A: Yes! While mold and other abnormalities can occur during brewing, it's truly quite rare. However, let's face it, kombucha cultures look strange and oftentimes it is confusing to tell what is happening during those initial few brews. First, don't stress about mold - most likely what you are seeing in your brew is air bubbles or yeast. The yeast looks especially odd because they can appear blue, green, even pink and orange sitting underneath the iridescent culture that grows in across the top over the first few days of brewing.
Check out our gallery of healthy and unhealthy cultures below (click on a picture to enlarge it) and see if your culture looks like any of these. If you're still not certain your brew is progressing as it should, please send an email with a picture to email@example.com and we're happy to give a second opinion!
A healthy culture may have brown, stringy or blob-like debris attached to it. It can be bumpy or smooth, and have clear dots or bubbles. When you drop your new culture into the brew jar, it can sink to the bottom, float in the middle or on top - all location are just fine and will ferment your kombucha just the same.
Similar to molds you would see on bread or cheese, an unhealthy culture will develop fuzzy blue, green, or white mold. Again, this is very rare, and is usually caused by accidental inoculation from airborne spores in the house, or a culture that is incorrectly stored without enough starter tea to rest in, thus exposed to oxygen for a prolonged period of time instead of resting happily in plenty of liquid kombucha. If you're still unsure if you have mold present, please send us a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll give you a second opinion!