Komucha Questions (And Making a SCOBY Hotel)

If you've read my posts about making kombucha and are currently enjoying your own homemade, probiotic version of it, you may have a few questions. Here are some common ones.

How Do I Make a Continuous Batch of Kombucha?

Follow the directions here. You'll soon develop a routine. For me, Tuesdays are Kombucha day - the day I bottle the kombucha I've fermented and also start a new batch.

What if I Want to Make More (or Less) Kombucha?

To make more, increase the number of jars you use, and follow the proportions in this recipe. To make less, cut the recipe down, just as you would a cooking recipe. (This free online calculator makes the job super easy.)

These SCOBYs could be cut down. (Courtesy Simon A. Eugster and Wikimedia)

What if My SCOBY Gets Huge?

As you brew kombucha, it's normal for your SCOBY to develop "strings" and extra layers. In fact, over time, the SCOBY will get very thick - so thick, you won't be able to brew as much tea as you have in the past (if you use the same jar). When that happens, use freshly washed hands to peel off some layers or "strings." Or, using a freshly washed knife, cut some layers away.

What Can I Do With Extra SCOBYs?

1. Put them in a SCOBY "hotel" (more on this below).

2. Give some to friends who want to try making kombucha. (Some people even advertise free SCOBYs on Craigslist.)

3. Feed them to your chickens.

4. Feed them to your dog

 5. Use them as a beauty product.

6. Put them in your compost pile.

7. Chop them up and mix them into the soil of acid-loving plants.

8.  Add small amounts to smoothies.

 9. Make SCOBY jerky. (Yes, people actually do this!) Marinate for 24 hours, then cut thin pieces to lay on the trays of your dehydrator. (You may want to put parchment paper down first.) Dehydrate at 90 degrees F. 

10. Make SCOBY candy.

11. According to Kombucha Kamp you can also use SCOBY pieces over cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds.

A "young" SCOBY.

What if I Want to Stop Making Kombucha for a While? (How Do I Make a SCOBY "Hotel?")

If you want to stop making kombucha for a time, or you just want to store extra SCOBYs as "back ups," there are two easy methods to choose from.

One is to start a batch of kpmbucha, just as you normally would, but put all your extra SCOBYs in it. Over time, the tea will become undrinkable, but your SCOBYs will be fine. Store the jar at room temperature with a breathable cover, such as cheesecloth. As the liquid in the jar evaporates, add a little sweet tea.

Another method is to put the SCOBYs in a jar and cover with finished (unflavored) kombucha. Store in the refrigerator. This method seriously slows down the growth of the SCOBYs, making them last for months. Be sure to cover the jar with something breathable, like cheesecloth. When you want to use one of these SCOBYs, you must bring it to room temperature first.

A moldy SCOBY. (Courtesy Wikimedia.)

What if My SCOBY Gets Moldy?

If you've only touched the SCOBY with freshly washed hands, have made sure all tools you use (jars, knives, etc.) are freshly washed in hot, soapy water, have promptly covered your fermenting kombucha with cheesecloth or something similar, and have kept the fermenting tea at neither too hot nor too cold a temperature, this shouldn't happen. (Regarding temperature: If you're comfortable at the temp, your kombucha should be, too. In addition, I've read that brewing kombucha near cheese, bread, or other fermenting foods, may make mold develop on your SCOBY.) Mold usually appears orange, green, red, gray, or hairy black.

In such cases, you should throw away the SCOBY and the tea it was in. (This is why some people like to have some back up SCOBYs in a "hotel.")

What if My SCOBY Turns Black?

Congratulations! You've brewed a lot of kombucha and your SCOBY is dead. Time for a new one! (If your SCOBY became black while brewing kombucha, throw out the batch it was in, too.)

More in this series:

What is Kombucha? And Why You Might Want to Make it
How to Make a SCOBY for Kombucha
How to Make Kombucha


  1. Why is your Scoby pink? Do you use a special tea? I have heard they should be whitish? mine are beige with some darker edges. Should I be concerned? thanks :)

  2. Jeanne, it does depend upon what tea you use. The large, fat SCOBYs shown are made with fruit tea. The thinner SCOBY in the jar only looks pinkish because of the lighting; it was actually a light brown - and made with black tea. I've never seen a white SCOBY...maybe if you used green tea it would look that way. I've never done that, so I'm not sure. If you used black tea, your SCOBY should definitely look beige with darker edges :)