1) That layer that forms on the top is just another scoby, not mold! When I first saw it I freaked out a little bit and went "Aw man, I'm gonna have to throw the whole thing out!" Luckily a friend of mine who has been making her own kombucha for years now happened to be over when I went to pull my first batch of "booch" out of the closet to check it. She said, "Oh, no, that's just another scoby!" Thank you E, for being there just when I needed you. :)
2) Drinking kombucha is not a good idea while you are pregnant or nursing. This same friend of mine brought this up, just to make sure I knew. She said according to Dr. Hale of Medications and Mother's Milk, it is a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5, a 5 being the worst! I was so surprised to hear this, since it is supposed to be so good for you. Apparently it works as a detox, which is a problem because you don't want to pass the nasty stuff your body is purging on to your baby. I feel like I want to do a little research on this one, especially since I know so many women who drink kombucha while nursing, myself included! I'm assuming it would be less of a problem since I'm nursing a toddler and I give some to her in a cup too, and she's only nursing here and there throughout the day, so how many toxins could I be passing her anyway? And if she's drinking it too, then I'm thinking it's detoxing her body too.
3) Start slow. Apparently it is a good idea to start with about a third of a cup a day to get your body used to the booch and then gradually increase it. I had no idea about this one, until I made the unfortunate mistake of giving my 2 year old a whole cup of it. She LOVES it, and guzzled the whole thing before asking for more. Well it was obviously a shock to her system, because a few minutes later she thew it all up all over the livingroom floor. Lovely. I learned my lesson.
Do me a favor and post either another tip, if you make your own too, or a question about kombucha in the comments below. I love when we can all learn from each others experiences!