What is a SCOBY?
SCOBY is an acronym for: Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It is basically a disc of the bacteria that helps brew your kombucha. It turns the sugar in your tea into alcohol, then acetate, to create the vinegary taste of kombucha.
Want to brew kombucha, but not sure where to get a SCOBY? There are a few options on how to obtain one and all are a lot easier than you think.
1. Get one from a friend
A new layer or entire SCOBY grows with every batch of kombucha. If you have a friend who brews, just ask for one! I even have plenty that I end up composting just to get rid of.
2. Buy a dehydrated SCOBY
There are plenty of places online where you can buy a dehydrated SCOBY. Typically you would simply rehydrate it in order start brewing. Although kombucha is typically safe, you never know what you’re getting online. I personally recommend buying from a reputable business so you know it’s safe.
3. Grow your own
I know many people who’ve shied away from growing their own SCOBY because they thought it was “too hard”, but honestly it was so freaking easy.
All you have to do is buy unflavored kombucha and follow the steps to brewing regular kombucha. The only difference is 1. You don’t use a SCOBY, 2. You leave the brew untouched for 1-3 weeks until the SCOBY has formed.
What you need:
- 4 oz. Plain-flavored Kombucha (i.e. “Starter Tea”)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 20-24 oz water
- 2 black tea bags
- Quart size glass Mason Jars
- Cloth (coffee filter or paper towel will do fine)
- Elastic band
- Distilled White Vinegar
1. Clean out your mason jar with hot water and some distilled white vinegar. Do not wash it with soap just before using it. This can interfere with the kombucha.
2. Bring water to a boil in a kettle. Place tea bags in a large bowl. When water comes to a boil, pour in bowl and let tea steepen.
3. Remove tea bags, stir in sugar until dissolved. Let water cool to room temperature–if water is too hot it can kill the bacteria in kombucha.
4. When cooled, add water to mason jar. Then pour in starter tea.
5. Cover mason jar with cloth, and secure with rubber band. Label jar with date (incase you forget about it).
6. Let sit at room temperature away from direct sunlight for about 1-3 weeks. After a few days, you’ll notice a film develop. The film will eventually thicken into a disc. If nothing forms within 3 weeks, dump the kombucha and try again with a fresh batch.