about to batch my second round & when i looked at the top scoby… hard to be sure… but looks like there may be a bit of mold on the top of it…?
here are 2 pictures of it… i think it is mold : (  please let me know what you think & how to proceed!!
thanks,
carrie

bubbling is normal
Dear Carrie
It looks good to me. Mold is fuzzy. Like what you get on bread. The white stuff looks like new culture growth. Hence the creamy white color. Please let me know if what you see is fuzzy before starting your next batch  -  H
“brown stuff” totally normal

ok.  i separated the top scoby from the one underneath and now it seems that maybe some of the brown membrane underneath it may have been causing that blue’ish tint… possibly not mold?  two more pictures for your assessment!  first pic is the top scoby separated.  the second pic is the membranish brown stuff that may have been causing the top scoby to look blue… does this all look normal to you?  cultures are tricky!!!  i’m feeling relieved though, i think all is well.  thanks again, carrie

The brown strings and stuff is yeast bits.  Healthy, normal SCOBY activity.

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If you are unsure, please email me pictures!!
Don’t e-mail without pictures please.
If you are still unsure, THROW IT OUT!  :)
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fuzzy, blue/green, foreign to culture

Hannah,
I have a question for you.  I have been storing my scoby in the fridge and its been there for about 3 months.  I just noticed that there are what I believe to be mold, green in color, growing on the surface. Is this still salvable or do I need to start completely over?
Thank you
Jason Jelinek

Hi Jason,
Thank you for your inquiry. Mold is not solvable and it is not safe to use any part of the culture or liquid. You will have to throw the whole thing away.  It is generally not a good idea to store SCOBYs in the fridge because they may go dormant.  It’s best to keep them at room temp and make sure that they have enough liquid to keep them covered.
Hannah
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Hi Hannah,
I got my first kombucha starter in 1992.  I used it for my kidney disorder, for my mother’s ulcer and arthritis problems and my daughter’s severe allergies.  I continued using the babies for the last 17 years and never had a problem getting a good batch.  I boil a little over a gallon of water in a large glass sivisionware pot, add the tea bags, let it steep and dissolve a cup of brown sugar in it.  I let it sit to room temp, pour it into a glass gallon size pickle jar, add the starter, cover it with a clean dish towel and let it sit for 8-10 days on the counter, undisturbed.  I then remove the old and new mushrooms and put them in plastic baggies with a little of the tea.  Those go into the fridge.

BAD case of mold

Well, I had gone without the tea for about a year after my mother passed away of heart trouble and my daughter moved.  Now my daughter is back and needs the tea for her severe allegy problems. I tried making a new batch with one of the mushrooms that was still in the fridge.  Each batch molded. I created a new starter by buying a bottle of Kumbacha and letting some sit in a cup until it formed a new mushroom (about 3 wks).  The “starter” created a small circle of mold (gray) in a corner so I cut it off and tried to make a new batch of tea.  It also molded (fuzzy blue green like the others).
After reading your article I noted that I have a tray of coleus plants in the area where I am now aging my tea.  Could that be the problem?
Please help.
Viola

Dear Viola,
Thank you for your inquiry. I have a couple of suggestions based upon what you’ve told me about your brewing process.
1. Only boil 4 cups of water, add your sugar and tea.  This makes a concentrate.
2. Add this concentrate to your vessel
3. Now add cold filtered water to your concentrate – this will quickly bring the temp of the water down so that you can immediately add the SCOBY and starter liquid - the reason this is important is so that you don’t give the sweet tea time to attract pathogens by having to wait for it to cool
For storing the extra SCOBYs, don’t put them in plastic bags (they can only be in them for a max of 10 days before they leech harmful toxins from the plastic) and don’t put them in the fridge (the cold causes them to go dormant).  Check out this post about making a SCOBY Hotel.
Lastly, you ought to move your plant or your brewing vessel so that cross-pollination isn’t occurring.  Keep your Kombucha in a well-ventilated area but out of direct sunlight (the UV Rays kill bacteria)
Let me know how this works out for you!
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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Waaaaah!!!!!
It started off all nice and was growing a layer at the top, then this popped up a few days ago and I’m just letting it get worse…wondering if it’s even pour-able into the lawn.
L
-jeannie

