Kombucha Mold!

Argggghhhhh! The words alone strike terror into the heart of any newbie Kombucha brewer. Yet this fear is mostly unfounded as Kombucha mold is extremely rare. In 6 years of brewing, I have encountered a batch of moldy Kombucha only ONCE. It was plainly obvious and, yes, disheartening for a moment. Nobody likes to fail and the sight of that fuzzy blue mess was intimidating. Yeck.

no SCOBY ever grew but Kombucha mold came in
Kombucha mold may grow if the brew is under-acidified or too cold.

If there is one Kombucha mold warning I urge you to take seriously, it’s this one:


If you have determined it is contaminated, THROW IT AWAY. Start over with a new one, and try the tips at the end of the article to avoid Kombucha mold in the future.

However, before throwing that culture away, make sure it is mold. Oftentimes a newbie will mistake normal SCOBY formation or a stray tea leaf lodged in the SCOBY as mold.  Feeling frustrated, they destroy a perfectly good culture out of ignorance. To avoid such a tragedy, lean down and take a closer look at MOLD (but don’t inhale!)

Okay wait…What is mold?


Molds (or moulds) are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae.  In contrast, microscopic fungi that grow as single cells are called yeasts. A connected network of these tubular branching hyphae has multiple, genetically identical nuclei and is considered a single organism, referred to as a colony.

Molds do not form a specific taxonomic or phylogenetic grouping, but can be found in the divisions Zygomycota, Deuteromycota and Ascomycota. Some molds cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.


Obviously then, Kombucha is somewhat related to mold. Single cell mold is called yeast, which of course is the ‘Y’ in SCOBY. In fact, the most literal translation of the Chinese characters for Kombucha might be “red mold tea.”

However, the type of mold we are discussing here is definitely to be avoided.  The most typical types of mold that may infest a Kombucha culture are the same as those you would find on bread or fruit or other decaying food items.  While not deadly, they do produce an off-taste and can cause allergic reactions or sickness.

Kombucha Mold Identification

Here are some photos of moldy Kombucha cultures.

Looking at a Kombucha brew from above, large foul circles of blue and black Kombucha mold have taken over almost half of the Kombucha mushroom culture.
Major mold-function!
More than a dozen blue, quarter-sized circles of Kombucha mold sit on top of a ruined brew.
Note the blue color
Kombucha Mold can be contained to one small section of the SCOBY as it is here, but the whole SCOBY Mushroom and batch must always be thrown away.
Mold forming on the left hand side of the Kombucha culture

What do you notice about these pics?  What color is the mold? Where is the mold located? What texture is the mold?

Almost all Kombucha mold is:

  • blue or black and fuzzy
  • located on top of the culture – not under it nor embedded in a layer
  • looks exactly like the type you have seen your whole life

Trust your instincts. If you have any question or doubt, you can always submit a photo on the KommUnity Forum or Kombucha Kamp Facebook Group for an opinion.

But my SCOBY looks funny!

Now, just because it is not moldy, that doesn’t mean your SCOBY will form in a perfect smooth pancake. The shape and color of your newly growing cultures is not necessarily indicative of the quality of your brew. Odd looking cultures can make a fantastic tasting kombucha, and great looking ones can fail.

Depending on many factors, SCOBY formation can be quite unusual looking yet completely normal. Sort of like people. (Kombucha and people are very similar in many ways. Don’t get me started.)

Here are some photos of normal SCOBY formation and yeastie bits.

Brownish yellow cobweb like strands of yeast - which are not Kombucha mold - form in the liquid and often cling to the bottom of the Kombucha SCOBY mother.
Yeast strands are brown and sometimes clumpy
Little white dots are one way a SCOBY might begin to form and is not necessarily indicative of Kombucha mold.
Early SCOBY formation takes a variety of shapes – note the white color of the many dots they will gradually all connect
A milky and uneven Kombucha mushroom begins to form on the Kombucha.
the culture forms unevenly, some parts are more opaque than others while the layer forms
The SCOBY may grow transluscent at first, even bumpy or shiny, but this is normal growth.
The new SCOBY growth is still translucent

Click here to see more photos of developing cultures and moldy cultures submitted by readers.

