Kombucha – A Well-Tried Potion Rediscovered
Frequently Asked Questions about the Kombucha Tea Fungus
Products and Shipping
Unlimited! Our Kombucha fungus continues to grow and propagates with no end. You may split and cultivate the SCOBY anew as often as you like. Our shipped Kombucha drink with SCOBY (mid-sized) is enough for producing 3 liters in the beginning. The beverage is ready after about 10-16 days of fermentation. As you can fully use this for your next batch, you may even produce nearly 20 liters now in the same time. With each batch, the possible amount almost increases by factor 7! (Assuming, of course, that you wouldn’t drink any of it – which is pretty unlikely ...) – All you need is just a small amount for takeoff. It is not about the quantity but the quality of the tea fungus. We assure you of that we only use fast-growing, high-quality Kombucha cultures and solely deliver appealing and thick SCOBYs (at least one centimeter thick)!
It is part of our philosophy to only use the very best ingredients. Our Kombucha drink is exclusively made with tea and sugar from organic farming – nothing else. It was therefore awarded the official “Bio” label according to the EG-OEKO-Regulation (eco control authority DE-OEKO-006 / ABCERT AG, Esslingen, Germany). All our full packages do also exclusively contain high quality tea and sugar from organic farming. The only exception is our Ginseng Kombucha where we have to use Ginseng roots from conventional farming. The “Bio” label does not apply to this product although very most of its ingredients still stem from certified organic farming. For our Quality Guarantee in full detail, please click here. You may also get all information about our products in our online shop.
We are Germany’s oldest supplier for the Kombucha tea fungus and do look back on more than 10 years of successful shipping experience by now. Our Kombucha cultures are being carefully packed for you just right in time at the date of dispatch. This additional effort guarantees for your culture being sealed no longer than absolutely necessary. The SCOBY is shipped in an already finished Kombucha drink serving as your initial culture medium and protection whilst transport at the same time. Shipping for several days does no harm. The Kombucha culture even continues fermentation in its container glass although there is no further oxygen supply! Please be advised to open and nurture the Kombucha anew right upon delivery. If that is not possible, then please just open the container glass and cover it with a breathable cloth – just as described on our Kombucha preparation page.
The Kombucha is hygienically and securely packed either in a Mason jar with screw top (for medium and large packaging units) or in a sealed and food-safe plastic bag (for the smallest packaging units). Both packages do not release any unwanted substances into the Kombucha and are guaranteed Bisphenol-A free. All shipments are protected well against shocks and come in a stable packet.
Of course, we will deliver replacement to you for free in any case of such damage.
Production and Use
On our dedicated Kombucha preparation page, we provide a short and easy starter’s guide for your first production of Kombucha as well as a detailed how-to manual with many useful tips and tricks. As a matter of course, every Kombucha Drink with SCOBY we ship comes with a detailed how-to manual in English language.
That is very easy to do. You may just carefully cut the SCOBY in half at any time with a knife for example. Even if you do not want to split it, you would have to throw the older slices of the tea fungus away by times because it would fill up the whole container after some time anyway. While the SCOBY is floating on top, it continues to grow on its surface. In some cases it hovers a few centimeters below the top and in this case a new SCOBY disc evolves automatically which you can use for further cultivation. To begin a completely new Kombucha drink (for reasons of splitting and or giving away to friends), you should wait until your SCOBY is at least 1 centimeter thick preferably.
Our team from Wellness-Drinks traditionally ships only neat and evenly thick grown SCOBYs. At first, some people are a bit disappointed when their very first “own” SCOBY does not fit the look of ours after two weeks of care. Well, it is not unusual for the SCOBY to sink down to the bottom when being put in a new culture medium. In any case, if the SCOBY floats on top or sinks down and comes back up, the newly developed layer is only loosely connected to its parent. Yet, many Kombucha fans favor a nice and thick, uniform SCOBY with a single layer overall.
