Why did my SCOBY sink?

Is it bad if your kombucha SCOBY sank? And should you do something to fix it? Answering this common kombucha question here!

It’s a question I get all the time. “My kombucha SCOBY sank! Is it dead / broken / moldy / still working?” I’m here today to tell you that it is perfectly okay if your SCOBY sinks!

And while a SCOBY may sink or float around the kombucha, a new baby SCOBY will likely form on top. This is also okay! A SCOBY forming on top of kombucha indicates healthy kombucha, but a sunk SCOBY doesn’t necessarily indicate unhealthy kombucha.

The SCOBY will continue powering the kombucha reaction, regardless of where it decides to hangout in the jar.

kombucha scoby in a jar

Why your SCOBY sank

There are a few reasons why your kombucha SCOBY may have sunk. The most obvious is physics! When you drop in your SCOBY, it will initially sink but then slowly float back up to the surface. As carbonation develops in the brew, it will lift the SCOBY back to the top.

If the natural carbonation of your first fermentation kombucha is slowed, this could cause the SCOBY to sink. Carbonation, which is a bi-product of the yeast, could be slowed down by a drop in temperature or inactivity of the yeast.

With that said, not all SCOBYs are created equally! Your SCOBY may be more dense and heavy, which could cause it to perpetually sink.

Signs of an unhealthy SCOBY

While a sunken SCOBY does not indicate an unhealthy SCOBY, there are a few signs you should look out for:

  • Dry or fuzzy (circular) patches, which would indicate mold
  • White, gray, green, or black areas, which would also indicate mold
  • A completely black or shriveled SCOBY, which could mean a dead SCOBY (this is rare)

16 thoughts on “Why did my SCOBY sink?”

  1. Hi Sarah
    If the baby Scoby has mould do I discard the whole thing including the mother and everything. Nothing can be saved????

    • Unfortunately yes, that’s correct. So sorry to hear it, Marie! You can try using more starter kombucha next time to help make the kombucha more acidic right off the bat, which should help to fight potential mold.

    • You wouldn’t want to use that in a first fermentation as it could cause mold. You can throw it away (or into a smoothie for a probiotic boost!)

  2. Hi Sarah
    I just recently found out I’m allergic to brewers yeast. What is the yeast in Kombuchas. I hope it’s not brewer. Thank you

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Just a point for clarification: as I understand it white patches are usually nothing to worry about and may well be Kahm yeast.


    … and in fermentation more generally


    Do I have this correct?


    p.s. It is interesting that in fermentation more generally (… 2nd video) Kahm yeast is regarded as significantly less distasteful than in Buch ???? … I wonder why?…

    • Hi Margaret! I think it can be done, but I haven’t personally tried this yet. But I would think so long as the oils are edible, then it should be fine in F2. Would love to hear how it goes!

    • No!! Please do not do this. DoTerra are incredibly irresponsible to suggest people ingest essential oils – I’m training as a clinical aromatherapist and I would not advise anyone to ingest oils.

  4. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you so much for your informative page. I made my scoby and 3 batches of kombucha which are perfection! so THANK YOU!!
    i’m wondering if in the second fermentation in addition to fruits I can add olive oil to my kombucha?

    • So happy you’re liking it Mona! I haven’t tried olive oil so I can’t say for sure. The oil does have the potential to go rancid, but you could always give it a go and see what happens!

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