To the untrained eye, these odd looking formations can seem startling at first, but over time, they become the familiar process of new SCOBY growth.  This is why I instruct newbies not to look at or disturb their Kombucha for at least 7 days.

Why does Kombucha mold occur in the first place?

To better understand, let’s review the brewing process. The standard recipe for Kombucha calls for a 90% nutrient solution of sweet tea and 10% Mature KT starter liquid. That starter liquid is the key to protecting the culture from mold.

This mature Kombucha Tea has a pH of 3.5-2.5, low enough to create a natural anti-microbial barrier which inhibits the growth of any foreign micro-organisms.  The starter liquid acts as a protective layer until the entire sweet tea mixture is converted to young Kombucha (about 3 days), defined as when the mixture’s pH drops to 3.5 or below. It is only during that approximately 3-day period that there is the potential for mold to grow.

Mold spores are not visible to the human eye and can lay dormant or survive in extreme conditions. That is why it is impossible to simply wash off the culture in water or vinegar.

Once again: if you do end up with mold, get rid of your culture, toss the tea and start over fresh from your SCOBY Hotel.

How can I prevent Kombucha mold?

If you find you are getting mold repeatedly, you are in unfortunate rare company. Clearly there is something in the environment that is contributing to the problem. Is your water clean? If you aren’t sure, boil it without a lid for 10 minutes. If your vessel has a spigot, it must be removed and sterilized as mold can hide inside.

Some other causes for mold include cross-pollination from house plants, cigarette smoke, excessive humidity and cold temperatures (keep your cultures out of the fridge!).

Tips to prevent Kombucha mold from recurring:

  • Use starter liquid from your SCOBY Hotel (or any very old Kombucha)
  • If you don’t have strong starter liquid, use more of your regular starter per batch or
  • Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar on top of the brew
  • Use a heating mat or other warming method during cold months
  • Remove house plants from the vicinity
  • Make sure there is plenty of air flow – open the cupboard or move to a counter top
  • Do not expose to cigarette smoke

Over time you will discover that mold is very rare and easy to spot.  There is definitely no need to fear mold – or new SCOBY formation.  The more you observe your culture, the more you will understand its unique process.

Did you enjoy this post? Want a free DIY Kombucha Guide + my free 5-day into to Kombucha by email? You should sign up below! 🙂 

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Responses to Kombucha Mold: The Age Old Fear

  1. so sad!!! we are on our second batch of kombucha and went to bottle it up, and found a whole layer of mold!! guessing it was that we put in the laundry closet (for warmth), but no air ventilation there really.. i came across your blog, thanks for all the helpful info. 🙂

  2. Hi Sylvia – Yes – your Kombucha cultures will remain healthier OUTSIDE of the fridge. The pH is such that it doesn’t require refrigeration in order to stay fresh. The cold temps could cause your cultures to go dormant and may take several brewing cycles to revive.

      • Glad to hear yours was great the first time around, Diane. You are the exception that proves the rule! Sometimes it will come back right away and other times it may take a few cycles to revive. Storing your SCOBYs at room temp is the best way to go.

  3. hello

    i cant find an explenation to the growth i ot in my first ever batch of kombucha. the scoby has been in the water for about 24 hours. it sank immediately. now the whole bottom of the bowl is already completely covered with a half inch thick dark and fuzzy mass. it looks kind of harry and is starting to climb up the inside of the walls of the bowl. the surface of the brew is completely empty of any kind of growths. what can this be???
    thanks, moetti

  4. I’m your newest biggest fan. I found your site via your videos on youtube. I sent your site to my twitter followers. You’re my new “go to” resource for kombucha!

    I’m on day 8 of my first brew ever. When It’s done I’ll be back to learn about the scoby hotel and how the 2nd ferment works. Your site and info is really laid out great and inspiring!