If you want to have a new thick SCOBY once in a while, it is good to leave the Kombucha at work for a bit longer (and do not move it around of course). In case you do not want to forgo on your delicious drink during that time, you may cultivate a little offspring in another glass for your purposes. You will actually see that the SCOBY gradually grows faster then. After 4-5 weeks, your SCOBY will be nicely thick and your Kombucha drink very sour which you then may use as vinegar, for a new cultivation or a thinned drink. This also does the culture quite good because the strong acidification frees it from other intruding germs or pollutants to a great extent.
In winter, it is enough to thoroughly clean the fermentation container every 4-6 weeks (please rinse it off with hot water all over). In summer, you should do that about every 3-4 weeks, and over time, you will figure out yourself when it is the right time for cleaning by the amount of brown yeast particles at the bottom of the glass. If there is no need for cleaning, you may leave a rest of about 15-20 percent of the finished Kombucha drink in your glass and add some sweetened, cooled tea. Then take out the SCOBY and cleanse the brown colored areas with cold or lukewarm water.
The SCOBY may either float or sink, both is fine. If it sinks, a new disc develops pretty fast and in many cases the older SCOBY comes back up again and joins its new companion usually after a few days.
First of all do not panic! It shows that your SCOBY is perfectly healthy and it only bulges upwards because there has developed some gas underneath. The chemical reactions lead to the formation of carbon dioxide which is then sometimes enclosed in small vesicles. This happens especially in summer when your SCOBY grows very quickly. Some bubbles at the edges are to no harm but you have to make sure that your SCOBY is not hovering on too many bubbles thus loosing contact to the tea. Without the tea, it possibly runs dry and subsequently dies – please prick the bubbles. Sometimes it is enough to move the glass a bit or to stir around the SCOBY once with a plastic spoon in order to free the gas from the tea.
The culture is healthy as long as your SCOBY continues to grow (meaning that a new layer of skin forms up on top after some days). A fresh and sourly smell as of vinegar is also an unmistakable sign for that the bacteria have started their work – it might take a bit longer in winter though. Something is wrong when there is no new layer of skin coming up, the culture smells musty or when moldiness occurs (greenish or bluish “fur” on your SCOBY is a bad sign).
The SCOBY is very resistant. Scientists are amazed and regularly report how effectively the culture fights off hostile bacteria and spores. To defend itself, the SCOBY produces acids and antibiotic substances making other security measures completely needless.
We have no concerns to produce Kombucha the old traditional way as it has been done for generations. It is regular food and has also not been produced in sterile laboratories in former times but in normal Russian and Asian households. It is speaking for itself that these households would never even come close to today’s hygienic standards of our kitchens.
If you handle your Kombucha with care, you can produce a clean, wholesome and effective Kombucha drink yourself. The SCOBY will grow and may become your friend for a lifetime. You will find further tips and tricks for a good hygienic handling on our dedicated page about preparation.
Mold infection is very rare in Kombucha. If it does happen, it is mostly due to the following:
- -Bad balance of SCOBY size and culture medium in your new batch. You should never go below 15 % and sometimes it is even better to have a bigger SCOBY and some more culture medium with about 20-25 %; especially when the new SCOBY has not yet properly established itself.
- The tea for your new batch is too hot. It is best to let the tea cool down to room temperature and if in doubt, to give it an hour more time before adding.
- Cigarette smoke, cooking fumes (fat particles in the air) and sources of mold (bread, fruits, cheese) close to the culture do quickly lead to contamination and should consequently be avoided.
- Kombucha does not like experiments with honey (instead of sugar) or teas with essential oils and artificial flavors. If you want to try something new, you can do so with a small offspring of your existing and trained SCOBY. This way, you always have a backup just in case an experiment goes wrong.
