What Does a Healthy Scoby Look Like?


At Cultures for Health, we are often contacted by customers who are worried about the health of their kombucha cultures. While it is possible for a scoby to become contaminated by mold or insects, or to die, in most cases a scoby is quite robust, and will maintain its health for years.

Since a scoby is an accumulation of bacteria and yeast, the appearance can differ quite a bit from one culture to another. We took some photos of healthy scobys that our staff are using to make their own kombucha, and also asked customers to submit pictures of their prettiest (and ugliest!) kombucha cultures.

Here are a few healthy scobys outside of the brewing solution. Notice that some are smooth, some are lumpy or have holes in them, and some are ragged and mis-shapen. All these scobys are culturing quality kombucha and producing scoby babies.

scoby   scoby


scoby   scoby   scoby

A scoby in the brewing solution can sink, float, or hover. Often it will produce strings of yeast that hang down into the solution.

scoby   scoby   Good Scoby

scoby   scoby

A new, developing scoby (baby) will expand to fill the surface of the brewing container. It can be smooth or lumpy, and even have dry patches.

scoby   scoby   scoby

scoby   scoby   scoby

A moldy or dead scoby is quite distinctive, and there is no mistaking it when you see it. The mold will be white or colorful, and fuzzy. It can appear as spots on the scoby, or cover the scoby altogether. A dead scoby will be black.

scoby   scoby   scoby

scoby   scoby

If the appearance of your scoby has you worried, compare it to these pictures. There are many additional variations in size, color, texture, and shape, but even the oddest-looking scoby is capable of making good kombucha. If you need help assessing the health of your scoby, please contact our customer support staff who will be happy to assist you. 

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