First let’s begin by learning about the mysterious SCOBY.   If you’ve been making kombucha, you will have noticed that each batch produces a new SCOBY, a jelly-like layer on the surface of the brew.  SCOBY is an acronym and stands for “Symbiotic Community of Bacteria and Yeast”. These beneficial yeast and bacteria can be found throughout the kombucha brew and also in the SCOBY itself.  The SCOBY is actually a biofilm made of cellulose and is produced by the bacteria found in the kombucha culture.  Since the yeast and bacteria require oxygen to thrive, the bacteria create this biofilm in order to be closer to a source of oxygen.  This is why SCOBYs form on the surface of the brew, and not the bottom.   

Kombucha SCOBY


With every successful kombucha brew, a “baby” SCOBY will form and either attach to the original mother SCOBY or remain separate on the surface of the brew.  This baby SCOBY starts out as a very thin, cloudy membrane, sometimes with strands descending towards or attaching to the Mother SCOBY.   

As it develops, it might look slightly mottled or bumpy, which is perfectly normal.   What you need to look out for are fuzzy white, green or black spots on the SCOBY or brew surface as it is indicative of mold.  If mold is found to be present, the entire batch, including the SCOBY must be discarded.  Here are some easy way to avoid mold contamination:

  1. Always include an adequate amount of starter tea to the sweetened tea along with the SCOBY. 
  2. Keep the kombucha brew away from other fermentation projects to avoid microbial cross-contamination.
  3. Keep the kombucha brew cozy!  A temperature range of 25-29?C (75-85?F) will keep the kombucha culture adequately active.  Dipping below this range can cause the culture to become sluggish, creating a less acidity that would ward off pathogens.
  4. Use clean containers and utensils. 
  5. Use a live SCOBY and starter liquid.  Dehydrated or refrigerated SCOBYs are harder to reanimate.


Having extra SCOBYs is a good thing.  It’s always good to have a backup or two in case you lose a brew to mold or the culture ceases to be active.  Extra SCOBYs are also useful for experimenting with different teas and/or sugar blends.  I always advise beginners to start with black tea as the kombucha culture responds well to it.  Green tea can also be used, as well as some other blends and herbal teas. Avoid Earl Grey which contains bergamot and can be harmful to the kombucha culture.


After many successful brews, you may become overrun with these ambitious SCOBYs.  You might also need to take a brewing break. An easy way to store them safely is to make a SCOBY HOTEL.  This term was originally coined by Hannah Crum of Kombucha Kamp.  Her book, The Big Book of Kombucha is an excellent resource should you wish learn more in-depth kombucha techniques and facts.  To make a hotel, you basically follow the steps you would normally take to make kombucha (this recipe is for a gallon jar, adjust if necessary for different sized containers) :

  1. Bring a gallon of water to a boil.
  2. Add 4-5 black tea bags (or the equivalent in loose tea)
  3. Let steep for 5-10 minutes
  4. Remove tea, add 1 cup of white sugar. Stir to dissolve.
  5. Let cool to room temperature.  Pour it glass container (Hotel).
  6. Add SCOBY (s)
  7. Add 1 cup starter tea (reserved kombucha from a previous brew)
  8. Cover with a cloth or coffee filter.  Secure with a rubber band

Click here for the full tutorial on how to make kombucha.  

Lots of SCOBYS in one of my large hotels (glass cookie jar)


  1. Use a large, clean glass jar. Any size will do, depending on the number of SCOBYs you wish to store.
  2. Keep the jar covered with a tightly woven cloth, secured with a rubber band, or mason jar ring.
  3. If possible, try and store the Hotel in a slightly cooler temperature to slow down the activity of the kombucha culture.
  4. The liquid will slowly evaporate over time.  To keep the kombucha culture fed and submerged, top off the hotel with sweet tea every month or two (or when needed).  You can also drain off the older kombucha in the hotel and use it as a strong starter tea for new batches of kombucha or as  kombucha vinegar .
  5. A SCOBY will form at the top and might seal up the jar.  Make sure to push the SCOBY down to allow oxygen flow throughout the Hotel.

