Second Brew Blues

I’ve been having a hard time throwing out my Kombucha after I discovered mold on it almost two weeks ago. It was just sitting there because I couldn’t bear to look at it or touch it. It’s like I had a body in the closet that’s been dead for days and I didn’t have the heart to throw it in the trash. To me, my SCOBYs weren’t just things or food, they were creations. They were alive. Well, they still are alive, only contaminated.

At first I felt irresponsible and pretty sad but then I started thinking that this can be looked at as a learning experience. Next time I could put extra vinegar in my starter fluid if it’s not strong enough and make sure it’s not brewing on the floor in the closet so my cat’s hair won’t get into it, and also to use a coffee filter as a lid rather than a hand towel, even if it’s thin.

I am grieving for my Kombucha, thinking about what it means to throw out something that I cultivated for months. Every source says it: when you grow mold, your brew has been contaminated and you have to throw it out.
Reading that again and again made my heart drop with this fluttering tingle in my stomach and chest that has only recently started to dissipate.
Today I threw the SCOBYs out. I really didn’t want to but I had to because they were contaminated. I never thought I would love my SCOBYs as much as I do or feel this immense loss. Sometimes we just have to start completely over and throw things out when they become rotten and contaminated, even if we love them. I had a writing teacher who used to say, “don’t be afraid to kill your babies,” in regards to certain elements that weren’t working in a story. I guess we really can’t get that attached to anything, even our own creations.

I’ve heard it said that everything can be looked at as both a success and failure. Choosing to look at this experience as a success instantly has made me feel a little better.
This experience was successful in that I learned to fall in love with a new hobby that makes me feel alive, hopeful, and excited. I learned that I had to do more research beyond the initial instructions that came with my Mother culture. I was unsure of how to take care of my Mother SCOBY after I brewed my first batch.

Next time, I gotta be cleaner, and make sure I have a strong starter liquid so the mold doesn’t form.

This was my first time doing this and I just have to look at it positively for the next time because there definitely will be a next time. Education is empowerment. There is something valuable to just going at it, jumping in without needing to know everything but I learned there has to be a balance of fearlessness mixed with educating oneself before jumping in so you make less mistakes. Hell, mistakes are all a part of learning. Hopefully someone can learn from my mistakes other than me.


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