  5. Hello, i’m trying to ferment kombucha with some juice of vegetablas ( fennel, apple) miwed with water. Do you have any advices please?
    And do you know how to get a good vinegar ( and if it is possible ) from my scooby?
    than you a lot

    • Yes, I recommend just using the juice without water. Then experiment. The longer you ferment the Kombucha the more sour it gets. Once all of the sugar is fermented out of it, it is Kombucha vinegar.

  6. Hi there ,
    I have tried 2 times growing mother Kombucha from a scratch of scoby that I got from a supllier. The problem that I faced twice during the frementation period was the growth of lots & lots of tiny black dots on the surface of the bottle. When I touch the black dots , it seems to be dusty & its sticks to my fingers. For your info I am staying in Malaysia with tropical climates & high humidity. Any suggestions please. Is the black dots mold or just the plain kombucha itself. I am newbie & have lots to learn from the experts .

    • M J Malek,

      I have never seen black dots on my SCOBY’s. If the black dots are dusty then it might be some type of mold. They may also be fruit fly eggs – fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar smell. Make sure you have a piece of paper towel or cheese cloth wrapped tightly around the top of your container (I use a rubber band) to ensure the SCOBY can breathe but nothing else can get in. Good luck! Melissa

  7. Hi!
    Great tips. I have just found mold again on my second attempt at making kombucha. I’m not sure what im doing wrong.

    • I’d try moving it to a different location. Sometimes not enough air circulation or too close to something that could cause contaminants (like the trash) can be the issue. I’ve also HEARD that people who get their scoby from someone who kept it in the fridge have a higher chance of mold.

  8. Hi, I just brewed my first batch of kombucha today, the mother formed pretty week, but there was this brown, bubbly mass as the new scoby formed, but it seems okay, the scoby growth took it over and grew around it… Any idea what I saw?

    Also, as I was draining the kombucha, I noticed one of the scobys became a bubble/balloon, is this a bad thing, if not, can I just puncture it and let it drain the air out?

    Last question, does it matter if e scobys move around (I.e. my big guy was on top, but now is on bottom, is this a problem, I would not think so…)

    Anyone, your site is beneficial, I just wish I could buy the continuous brew container by itself, and not in a bundle… Your answers will be greatly appreciated… Thanks

    • Use the google search bar and enter the term “yeast” – that will take you to a post with some photos of the brown squigglies aka yeast that are part of the culture. Yes, you can puncture the bubble – it is caused by the natural release of CO2 produced by the yeast. Sink or swim, doesn’t matter where the mother culture lives – the new culture will always grow across the top.

  9. Hello.

    Anyone has idea what black “granules” mean ?
    I did kombucha from assam CTC black tea and I doubt that I left those small granules there.

    Can it be mold ? They are on some parts of kombucha, I can pull them up easily (it’s not like they are part of kombucha like mold is).

    Any suggestions ? Can it be after all mold ?

  10. I sure wish I would’ve read this earlier today! I just tossed out a perfectly good scoby and KT because I thought the yeast was moldy. Grrrr.

    But, are the yeast strands sometimes a “greenish” hue? That’s what color mine were, that’s why I thought it was mold.

  11. Great info thanks! I was told that the scobys had to be refriged! Going to try storing them in the cupboard? Or in the closet with the brewing tea?
    In the last month, I have had 2 of my random scobys turn up in to some moldy tea( the kind that looks like pepper has been sprinkled on it)….not sure why? Could they be too old?
    Advice? Blessings – Janet

  12. THANK YOU for this post. I was about to throw out my very first bath of Kombucha when I decided to come here and look at the posts one more time. Sure enough, I do NOT have mold. I have a brand new SCOBY that I am raising from scratch using a tiny piece of SCOBY from a friend and a cup or two of brew. I’m glad I looked. THANK YOU!

