Weak Kombucha Mother?
Answered by:
Question from: Sue
Posted on: May 03, 2010

I recently bought a kombucha culture from Richters. I have never done kombucha before and was not sure what to expect. I followed the instructions, and started my first batch as soon as I received it. It did not progress very quickly; the mother sank to the bottom. After about 5-7 days, a surface film began to develop (the baby?) The odor and taste developed over the next 3 days, then seemed to stop. I left it for another week, tasting regularly. It is still quite sugary and seems to have stopped all motion. After about 16 days, I decided to start again. When I pulled her out, the mother was quite brown. The baby is a loose stringy mass, it hasn’t consolidated into anything nearly as solid as the mother. I rinsed them both, and put them in fresh tea starter... a smaller container for the baby. Since starting, I’ve read a lot more on line. What I am seeing sounds a lot like weak mother. I don’t think I’m getting mold, don’t think I’m getting kombucha drink either. Any other thoughts on rejuvenating a mother?

I think the main problem is too low a temperature. 25 C is really necessary to get things brewing quickly. The mother picks up color from the tea, so a brownish mother is normal. It is not necessary for the mother to float on top. The new culture will form on top and should start off as a thin gelatinous film that holds together. If it is a powdery film it is mold. If she started a new brew after washing the mother she should also add some apple cider vinegar to acidify the liquid and prevent mold formation as molds do not like a low pH.

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