The Illusive SCOBY

The SCOBY, Just as Hard to Find as Bigfoot

Kombucha, the forever loved fermented tea that is full of beneficial yeasts and bacteria.  A SCOBY makes Kombucha. Without the SCOBY, Kombucha would just be sugary tea with a bit of fruit flavor. Not a bad drink, but not a drink where you’re helping your gut, liver, and macro/micro bacteria.

Essentially, a SCOBY looks like a small Frisbee that ranges in color from bright white to whitish-brown. The name SCOBY stands for, Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Working together, the bacteria and yeast “eat” the caffeine, tannins, and sugar in the tea and transform it into the goodness of kombucha

The history of Kombucha can take two paths. One path goes back to Russia in the late 19th century, where a tea known as Cajnyj Kvas was made from a Birch tree mushroom. This mushroom is the SCOBY that ferments all of our teas today. The other path leads to China, eons ago. Where they drank a tea known as, “Tea of Immortality”. The Chinese claim that every SCOBY today originated from this one mother SCOBY. No one really knows where the SCOBY originated from, though my bets are on China! (… just because I like the “Tea of Immortality”). 

So the question becomes, how do you get one?

Layered SCOBY NoFarmNeeded
My wonderful SCOBY on a plate… just look at the layers!

You know someone

Most everyone I know, who has a SCOBY, has obtained it from someone they know or someone who knows someone, who knows someone, who’s second cousin has one (and the list goes on).

The best way to make sure your SCOBY will survive is to get it from someone. How? Sprinkle into a conversation that you drink kombucha or ask them if they have ever heard of kombucha. You would be surprised how many people actually drink and make their own kombucha.

If it’s a success, make sure you get:

  1. One of the SCOBY’s. This SCOBY is a “baby” from your friends “mother” SCOBY. Essentially, as the SCOBY grows over time layers will form. These layers can then be peeled away making their own SCOBY (the peeled away layer is called a “baby”). You don’t need that big of a layer. It can be as thin as paper and only as big as your fist, and the SCOBY will still work. Just make sure the SCOBY you receive is a bright white because as the SCOBY grows older, it will eventually start to turn brown. You want the freshest and whitest SCOBY to begin. 
  2. Two cups of the original Kombucha (Where your SCOBY has made a home in it before you get it)
Photo Nov 13, 9 36 48 AM
Your SCOBY should be at least as big as your fist.

If it’s not a success scroll further.

Create Your Own

I just moved to a new apartment across the country for a few months. Everything I owned fit into three suitcases, then those three suitcases had to fit on a plane…. There was no way I was going to bring a SCOBY with me. So I decided to make my own.

To make your own SCOBY you need,

  1. 2 bottles of store bought Kombucha. Go for the least flavored one. I couldn’t find any original when I went to the store so I bought ginger.
  2. Glass Container
  3. Dishtowel
  4. Box
  5. Warm dark place to put your SCOBY

Kombucha Starter 1 NoFarmNeeded

Here is my Ginger Kombucha with my glass container.

Kombucha Starter 2 NoFarmNeeded

My added Kombucha

Kombucha Starter 3 NoFarmNeeded

Finished Product! You want the towel on top because you need air circulation for your SCOBY to grow. Then place this container in a warm dark area. Mines is under the bed.

After 3 Days…. 

You are going to want to give this “baby” SCOBY  something to eat. Boil 2 cups of water and then add your black tea bag. After 5 minutes, stir in 1/4 cup of sugar  Once cooled, add to your kombucha mixture. This will give the SCOBY “food” for it to grow bigger and better.

How Long Will it Take for a SCOBY to Fully Develop? 

It takes approximately 2-4 weeks to get a full grown SCOBY. Though it depends on the environment it’s growing in. Keep it at 70 degrees F and it will take approximately 2 weeks.

Is it Safe to Grow Your Own SCOBY? 

Yes! A SCOBY essentially protects your kombucha from bad bacteria. Without the SCOBY your kombucha would be vulnerable to both good and bad bacteria. Just be extra vigilant and if you’re not seeing any results in 2 weeks, scrap the batch and start a new.

Buy a SCOBY online

Everything is online these days. Everything. ( I know someone who sold their urine online). When looking for a SCOBY make sure the SCOBY is at least as big as your fist and comes with 2 cups of its original tea mix.

You want to make sure that your SCOBY gets to you within 2 – 3 days of purchasing it. My sister used her amazon prime account and got her SCOBY with Prime 2 day shipping. Whichever way you do it, make sure you’re not waiting a week for your SCOBY to come.

Kombucha with SCOBY NoFarmNeeded
When buying online make sure you get starter Kombucha as well!

Hopefully, you will find a SCOBY. If there are other ways people have gotten their SCOBY let me know, I always like to learn something new!

6 thoughts on “The Illusive SCOBY

    1. Great question! Black dots will appear across your SCOBY. These dots are a type of bad mold. Also, as your SCOBY starts to produce “babies”, I usually toss the mother SCOBY in the garden and use the new baby SCOBY just to keep things fresh.

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