How to Obtain a SCOBY for Kombucha

What is a SCOBY?

Has anyone every thrown the term “SCOBY” at you, and you’ve just thought “What is SCOBY?”. SCOBY is an acronym for: Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. SCOBY bacteria is basically a disk of the bacteria that helps brew your kombucha. This SCOBY disk 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 for Kombucha? There are a few options on how to obtain a SCOBY disk and all are a lot easier than you think.

1. Get an Active Kombucha SCOBY from a Friend

A new layer or SCOBY baby 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.

I personally think it’s best to get a SCOBY from a friend. Most of us brewers are overwhelmed with the amount of SCOBY baby’s we have, and even have to store them in a separate “SCOBY hotel”. Getting one from a friend also ensures that it’s a healthy SCOBY.

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 you’re buying a healthy SCOBY.

A dehydrated SCOBY disk is not an active kombucha SCOBY. Once you receive it, you will have to rehydrate it in order for it to be an active kombucha SCOBY.

3. Grow Your Own SCOBY for Kombucha

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.

Ingredients to Make Your Own SCOBY

  • 4 oz. Plain-flavored Kombucha (i.e. “Starter Tea”)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 20-24 oz water
  • black tea bags
  • Quart size glass Mason Jars 
  • Cloth (coffee filter or paper towel will do fine)
  • Elastic band
  • Distilled White Vinegar

Directions on How to Make a SCOBY for Kombucha

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.

Author: Stephanie

As a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, I'm on a mission to help you enjoy eating a balanced diet by cooking with #thatcertaintouch .

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