  13. […] fortunately discovered Kombucha Kamp before throwing out what I thought was good kombucha going bad. Instead, I learned that what looks […]

  14. I made the mistake of creating the tea and sanitizing the jar but then I have left it on the counter for a couple of months. The SCOBY looks big and healthy. Can I save this or drink this? No mold at all, but it has been sitting out for so long I’m not sure what I can do with it.

  15. I did find mold on the newly forming SCOBY at the top of the jar. Do I need to throw away the entire jar (all the tea and the old SCOBYs, in addition to the newly formed moldy one)?

    • Yes. We do not recommend trying to salvage the mother of a moldy batch even if the mold isn’t on the mother as the spores are now part of the mother culture and will likely produce another moldy batch. Start with a fresh culture from your SCOBY Hotel!

  16. I got my original SCOBY from a friend & have given away many babies but have not been able to give away any recent ones. So now my two batches are at least an inch or two thick & blackish on the undersides or middle. Doesn’t look like the mild pictures you have posted. Is the black just the older, mother SCOBY???

  17. I think I had mold, but now I am not sure after reading all this….there were a few black spots that were like little pits of dust…seemed like mold to me. I cut (with a plastic spoon) a small section where there was not mold and made a new brew of tea. Put the small section in it just a few hours ago. You had said if it is moldy, it goes in the trash, but can a section be salvaged, as I have tried to do? Or is the whole thing contaminated?

    • Mold is fuzzy and only grows on TOP of the culture. If you have mold, even if the mother doesn’t have any mold on it, we recommend tossing everything because the culture has been compromised and future batches will likely also go to mold. In this case, it sounds like it might have only been some tea leaf debris in which case you can salvage the culture and start a new batch.

  18. I have my first scoby brewing. I got my mother scoby from a friend who has been brewing for awhile. i started my brew on Monday and it is now friday and I have no new scoby growth at all. But it is growing things inside the tea mixture. My asumption is that where I was storing the brew was too cold.

    My question is this. Should I start over with another brew or can I just move it someplace warmer.

  19. I need SCOBY help! I think my mother might have mold on it? …is it normal for it to have dark brown like areas? it’s small..the size of a pinky nail 🙁

  20. I have started my second batch of KT and there was a black moldy film across the top of both. The liquid smelt pleasant not bad. The original scoby sunk to the bottom and has stayed there. Room temp is warm cos we are in a warm climate and the jar is covered with a soft cloth tied with a rubber band. Light is minimal in the room. If the mold requires the liquid to be thrown out can I reuse the scoby which has remained on the bottom of the jar. If not how do I get another scoby since I dont know anyone in my area growing them…….

  21. Hi,I bought a scoby online and made my first small batch if kombucha successfully. I’m now on my second batch. I threw out a batch yesterday and started again because there was a lot if very dark brown stuff forming on the surface. I wasn’t sure if this was mould beginning, but now I am thinking it wasn’t. It is also in this batch which I restarted yesterday. There are a lot of bubbles, some brown large streaks and I can see a new mother forming. Are the brown streaks just yeast??

  22. My daughter accidentally put a baby mushroom down the food disposal. I have heard dire warnings against mushrooms (SCOBY’s) in the sink. What should I do?

  23. I have just started brewing and was able to get a SOBY from a friend of a friend who has been brewing for several years now. My SCOBY sank to the bottom of my sweet tea and the batch has been sitting for 6 days. A transparent film started forming at the top which I assume is a new SCOBY but I have been watching a couple of spots for a few days now and I am sure it is mold. I am unsure what to do now. Do I just take the top SOBY off with the mold? Is the entire batch bad now? Do I need to toss the original SCOBY out too (it is still sitting at the bottom)?

  24. […] but the holes in cheesecloth do allow fruit flies to get into your jar and sip on your tea, maybe even lay an egg or five thousand. So do keep the jar covered enough to breath; but not enough for fertile critters to get in. /* […]

  25. Sorry to be a bother but I just foundmy SCOBY with what looks like 4-6 yellow bubble-looking airpockets, (it was “solid” before). Should I be worried?