And that’s it!  Properly maintained, your SCOBYs can hang out in the hotel for months!  I have used SCOBYs that have rested in one of my hotels for over a year.   Don’t forget to include at least 1 cup of starter liquid with the SCOBY when you start a new brew.

67 Responses

  1. I have been making kombucha for several years – rotating my scobys. Lately, none of the batches have grown new scobys – even though they are well fermented and fizzy. The kombucha is fine, but no new scoby. What is causing this?

    1. Hi Donna- If your cultures are not producing any SCOBYS (biofilm) it could be that the yeast microbes are dominating your kombucha culture (they are responsible for the fizz). It is not a problem as the SCOBY is not key to make kombucha, it is the starter liquid that is most important as it contains the SCOBY culture (bacteria and yeast). If you are very concerned, you can try and strain your starter liquid (the liquid reserved from previous batches of kombucha/the liquid your SCOBYs are stored in). The yeast is dark, murky squiggly bits at the bottom or floating through the liquid.

  2. I have a scoby hotel in my storage room that has been there for about 5 years. Everything looks healthy. Can I use these scoby? Why or why not?

    1. Hi Jenika- you can try using the SCOBYs, but the key is the liquid that the SCOBYs have been stored in (that is where the bulk of the kombucha culture resides). If there is no mould on the culture, it is likely that the kombucha culture is alive, but dormant so the first batch might take longer. It might take a few batches before the culture is strong enough to produce a satisfactory brew. Good Luck!

  3. Hi Jodie,
    Great site – thanks for sharing!!!
    I have a scoby hotel and with around 8-10 scoby’s. There’s plenty of starter tea in the jar but I’m finding that only half the scoby’s are submerged in the liquid and the other half are above the liquid. Do I need to weigh down with something to ensure all are in the liquid? Should I re-order the scoby’s to have the more buoyant scoby at the top?
    Any advice you could provide would be great

    1. Hi Jason- thanks for your question and congrats on your SCOBY hotel. No need to weigh down the SCOBYs – you can top off the hotel with fresh sweet tea. Also, there will always be a SCOBY that forms on healthy kombucha liquid.

  4. HI Jody I started with a Scoby and Jar in the summer and now have 2 jars on the go with 7 Scoby’s and have experienced some lovely brews. I usually try and wait around 10 days to 2 weeks to brew ]but am always experimenting

    I am going away for just over a month maybe 6 weeks and know that last time I left it for too long the finished product was very Vinegary. Can I add extra sugar or even keep my jars in the fridge at a certain temperature (I can control the temp setting 2 to 7 Celsius) to help slow down the fermenting process or to ensure the finished product isn’t so vinegary when I return again.

    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Graeme- Thanks for your interest and question! Glad to hear you are brewing successful and tasty kombucha!

      First, NEVER STORE YOUR KOMBUCHA CULTURE IN THE FRIDGE! The culture does not do well in cold temperatures. It becomes sluggish, causing the brew to not acidify which will allow for pathogenic microbes to enter (mould!!!!). Always store your culture at room temperature.

      You can add extra sugar to slow down the acidification, but the easiest method would be to leave the brew to acidify and start a new batch when you return. An acidic brew makes a great starter tea. I like to over ferment mine occasionally to make Kombucha vinegar (see article in the blog). Also, since you have extra cultures, you could try experimenting with one culture and see if the additional amount of sugar you use helps to reduce the acidity to your liking.

      1. HI Jody

        Thank you for your rep[y, amazing stuff and very informative. i shall keep an eye on the web site now Ive found you and will fire across any more questions I have in the future

        Happy Brewing and Thanks again

    1. Hi Susan! Sometimes there are dark spots in the SCOBYs from tea stains, or dark patches of yeast. I would need to see a photo to have a clearer assessment. If the dark spots are fuzzy, it is a mould contamination and you will have to toss the entire culture

  5. Hi Jody. Have a hotel going and also one to drink. I just want to know about continuous brewing. I did take a 1 litre out and put in another bottle with pineapple, tumeric and ginger. Do I now put back 1 liter?

