Kombucha Troubleshooting FAQ


If you are activating/rehydrating your kombucha scoby and have run into issues, click here for comprehensive troubleshooting advice for scoby activation.


Q. Where can I view the instructions for making kombucha?

A. Click here to view the kombucha instructions.

Q. What signs should I look for to determine the kombucha is culturing properly?

A. For the initial activation batch using a dehydrated culture, there may be no visible signs of culturing. The best way to check on the progress of your brew is to test aroma and flavor.

When using a mature scoby, you may notice

  • The liquid lightens in color and turns cloudy
  • A haze or baby scoby forms on top of the liquid
  • The aroma and flavor are more vinegary and less sweet.

Q. I'm brewing my first batch of kombucha using the dehydrated culture. It doesn't seem to be doing anything. How can I know if it's working properly?

A. The best way to check on the progress of your brew is to test aroma and flavor. As it cultures, the kombucha should develop a rich, vinegary flavor and a pleasant but sour aroma. Click here for troubleshooting information specific to activating a dehydrated kombucha scoby.

Q. Why would I need to strain the finished kombucha?

A. Most people will strain their kombucha tea prior to drinking it to filter out the yeast particles (brown and stringy) as well as any baby kombucha cultures that may be forming (often the consistency of a jelly blob). Click here to view our plastic mesh strainers which are perfect for this task.

Q. My kombucha has been fermenting for a period of time and is developing a cloudy layer on top. Is this normal?

A. Yes. The cloudy white layer is the beginning of a new baby kombucha culture. The formation of a new culture is a sign that your batch of kombucha is fermenting properly. 

Q. My kombucha has been fermenting for a period of time and is developing brown stringy particles. Is this normal?

A. The brown stringy particles are yeast particles and are harmless. They are a natural byproduct of the fermentation process. You can strain them out of the finished kefir if desired.

Q. My kombucha culture sank to the bottom of my container, is floating sideways, rose to the top of the liquid, etc. Is this normal?

A. Depending on a number of factors (including humidity), the culture may sink, float, or sit sideways. Any of these is normal and will not effect the brewing process.

Q. The new baby kombucha culture seems to have detached from the container opening. Will this mess up the fermentation process?

A. Having the baby culture detach from the container opening is common if the jar is bumped or moved. It does not effect the fermentation process.  If you continue the culturing process, a new baby culture will begin to form on top of the liquid but again, does not affect the culturing process itself (i.e., a longer culturing process isn't necessary unless you are specifically trying to grow a new culture of a certain size).

Q. I've been storing a batch of finished kombucha for a few days and it seems to be developing a jelly-type mass on top. Is this normal? What is it?

A. The jelly-type mass is the beginning of a new baby kombucha culture. Even after the main kombucha culture is removed, the kombucha remains full of living yeast and bacteria which continue to ferment slowly on their own. Consequently idle kombucha will eventually form a new baby culture.  

Q. One of my kombucha cultures has a hole in it or is only a piece because I had to separate it from the mother culture after they fused.  Can I still use it?

A. Kombucha cultures will work just fine even with holes or if they have been torn in half. 

Q. Does the size of the kombucha culture matter in relation to how much kombucha I will be brewing?

A. No, even a small kombucha culture will effectively ferment a full gallon of kombucha. We do recommend using a culture that is at least 3 inches in diameter.

Q. My batch of kombucha has developed mold. What can I do?

A. Once mold has developed, it is very important to toss the whole batch, including the kombucha scoby. Please contact Customer Support if mold develops.

Q. My kombucha culture has turned black. What should I do?

A. A black scoby is a sign of a kombucha culture that has been contaminated or is worn out (takes a long time and many batches to do this). If your kombucha culture turns black, it should be retired to the compost bin. Turning black is not to be confused with developing brown or slightly discolored patches. Yeast build-up will result in brown spots or stringy particles attaching to the scoby and is a normal byproduct of the fermentation process.

Q. I've been brewing kombucha for awhile and am overrun with kombucha scobys. What can I do with them?

A. Click here for some creative ideas for using the extra scobys. 

Click here to view more Kombucha FAQs

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