What Is SCOBY? How to Make a Kombucha Mother

what is scoby
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / kelseysue2

You might have heard of kombucha, but what is SCOBY? You’ll need to grow one in order to make kombucha at home. Find out everything you need to know here.

Kombucha is the most popular non-alcoholic fermented beverage in the US at the moment. But, did you know you can make this yourself at home? All you need to make this effervescent, lightly sweet fermented drink is black or green tea, a sweetener like sugar, agave or honey, and SCOBY — an acronym standing for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast“.

Read further to learn more about what SCOBY and kombucha are and how to make your own SCOBY at home.

What is a Scoby?

SCOBY is a spongy mat that hosts the bacteria and yeast needed to brew kombucha.
SCOBY is a spongy mat that hosts the bacteria and yeast needed to brew kombucha. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / LyraSid)

Before learning how to make or grow SCOBY, let’s talk about these things. You’re probably somewhat familiar with kombucha, a fermented tea, but may still be fuzzy about what SCOBY is, which is required for kombucha to brew.

To begin, SCOBY is an acronym for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It is a cellulose mat which is home to the bacteria and yeast that help ferment the sweetened tea needed to brew kombucha – the funky, carbonated fermented beverage grabbing the world by storm.

If you’ve never seen a SCOBY before, it’s a funny-looking, pale, squishy substance that floats at the top of the kombucha, taking the shape of whatever vessel the liquid is stored in. Also known as a “kombucha mother,” some say the SCOBY forms at the top of the kombucha to create a kind of lid, thus protecting the kombucha from mold and other undesirable bacteria.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is one of the most popular non-alcohol drinks next to soda in the US, and more and more people are consuming it as it's health benefits are becoming better understood.
Kombucha is one of the most popular non-alcohol drinks next to soda in the US, and more and more people are consuming it as it’s health benefits are becoming better understood. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / SquibbVicious)

While most people have probably had kombucha, some still might not know exactly what it is. Kombucha is a fermented black or green tea that is believed to have originated in China. Once the SCOBY has fermented the sweetened tea, the resulting beverage is a cold, slightly sweet and carbonated beverage. Kombucha is often described as effervescent and tangy.

Now widely popular in the US, kombucha is commonly made at home and bottled and sold commercially with different flavorings and sizes to choose from. While the fermented beverage is sweetened and sometimes flavored with different things like lavender, citrus, or ginger, it’s still very low in sugar, especially in comparison to other beverages like soda.

It’s also purported to have various health benefits because it:

Read More: Green Tea Side Effects and Benefits

SCOBY Tools and Ingredients

Growing SCOBY at home requires only a few tools and ingredients you may already have at home.
Growing SCOBY at home requires only a few tools and ingredients you may already have at home. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / McElspeth)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unflavored kombucha
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 tbsp. black or green tea
  • 1 tbsp. cane sugar

Tools

  • Medium-sized glass jar, sterilized (like this 16 oz. Ball Mason Jar from Amazon**)
  • Tea ball
  • Cotton cloth
  • Rubber Band

Step 1. Brew Tea

The first step involves simply brewing a sweetened tea concentrate.
The first step involves simply brewing a sweetened tea concentrate. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Pexels)
  1. Bring water to boil either in a kettle or saucepan.
  2. Add sugar and water to a bowl and stir well. Then infuse tea with water for 15 minutes.
  3. Allow tea to come to room temperature.

Step 2. Combine Ingredients

Once the tea has cooled down, combine it with the kombucha in the glass mason jar.
Once the tea has cooled down, combine it with the kombucha in the glass mason jar. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap)
  1. Pour cooled tea and kombucha into mason jar.
  2. Cover the top with the cotton cloth and secure with a rubber band.

Step 3. Grow Scoby

After about a week, you should have a little SCOBY floating at the top of your mason jar.
After about a week, you should have a little SCOBY floating at the top of your mason jar. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / PollyDot)
  1. Let it sit uninterrupted at room temperature – between 70°F and 85°F – in a dark area with good airflow for around a week.
  2. After this time, you should have grown a SCOBY in your mason jar and created a kombucha liquid.

Now that you have a SCOBY, you can continue to brew kombucha, grow the SCOBY bigger in different vessel sizes, split the SCOBY to share with friends, and try out different flavors for your kombucha using spices, herbs, fruits, flowers, and more.

Read More:

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