    1. S?, puedes usar az?car morena. Probablemente no necesite agregar edulcorante adicional para la segunda fermentaci?n, pero puede hacerlo si encuentra que el tepache no es lo suficientemente dulce. Si usa un sustituto del az?car, es posible que su tepache no sea tan efervescente: la levadura se come el az?car y produce la efervescencia (di?xido de carbono)

  6. Hello! Does it matter much if the SCOBYs width is larger than the width of the jar used to store it? It?s sort of folded over on itself in the jar and I?m not sure if that?s going to negatively affect it.

    1. Hi Kristen- don’t worry about the size of the SCOBY. Just make sure it is covered by the liquid in the jar so it doesn’t dry out. For the record, the SCOBY could be ripped, folded, etc without having any effect on its health.

  7. Hi Jody,
    Great post, thank you. I’ve been making kombucha for half a year or so, great fun to experiment with. But, have recently now got to SCOBY capacity to good to see there’s hope with the hotel idea. I have probably about 10 SCOBYs now, so when putting into hotel, wondering if I need to stack in “age order”, maybe they’re not too fussy though!


    1. Hi Beth- no need to stack in chronological order! The real gold is the liquid in the SCOBY hotel, not the SCOBY itself. The liquid is used as a starter tea and is full of the SCOBY culture, very critical to an optimal kombucha ferment.

  8. Jody,
    I have a batch of green tea kombucha brewing and it has never developed C02.
    It tastes great and I bought the air tight rubber top bottles. I have done second brew, single brew, with raisins, fruit etc. Still no fizz. Why? Mimi

    1. Si el bicho no est? activo despu?s de 7 d?as, deber? comenzar de nuevo con jengibre nuevo. A veces, el jengibre no tiene los microbios adecuados para iniciar la fermentaci?n. Pruebe y use jengibre org?nico, jengibre fresco para obtener resultados ?ptimosich

  9. I have been brewing kombucha for a little over a month now. Each batch is green tea and oolong combined. After 14 days is perfect! I want to take a break. I have 2, full 1 gallon batches ready to bottle, but don’t need them. Can I just let the batches stay there? Is it a ready-to-go hotel?

  10. top of the mornin Jody
    my scoby became dehydrated and turned more of a darker brown. can or how do i reanimate the scoby or how do i create a new scoby from scratch. how is an initial scoby first created .

    1. Hi Will- Don’t worry about if the top of the SCOBY is dehydrated or darker brown- it should be fine- remember that the most important component is the starter tea (liquid from a previous batch of kombucha, not the SCOBY itself)

    1. Hi Rose- you can cut the SCOBY or split the layers. The size and shape of the SCOBY does not affect the brew. The key is to always have at least a cup of starter tea to innoculate the new batch of kombucha.

  11. I?m also new to the kombucha game. I have made 2 batches my second came out much better then my first. BUT, my scoby is a blob at the bottom of my brew, a very thin layer does form quite quickly on top but it doesn?t get thick like all the pics I see of a scoby. My question is does the scoby work if it?s a blob on the bottom and how long will it take to grow one? Should I leave a batch to just grow a scoby? I?m hooked on this and really want to do a continuous brew..

    1. Hi Jo- thanks for your interest and question. It sounds like your kombucha brews are coming along nicely. The new SCOBY that forms with every brew is always thin. A thick SCOBY is formed when you use the same SCOBY over and over – new SCOBY attaches to the Mother SCOBY. If you look closely at a thick SCOBY, you can sometimes see lines/ridges of attached SCOBYS.

      Don’t forget that the SCOBY is not the main driver of the ferment. The most active participants are in the starter tea, so the size of the SCOBY is not important!

  12. Hi! My friend sent me a SCOBY as a surprise and some basic instructions. I didn?t do any research. She doesn?t do the second fermentation. I wasn?t planning to either. I kept it in the fridge about a week and did not use any of the liquid. I then brewed my favorite tea, hibiscus, added sugar and the SCOBY. I don?t really drink other kinds of tea It had a really slow start, but am now getting a nice layer. If I don?t see mold, then is it correct that I should be okay? Can I just keep growing it in hibiscus tea? I?d rather not use a different tea. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lisbeth- thanks for your interest and question. First, it is advisable to never store the kombucha culture in the refrigerator. The culture does not respond well to cooler temperatures. It’s better to store it at room temperature (as detailed in this article). You can use hibiscus tea to make kombucha- I have done it many times and reserved a culture to use just for hibiscus tea. It sounds like you have the start of a successful brew. I am not sure how long you can keep the culture alive using just hibiscus tea. You might want to reserve a culture in black tea as a back up in case your original culture fails. If you don’t like black tea, you can also use white tea which is much milder or even green tea.

