General Kombucha & SCOBY Questions

Can I use any type of tea to make my kombucha?

No, it needs to be real tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. The easiest tea to produce a quality kombucha is a organic black tea, so that no pesticide residue will interfere with the SCOBY.

For the details on which tea to use – please read through this article ‘What to know before starting your own Homemade Kombucha’ and the Homemade Kombucha instructions.

Should I use white or brown sugar to make my kombucha?

The best sugar for the health of the SCOBY is white sugar and the next best option is organic evaporated cane crystals. Brown sugar has a high molasses content which will produce a poor quality kombucha brew.

For the details on which sugar to use – please read through this article ‘What to know before starting your own Homemade Kombucha’ and the Homemade Kombucha instructions.

Are the SCOBYs reusable?

Yes, provided they are healthy. If you follow these instructions you will be able to reuse the SCOBY many times over.

What equipment should I use to handle my SCOBY and how do I prepare everything?

This is very important – please read through this article.

Can I cut my SCOBY in half?

Theoretically, half of a SCOBY will still ferment the sweet tea into kombucha. However, if you are going to cut the SCOBY please do not use metal, and please avoid contaminating the SCOBY with other bacterial strains.

For more information, read this article.

My SCOBY is a lot bigger than my container. Does it matter?

No, the SCOBY will be fine (within reason). If you prepare your kombucha properly a new SCOBY will form on the surface that matches the size and shape of the container.

How will I know when my kombucha is done?

Normally the kombucha will be ready after about two weeks if everything was done correctly. The obvious signs are a new SCOBY on the top of the liquid, a tart, acidic taste and a low pH.For more information read through our instructions here.

Can I add flavours while brewing my kombucha?

No – you can flavour kombucha after the first fermentation cycle is complete and the liquid has been removed from the SCOBY.

The SCOBY can be contaminated and be harmed or die if you add flavouring while it is still brewing.

Can I drink kombucha while pregnant or nursing

Kombucha can contain a very low alcohol content (<1%) so we would generally recommend to avoid it whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. Some people claim that the probiotics, organic acids and vitamins offset any potential risk caused by these very low levels of alcohol. Keep in mind this is a controversial topic, and we are not medical professionals. Instead we recommend that you consult with your doctor to see what they have to say about it.

What do I do with my SCOBY once I have finished with it?

Normally people will harvest their fresh kombucha and then prepare a new batch of sweet tea to feed the SCOBY. A SCOBY will last a very long time if it is looked after properly.

Can I add flavours while brewing my kombucha?

No – you can flavour kombucha after the first fermentation cycle is complete and the liquid has been removed from the SCOBY.The SCOBY can be contaminated and be harmed or die if you add flavouring while it is still brewing.

Once the batch is ready, harvest the kombucha and add any flavours you want.

What do I do with my SCOBY if I am going away or want to take a break from brewing?

A SCOBY can survive for at least four weeks without any fresh sugar to feed the culture. Most experienced brewers will make something called a SCOBY hotel to leave their SCOBY for extended periods of time.Essentially this is a large jar, stacked with SCOBYs and a 50/50 mix of kombucha tea and fresh sweet tea. Leave the jar in a dark, cool place for the SCOBYs to slowly ferment the sweet tea.

After about six weeks it is a good idea to clean up any excess yeast strands and then replenish the sweet tea.

Can I drink any of the tea my SCOBY comes in?

The tea and SCOBY are not for human consumption straight out of the package.

The entire contents of the tea needs to be used for your initial brew to give your SCOBY the best chance of creating quality Kombucha. The tea inside the vacuum packaged pocket will also be very acidic on its own.

About My Order

After receiving my SCOBY, how long can I wait before I start my first ferment?

A SCOBY needs oxygen to survive, it should be immediately opened up from the packaging and used as soon as possible.

If you cannot make your kombucha brew straight away, it will be ok to leave the SCOBY in a clean jar with the starter liquid and a cotton cloth over the top to keep dust and insects out.

How can I store my SCOBY prior to my first ferment?

If you cannot make your first kombucha batch after receiving the SCOBY, it is best to leave the SCOBY in a clean jar with the starter liquid and a cotton cloth over the top to keep dust and insects out. It will be ok like this for a few days until you are ready to start brewing.

Why does a green tea SCOBY cost more than a black tea SCOBY?