  26. hi, i just started brewing my own kombucha about 3 days ago, and i am brewing it in my room on a shelf. my room is pretty warm, but it is kind of dusty. do you think my kombucha will be okay? i covered my kombucha with a paper towel but i’m so nervous to have my kombucha come out well and healthy. please help !

  27. I have a question about fruit flies. Background info: I have been brewing my first large batch of KT for 6 weeks. The cold winter temps have kept things rather slow. My KT was fairly sweet, even after 4 weeks. Now it tastes pretty good, so I decided to bottle it today. As I pulled out the baby SCOBYs (the first one got knocked down accidentally and another one formed in it’s place) and the mother culture, I noticed what looked to be a single fruit fly on the mother culture. There were also a few small, brown “bug-shaped” spots on the culture. This was the SCOBY at the bottom of my container and the other baby ones looked fine. I plan to get rid of the mother culture, but I wondered if I should throw away this batch of KT? And should I not reuse the baby SCOBYs? Thanks for you assistance.

    • Fruit flies are harmless but can be icky. If the infestation is mild, you can rinse your culture with filtered water or vinegar to remove the larvae & reuse the culture. If it is more intense, then dispose of the SCOBY and use one from your Hotel. If the pH of the Kombucha is 3.5 and lower, then it is safe for consumption if you like the flavor.

  28. I have gone into a sort of panic today, I uncovered last weeks batch of kombucha only to find the scoby risen to the top covering this batch with three blue moldy spots on it :-(( I instantaneously through that away, now I am somewhat worried about my batch of kombucha now! Do I need to dump the whole batch and start over??

  29. I just uncovered my KT to find, a layer of what looks to me like white growth around the edges (one spot in the center) of my tannish SCOBY. It’s not blue or black, so it’s not mold, right? I suppose it could just be new yeast colonizing, to make the whiter layer atop the tanner one of the SCOBY, however I have never seen it before in my one year of brewing. It’s important to note I left the SCOBY dormant for the winter and I am just starting up again for the summer. Has anyone else seen this? Is it typical in SCOBYs who have been dormant for awhile?

    • White spots are usually a sign of new growth. If it is fuzzy and ON TOP of the culture, then it may be a cause for concern. Either way you are welcome to drop an email with a photo of your culture to our customer service team and they will be able to help you identify what you are seeing. The email address is customerservice@kombuchakamp.com

  30. […] and start all over again. BEFORE you decide to throw out your starter and SCOBY go check out this web site to see photographs of a Kombucha SCOBY gone bad, and what you will observe in a healthy […]

  31. Hi Kombucha Kamp, Ive been brewing for 3 years and for the first time ive got some very light small patches of mould on the top of the thin new layer of scoby (my scobys tend to stay low or float in middle whilst a new one forms on top, I always put a thick scoby in with a thin one but alsways get a new thin layer seperate…
    I know the reason for the mould was that the hotpress wasnt warm enough because i ran out of oil, my question.
    ive discarded the thin layer with small mould patches, and the tea…. Do I also have to throw out the larger scobies that were at the bottom of jar?
    Thanks for your advice and suggestions
    Buchalove Marie 🙂

    • ok i just read through and have got my answer… Bye bye Scobys :'(

      Sniff sniff!!

      Another question, I have a Ceramic Vitali water filter conatiner but was thinking of using the base 5l part for a continuous brew.. but…. theres a brass tap on it.. im prusuming this is not ideal… or is it ok once scoby isnt in direct contact.. Thanks for being nere Guys!
      Buchalove Marie 🙂

      • Brass is not an acceptable metal to use with Kombucha. It is an alloy that can contain lead, tin and other elements that are not safe to use for brewing Kombucha due to its high acidity. We suggest using stainless steel (304 or higher), HDPE5 plastic or wood for your spigot choice. These are corrosive resistant, used in the beer & wine brewing industry and are safe to use. We have high quality, made in the USA plastic spigots available but they may not be compatible with your vessel. All of our CB vessels are fully vetted and safe to brew in which provides you peace of mind – new, American made options are coming soon. If you’d like more details, drop us a line at customerservice@kombuchakamp dot com.