  13. Help. I have been making kombucha for years and have shared many many SCOBYs with friends. I always brew for one week and always have a batch brewing. My last batch took almost two weeks and produced a very thin scoby. However, it made very good kombucha. I am now brewing another batch and the same scenario is repeating itself..it?s taking long time and scoby very thin. Is my scoby going bad?

    1. Hi Mary- it is possible that your culture is not as strong and might need a break. Make sure that you are using an adequate amount of starter tea to inoculate your new brews. You might want to let your SCOBY rest and use a new one with extra starter tea in your next batch. Also be aware of the temperature- cooler temperatures slow down the activity of the microbes in the culture resulting in a longer ferment.

    1. Hi Wilna- for an optimal ferment, it is important that the some sort of starter tea is used to help acidify the sweet tea in your batch of kombucha using the SCOBY you received. Look for a good brand of UNFLAVOURED kombucha (I like using GT’s Kombucha “Original” flavour). Add the entire bottle to your batch and make sure to reserve starter tea going forward after each batch.

  14. Hi there,
    This is my first time making kombucha. A friend gave me a SCOBY, which was quite thick. I?ve just peeled off 2 scobies to brew 2 half gallon jars worth. Now I have the bottom part of SCOBY with starter liquid. Do I need to add new brewed sweet tea to the remaining SCOBY? Look like there?s enough liquid to cover it. Won?t I need more starter for the next time I make kombucha? If so, what is tea/sugar ratio?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi kim- thanks for your interest and question. You could brew your first batch with both SCOBYs. If you choose not to and want to reserve the other SCOBY, you can add it to a jar of sweet tea and start a SCOBY Hotel, but it is necessary to add some starter tea to this hotel to make sure the environment in the Hotel is acidic enough to repel any pathogens. Once established, you will not need to add further starter tea to the hotel.

  15. Hello
    I think I have missed something vital. I have been given a scopy which came with the starter tea. I have put into a large jar, however I am not sure how much liquid to add – do I add to the top of the jar? Also it says add sweat tea. How sweat should the tea be? ie should it be a teaspoon of suger per cup or more?

  16. Hi Jody,
    thanks for all of the information about brewing Kombucha. I’m very new to this & appreciate your tips.
    My questions are:
    1. Is it advisable to use a new SCOBY for each brew? OR How many times can I re-use a SCOBY/s? Are there signs that a SCOBY is ‘exhausted’?
    (I have used the same one for about 4 batches & have had a new SCOBY form nearly every time. I discarded a few from my last brew assuming that multiple SCOBYs would ‘eat’ too much of the sugar in my tea & make it sour quickly).
    2. It’s hot here in Australia, so I keep my Kombucha on a granite bench in a cooler part of my kitchen. It seems to ferment quickly. Sometimes in as little as 4 days. I do a second fermentation for 2 days before refrigeration. Do you see any issues with quicker fermentation?
    3. My last brew was 50/50 black tea/Berry fruit tea. Tastes great , but could I this blend negatively affect my SCOBY? (It’s quite pink now!)
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Eleanor- thanks for your interest and question. You don’t have to use a new SCOBY for each brew. I can’t tell you exactly how many times you can reuse it, but a sign that the culture is weak would be that the brewing time could take longer, the kombucha is not as acidic, and the obvious sign would be mould, indicating that the culture is no longer active. Bear in mind that the starter tea that is reserved from each batch is the most important aspect, not the SCOBY itself. As for discarding the SCOBY, you might consider storing them in a “SCOBY Hotel”https://theculturedfoodie.com/scobys-how-to-start-and-maintain-a-kombucha-scoby-hotel/ This will give you a reserve of backup SCOBYS in case you lose a culture to mould, or you want to experiment with different teas, etc. Higher temperatures definitely accelerate fermentation time. This could affect the taste of the finished kombucha. If you are fine with the flavour and have a handle on the fermentation time during higher temperatures, then there shouldn’t be an issue. You can use tea blends, just be careful with some herbal teas as they can have an antibacterial effect on the culture. This is why it is good to have backup cultures to experiment with. Don’t worry about the colour of the SCOBY- if it is still producing kombucha, it is fine. I use a hibiscus tea for some batches and have a healthy, pink SCOBY!

