Kombucha pictures FAQ's and info Page
All my kombucha cultures are grown in a smoke free home.
I only clean my home with non-toxic natural cleaners
Fermenting K-Tea with a baby culture
This page has many pictures of the normal brewing, growing & fermentation stages of a growing baby kombucha culture & kombucha tea.
S-C-O-B-Y=Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeasts.
With the pictures below I use days 1 to 10 to show the growth of the baby kombucha culture, Each batch is different & can be off by 2 to 3 days due to temps or other factors.
Sometimes the first batch you ferment after getting a culture in the mail may not go like the pictures until the 2nd batch,The first batch in some cases moves much slower.
In warm weather you may notice your baby forms really fast,& will look like it should by day 4 or 5,This is not a indication that the tea is done. So the days I have listed are for reference only,These pictures are basically for you to see what a baby looks like at different stages(So you will know the baby is not mold & how a growing baby kombucha culture looks).
Keep reading for pictures of what kombucha cultures & K-tea may look like, on the 1st batch, during cooler temps & when the PH of the K-tea is out of balance.(*See thin,blotchy or odd baby kombucha culture pictures down near the middle of this page)
Your 1st batch most likely will go normal as most do, a few don't go perfect.By buyer feedback 1 out of 10 of my buyers the 1st batch does not go totally perfect (this in no way means the batch went wrong), I do help any way I can, And so far most everything went more normal by the 2nd batch.Some buyers have emailed me pictures when things don't go just the way they thought they should, These pictures can be found by clicking the link on the top of this page that says: "Buyers Q&A picture help page"
This is a picture overview of day 1 to 10 of the growth of the baby kombucha culture & Kombucha tea fermenting cycle. 90% of what beginner kombucha makers think is mold is just the newly forming baby culture, as it starts to grow across the top of the tea. Or they confuse the yeast cells & tea tannins with mold.
Below pictures of days 1 to 4
The pictured young kombucha culture floating is now a mother kombucha culture after being added to the sweet tea.This is the 1st day & the kombucha culture (like I sell) has been placed in the sweet tea,it is floating on the surface inside the jar. (it may sink to the bottom or hang sideways this is OK, It really makes no differnce if it floats or sinks) The baby culture will form above the original culture (mother) & will cover the surface of the tea to the size & shape of the jar.
At day 2 to 3 is when the clear layer of the new baby kombucha culture might start forming across the top of the sweet tea.Some bubbles may be visible,You can still see the original culture floating just under the thin layer(not all cultures will stay at the top under the new baby, This is normal).The thin baby in this picture, is also very similar to the thin baby some buyers get at days 8-10 on their first batch after getting the kombucha mailed to them.
This is at around day 4,see how the baby grows across the surface of the tea to the size and shape of the jar.The small gas bubble can be seen just under the thin baby (notice that in this picture the original/mother culture is not at the top, It is unseen & might be on the bottom,This is fine). The baby is starting to not be so clear & be more cream in color. On a 1st batch & cooler times of the year this might be as thick as your baby culture will get. You may also at this stage notice how the thin layer of the culture is becoming more formed
Below days 2 to 4
None of the below pictures are mold, & all are healthy baby kombucha cultures.
Here we see the K-tea at day 2 to 3 with the clear baby culture forming across the whole surface of the tea, The fermentation bubbles are present in this batch as well as yeast cells (the darker spots) Some babys will stay clear.(in this picture you can make out the original culture a few inches below the baby culture, It is somewhere in the middle of the jar,This is fine.)
