What To Do If My SCOBY Is Lumpy
My SCOBY Is All Lumpy – Is It OK?
Yes, your SCOBY is fine. This is an uncommon occurrence which rarely pops up successively. The top of the SCOBY forms quite uniform bumps, resembling a white wet cloth lain over small balls, like marbles. It is really nothing to worry about, your SCOBY is still healthy, and if everything else is right, then you can expect just as good a ferment as when the SCOBY is smooth on top.
The ‘lumpyness’ normally recedes and disappears by the next br ew, and though it is not as attractive as a pretty smooth white SCOBY, all is well. If the effect does not disappear by the next fermentation cycle and it bothers you, you can try changing tea brands.
Assumed Cause Of ‘Lumpyness’
One of the renowned kombucha experimenters and researchers came to the conclusion that perhaps this phenomenon is caused by certain tannins present with different batches of tea which cause the cellulose cells which make up the SCOBY body to clump and form the irregularity.
The Most Serious Thing Which Can Happen To A SCOBY
Lumpy SCOBYs, SCOBYs with holes are not signs of ill health. SCOBYs vary widely in appearance, some are white and very smooth and regular, others might be stained by the tannins in the tea. While they sometimes might look unhealthy or unappealing in appearance, these characteristics are nothing to worry about, and usually the SCOBY is just fine. The smell of your brew is a simple way that you can know whether all is well or not. If it smells sweet or tart or anywhere in between, then it should be fine. But if your brew stinks or smells foul in any way, then something is amiss, and you should not drink the finished kombucha.
However, there is a phenomenon which is as bad as it looks, and that is mold. Mold on your SCOBY culture, dreaded amongst kombucha brewers, is not something you want to see when checking on it. Mold is usually green/gray/white in colour, is dry and has a furry texture.
If you discover this on your kombucha, you must throw out the batch, and SCOBY, and start afresh with a new SCOBY. But do not panic immediately if you think that your culture has contracted mold, because a lot of appearance variations of SCOBYs look to people like mold, so check first that what you think is mold is definitely mold, and not a natural discolouration. For details on what mold really looks like, and how to prevent it, read The Ultimate Guide to Figuring Out if Your Kombucha SCOBY Has Mold (or NOT) and How To Prevent Mold Growing On Your Kombucha. Mold is a rare occurrence, so don’t lose any sleep over your culture being invaded by mold continually.