    1. Hi June- 5 litres is approximately 1 gallon so that container would work well. It doesn’t have to be exactly a gallon container. Any size will do. The recipe is just for a sweet tea to feed the kombucha culture.

  17. Hi Jody,
    My friend’s kombucha becomes very fizzy when she does the 2nd fermentation and the lids really ‘pop’ when she burps them. Mine, however, do not get fizzy. Any suggestions? And thank you for all the helpful information you provide.

    1. Hi Christine- thanks for your interest and question. Fizz has to be the ultimate goal of kombucha brewers! There are a few factors that could be at play causing your friend’s kombucha to be fizzy. A higher ratio of yeast to bacteria can make the kombucha fizzier- remember that it is the yeasts that are consuming the sugar and expelling carbon dioxide. It is also important to ensure that the bottles used in second fermentation are very airtight (no slow leaks allowing the carbon dioxide to escape.) Also, some second ferment flavourings are higher in sugar – these flavourings will be consumed by the yeasts and produce additional carbon dioxide. My pineapple kombucha gets super fizzy!

  18. Is there any cleaning or filtering that eventually should be done to maintain the hotel?

    Right now every two weeks I take out 3 cups for starter and then replace with 3 cups of fresh sugar tea. Besides this I?m not doing anything else to maintain it.

    1. Hi Kassal- sounds like you have everything under control with your SCOBY Hotel. Some people like to filter out the yeasts bits if they feel there is a buildup of yeast, but it’s not absolutely necessary. If you are continuing to have successful batches of kombucha that are relatively uniform, I would keep up with your original maintenance.

  19. Hi Jody,

    I’ve got a scoby hotel with 2 mother scobys and a fair few baby scobys which grew in there. My scoby hotel sits in the same place as my kombucha during its first fermentation. However, the kombucha seems to only get a very thin baby scoby during the first fermentation (7-10 days), whereas in that time a large, thick scoby will have grown in the hotel. Is this because the starter liquid in the hotel is stronger due to their being multiple scobys in there, or do you think I’m doing something wrong with the kombucha?

    Thanks in advance!


    1. Hi Clara

      Thanks for your interest and question. Glad to hear your kombucha cultures are healthy. As you know, with each new batch of kombucha, a new SCOBY is formed. It is always thin. Thick SCOBYs are the result of using the same SCOBY (mother) repeatedly. The newly formed SCOBYs generally attach to the mother SCOBY which results in a thicker SCOBY. If you look closely at the SCOBYs in your hotel, you might be able to see the lines of the baby SCOBYs that joined to the mother.

      Alternatively, I have also noticed that if I leave my SCOBYs in the hotel for an extended period of time, they will become thicker. It might be as a defence mechanism as one of the purposes of a SCOBY formation is to seal off the surface of the brew to defend against pathogens.

      It sounds like everything is going well with your cultures. Don?t worry about the thickness of your SCOBYs. Size doesn?t matter (LOL)! As long as you get a new SCOBY with every brew, the brew becomes ?vinegary? and no mould forms, you are good to go!

  20. Question I accidentally put the scoby in the hot tea, I then realised that was wrong and fished it out, do you think it might still work? Also, I kept some kambucha in the fridge for a few months (sealed bottle). There is now a jelly like settlement at the bottom, can I use that start a ne scoby? Sorry I?m very new to this! Thanks

    1. Hi Eva! Thanks for your interest and questions! #1- It is likely you killed off the microbes in your kombucha culture, but give it a try and see if there is any activity- sometimes these microbes are more robust than we give them credit for. If after a week, there is no activity (no film of SCOBY formation, no sourness, bubbles) then we can assume the culture was killed off. On a positive note, it sounds like you have a wild culture forming in one of your bottles- you can use this to start a new batch. It will need the liquid it is currently in as well to help out

  21. Thank you, this is extremely helpful. I have a scoby currently in a jar with plenty of tea and space. Can I use that for the hotel? The scoby formed from the original start tea that I left in a cold dark place.