Mold Floating on Left Side
Jeannie,
Oh Dang. It’s definitely mold. You can compost it, though you might not want to throw it in the garden.
Let me know when you can come by to pick up a fresh culture.  Any thoughts or information you can give me about where you stored it, etc, may be able to help me figure out what to do differently.
h

Aw thanks. Yeah, I was all bummed when I saw those. It was doing so well! I was all happy when I saw the film covering the top grow out. But then the green puffs came out…. Nice and fuzzy. I’m wondering if I didn’t have the proportions accurate or if the cloth I used absorbed too much moisture. The first day I didn’t have a rubber band big enough so I taped the  cloth sides to the vessel…maybe some goodies got in?
I was thinking of just watering the lawn with it…
-jeannie

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FLAVORING FAQ
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If I normally use a tea that has fruit pieces or flowers should I use a different one?
Shane

Hi Shane,
For your primary fermentation, you want to only feed your culture black, green or white tea. Flavored teas contain essential oils that could adversely affect your culture.  Once you’ve build up your SCOBY Hotel and would like to experiment, then you can try that in the primary fermentation. Flavors are best added at the bottling stage. Check out the blog post for more information:
There is tons more info on the blog and at the KommUnity site!  Check em out!
☮ & ♥
Hannah
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Hi Hannah,

So, I am ready to bottle my brew, I started on Sunday night. So anyway, this is the first time I have ever tried adding flavors. Not sure what I want to do yet, but I was thinking maybe strawberries or blueberries. Does it matter if there are frozen?  Or should I use fresh?
And when you said juices, did you mean you can add fresh squeezed juice into the kombucha or any juice?
And will it need to sit any once I drop the fruit into the fresh bottle?
Thanks,
Nicole

Hi Nicole,
I use fresh fruit pieces – it doesn’t take much, half a strawberry, a couple blueberries. It is better for it to sit for a few days before drinking so that the Kombucha can assimilate the fruit sugar, but it’s not a big deal.  Yes – you can do like Synergy does and add fresh fruit juice to the KT instead – again, a little bit will go a long way.
There are a couple of blog posts about it on my Kombucha blog.
Hannah

Hannah, Ok thanks! I added a few thin slices of ginger to my bottled brew and began to refridgerate it yesterday. I know how strong ginger can be, so I may actually remove it today. I have the SCOBYs still swimming in a small amount of the brew. I can leave it there a while, yes? Nicole

I usually leave the fruit in.
Hannah
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Hi, Hannah!
You talk of secondary fermentation, which I assume is when I drained off a couple quarts and added stuff (fruit,honey, etc). Now, if I’m wanting more peach flavor in the peachy jar, do I just put more fruit in and let it sit longer – or do I add it to the bottle? I’m a little nervous about these bottles, don’t want to blow anything up!!
Oh – what on earth do I do with the SCOBY when it gets inches thick? I’m trying to learn more about this booch business, and still get my multitude of other things done – drying apples, making apple sauce (I’m working on a raw version that I can freeze – don’t know how that’s going to do yet…), the garden is bursting it’s seams, and I have this THING growing in my kitchen!!!  It keeps sidetracking me!  I must be a mad scientist at heart…
Candy

Hi Candy,
No worries. Yes – 2ndary Fermentation is once the KT is removed from the culture (SCOBY) and placed into a separate container (at which time you may add flavors or drink it plain). A little dab will do you – try using more peach – BUT the Kombucha eats the peach from the inside out - if the skin is bitter, that bitterness will be passed on to your KT.  You might try using a peach puree or peach juice as that will be sweeter and not have any skin.  You could also just add a splash of peach juice to your KT in your glass for more peach flavor too.
In terms of exploding bottles, you can always burp your bottles every couple of days. This releases the carbon dioxide from the yeast that has built up.
There are lots of things you can do with your extra SCOBYs.
Hannah
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EXTRA SCOBYs FAQ

