Every now and then, you may need to take a break from brewing kombucha.
Whether you are going out of town or if you’re just plain busy–it’s okay to take a break!
It’s simple to pause your kombucha operation, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
How should you store your SCOBY?
The best way to store your SCOBY is in the gallon jar (*see note) you brew it in. When you have bottled your last batch of booch before taking a break, leave more starter tea than you usually would to allow for evaporation to take place, about 4 cups or so. You want to be sure that there’s enough liquid to cover the SCOBY pellicle and leave you enough to brew with when you’re ready to start up again. Just like when you are brewing, you will also want to keep a breathable cover over the top of the jar to keep bugs out. This could be a coffee filter, paper towel, or a kitchen towel secured with a rubber band.
*If you brew in batches larger then one gallon, I would consider using a smaller jar to store your culture. Larger jars have more surface area and will have a faster rate of evaporation.
Where to store your SCOBY?
When putting your SCOBY on break, you’ll want to store it in a dark place at room temperature. Room temperature can vary, but you shouldn’t worry too much about this fluctuation while hibernating your culture. The best place to store it is in a dark place like a cabinet. Avoid storing it under the sink if possible, as it is more likely to be moist under there and attract mold. Basically, you can store it wherever you typically leave it to brew.
Now and then, you will want to check on your culture and make sure that the top layer isn’t drying out. What protects the SCOBY from mold and other contaminants is the acidity of the liquid. If the SCOBY pellicle sits in one place for too long, it will grow out of the liquid and lose its safety shield, making it susceptible to mold. Luckily, this is an easy fix–swirl the jar around until there is a layer of liquid on top–voila! Try to do this every other week or so.
If you know it is going to be a while, go ahead and brew a little sweet tea and feed your culture. This will keep it active and happy and make sure you have plenty of starter tea when life allows you to begin brewing again.
Don’t feel like you are neglecting your culture if you have to take a break. It is actually good for your SCOBY. The longer you allow your culture ferment, the more beneficial acids are allowed to build up in the starter tea.
This time off from fermenting can actually benefit the success of your brewing in the long run.
You can achieve these same benefits from building a SCOBY hotel if you don’t want to take a break. Just store your extra SCOBYs in a separate container where the SCOBYs can hang out in their starter tea spa and mature. Use the liquid in the SCOBY hotel as the starter tea for a new batch now and then to give your kombucha a boost and replace whatever starter you took out with sweet tea. See this post to read more about a SCOBY hotel.
Want to Learn More?
Check Out Our Kombucha Brewing Guide