How to Store a Scoby For Long and Short-Term

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Between brews, you need somewhere to store your SCOBY. Because they are living cultures, they require specific accommodations. Whether it’s one week or one year, it is possible to keep your SCOBY healthy without brewing a new batch of kombucha.

How to Store a SCOBY Between Brews

Once you have a fresh batch of booch ready, you will need a place to put the mother SCOBY for safekeeping (along with any baby SCOBYs created during the fermentation process of your last batch). There are a few ways to store your SCOBY, such as:

  • At room temperature, in a clean glass jar, with a coffee filter or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band and starter liquid (first fermentation kombucha tea). Be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight. It can last for up to a week like this without feeding. You’ll need to add sweet tea to keep it here for longer.
  • Start a new batch. Place your starter culture (SCOBY and starter tea) in a brewing vessel with fresh sweet tea. Typically, the kombucha fermentation takes around four weeks, depending on the temperature, but you can extend this up to six weeks if needed. However, anything past six weeks will have very high acidity and a vinegary taste. You can then use this liquid as starter tea or kombucha vinegar.
  • Begin continuous brewing. Unlike batch brewing, continuous brewing is the process of leaving your SCOBY in the brewing vessel and, after taking out your desired amount for the second fermentation, adding more sweet tea to start another batch immediately. However, as your mother SCOBY develops baby SCOBYs, you will eventually need to take out the excess SCOBYs and find a way to store or use them.
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Continuous brew

What Does a SCOBY Need to Live?

A SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is a live yeast culture and needs certain elements to be kept alive, just as we do, including:

Can You Keep a Kombucha SCOBY in the Fridge?

Many people will tell you no, but for long-term storage, yes, you can! Kombucha SCOBYs go dormant in low temperatures. This is one of the best ways to keep a SCOBY between brews because it can live up to six months (or even longer) without issues.

However, a SCOBY kept in the fridge is more susceptible to mold and harmful bacteria. Do not store your SCOBY in the fridge for short periods of time (less than three months).

How to Store a SCOBY Indefinitely

Storing a SCOBY for long periods can be tricky. The continuous brewing method works well to keep your SCOBY alive and thriving. However, this method requires five minutes of hands-on work every week. If you are taking an extended vacation or want to take a complete break from brewing, you must find another way to store it.

As mentioned, the best way to store your SCOBY for an extended period of time is in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Be sure to leave some starter liquid in the container so it doesn’t dry up (dehydrated SCOBYs don’t work very well for fermentation).

Another option for longer storage is a SCOBY hotel. If well-maintained, they can survive for up to ninety days with no intervention. However, for best practices, the hotel requires food (sugar) and liquid (tea) every four to six weeks.

What Is a SCOBY Hotel?

A SCOBY hotel is a gallon jar (or larger) where you can keep your SCOBYs between brews. Store them with sweet tea and raw, unflavored fermented kombucha (starter tea) to keep them alive and fed. If well-maintained, the SCOBY hotel can keep your kombucha SCOBYs alive and ready to ferment for many months.

However, one downfall of SCOBY hotels is that the SCOBYs living on the bottom do not receive the same amount of oxygen as those on top, meaning they may not last as long.

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SCOBY hotel

4 Signs Your SCOBY Is Unhealthy

An unhealthy SCOBY is not going to produce tasty kombucha. That being said, SCOBYs are relatively easy to care for as long as you follow a few simple steps.

Here are a few ways to tell if your SCOBY is unhealthy:

  1. Your kombucha smells funny. Yes, all kombucha will have a bit of a vinegary smell because of the acetic acid, but if your SCOBY and kombucha begin to put off a very unpleasant odor, this is a sign that your SCOBY is not doing well.
  2. Your SCOBY isn’t growing. A healthy SCOBY will generally grow to cover the surface of the brewing vessel. If your SCOBY is staying small, there may be something wrong.
  3. Your SCOBY grows mold. Mold growth on SCOBY can occur when the temperature is incorrect, there’s cross-contamination, or high humidity levels.
  4. Your SCOBY darkens. During the fermentation process, your SCOBY will usually become lighter. However, if you notice that your SCOBY is becoming darker or appears black in color, it has probably died, and you should dispose of it.


Margaret has been drinking kombucha for its health benefits since 2010. Not only does she love drinking it, but she also enjoys brewing her own homemade booch. Her favorite combination so far is mint-strawberry, but she is always experimenting with new recipes.

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