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Hannah,
I was wondering what do I do with the new baby that grew? I am on my 2nd batch, can I just use the baby with the other one you gave me?  That’s what I did because I don’t have another gal glass bottle.  I will buy on when I get a chance.
Also can I just store the KT in glass bottles in the pantry or at work.. and for  how long can they be there? I have one at work and it seems like the stuff floating in it is getting bigger.  Not growing really big, but I can see it has changed in size.
Thank you,
Liz

Dear Liz,
I tend to let 2-3 SCOBYs brew together. Once you have more than that – there are many things you can do. You can set up separate jars to increase the amount of Kombucha you are making depending on how rapidly you are consuming it.  You can gift them to friends along with a copy of the recipe so they can make their own Kombucha.  You can dry them out and make chew toys for pets.  You can grind them up in a blender with some KT to make a face cream.  It will be the consistency of applesauce (a little chunky).  Apply to the face, let sit for 5-15 mins (I do 15mins), then rinse off.  It creates circulation (hence the slight redness in areas that quickly fades) which causes the cells to regenerate and the acidity of the vinegar is a mild acid peel.  Your skin will feel soft and smooth and with regular application, it will help reduce wrinkles.
I store my finished KT in the pantry for about 3-5 days, then I move it to the fridge to further slow fermentation - just depends on how quickly you drink it all.  Some people have experience explosions (I never have) so you might burp the bottles (open then close the lid) from time to time to ensure there isn’t too much pressure built up from the carbonation.
Kombucha is constantly replicating – making more of itself.  That is why when you purchase it at the store, the bottle might have a glob in it – your bottles will also continue to create more and will eventually create a SCOBY if you leave it long enough.  It’s another reason why the drug companies don’t want you using it – you never have to buy it again!
Take care,
Hannah
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Hi Hannah
3 Questions
1. Sometimes my new scoby doesn’t want to separate easily from the mama.  Is it a problem if I leave it on?
2. As they multiply, I‘ve been putting…like…5  in each jar. Is this a problem?
3. Pretty soon I’m going to have more than I need or want to put in a single jar. How should I store them until I need them?
Lisa Andrusik

Hi Lisa,
I tend to keep 2-3 layers together.  It’s okay to rip them apart (or use scissors and cut them in half). The first thing to do with your extra SCOBYs is make a SCOBY Hotel. This is a separate vessel where you keep back up SCOBYs in some KT and nutrient solution (enough to keep them moist).  After that, you can give them to friends to make their own KT, grind them in a blender to make face cream, dry them out as dog treats or put them in your compost pile (they really help the garden!).
Happy Brewing!
Hannah
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GOOD MORNING MRS HANNAH AFTER THE KUMBUCHA IS DONE CAN YOU PUT THE SCOBY IN THE REFRIGATER AND FOR HOW LONG?

Dear Angela,
Thank you for your inquiry. I don’t recommend placing your SCOBY in the fridge as you could cause it to go dormant.  If you have extra SCOBYs then I recommend you make a SCOBY Hotel.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
LA’s Kombucha Mamma
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Hannah, I ran out of tea and just have my scobies stored in a glass container with a bit of leftover mixture…how long can this last?

Hi Cindy,
Thank you for your inquiry. Your SCOBYs will last as long as there is liquid covering them. I’d recommend putting a lid on it to prevent further evaporation until you are able to prepare more nutrient solution.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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Hi,
how long kombucha is good for (ok to drink) after I have removed the culture and put it the refrigerator?
I am brewing it for about 2 weeks, then make a new batch, and transfer the drink-ready liquid to bottles, which have screw tops. I

Is there a time when my refrigerated kombucha would not be okay to drink anymore? Is it safe to drink for the 2 weeks while my other kombucha is brewing? I notice that some of the bottles I get from the store say to drink within 3 days…
Thanks!
Sherry

Hi Sherry,
Thank you for your inquiry. Kombucha never goes badyou might not like the taste over a longer period of time, but it never goes bad.  If you taste your Kombucha and feel like it is too strong – you can always dilute it with water or juice or sweeten with agave, sugar or stevia.
I believe the date on the bottles is more to protect themselves (what if you wait 2 weeks and drink it and think it tastes terrible – maybe you won’t buy it again).
Take care,
Hannah
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I HAVE AN OLD/DAMAGED/DORMANT SCOBY FAQ
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Hannah, I ran out of tea and just have my scobies stored in a glass container with a bit of leftover mixture…how long can this last?

