However, life can interfere at times. If you need to take a break from making kombucha, here are some guidelines on how to do so without damaging the scoby.
Short-Term Breaks (Less Than 6 Weeks)
While the normal brewing time for a batch of kombucha is 7-30 days, it is possible to allow a batch of kombucha to brew for up to 6 weeks, as long as the culturing area is not too warm.
So, for breaks of up to 6 weeks, we recommend simply allowing the kombucha to brew in a batch of fresh sugar tea and starter tea for that length of time. The resulting brew will have a very strong vinegar taste and can be discarded or used in place of vinegar in such recipes as salad dressings or marinades.
Long-Term Breaks (More Than 6 Weeks)
Longer term breaks tend to be a bit more difficult to manage safely but there are several options available:
Option 1: Create a Holding Jar + Feed the Scoby Every 4-6 Weeks
- Follow the ingredient ratios for making a batch of kombucha.
- Every 4 to 6 weeks, discard some of the liquid and add either fresh sweet tea (up to 80% of the jar) or sugar (1/4 cup per quart of liquid). Stir to combine.
- The fresh sugar tea is preferable as it provides all the nutrients the scoby needs to survive and thrive during the break.
- If adding sweet tea is not an option, adding only sugar should keep the scoby going for a few cycles before the scoby begins to suffer. Note that over time, liquid will evaporate from the jar and should be replaced.
Option 2: Dehydrate the Kombucha Scoby
- Scobys can be dehydrated by placing them on a sheet of unbleached parchment paper and allowing them to dry in a warm spot (around 80° to 90°F) until they are the consistency of jerky.
- Beware of fruit flies and other pests when leaving scobys out to dry.
- Drying several scobys is a good idea, as the process isn’t normally very precise and there is a failure rate.
- Once the scobys are dehydrated, place them in a sealable plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator (not the freezer).
- Dehydrated scobys will generally survive in the refrigerator for at least 3 months.
- Once you are ready to begin making kombucha again, follow our instructions on how to rehydrate the scoby.