This picture shows the gas bubbles just under the thin layer of the forming baby culture around day 3 (in this picture you can see that the orginal culture is hanging sideways below the baby,this is fine)
This picture shows the forming baby culture with no yeast cells,at day 3 to 4. This is normal as well. The baby culture is just starting to show some color, Still a little clear but has some cream color, & it is still thin.As long as your tea at least grows 1 of these thin baby kombucha cultures,your tea is healthy & good to drink
Below days 3 to 5
Again none of these pictures are mold
Sometimes your baby culture will be more patchy or thicker on 1 side as it forms like the picture here, This is a healthy baby culture around days 3 or 4 & is a patchy culture with few yeast cells.(Patchy baby cultures can happen on your first batch & during cooler weather)
This batch is around day 4 the baby is a thin clear layer with fermentation foam/bubbles (this is also normal, Just let the batch finish fermenting)The original or Mother culture is very close to the surface and can be seen well in this picture.Also visible are the dark spots that are yeast cells.The second picture is a close-up of the thin baby.Do not ever worry about where the original culture stays in the jar,Some float,some sink,some hang in the middle or even sideways,Sometimes they may move slowly up or down during the fermentation.
Here is a picture that shows the clumps of yeast cells/tea tannins (slime strings) very well. I disturbed the baby in this batch so I could take the picture, The baby is 4 days into fermentation & I flipped 1 side up to show the K-tea,yeast cells/tea tannins & original culture under it. These clumps are often called "slime strings" or clumps & are the clumps many buyers ask about. The "slime strings" can get caught in the forming baby,& are often attached to the bottom of the original culture &/or baby culture. Slime strings can be anywhere in the fermenting tea. The amount per batch can be in varying amounts with 1 batch having so many that the tea looks sludgy, to the next batch having little to none, Either way is fine. If you have them in your tea just strain them out before drinking,K-tea as it sits in the fridge will also form these more in the clump form. When getting your starter tea out of a batch these "slime strings" or clumps are a great addition to the starter tea to get your next batch going. A lot of new kombucha makers confuse these "slime strings" or clumps as mold, They are not mold & all is normal. K-tea is a living tea & slime strings are a part of the normal process. These "slime strings" can range from a clear,light brown(shown) to a dark brownish/black (Sometimes when these look more like clumps they might even look like a small jellyfish being more of a clear mass & slimy jell like)
Days 4 to 5,Notice how the baby culture is a little more formed and looks kinda cloudy as it starts to look more more normal. (yeast cells are common in the fermenting tea, but do not always happen.Pictures a close-up & from top of jar. This yeast cells are just under the forming baby, but can happen anywhere.& the yeast cells can even get caught in the layers of the forming baby kombucha culture.
Below Days 3 to 5
Here we see a more formed baby kombucha cultures with fermentation bubbles coming up over & around the edges.(Pictures from side & from top) Sometimes there will be so many bubbles it will look like beer foam. It is still healthy,In the 1st picture you can see that the original/mother culture is just under the baby culture,It may even be attached,this is fine. In these cases the baby when done may need to be pulled loose from the mother.
Below days 4 to 8
Here is day 4 to 6 in the fermentation process notice the defined young culture on the top, And the fermentation bubbles.
At day 7 & you can see the original culture (mother) near the bottom & the still forming baby culture at the top, The baby is now in most cases a nice creamy color.This one is a little thin but still well formed.(the mother near the bottom in this picture is fine)
Here is day 8 ,It has no visible fermentation bubbles,This is OK. Some batches due to temps or other factors may have less fizz than other batches. The tea is still good.
Below days 5 to 10
I use all size jars to ferment my K-tea batches in, I just prepare a gallon of sweet tea & add some starter tea to each jar then divide sweet tea & a culture to each jar & I am ready to go. Also notice how the new baby cultures are on the surface of the tea,& notice how the older (mother) cultures,Some are floating,Some hang sideways & others are on the bottom, All are OK. The pictures are with all my sizes of jars.(in the above pictures I set the jars near a window to make it better to see them,Kombucha prefers darkness & should not be fermented in direct sunlight.)
Here we see an example of my system for making multiple batches with my fermenting jars of K-tea. A dark cupboard or closet work great to keep your fermenting batches in.
