Need a break from all that kombucha making, but don’t want to waste all those SCOBY babies you’ve cultured? Not to worry, you can reserve them to use again later. Here is your ultimate guide on how to make a SCOBY hotel:
What is a Scoby Hotel?
You can take a break from the brewing without killing your SCOBY by placing them in a SCOBY hotel.
Now that you know what a SCOBY hotel is, how do you make one? Let’s find out…
How to Make A Scoby Hotel Jar
Before we jump right into how to make a SCOBY hotel, check out the kombucha ingredient ratios to help guide you through this journey.
Are you on a brewing break for only a short period of time?
Keep culturing! 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 and 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. Try out our kombucha Italian salad dressing with the brew from your SCOBY hotel!
Do you plan on taking a brewing break for longer than 6 weeks? Here’s what you will do:
- Make tea for the jar. Check out our easy kombucha tea recipe.
- Allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
- Once the tea is at room temperature, pour it into your clean glass jar.
- Place all your SCOBY friends inside the jar.
- Use a woven cloth to cover the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band or the band on the jar’s lid—but do not put the full lid on because your SCOBY needs air!
- Store your SCOBY hotel away from sunlight in a climate-controlled room.
Upkeep for Your SCOBY Hotel
- Every 4 to 6 weeks, discard some of the liquid and add either fresh sweet tea (up to 80% of the jar) or sugar (¼ cup per quart of liquid). Stir to combine.
- 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, the liquid will evaporate from the jar and should be replaced.
Looking for other ways you can retire your SCOBY for a little while? Keep reading…
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 some amount of failure is to be expected.
- 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.
5 Tips for a SCOBY Kombucha Hotel
- If you are planning to store your hotel for a long time “out of sight, out of mind,” putting a lid on it can help slow down liquid evaporation, which can save you from mold growth and other bad bacteria or bugs getting to your hotel.
- Make sure to maintain your hotel. The ferment is still alive and requires care. This can include removing an excessive build-up of yeast and/or adding sweet tea to the kombucha vinegar. Maintenance should be done every 1-6 months depending on the activity level of your SCOBY and the desired turnaround time, should you need a SCOBY.
- SCOBYs will continue to form in the hotel. Rotating SCOBYs between your current brew and your hotel will help keep the microbial diversity of your hotel while also making sure that your current brew is strong and active.
- Store your hotel in the cooler part of your house to slow down the fermentation process, but do not store it in the fridge. The fridge will cause your SCOBYs to go dormant and without proper pH and viability of the culture, you leave it vulnerable to things like mold.
- Even in a hotel your SCOBYs can get old and die. When caring for your hotel, check for SCOBYs darker in color. This is a sign that it is dying. Trim off and/or discard any old mothers.
Now you are officially ready to make a SCOBY hotel. Don’t forget to charge a cleaning fee!
Need some suggestions on what to flavor kombucha? Try out our ginger kombucha recipe or our strawberry kombucha recipe! Both of these recipes taste amazing and are refreshing. This is the perfect drink to make for the summertime while you chill out next to the pool or on the beach. Happy brewing!