Hi Cindy,
Thank you for your inquiry. Your SCOBYs will last as long as there is liquid covering them. I’d recommend putting a lid on it to prevent further evaporation until you are able to prepare more nutrient solution.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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I WAS LOOKING AT MY KOMBUCHA IT WAS GONE AND I SAW IT LAYING ON FLOOR OF GLASS  THEN I SMELL IT   IT SMELL ROTTON
I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY IT NEVER HAPPEN TO ME BEFORE TILL I WAS SICK AND IT DRIED OUT   BUT NEVER LIKE THAT  I FEEL LIKE MY BABY IS DEAD
LOIS

Hi Lois,
Your SCOBY isn’t dead.  It doesn’t matter where in the jar it hangs out, the new layer will grow on the top.  Please have patience. How long have you been brewing this batch for?  Have you tasted it?  Taste is king and as long as it tastes delicious, most other factors aren’t as important.  Let me know!!
Take care,
Hannah
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GOOD MORNING MRS HANNAH THIS IS ANGIE WANTING TO KNOW AFTER THE KUMBUCHA IS DONE CAN YOU PUT THE SCOBY IN THE REFRIGATER AND FOR HOW LONG?

Dear Angela,
Thank you for your inquiry. I don’t recommend placing your SCOBY in the fridge as you could cause it to go dormant. If you have extra SCOBYs then I recommend you make a SCOBY Hotel.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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Hi, Hannah.
I was wondering if you could give me some advice about my SCOBY. I
left some SCOBYs in a jar for too long and the tea evaporated. Now
there are only dry SCOBYs left at the bottom. No mold has grown on
them and they seem OK, but the topmost layer is dried out. Are they
still viable? If I put them in with a new batch and some starter
liquid, will they make a new kombucha? Might I need to cut them up so
that the more moist inner part is exposed?
thanks,
-Deniz

Dear Deniz,
Thank you for your email. Kombucha is a highly adaptogenic organism. If there is some moist inner part to your Kombucha, then I say bathe it back to life!  It would be great if you could use a bottle of Kombucha from the store (original or unflavored) as starter liquid to help revive it.  If that isn’t available, then add 1 cup of vinegar (not raw vinegar – just regular ol’ vinegar – apple cider or white) as your starter.
Give it lots of love and let it go longer than your usual brewing cycle. Do taste tests to see how it is progressing – stick a straw just beneath the culture and take a sip.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
Kombucha Mamma
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recd scoby kit today,it was frozen solid. will this be a problem? Ralph

Hi Ralph,
Let’s give her a go. Make the Kombucha per the directions and let me know what’s going on in 2 weeks. Do you have a warm spot for it to live?  74-80 degrees is the ideal brew temperature. Putting it on top of the fridge is good sometimes because of the warmth that comes off the motor, but it prefers dark places.  Let me know if you need other ideas to keep it warm.
Take care,
Hannah
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Hi Hannah,

I hope you are doing well.
I have attended a couple of your kombucha kamps
and have been successfully brewing kombucha for the past few years.
(starting from one of your cultures)
I fell out of the 14 day brewing ritual.
My little cultures have sat in their tea/sugar mix for a couple of months now.
I’m finally ready to get back into brewing.
Can I use my cultures or do I need to start over with a brand new culture?
They look fine. They are very fat from the months of sitting in their 1gallon glasses.
Thank you for the advice.
Take care,
Louise

