What to Do If My Kombucha SCOBY is Too Thick
Has your SCOBY grown into a thickie? In this post we take at how one can thin down a super thick SCOBY.
Given enough time and the right conditions, kombucha SCOBY cultures can get massive. Sometimes the culture will grow in such a way the the original one does not thicken too much, and the new growth takes the form of multiple free floating layers. But what can also happen, especially if the bacterial component of the SCOBY is strong, the original SCOBY layer will thicken until it takes up a large part of your brewing container!
Why Overly Thick SCOBYs are Not Good
While a thick vigorous SCOBY is a sign of health and vitality, too thick of a SCOBY can also be impractical. Overly thick SCOBYs take up a lot of space, meaning that you will harvest less kombucha at a time. Also, if your SCOBY is too thick, then it can end up fermenting the sweet tea it is in too quickly. This will result in prematurely soured brews, which lack depth of flavor and contain fewer probiotics.
So, your SCOBY is getting super thick, it’s manageable – what do you do?
Fortunately for those of you who have a fatty on your hands, splitting SCOBYs is relatively simple. Although there are some basic rules to follow, SCOBYs are pretty tough things, and it is unlikely that you will damage or kill it during the splitting process.
How to Split a SCOBY
- First you will need to decided how much of the SCOBY you want to retain to brew with. It is best to retain the top part of the SCOBY to continue brewing with. This part is the freshest and will have more brewing power and less dead matter than the bottom section.
- Next, select a sharp knife.
- Sterilise the knife, a chopping board and your hands with hot water and vinegar (hotter for the knife and board, cooler for your hands!)
- Take the SCOBY and slice it horizontally so that the newer top part is left as your thinned down new brewing SCOBY.
- Discard the bottom section, and place the thinned SCOBY into a new solution of sweet tea.
Note: before you start this process, you can also check to see if the SCOBY doesn’t have any loose layers which are only lightly attached to each other. If so, you might be able to simply gently pry these apart, and will not have to go to the trouble to use a knife. However, do not try and rip the SCOBY apart. This can set it back in terms of brewing power, and could open it up to invasion from outside pathogens if other conditions are not right.
Splitting a SCOBY is pretty simple, and once you have tried it out you will realise there is nothing to fear.
However before you dive in, don’t forget to sterilise your hands, knife and board. Also keep in mind that it is the top layer of the SCOBY which you want to keep.
Goodluck! : )