Why to make kombucha in a wide-mouth container September 16, 2015 06:30

Kombucha Scobies

Kombucha recipes usually encourage you to use a wide-mouth container... but why? The culture needs oxygen, but not *much* oxygen - the amount that comes through the neck of a cloth-covered bottle is plenty. Here's the reason: your scoby will get stuck!

I had a jug of diluted elderflower syrup and an interest in fermenting it into something nice to drink. I'd poured near-boiling water over the flowers, so I wasn't sure if there would be wild yeast or bacteria still active enough to do the job. So, I poured in a splash of kombucha as an inoculant.

After drinking the resulting tart, effervescent brew, I went to clean out the growler. What's that in there?

kombucha scoby at bottom of bottle

I guess I didn't think a scoby would form, since I've always understood kombucha to need caffeine for scoby formation. Obviously, I was mistaken. That's a nice scallop-shaped scoby in the bottom of the jug. It's very light and nicely formed. It look almost appetizing. Perhaps a starter for my next batch of brew?

 

kombucha scoby won't come out

It won't come out! The scoby formed lower down in the neck, so is far too wide to come out the narrow mouth of the growler.

 

scoby from kombucha tea

Here it is peeking out. I tried to extract it with a knife, fork, and hot water pressure to no avail.

 

kombucha scoby finally out

Finally I remembered I have an old v-threader from my ice climbing days! I was able to hook the scoby and pull it out bit by bit. It felt a bit tragic to spoil the nice round shape, but it's out!

I guess that's why we use wide-mouth jars. Anyone have another reason?