    1. Hi Lucy- Thanks for your interest and question. Congrats on the birth of a new SCOBY! This is a common occurrence in kombucha that has a robust community kombucha culture as well as an easy way to obtain a SCOBY. You can use this jar and starter tea as a hotel, but I would also had some fresh sweet tea to help feed it over its rest period in the hotel. Also make sure that it isn’t too cold where you are storing the hotel as it can have adverse effects on the kombucha culture. Aim for a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit)

  22. Thank you for your post! Very helpful. After the first fermentation of my scoby (12 days at room temp) I then stored in the fridge, however the jar was not sealed to my horror! We have been away so I put the whole jar, scoby and all, into the fridge to slow down the fermentation process. Now I am home and I have learned the jar was not closed properly ( but did have a muslin cloth and rubber band on top) for a month. Is it still ok? It looks fine and smells as a scoby should- but I worry that being open all that time in the fridge it may have picked up bacteria/ tastes of other things in the fridge? Will be so sad to have to get rid of it……thank you x

    1. Hi Rach- Thanks for your interest and question. First, I would not advise storing your kombucha culture in the refrigerator. This culture generally does not react well to low temperatures and can be very sluggish when taken from cold to warmer temperatures. When the culture is sluggish, its slow activity produces less byproducts, rendering the kombucha brew less acidic. This is when contamination can occur as pathogens that would normally be killed off by the kombucha’s acidity begin to thrive. As for if your cultures are contaminated, if you kombucha was active and healthy, it should be fine. Start a new batch and see what happens. If mould occurs, the culture is dead and you will need to dispose of it and obtain a new one.

  23. Hi Emma,
    I have been brewing for over a year. I have strained out the excess yeast in my SCOBY Hotel once, but I feed with new sweet tea every two months. I have a LARGE number of SCOBYs in the hotel. I have only thrown out a couple to make more room in the hotel. I tend to reuse the older SCOBYs in each completed brew many times before I discard and seldom draw from the hotel. How many SCOBYs should I keep in the hotel and for how long? How often should I strain out the excess yeast in the hotel?

    1. Hi Tammy- thanks for your interest and question. I can’t really comment on how many SCOBYs you should keep in a hotel. It depends on the size of the container and the ratio of of SCOBYs to starter liquid. Remember that the starter liquid is key to an optimal ferment, not the SCOBY itself. In fact, in theory, you could use starter tea alone without the SCOBY to begin a new batch of kombucha since the culture is found throughout the liquid forms the SCOBY as a protective barrier and to be closer to an oxygen source. In summary, it is important to also have a good amount of backup starter tea on hand, as well as extra SCOBYs. It is also a good idea not to overuse the same SCOBYs as they can become weaker with age. In regards to straining excess yeast, you can judge this by the quality of the ferment. If you notice that the fermentation time has sped up or that the taste is off, it could be that the yeasts are dominating over the bacterial component of the culture.

  24. Hi Jody,
    Can I keep on adding new scobies to my scoby hotel? If so, what’s the process for adding additional scobies?

    1. Hi Steph- thanks for your interest and question! Yes, you can keep adding SCOBYs to the hotel, but always make sure you also have a good amount of starter tea in the hotel as well. The starter tea is where the most potent cultures reside. It is also a good idea to top off your hotel every month or two with sweet tea. I have hotels that go back a few years and the cultures are still robust.

  25. Jody, thanks for the hotel info and process. I am on my 3rd batch as a newbie and I keep reading that you should get a new baby SCOBY after each brew cycle. So far, I have only watched my original mother SCOBY grow thicker and thicker, with no discernible baby SCOBY. Why is this? It has always been a top floater. Thanks for any tips.

