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Pt. Roberts, WA. 1995 Providing Kombucha since 1995
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KOMBUCHA & MOLD


First, let it be known that every irregular growth that might form on a developing Kombucha mushroom is NOT always mold. Therefore if you are one of our customers please do not throw out any batch of tea that you suspect might have a mold until you have first contacted me.

Second, the one better way to brew Kombucha limiting a risk of a mold contamination is to ferment the tea using our proprietary EASY BREW METHOD. This much better way of home brewing Kombucha is only shared with our customers to prevent unscrupulous competitors from marketing it.

Sometimes a Kombucha mold contamination can occur when fermenting a batch of tea if you brew the tea the old fashion traditional way. For this reason we recommend the purchase of two cultures, keeping one as a back-up until your first batch of tea has successfully been brewed.

Most molds, but not all, prefer a cool and damp environment so it is important that you keep a batch of fermenting tea at a constant temperature between 74F and 84F and store the brewing container in a dry area. The ideal temperature or the growth of a mushroom is about 79F.

It is also adviseable not to use loose leaf teas, depending on the source of the tea such teas if not properly cleaned may harbor mold spores.

Mold spores are present in every home, they waft and float unseen in the air, you even breath them in, but seldom do they ever pose a health threat. As an example the outside mold count in Houston, TX on July 12, 2012 was 1391 per cubic meter of air.

Air conditioning units provide an excellent environment for mold combining accumulated dust with cool moisture within the unit as it cycles on and off, then circulate the mold spores through the home. If you believe that your home is free of mold spores in the air just leave out a piece of bread on your kitchen counter and keep it moist for several or more day and you will quickly change your mind.

All Kombucha mushrooms that you may grow are susceptible to a mold contamination when brewing the tea the old fashion traditional way. No one has yet changed the genetic or DNA composition of Kombucha bacteria and yeasts to develop a mold resistant Kombucha. So if anyone tells you their mushrooms are resistant to molds they are just feeding you a line of B.S.

Most all household food molds that might grow on a forming Kombucha mushroom are not poisonous but only ruin the taste of the tea. A taste test of a small amount of tea using a straw to determine if the tea is tasting off, if you suspect a mold contamination, is not likely to do you any harm as the environment inside your gut is not going to allow mold to grow. It is not however recommended that you test this statement out by drinking a glass of Kombucha Tea fermented by a moldy mushroom. If mold is pervasive on the surface of the mushroom toxins can be released into the tea.

There are many types of molds but those you most often will see growing on a Kombucha mushroom are the same type of common molds you might find growing on other food products in your home. These are usually blue, green, black, or white in color. They are not dark brown in color.

Often novice brewers of Kombucha will mistake the darkish brown gunk that sometimes first floats to the surface in a batch of fermenting tea as a mold. This stuff, as ugly as it appears, is what passes as a root system for a forming mushroom. As the mushroom slowly forms it will eventually grow over and cover this root gunk.

As the tea ferments it produces alcohol and grows more acidic. The bacteria and yeast of Kombucha thrive in an acidic environment while mold does not. Mold grows on the surface of a forming mushroom, not within the mushroom, or in the tea, or under the mushroom. Often seen hanging from the underside of a forming mushroom are dark brown root filaments, often mistaken for a mold contamination when it is not.

While the tea is fermenting avoid disturbing the tea by unnecessarily uncovering it to check out what is forming on the surface. If you do so you increase the risk of mold spores getting to the forming mushroom and if conditions are right they might start up.

Avoid using bowls to ferment the tea in, they are difficult to cover and not easily handled. They also increase the surface area of the tea giving mold spores a greater opportunity to contaminate. Other tips on preventing a mold contamination are given in the directions to our customers if they wish to brew Kombucha the old fashion traditional way although there is no advantage in doing so.

Even if you do everything properly in preparing the tea a mold contamination can sometimes occur. This is much less likely if you brew the tea using our EASY BREW METHOD. If your batch of tea does become contaminated with a mold because you brewed the tea the old fashion traditional way, and it is pervasive, you should toss everything out, the forming mushroom as well as the fermenting tea, but again, not before you talk with me if you are a novice brewer. Then thoroughly clean the inside of the brewing container with soap and water. Always keep a spare mushroom properly stored in the fridge to use as a back-up in case of a mold contamination.

Some people will try and clean a mushroom off using a solution of water and vinegar if they find mold growing on their mushroom, sometimes this will work if the contamination is not pervasive, but most often it will not because there may be an abundance of unseen mold spores covering the mushroom, or on the inside of the brewing container.

Below are series of photos showing what is often mistaken as mold but is not, and what is mold.

Not all mushrooms you may grow may look as uniform in appearance as the one shown immediately below. Appearance or thickness will vary but this is not important, you are not eating it. The important thing is that the tea ferments properly.

We strongly recommend that all customers brew their tea using our EASY BREW METHOD and not the old fashion traditional way. Directions for this method are free and included with all customer orders.

kombucha mushroom 9 days image

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The above photos show the mushroom, as was grown by us, using the traditional method of fermentation.

NOT MOLD

The below photos are those of mushroom grown by novice brewers, growth formation of the mushroom often varies when fermenting the tea the old fashion traditional way, as does the quality and taste of the tea. Use of our EASY BREW METHOD lessens the variability in the quality of the tea produced, results are more consistent from batch to batch.

Below photo shows root gunk
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Below photo shows carbnoation bubbles on surface of the mushroom and discoloration due to type of tea being used.
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Below photo shows root gunk along the edge of the glass on the underside of the whitish mushroom.
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Below photo shows carbonation bubbles on surface and root fibers hanging down.
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Below photo shows a large carbonation bubble scar. Bubbles can sometimes bust through the forming skin of a developing mushroom and then the mushroom will try to repair the damange. Carbonation gases caught on the underside of a mushroom can make it look lumpy.
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Below photo shows irregular growth of a mushroom probably due to it fermenting at too high of a temperature causing carbonation gases to quickly form and disrupt the uniform growth of the mushroom.
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Below photo shows a very thin forming mushroom with whitish bacteria and yeast colonies starting to form, these will later grow together and form into a mushroom, also seen is dark brownish root gunk on the surface.
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Below photo shows a lumpy mushroom with scaring caused by carbonation bubbles.
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Below photo shows a thin mushroom that has not risen to the surface and the stuff higher in the jar is a cloud of bacteria and yeasts that are starting to form a new mushroom on the surface.
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Below photo shows, as bad as it looks, more root gunk, the color is more greenish because of the type of tea used.
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Same photo as above, this mushroom has become dislodge from the surface because the jar has been disturbed.
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Below photo shows a thinnly formed mushroom with dark root gunk seen through the thin skin of the mushroom. The mushroom if left to grow will thicken and cover this root gunk.
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Below photo shows more root gunk near the surface before the mushroom has started to form to cover it.
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THE BELOW PHOTOS ALL SHOW MOLD CONTAMINATIONS


Most molds appear fluffy or powdery and appear in more than one spot and can quickly spread. A badly contaminated mushroom will smell moldy but do not confuse this with the smell of the fermenting tea which smells more like overripe apples and vinegary. Throw out any batch of tea you suspect to be contaminated. If you are not sure if a batch of tea is contaminated and you are one of my customers contact me for help. Best to take a photo of what you think is mold and send it to me.

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