What does a Growing Kombucha Mushroom Cycle Look Like?

  Having not brewed kombucha tea before, many people ask us what the kombucha mushroom looks like as it is brewing, with many of the questions pertaining to misidentification of mold.  In the photos below are signs to look for to know if the kombucha is viable and growing correctly.
The following photos, we hope, will assist you in brewing your first batch of this wonderful pro-biotic cultured health tonic.  The cultures used in the photos are grown with organic sugar and tea, and are kept at an average of 80 degrees F.  Correct temperature plays one of the biggest role in successful Kombu Cha brewing!  Below are step-by-step photos:

Kombucha at 2-3 Days
Click on any photo to enlargekombucha_growth_01-252x162
When cultured at 80 deg F, we    see signs of growth on the second to third day.  Signs of a thin translucent film or jelly-like layer appear on top of the tea solution.  An important reason not to disturb the growing mushroom cultures.


Kombucha at 3-5 Days
Click on any photo to enlargekombucha tea brewing 4 day
By the end of the third day and
the next few days the kombucha mushroom will start to thicken and turn from translucent to a cream coloured mass.  Notice in the photo how parts of the culture are thicker in spots than in others.
Kombucha Tea at 5-8 Days
Click on any photo to enlargebrew kombucha at 7 days
As the brewing cycle passes      the half way point, the mushroom culture continues to thicken.
Notice the carbonic acid bubbles forming under the      culture or S.C.O.B.Y. – symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast
 Kombucha Tea at 7 to 14 Days
Click on any photo to enlargeKT tea culture
The kombucha tea brewing       cycle is completed. The culture has formed completely and the tea is now ready to test for drinking and bottling.  Low temperature may increase brewing time
The pH should read
very close to 3.0 pH
Close-up of Gases Build Up
Click on any photo to enlargekombucha showing CO2
Here is a close-up of gases and CO2 production. This is a good sign early on that conditions are prime for the kombucha. With just a few days growth we have a nice layer forming and the gases indicate that the yeast and actively converting sugars.
Mushroom Brewing Complete
Click on any photo to enlargekombucha SCOBY
A side view of the kombucha culture growing in a gallon size container. The mushroom is         1/4 inch thick and is very nice cream colour. This tea brewed at a slower yeast conversion rate meaning less bubbles and a more uniform mushroom. Notice the writing on the side, always date each batch of tea.

  A kombucha brewing cycle on average takes from 7 to 14 days, however, it can take up to 30 days if the temperature is low.  In the colder months, a external heating source may be needed to keep the proper temperature.  IN the colder months keeping the pH balance correct will help prevent mold growth.  For more information on home food culturing, recipes, and finding the starter cultures you need visit our main site or store Next week we’ll be talking about kombucha mushroom and pH balance.  Happy Culturing!

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