    1. Hi Roth- thanks for your interest and question. Your brew is producing a baby SCOBY- it is remaining attached to the Mother, which is why the Mother is getting thicker. Alternatively, sometimes the baby SCOBY is a very thin membrane on the surface and can be overlooked. The SCOBY is produced by the kombucha culture to be closer to a source of oxygen, and simultaneously seals off the brew from pathogens. If you are reaching an acceptable level of acidity (under 4.6, I personally like mine a little more vinegary (at around 3.2)), and your SCOBY is thickening, fermentation is occuring. There are many factors that can affect the fermentation time such as temperature, strength of culture, ratio of culture to sweet tea, and the ratio of bacteria to yeast within the culture, so I recommend tasting it after a week to discern the level of sweetness. If none of these factors are an issue and your brew is no longer successful, the culture could be “tapped out” and should be replaced with a new culture. This is where the SCOBY hotel comes in handy for backup cultures. I hope this helps- give us an update on your next brew!

  26. Hi Jody,
    I have neglected my SCOBY Hotel and today found mould on the top SCOBY. Do I have to throw the whole thing away with the other SCOBYs that don?t have mould. Can I still you the liquid from this hotel to save the SCOBYs. Or will it contaminate it.

    1. Hi Debi- thanks for your question. Sorry to hear about the mould. The majority of time, once there is mould found in a SCOBY, the entire brew is contaminated. You might be lucky that the starter liquid below the SCOBYs is acidic enough that the mould didn’t survive below the surface of the SCOBYs. You definitely need to throw out the SCOBY’s at the top. You can try to reserve the SCOBY at the bottom with the starter liquid and try a new batch. You can also throw out all the SCOBYs to be extra cautious and try a batch with just the starter liquid. If the new batch doesn’t produce a new SCOBY (it will be thin), or mould shows up again, the culture is dead and you will need to start over with a new culture. In the future, try and keep the SCOBYs submerged in their liquid to maintain acidity on the surface to prevent mould. Good Luck!

  27. Hi Jody,
    I sopped by your website looking for a tip to how preserve my kombucha scopy, my question is same as Emma, but mine was in a sealed jar on kitchen counter for more that a month, it looks so old ( brownish) and there are layers .. however, I started brewing it again hoping to get a brewed kombucha,

    1. Hi Meena- thanks for your interest and question. Your SCOBYs and starter tea should be fine. You can separate the layers, and use one to start a new brew, along with 1-2 cups of starter tea (the liquid from the hotel) leaving the rest in the jar. Don’t worry about the brown colour in the kombucha culture-it is excess yeast and is harmless. It is advisable to occasionally strain the kombucha liquid in the hotel to filter out the yeast to ensure it is not the dominant player in the culture (to maintain the symbiosis). You can also pat down the SCOBYs with paper towels to remove excess yeast (ensuring that all utensils and hands are very clean!). It is better to not seal the jar when you are storing the cultures to ensure airflow to the culture. A coffee filter or cloth secured with an elastic band is adequate (don’t use cheesecloth- fruit flies can penetrate the tiny holes!)

      1. Hi Diana- Starter tea acidic and contains the microbes that make up the kombucha culture. It is the “tea” or “liquid” reserved from the last batch of kombucha (or the liquid that came with your initial kombucha culture that you purchased or was given to you). Sweet tea is the fresh tea (tea + sugar) that is made to feed the kombucha culture.

  28. Hi Jody,
    Love all of the info. I have a question for you. A few months ago I stopped making my kumbucha and put my SCOBY and baby SCOBYs in a container with the left over kumbucha in the fridge. Would it still be good if I wanted to restart making kumbucha? How do I know if it?s bad?

    1. Hi Emma, thanks for you interest and question. Although I have heard success stories with refrigerating SCOBY culture, it is not advisable. Refrigeration renders the bacterial component in the SCOBY too sluggish (slow to produce acetic acid) to adequately acidify the kombucha resulting in a moldy batch of kombucha. According to Kombucha Kamp’s “The Big Book of Kombucha”, “When the new batch is started, the bacteria are sluggish and cannot protect the brew, often leading to mold within the first couple of cycles”. At this point, the best you can do is try with your refrigerated culture and cross your fingers. You will know it is bad if you see mold. If you are successful, it is best to start a hotel with extra SCOBY s and starter tea. Also try to rotate the SCOBYs so as to not overtax the culture (approximately every 10 batches)

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