I also get different size & shaped cultures since the new baby culture will grow to the size & shape of the jar as seen here. These are all new baby cultures harvested after 8 to 10 days of forming in the above jars.They are ready to ferment a batch of K-tea. They range in color from a creamy off white to a creamy peach/orange.
~Blotchy,thin or odd formed baby cultures
If you need pictures of mold that can grow on kombucha cultures & tea I can email them to you None of the pictures on this page are unhealthy kombucha scobys
Pictures are all past day 4 (click pictures to enlarge)
These are baby/newly formed kombucha cultures that are still OK, This is what can happen after a culture has been mailed.So your first couple batches your baby can possibly look like these, Thin & blotchy.If you get thin or blotchy baby kombucha cultures on your first batch,the culture will still look like this the rest of the fermentation no matter how many days you go.Not all first batches will look like these, but a few will. Cultures can also look like this on any batches due to cooler temps, & this can happen when the PH is out of balance,or from using a low quality tea, or using a chlorine water source.
Here is a clear thin baby kombucha culture past day 4.It also has thicker section that is more formed but bubbly.Your first batch may look like this even at day 8-10, Due to the culture going into shock during mailing. It is still OK just add the thin baby in the batch with the mother culture for the 2nd batch.
Here we see a odd formed baby kombucha culture. It has a few fermentation bubble holes,& it appears to have been disturbed during the fermentation,causing it to break free from the edges of the jar.It is still fine,& a very thin clear baby culture may form above it,This is becayse anytime sweet tea gets above a kombucha culture it becomes a mother culture.
More K-tea info & pictures
Pictures below days 1 & 8
Not all k-tea batches will the fermenting sweet tea change color. Some will get lighter some will stay darker to med in color.It really depends on amount of tea used, brand of tea,type of sugar & how long fermented
Below is a small kombucha culture on a plate & another larger kombucha fermenting tea in a jar.
(Jars are sitting near a window for the picture only, Kombucha needs to be fermented out of direct sunlight & prefers darkness.)
Tea fermentation day 1 Tea fermentation day 8
Kombucha tea Carbonation,fizz,foam & bubbles
When you pour fermented K-tea (kombucha tea) in a glass it may fizz or bubble, Similar to beer foam.Some batches have more carbonation(CO2)/fizz/bubbles than other batches, This is normal. The temperature, & the length of time you ferment your K-tea can cause differences in the amount of fizz/foam/bubbles. Some batches will have no visible bubbles. This is also OK.(all 3 pictures below were taken just after the tea was poured into the glass)(pictures can be clicked to enlarge)
After 8 days of fermentation.
close up of after 12 days of fermentation.
after 12 days of fermentation
Please read: I keep getting questions from my buyers about info they have read stating that it is safe to touch fermented kombucha tea or a kombucha culture with stainless or other metals for brief periods. I personally would never touch either with any metal including stainless for even a second. My experience is any metal touching the tea or cultures causes an immediate reaction from cloudy tea to black spots on the cultures even black residue on the tea.(the black I am talking about is more of a residue not the dark brownish/blackish slime that is normal) This black when it comes into contact with your skin will stain it and is very hard to wash off, So in no way would I want to drink the fermented K-tea that has been touched with metal, or drink K-tea that had a culture in it that had been in contact with metal. Again I Strongly stress, Never touch K-tea or the cultures with any metal, Including Strainers,utensils,lids,jewelry or Pots. The only time you can use metal(stainless Pot & spoon)in the process of kombucha is when making the sweet tea.
A Kombucha /Manchurian culture makes a natural health tea
"Immune building life-tea"
What is a kombucha culture/mushroom?
"It isn’t really a fungus, nor a seaweed nor a mushroom"
Kombucha is a living immune health drink made by fermenting sweet tea with the kombucha culture. The result of the taste being between apple cider & tart champagne, depending on what kind of tea you use, & length of time fermented.