Our Kombucha starter-kit (medium packaging unit) is sufficient for producing 3 liters of Kombucha in the beginning. But if the Kombucha has to adjust to special water values or similar factors in your home, it might be better to start with less (e.g. 2 liters). You can still level up again starting with your second batch. Furthermore, it is also a good idea to add 1-2 TBSP of (white) vinegar to your starter batch in order to be on the safe side with the cultivation of your new SCOBY. The first drink may taste a bit sour then but secures and comforts the SCOBY for good. Please read our article “Kombucha and pH-Values”[GERMAN PAGE] to learn more about the subject matter and how to ensure a successful acidification of your Kombucha as well.
Mold on a SCOBY is very rare! The tea fungus fights off all other microorganisms with its acid environment very successfully.
First of all you should make sure that it is really mold. In the beginning, often small vesicles occur within the SCOBY and you see little “craters” or irregularities. These are all harmless! Genuine mold is usually greenish or bluish and develops some well visible fine hair.
If it is really mold, you should not take any risk and throw away the whole Kombucha batch in any case. Then you can try to give the SCOBY a thorough wash and to clean it off with vinegar afterwards. Put the SCOBY back in the fermentation container (which you also have cleaned very carefully) and start all over. Additionally, please add 3-5 TBSP of vinegar per liter of tea to get an extra sour environment. If your SCOBY keeps growing without any new mold, you may use the culture again. But still: if mold occurs, we recommend using a completely new SCOBY.
A very young and newly cultivated SCOBY should be kept in a smoke-free room whereas a healthy and strong SCOBY which has grown considerably may tolerate smoking to a great extent. Howsoever, please keep your SCOBY away from smoking areas as far as possible.
Yes, that is quite easy and simple. Our Ginseng-Kombucha is being nurtured in a special Ginseng culture medium and grows utterly well. Over the years, it was conditioned with the extra ingredient and has adapted accordingly. This culture medium is not made of commercially available Ginseng tea which usually contains only very few traces of Ginseng. We gave it a mix of tea with true Ginseng meaning 3 g of genuine Ginseng per liter. This is also the amount you may add at home (please see our Ginseng-Kombucha page).
Bottled, pasteurized Kombucha from the supermarket has nothing much to do with genuine Kombucha. Just think of fresh fruit juices in comparison to what you can buy in TetrapakTM – it is a huge difference in taste and quality. The fermentation process is being stopped for supermarket Kombucha as soon as it gets bottled. Hereby, almost all probiotic features get lost because the yeasts and acid bacteria contained die very soon. Genuine Kombucha would need to continue its fermentation in the bottle but may therefore not be offered in stores because it already becomes inedible vinegar after about two weeks.
For variety in taste, you may experiment a little bit in terms of fermentation time, types of sugar and tea used for cultivation, and also with the utilized amount of tea. You can also mix your Kombucha with fruit juices or mineral water. Our Kombucha recipe pages provide many tips and tricks for rich and tasteful flavors in your cup.
You may enjoy the Kombucha for another 4-6 weeks when stored cool in your fridge. Your Kombucha still continues fermentation but on a low scale and therefore the taste gets sour only very slowly. It is easier to consume the whole batch until fresh Kombucha is ready again after 10-16 days. By the way, a second fermentation of the Kombucha in your fridge makes it even more aromatic and sparkling!
f you plan holidays for 2-3 weeks: Simply add your SCOBY to a new culture medium and keep it in a warm place. Make sure that your SCOBY has a little bit more room on top of the tea and just use a smaller amount of tea in your glass than usually. This reduces the risk for your SCOBY being pushed out of the tea by the carbon dioxide where it would dry out while you are not at home. After your vacation you will then have a delicious Kombucha drink. Your SCOBY will also survive longer vacations. It will have produced a tasty Kombucha vinegar when you return home after a longer trip for more than three weeks. It only gets critical when you leave home for more than 8 weeks. In this case, your SCOBY needs to be nourished anew urgently.
Note: All information and tips on our website have been selected and verified by us with great care. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee for the currency, completeness and validity of the given data. We assume no liability for any damage and or accidents.
When following our recommendations, tips, and notes, please also use your own personal judgment and experience in the proper and safe handling of food.