How to Activate a Kombucha Scoby
Our kombucha scobys are sold in a dehydrated state, which preserves the yeast and bacteria present in the culture while greatly reducing the chance of spoilage. We value the safety of our customers! Our kombucha scobys can be activated for use through the following rehydration process.
**Please note, we strongly recommend using white distilled vinegar when activating the culture and in the first batch. Please do not use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar as they will lower the chances of your culture activating properly.
When viewing this video, please note that any vinegar used in the rehydration process should not be raw. Raw vinegar contains its own bacteria and may compromise the kombucha culture. We recommend using white distilled vinegar in the rehydration solution. Apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, wine vinegar, or flavored vinegars can give less-than-optimal results.
Also please note that it is common for a new culture (baby) to NOT form in the rehydration batch, or even in the first couple of batches. You can successfully use the original culture to make additional batches of kombucha.
Prepare the Rehydration Solution
Equipment. Click here for more information on choosing the best brewing container, cover system, utensils and more.
Activating the Scoby
Do not disturb. It is important to allow the kombucha to ferment undisturbed. Moving the jar or otherwise disturbing the contents will not ruin the batch but does make it more difficult to observe the most common signs the process is proceeding normally.
Signs the Rehydration Process is Complete
Allow the scoby to rehydrate for 30 days.
A new scoby may or may not form on the surface of the liquid during the rehydration process. While development of a new scoby does indicate the rehydration process is complete, lack of a new scoby development does not indicate the process failed (see below). A new scoby will start out as a cloudy haze or film developing on the surface of the liquid. If left undisturbed, the haze will become less opaque and more white in color and will thicken over time. If the original scoby is floating in the liquid, a newly developing scoby may attach to the original scoby making it more difficult to identify whether a new scoby has developed.
Please note, development of a new scoby is not required for successful rehydration. If 30 days pass and a new baby scoby does not develop on the surface of the liquid, use the following criteria to determine whether rehydration has been successful:
Signs of Problems During Rehydration
While problems during rehydration are relatively uncommon, it is important to keep an eye out for these few signs that the process isn’t proceeding normally.
30 days pass with no signs of proper rehydration (see above). Click here for additional troubleshooting information. In a small number of cases, live cultures fail for unknown reasons. After reviewing the troubleshooting link, contact Customer Support for additional information to determine whether the culture is inactive and whether a replacement is needed.
Mold. If you are using appropriate varieties of water, tea, and sugar and adding the acidic component (starter tea or vinegar), the acidic nature of the brew makes it very uncommon for mold to develop. In fact, the most common cause of mold is forgetting an ingredient or using improper ingredient ratios that alter the acidic level of the brew. However unlikely, mold can and does occasionally develop and can generally be seen by the formation of white, green, orange, red, or black spots on the scoby or the surface of the liquid. If mold does develop, immediately toss the entire batch including the scoby. Do not try to salvage a moldy batch or a moldy scoby. Doing so may be dangerous to your health. Contact Customer Support for additional assistance.
Pests. The kombucha mixture is very attractive to ants and fruit flies which is why we recommend using a tight-weave cover and securing the cover with a tight rubber band to keep the invaders out. If you find worms (maggots) have infested your batch, this is a sign that fruit flies or house flies have invaded and laid their eggs. If this happens, immediately toss the entire batch including the scoby. Do not try to salvage an infested batch or an infested scoby. Doing so may be dangerous to your health. Contact Customer Support for further assistance.
Once your kombucha scoby has finished rehydrating it is time to use it to make your first batch of kombucha tea. You may drink, bottle, or discard the kombucha from the rehydration. (We recommend using vinegar again in the first batch after rehydration.) Click here to view our comprehensive instructions and how-to video for making kombucha.
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