  32. If the baby (surface) scoby develops mold should I also throw out the mother? I am brewing in a 2 gallon jar and the mother is on the bottom.

    • Yes. Although the mother may not appear “infected” it likely still has mold spores. If it does, and you brew with it, your successive batches will also go to mold. Best to start with a fresh culture from your SCOBY hotel!

  33. I know it is a long weekend so I want to add to my comment that i sent. My batch is fine, being the continuous brew it started to make a new scoby over the entire top and it was very thin with the thicker one from the batch method under it and it looked like dark spots with the reflection. since i checked it all time i did not understand how it could have happened that fast but like everyone says you do panic. I did all my scoby the hard way and did not want to lose them. anyway i have bottled what i took out and added fresh tea and sugar for my next brew. I hope this helps someone who is new and
    is not sure what to expect. thanks so much

  34. I am wanting to make kombucha from scratch, I live in the back of beyond and visit the real world very seldom….. how can I make my own scoby without the use of a bottle of kombucha? I mean someone, somewhere brewed the VERY FIRST kombucha!

    • Sure somebody, somewhere in time may have let a cup of tea with sugar sit on a window ledge until a SCOBY grew – maybe. The main problem is determining if you have the right mix of bacteria and yeast that will create an authentic Kombucha culture. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!

  35. I got a new batch of KT brewing for my second time, so I’m new at this. I heard checking, smelling and even tasting the tea as it ferments gives you more knowledge on how and what to expect during brewing time. Do you recommend that? Also, this batch has the newly white film starting on top and I also see long white, as thin as a pencil line strands, in colonies on the top. Is that normal? thanks

  36. Hi! I quick question– trusted someone else to pour cooled tea into the jars and they poured it in while still quite warm! Was worried that it would sterilize my scoby but a new scoby grew on top still. However, old scoby has white splotches when I first pull it out that fade away if I leave the scoby out for a little while. I don’t think it’s fuzzy like mold but I’m not sure! Haven’t seen this in my couple of months of kombucha brewing– any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  37. Hi Hannah –

    I have been brewing my kombucha against a wall that I recently discovered has mold. The kombucha has tasted fine and the scoby does not have mold. I have about 4 (1 gal.) batches going and would hate to throw them all out. I was wondering if I should be concerned since the scoby in each batch looks fine and appears to be mold-free??

    • If the cultures show no evidence of mold, then they are mold free. Mold will look like the images in this post. It is fuzzy and ON TOP of the culture. If you discover mold, discard everything. If not, move your brewing to a new location away from the affected area to prevent any cross contamination.

  38. I’m on my second attempt and again found blue fuzzy mold quarter size circles on top of tea mix. I am thinking after reading GREAT detailed article and the comments it may be cold?? Even though I’m in Arizona, 80 degrees today or maybe because I was keeping it in the laundry room.

    Can I just scrape off the blue fuzzy “scoby” and keep going, this is day 7 and original scoby is on bottom

  39. So I noticed after two days of fermentation in a two gallon (half black half green tea) brew that I have some sort of fuzzy mass growing inside the space of the liquid. It’s a lighter color. It has attached to the mother which is completely submersed in the liquid. It also seems to be collecting at the bottom of the vessel and climbing upward on the sides. I read somewhere that this could be a type of yeast called S. Carlsbergensis yeast which is healthy in wine and beer ferments and not so healthy in kombucha ferments. This has also happened with my first failed brew which later grew mold on the baby. Does anyone have any information on this subject? I’m unsure if it is what caused the mold in the beginning. I’m also unsure of it’s safety and more importantly if it is unsafe how to prevent this from happening.

  40. My kombucha has grown a thick fleshy healthy baby before, and now this one is thin and transparent although the kombucha tastes great. What causes this? Temperature? that’s all I can think of. Will my skinny baby be able to grow big fat babies in the future? Or will all her babies be sub-par?

