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What is a SCOBY?

A scoby, which stands for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast," is a living organism used to ferment sweetened tea to create kombucha. It is a gelatinous, rubbery disc that floats on the surface of the tea and transforms it into a tangy and slightly fizzy drink.



The scoby is a colony of microorganisms, including several species of bacteria and yeast, that work together symbiotically to ferment the tea. The bacteria break down the sugar in the tea and produce acids, while the yeast consumes the oxygen and converts the acids into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Over time, the alcohol is further metabolized into acetic acid, which gives kombucha its characteristic sour taste.

Scobys can vary in size and appearance, but they typically range from about 1/4 to 1 inch in thickness and have a beige or brownish color. They are often referred to as "mother" or "mushroom" and are capable of reproducing, so a single scoby can be used to make multiple batches of kombucha.

To make your own scoby, you can start with a bottle of unflavored, unpasteurized store-bought kombucha and let it sit in a jar with sweetened tea for several days. Over time, a new scoby will form on the surface of the tea as the microorganisms begin to multiply.

It's important to note that while the scoby is a crucial component in the kombucha-making process, it is not necessary for drinking store-bought kombucha. The scoby is typically removed before bottling and the drink is pasteurized to prevent further fermentation. However, for those interested in making their own kombucha at home, the scoby is essential for ensuring a successful and safe fermentation process.

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