"The kombucha scoby"
The kombucha culture looks like a beige/creamy or off white to a creamy peach rubbery pancake. It's often called a 'scoby' which stands for "Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeasts".The culture is placed in sweetened black or green tea & turns a jar of sweet tea into a jar of vitamins, minerals, enzymes & health-giving organic acids.
"Kombucha & our health"
Many health claims are made about drinking & using kombucha tea (K-tea). It has been shown to have many antibiotic, antiviral & anti fungal properties in lab tests. There is a lot of experiential evidence from people who have been using K-tea over many years. Many of the benefits reported include improvements in energy levels, metabolic disorders, allergies, cancer, digestive problems, candidiasis, hypertension, HIV, chronic fatigue & arthritis. It ‘s also used externally for skin problems,& as a hair rinse.
The kombucha culture is not really a mushroom as it is sometimes called, but rather a symbiosis of yeast and bacteria, That need each other, that benefit from each other & that protect each other.
The kombucha culture is a tough, smooth slippery, glassy mass which forms lamellae. These lamellae are composed of translucent, very tough tissue with a series of brown slime spots at the bottom & in the tea, These turn out to be a concentration of yeast cells.
K-tea has been known for over 2500 years.
Kombucha lovers & drinkers have claimed a massive list of ailments & sicknesses which have been helped or cured by drinking Kombucha tea on a regular basis.
It costs almost nothing, if you make the tea yourself.
Each batch you make grows a new culture/scoby (mushroom), sometimes separate, sometimes as another layer on the original culture (Just peel them apart). the baby culture will grow across the top of the fermenting tea to the size & shape of the jar, you then have two cultures & can ferment two batches next time.
You can give extras cultures away to family & friends or keep them to use yourself.
The kombucha culture will continue to propagate itself for a lifetime if taken care of.
Kombucha works with your body to boost your immune system, To fight sickness & disease as well as bring a healthy balance back to your metabolism.
Some more info on K-Tea & Cultures
Newer ~& experienced~ kombucha tea (K-tea) makers often have questions & problems with a consistent taste & results of the fermentation. Sometimes the first couple of batches are almost perfect & then the next batches might not go just right,or you may start off going a little wrong then your batches go off without a hitch.(this can also happen as the seasons change & from other factors.)
This mainly happens because of the several different strains of yeasts & bacterias that are involved in the fermenting of K-tea. When one is out of balance the taste & results of the batch can change drastically.
This is not all bad, because slight differences in balance can achieve a large range of tastes without effecting the quality of the K-tea or cultures.
Questions & info~
(Below all references to Fizz included Carbonation(CO2),bubbles,foam & fizz)
I have No Fizz: The amount of Fizz in K-Tea has almost no effect on the quality or the end results of each fermented batch.The presence of fizz or the lack of fizz, in no way shows that the fermentation went right or wrong. If you're getting good baby cultures but no fizz, Then all is still OK.
What should I expect from a batch of K-tea after fermentation? After 3 or 4 batches have fermented you may get more fizz. It can happen on the first batch but this can be effected by rather it went into shock during mailing, or by the way you cared for the culture before starting a batch.
A average fermented K-tea will produce a fair amount of fizz when you pour it into a glass,Like beer foam or soda fizz . Normally the bubbles will be barely noticeable when drinking from a fresh batch of K-tea. It will develop more fizz in the fridge after a few days in most cases.
Many times beginner K-tea makers will get flat K-tea at first because the balance needs to get established in your own batches to produce good fizz. It should show up after several batches of fermenting.
A few things to remember: To little or to much sugar,the wrong or weak teas,the type of tea & the temperature can all affect fizz & the quality of the baby culture.
If your batches are still sweet at 8 to 10 days, go longer until they're more tart or to your liking.Many ferment up to 30 days depending on the taste they want.
To Promote fizz: Use starter tea from the bottom of the last batch (with all the brown slime strings &/or sludge in it),or use double the starter tea until the fizz begins to show up in your batches.You can also age your starter tea by putting it in a glass jar & sealing it then place on the counter for 1 or 2 days before using it.
