The Kombucha Mushroom or Culture
When you are looking at a young kombucha mushroom, it looks like a slightly dirty whitish pancake. A mature kombucha mushroom on the other hand which has had several ‘babies’, will look more tanned and brownish in color.
More often than not, this is because it has been submerged in tea and has taken on a tea coloring.
So in the interest of the novice, or a kombucha virgin (how cute), we will be referring to the more light brown color of a middle of the road kombucha mushroom.
How to Handle a Kombucha Mushroom
The kombucha mushroom is a living thing and should be treated as such. It does not like metals so removing jewelry before handling the mushroom is highly preferable. If you have rings for example that cannot come off, then handle the culture sparingly.
The culture is a mixture of tea and sugar so make sure your hands have been washed and cleaned – it goes without saying but I thought I would just mention it here.
Avoid the Sun and Heat
The kombucha mushroom won’t survive long in very hot weather, direct sunlight or submersion in boiling water. It will just destroy it. Same applies to trying to freeze it – some people have reported success in ‘flash freezing‘ a mushroom but the chances of it dying on you is high.
Growing the Kombucha Mushroom
Once nutrients are supplied, your mushroom will become a happy one and start to function and grow.
A Moldy Kombucha
If you leave your kombucha mushroom in temperatures that are too warm and it is manufacturing too much acid, plus it is going without the proper nutrients, your mushroom will develop mold.
Mold is not to be confused by the bubbly surface you see on your culture. Some researchers or users say using vinegar will get rid of the mold but it is still a debatable issue on whether it harms the culture or not.
The bubby surface actually is nothing more than the carbonic acid bubbles, which have been trapped under the Kombucha skin.
When it comes to the Kombucha culture, it’ll be a “floater” after harvesting. In a few days, the formation of yeast umbrella starts to take place beneath the bubbly surface and pull them into the new culture.