    • Yes – Kombucha has an ideal brewing range of 75-85F with 78-80F being the sweet spot. Best to give the KT some heat and you will see the babies thicken up. The thin ones may grow thicker ones in the future especially if the conditions are optimized. You can keep a couple of thin ones together for better results.

      • Thank you so much, I’m grateful for the response! I’m doing a continual fermentation and it’s going very well. I’m trying to keep up the heat, and I see what you mean!! Thanks again!

  41. Hannah, my 2nd batch of kombucha is fermenting. There are 2 baby cultures forming on the bottom of the jar and there are small white flecks all over the bottom of the jar. Just wondering if this is normal? I know you have said that mold will rarely be within the tea, but the white flecks do appear fuzzy. Thanks.

    • You are welcome to send photos to customerservice at kombuchakamp dot com and we’d be happy to help identify what you are seeing. Based on your description, it sounds like SCOBY growth in 2F, which is normal, especially if the flavorings are nutritious to the culture. Always a positive sign to see SCOBY growth in bottles.

  42. I’ve brewed several very good batches. I grew my original scoby from a bottle of high alcohol local brew. Three times I’ve gotten a dark blue/green filament growing on the glass. It looks almost like algae. It’s so fine it’s hard to see. The scobys look fine, and the brew tastes very good. The first time, I thought it must have been something not washed well enough on the jar, but now that it’s happened three times, it must be something else. What do you think?

    • Sounds like yeast which can appear to have a greenish hue to it but is typically brown. Provided there is no visible mold growing on the culture, the pH is in the correct range, and the brewing conditions are sanitary, then it should be safe to drink.

  43. I have a question, I have been brewing kombucha for 3 months now, but the last two have had so many bubles the scoby rised from the jar and stuck to the fabric cover, should I tossed the whole batch? or is it ok to peel that scoby off and continue the fermentation with the other scoby I had in the jar?

  44. Great information here and I read almost every post. I wonder how many times you’ve had to answer the MOLD question. Here’s my questioin: my first batch is 71degrees and I realize that it’s best 78-80. I can put it where it’ll get around that temperature (not in the sun) during the day but will drop to around 68-72 in the night. Is the fluctuation bad or will that be OK?

  45. Hello,

    Great info and pictures! I brewed my kombucha from a bottle I purchased at the coop, and it seemed to be doing fine. It developed the white little spots, then about 3 blue-green spots popped up. I was thinking about tossing it, but decided to wait it out. Now they’re gone… what gives? Do you think it’s safe? It smells good and fermented, as it’s been about 14 days now… what do you think?

    • Thanks for the link Hannah! I’ll be tasting it tonight to see how it turned out, but it did take a really long time to brew. I have to admit, I tried the bottle first because yes, I’m that cheap. I mean frugal lol. I think next time I’ll just cough up the cash and buy a good quality fresh scoby. When it comes to food, you get what you pay for 🙂

  46. Hi! We’ve been trying our hand at brewing kombucha in an oak barrel this past year, but ever since moving back to the LA area, every batch seems to mold. You mention above that mold can lie dormant and won’t be removed by a water/vinegar wash–that has been our experience too. So what can we do to keep using our charred oak barrel? Are there any ideas for removing mold from the wood? Or for preventing reinfections? My sourdough always molds here, too 🙁

  47. Hi, Love the site! I was given a scoby at new year. The new scoby had black mold on the very top middle part of it where the socby was exposed to air. A friend who has been brewing for a while now saw it and suggested to just remove and throw out the top scoby and try another batch from the mother. Well this one is fine and no mold at all. Still concerned though from what you have said about contamination throughout the brew even if it can’t be seen. If the mold was still an issue would it have shown again, or no mold and a healthy looking scoby mean that it has beaten the mold and the brew should be ok to drink. This batch smells better, I never drank from the old one but used some of it as starter. Thanks, your opinion would be very much appreciated.