If you've been using only black tea, try green tea, it is better for fizz but you may want to mix it with black for your preferred taste( say 3 green tea bags to 1 black tea bag) White,Green & Black teas are all the same tea in different stages of growth/process, With black tea having the highest caffeine content & white tea having the lowest, Green tea has the mid range of caffeine content
Get the temperature up to around a steady 78-80 degrees.
So what can you do to decrease fizz:To much fizz is usually means you have k-tea that is souring sooner than it should, & this can cause badly formed baby cultures. This happens more in the warmer months but can happen anytime. You can increase the sugar amount by 1 TBS per QT of K-tea. Or decrease the amount of tea bags by 1 bag per QT. Ferment at a lower temperature (72 -76 degrees)
I have clody tea: The K-tea will be cloudy sometimes for no reason at all, It will not hurt the tea.
Why all this slime ?: K-tea can come out slimy/syrupy & other batches will be clear & light. Water can sometimes be the main cause of this happening.But slime strings & clumps are common in K-tea.
Be sure you use a good water source with no contaminates or chlorine.
The baby culture seems to be forming to slow: This happens sometimes, But as long as the K-tea grew at least a thin baby on the top, all is OK. Here are some of the causes of slow forming baby cultures. Low temperatures, to much sugar, the culture &/or starter tea was refrigerated before starting the fermenting,insufficient air flow in jar. you used a culture that was to old, you cooked/killed the culture by putting it into warm sweet tea,you have a airborne contaminant, the tea you used might have had a added teas,added flavor or oil that effects the culture, or a bad brand of tea was used.
Thin baby cultures: Cool Temperatures, seasonal changes & the PH out of balance among other things can all cause thin baby's to happen. But as long as the K-tea grew a thin baby,the tea is fine.
Keep in mind seasonal changes will change the result of the baby culture.So changes will occur as the seasons change. Of course this depends on where you live but after a few years of making K-tea you will know the effects.
Don't wash your fermenting jar with antibacterial soap.It can kill the cultures
If a thin baby is in a batch that is sweet, chances are you haven't fermented long enough. Let it go a couple more days & check the taste. Try to keep a steady temperature.(some ferment up to 30 days depending on taste)
Holes in my forming baby culture: If your forming baby culture gets holes but still comes out fine, all is OK. It means you have a good PH balance with fizz causing gas bubbles or holes.
A lumpy or spotty baby culture: This is one of those things that just happens once in a while,it's nothing to worry about,maybe try a different brand of tea for the next batch.
No baby culture formed at all: Do not drink the tea, Let the batch go at least 20 days, If still no baby, Pull the original culture & start over with distilled white vinegar as the starter tea.
Here are a few ways to avoid this again: Don't use antibacterial soap to clean anything that the culture or tea touches,don't add the culture to hot or even warm sweet tea,don't add any herbs, spices or anything else foreign to the tea,keep the fermenting K-tea away from any strong fumes such as paint,solvents,cleaners,grease, smoke etc,do not add Stevia or any other artificial sweetener.No powdered sugars.
You can gradually kill a Kombucha culture over successive ferments with ginger, cinnamon & other herbs or household spices. These sorts of things should only be added when you're ready to bottle. Never allow them in your starter.
Dark cultures: The more batches you ferment with the same culture the darker it will get. This is because both the tea & the yeast make it a little darker each batch. It's fine to keep using the same culture as long as it seems to be making good ferments,it usually will last 4 to 8 batches.
Cultures that sink: This is normal. Some cultures are more dense than others depending on how much carbonation is trapped between the layers. Often one that sinks will make some of the best K-tea.
The K-tea taste sour or like vinegar: The longer K-tea ferments the closer it will get to being vinegar.If the baby culture is fat &/or healthy everything is OK. Higher temperatures tend to accelerate fermentation adjust your fermenting days for the seasons.The K-tea is to sweet: As long as you're seeing a baby culture growing allow the fermentation to progress. This can happen due to low temperatures or a semi-dormant mother culture.