Hi Louise!!
So wonderful to hear from you :)  Yes. Your cultures are perfectly wonderful and the liquid they’ve been sitting in is amazing starter liquid. If you are brave, you might even taste it.  It seems to me that it reaches a sour bottom point and doesn’t get much more sour than that.  I’ve been diluting my longer brews with a little water to cut the edge.  It packs a wallop!  Remember that this liquid can also be used any way you’d use vinegar.
Take care,
Hannah
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hi Hannah,
I think I killed – or severely injured – my scoby…
I left it in a batch of kombucha for several months… but then tossed that batch and made another one.  but the scoby hasn’t been the same since.  it grew really thick – and the new one that it grew while in there for months didn’t separate in once piece.  so I used the thick one again.  the first batch I made with it wasn’t bubbly at all – although other than that it seemed to taste ok (but w/o bubbles – what’s the point!). Now I’m making another one – and it’s been going for about 2 weeks. the new scoby it made is paper thin….  which is weird cuz usually by now, especially since it’s been so warm -it should be much bigger. did I kill the main one by leaving in there all winter?

Hi Lisa
Sounds like your Scoby went dormant. No problem. It’ll just take a couple of brewing cycles to get it back to normal. How does the Kombucha taste?  That’s the most important factor. Let me know how the next batch turns out.
Take care
Hannah
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OTHER FAQ
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Hi, Hannah
I’d like to send a friend a SCOBY for his birthday, and he’s in Sri Lanka. It could take up to 2 weeks to get to him. Obviously, I’d prefer to send it in the lightest container, but I know plastic is not ideal. Do you have any suggestions? Will it be ok for that long?
Best,
Kassia

Dear Kassia,
Thank you for your inquiry.  I’m glad you are enjoying the blog!  Here’s a tip I learned from a fellow brewer – cut the Scoby with scissors into one long strip, then pack it in a small jar with KT.  The glass will prevent the culture from leaching toxins out of the plastic and it won’t be so heavy as to be exorbitant.  The Scoby will do it’s thing, regardless of what shape or size it is.
Hope that helps!
Take care,
Hannah
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Hey Hannah,
So, I just moved to Seattle with my scoby.  I stored it with its original juice/ tea for about a week because I was unable to brew a new batch due to the lack of equipment. Is it okay if it is a darker color? I don’t believe there is any mold because nothing was fuzzy, but on the places where the scoby was folded over itself, there was a clear layer of film.  Any thoughts?  Am I still good to go?  Thanks a bunch.

Sarah
Sounds like you are doing great! The SCOBY gets darker over time due to the tannins in the tea and the clear layer is a new SCOBY that is forming.
Happy Brewing!
Hannah
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hey Hannah,
Hope you are having a nice weekend.
I just recieved my scoby on friday thank you.. how come you sent me a scoby that is cut in half? usually they are full and round(healthy looking), does it become full and round?
Best,
Yaacov

Dear Yaacov,
Thank you for your inquiry.  Yes, your culture will grow to the size of the vessel. All of your future cultures will be as big as the opening in your brewing container.
Like yogurt or sour dough bread, you only need a piece to get it growing.  My cultures come in many shapes and sizes but they all make delicious and healthy Kombucha – don’t let how it looks fool you :)
You will see as you start your brewing process that the SCOBY may look different at different times. This is due to several factors (temperature, air flow, time of year, etc). I look forward to hearing about how delicious your Kombucha tastes!!
Happy Brewing
Hannah
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Hi Hannah…
I received my SCOBY today, thank you for the quick turnaround time! I am to the point where I can no longer wait for the whole Kombucha recall thing to resolve itself. I am very excited to try my first brew and get back on my Kombucha regimen.
Question: Is there anything but the SCOBY and the starter liquid in the baggie? I can see two separate circular things along with the sediment type stuff that’s in there. The circular things are more whitish then the rest of the stuff.

Second…I have a smaller container, glass, for the starter stuff. Should it be sealed tightly or covered with a cloth and elastic band so it can breathe.
Again, thanks for the quick turnaround time and thanks in advance for the help now!
Tim O

Hi Tim!
Yes all the stuff in the baggie is the starter liquid and culture. It should be the last thing that goes in the sweet tea.
KT needs air flow to ferment. Use a cloth cover and put in a location where it can have flow ( on top of the fridge is good)
Let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.
Happy Brewin!
Hannah
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correspondence edited for clarity and privacy.
questions or concerns?
email me
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