Many people prefer the lighter, delicate taste of a green tea kombucha brew. However, a quality Green tea SCOBY is harder to produce than a black tea SCOBY. The price of the green tea SCOBY reflects the extra effort required.

Can I use a black tea SCOBY to make a green tea kombucha or vice versa?

Normally yes, however the strains of bacteria and yeast in the SCOBY will have become acclimatised to a certain balance of nutrients found in either black or green tea.

Changing the tea base may stress the SCOBY, triggering a change in the flavour for the first batch or two. If you want to switch to a green or black tea, brew gradually by mixing in a different ratio of the teas over a few kombucha batches.

Where can I find out the steps for making my first kombucha?

We have prepared a detailed set of instructions here and another article called ‘What to know before starting your own Homemade Kombucha’ which you will also find helpful.

How are the kombucha SCOBYs transported?

We ship all orders using Australia Post.

Our products are packaged into boxes, using either recycled cardboard, paper or plastics or FSC certified paper/cardboard for padding. We aim to limit our plastic waste as much as possible and encourage our customers to reuse or recycle the packaging materials.

How are the kombucha SCOBYs packaged?

To ensure no contamination of the scoby we vacuum pack them in food grade nylon pockets which are BPA free.

How long will it take to get my SCOBY?

Once we have received payment we will aim to dispatch your products between 2 and 10 working days. We only send out SCOBYs that are freshly grown – which means the delivery time will depend on when you placed your order relative to the brewing cycles.

In some cases you will receive your order in only a couple of days – we will always keep you updated of when your order is packaged and dispatched.

Delivery times will also depend on where you are located in Australia – for Victorian orders expected 1-3 days for shipping. This may be longer for interstate orders.

Kombucha Troubleshooting

My SCOBY is not staying at the top of the liquid. Is this normal?

This is a pretty normal thing. Even if your SCOBY is not floating it will still brew into kombucha – eventually forming a new film and baby SCOBY on the surface of the liquid.

What should my culturing kombucha look like?

At first it will just look like tea, with a SCOBY floating in it and then as time progresses you will notice a thin film appearing on the surface of the liquid. This is the start of the baby SCOBY.

It is perfectly normal for ‘strings’ and ‘blogs’ to appear in the liquid – these are usually related to the yeast found in the SCOBY.

The film on the liquid surface is the baby SCOBY starting to form.

What should my SCOBY look like when the kombucha is finished?

SCOBYs can vary in size, shape and colour depending on the shape of the container and the type of tea and sugar used. If you have followed the instructions then it is likely your SCOBY will be perfectly fine – even if it does look a bit strange. A bad SCOBY will smell and look mouldy or black/rotten. If this has happened your brew is not safe, please throw it out, get a new SCOBY and start again, carefully following the instructions.

These are some examples of the physical variations you can see in a normal SCOBY.

It has been a couple of weeks since starting my first kombucha batch. How do I know it is brewing properly?

Normally the kombucha will be ready after about two weeks if everything was done correctly. The obvious signs are a new SCOBY on the top of the liquid, a tart, acidic taste and a low pH.

For more information read through this article.

My kombucha SCOBY has brown strings coming off it. Is this normal?

Yes, these are related to the yeast strains found in the culture. These are harmless, although most people prefer to strain them out of the kombucha using a kombucha-safe strainer before drinking.


You can see the yeast strings coming off the mother SCOBY with the baby SCOBY formed on the surface. These strings and blobs are normally a light to dark brown colour.

My kombucha is extremely vinegary. What have I done wrong?

This might have been caused by a number of things – the most common is that the wrong type of sugar was used, or that the temperature was too warm.

Please read through this article, follow these instructions carefully and your next batch should taste much nicer.

My SCOBY have developed holes and rips in it. Can I still use it?

Yes, this is a relatively common occurrence. Usually a SCOBY will get holes in it when separating the ‘mother’ and ‘baby’ SCOBY. This will not harm the SCOBY or the quality of the kombucha as long as it hasn’t been damaged by contact with metal utensils.For more information on avoiding metals please read through this article.

There appears to be mould on my SCOBY. Can I still use it?

No – attempting to use a contaminated SCOBY is potentially dangerous. If there is obvious mould or the brew smells bad it is contaminated and should not be used. Please dispose of the batch, sterilise all containers and utensils, and then purchase a new SCOBY to start again.