Mold: A lot of beginner kombucha growers mistake a forming discolored baby kombucha for mold (& even those who have grown kombucha awhile can get confused). It's pretty rare to get mold. So first make sure it's mold. Look closely to see if the surface is fuzzy. If it's not fuzzy,then let the batch continue & keep checking for any growth of fuzz. If you don't see fuzz, then it's not mold.(if in doubt I can email you mold pictures)
Here are a few ways to avoid mold.Sometimes mold is airborne. So what can you do? Sanitary conditions are a must,add a few TBS of distilled white vinegar to your starter tea,be careful of any airborne contaminates such as smoke,cleaners,grease etc,soak the cover (preferably a coffee filter) in distilled white vinegar & cover the fermenting jar with it while its still wet.
Water: K-tea is half bacteria so most things we do to protect ourselves from bacteria, such as chlorine & antibacterial cleaners will kill K-tea & the cultures.If your well water is contaminated you need a good filtration system which is designed to remove those specific contaminants,as they will also kill or mold the K-tea & cultures.
Here's one most do not know, Do not buy Jugs or bottles of "drinking water" from your local grocery store. Drinking water has chlorine in it.
Use a good source of water, Such as tested well water,spring water(Jug or fresh) Purified/filtered or RO water even distilled water.
Black or Green tea: Green teas tend to out perform black teas.They make a fatter baby culture, they help produce larger amounts of fizz. However you can mix green & black teas together (as they are truly the same tea in different stages of processing)
"An article I found on-line"
Scientists did in-depth studies of the kombucha from the 1950’s -1970’s.
According to the findings of the Moscow Central Bacteriological Institute, kombucha tea, when made properly, contains many substances which promote good health.
gluconic acid, which impedes the progression of viral infections and can dissolve gallstones;
hyraluronic acid, a component of connective tissue,
chrondroitin sulfate, a component in cartilage,
and mucoitin-sulfuric acid, a component of the stomach lining and the vitreous humor of the eye.
The tea also contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12; folic acid; lactic acid; dextrogyral; and usnic acid, a substance which contains strong antibacterial and antiviral effects.
According to researchers kombucha tea is a potent immune system booster, and can be an important part if treatment for acne, aging skin, AIDS, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, yeast related conditions, chronic fatigue, constipation, crohn’s disease, diabetes, diarrhea, and other digestive disorders, hair loss, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, hypoglycemia, incontinence, kidney and gallstone disorders, menopausal problems, multiple sclerosis, PMS, prostate problems, psoriasis, and weight problems. It is also said to greatly increase energy, and to promote a general feeling of well-being.
Making kombucha tea at home is both easy and inexpensive, after the initial purchase of a kombucha.
Young healthy quality baby kombucha cultures like I sell
Below day 8 to 10
Pictures of fully formed baby kombucha cultures like I sell in all sizes
These are fully formed cultures after 8 to 10 days of fermenting & forming. They are all ready to ferment a batch of kombucha tea of their own.
They are not clear but are a creamy off white to a creamy peach in color (pictures 1 to 8 in varying sizes)
Click pictures to enlarge.
All my kombucha cultures are grown in a smoke free home.
I only clean my home with non-toxic natural cleaners
100% organically grown cultures
About my listings:
- listing come with a culture,Starter tea & printed step by step directions & FAQ sheet.
- Some listing are for kits they will either include organic sugar & tea bags for a gallon or QT, or just organic tea bags.
- Plus I will answer any questions you may have before and after the sale, I am happy to help so do not hesitate to ask.
- I Print step by step directions along with Additional info and FAQ sheets,and include them with all my Kombucha orders 4 pages total,This info includes Do's and don'ts of making K-tea and storage for the life of your culture.