    • Mold and moldy Kombucha are never recommended for consumption. While it may not have obvious adverse effects in those who are healthy, it’s simply not a wise practice. As for keeping the current culture, you have to look at the signs – is it mold free? is it the right pH? and then Trust YOUR gut!

  48. Hi Hannah

    Appreciate your advice. I’ve been brewing for the last few months, and recently the last few brews the scoby I used would sink to the bottom, and a new layer will form at the top but it always has these characteristics:
    – very thin (not one nice solid piece)
    – flaky
    – rough and not smooth on the surface

    It’s not solid enough for me to pick up and use so i would chuck it and use the original (mother) for the next batch, and so forth which gives me zero baby and I think it’ll reach a point where the mother won’t be able to brew properly anymore.

    I use a mix of organic loose leaf and tea bags, organic sugar, and i’m really unsure of what to do to start cultivating healthy proper baby scobys that i can use.
    FYI i would do the 1st fermentation for 7 days as i find longer than this it’s too sour.

    Do appreciate your advice

    Much thanks!

    • Sounds like the brew is either too cold or that the stater liquid has been drawn from the bottom resulting in an imbalanced brew. The yeast bodies collect at the bottom of the jar when they are done with their job. If we only save the bottom of the jar, then over time, there are simply too many in the jar which causes the brew to sour too quickly and dominates the bacteria preventing SCOBY reproduction.

      Revisit your process and see if either of these may be the contributing factor. If not, you may want to source a new culture and start over.

  49. I have a light brown spot on top of my new scoby that is looking dry and kind of powdery. Can this be mold or maybe just yeast??

  50. Hi, just started making Kombucha. I received a healthy, thin SCOBY. Did everything I was told. 7days in, SCOBY us still on top snd when I went to take off the filter cover, I noticed SCOBY had some of it out of the liquid. And .i see tiny, pinky nail size, of blue. Is this mold? Could mold form if SCOBY popped up? I used wooden spoon to move SCOBY and SCOBY semi sank. Thoughts? (Not worrying about the sinking but that little tiny blue spot that appeared where SCOBY wasn’t fully in the sweet tea.

  51. there is a tiny circular white thing with a few black dots, but only in one spot. I think it is mold :/ but since its in one spot, can i just cut off a piece of the scoby and use it to start another batch? or can i use the original starter scoby thats in there?

    • We never recommend reusing moldy cultures for sanitary reasons. Source a new culture and optimize the brewing conditions for success – that means having the right temp (75-85), enough air flow and starter liquid. Brew long & prosper!

  52. I started my kombucha last Saturday. When I put the SCOBY in the tea it sank and has been there ever since, not changing. I have a thin film of what I hope is a new SCOBY on the top of the liquid, not fuzzy but white. The temp has been at 72 F for the entire week, maybe dropping down at night a little. I am not sure how to proceed….. is it mold on top if nothing is happening with the SCOBY on the bottom of the container?

  53. Hi Hannah! My culture molded and I’m so disappointed. I imagine it wasn’t acidic enough. I have made many successful batches using 100% black tea. I purchased one of your special tea mixes and brewed the sweet tea with the same amoutn of tea that I had used in the past. Is your tea mix less “potent”, should i be using more when i brew the sweat tea? Any recommendations in terms of water:sugar:tsps of tea? Thanks so much!

    • The tea blend will not affect whether or not the culture will mold as that is influenced by the level of acidity of the starter liquid, temperature and location. You are welcome to send photos of anything you think might be mold to customerservice@kombuchakamp.com for confirmation. The Hannah’s Special Tea Blend will not have the same potency as black tea because it is a blend of several different types of tea in addition to black tea. Try it by the cup and let us know what you think! You can always combine the HSB with black tea for a richer flavor if that is your preference.

  54. I’ve just made my second batch of Jun Kompucha and forgot to add the old culture (well I drank it all..) and didn’t put vinegar in either. Two days later and the top of the scoby is covered in mold. I have cleaned the mold off but understand I definately shouldn’t drink this batch… Can I however continue to let it ferment and then use it for hair washing do you think?

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