• Is my kombucha scoby still good?

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    I have a kombucha question: I left my scoby in a little liquid in a dark place all summer, and I’ve now begun to brew again, is it safe to continue brewing, or have I neglected it for too long?


    Good question Lyne. If you are anything like me, with a tonne on the go, you’ll find that sometimes there are things- even our beloved cultures- that occasionally get neglected.

    Luckily for us, kombucha is very resilient!

    I like to say it’s similar to an African violet (my aunt always told me that if you wanted to successfully grow an African violet, the best thing you could do was ignore it).

    Some things don’t like to be fussed over. And I feel that kombucha tea is one of those things. Although I do sometimes whisper sweet things and smile in its direction, making kombucha is so easy and it can be left for an awfully long time without replenishing or hands on care. The liquid will just turn more and more acidic- like vinegar.

    Of course, this isn’t the *ideal* situation- as the scoby (mother/mushroom/culture) likes to be fed sometimes- but you already know that!

    Here are some signs your kombucha scoby is not ok:

    • Mold
    • A bad smell
    • vinegar eels or other pests that have made it their home (fruit flies or ants for example)

    Other than that, I would say- go for it! In fact, part of the reason some folks switch to a continuous and longer brew kombucha is because a longer brew time allows different beneficial bacteria and acids to take hold.

    According to Hannah Crum, of Kombucha Kamp:

    “The first cycle completes at roughly the 15 day mark. As the Kombucha continues to ferment, other healthy acids are then expressed at the 30 day mark. In a batch brew method, waiting 30 days may yield a Kombucha too tart to drink. With CB, you have all stages of the fermentation process present but the flavor is tempered by the addition of the sweet tea.”

    To take a brew break:

    Mix up a fresh batch of tea and sugar and set your scoby in the fresh mixture (at the back of a dark cupboard, covered with cloth). This is sometimes called a scoby ‘hotel’. It’s just a place for your culture to hang out until you get back to brewing!

    I hope this helps Lyne! Enjoy your ‘booch!

    Submit your question to Ask Adrienne by emailing [email protected]

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    I thought we were doing well before, but you have really helped clarify, simplify and basically transform our kitchen.

    Shauna Simpson Winnipeg, MB March 10, 2014

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