Want to start fermenting kombucha at home? No wonder, this fizzy, probiotic-rich fermented drink is so delicious!
To make homemade kombucha, you need a kombucha scoby. But where do you find it?
Unfortunately, you can’t find a kombucha scoby in powder in the fruit and vegetable aisle, or while hiking in the forest next to chanterelles!
We’ve compiled a list of avenues to explore on your scoby hunt to concoct your first homemade kombucha!
Use the following tips to earn your hunting trophy, aka your first kombucha scoby.
What Is a Kombucha Scoby?
A kombucha scoby, kombucha culture, or kombucha mushroom (although it is not a mushroom!), is an ingredient used in kombucha fermentation.
The kombucha scoby is a colony of bacteria and yeast that live in symbiosis and is used as a starter culture to produce fermented tea.
The acronym SCOBY stands for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast”.
The kombucha scoby refers both to the gelatinous disk, ranging in colour from creamy white to dark brown (depending on the type of tea used and its age), and the liquid that comes with it. The two must be together to make kombucha!
By the way, the liquid in kombucha, also called the starter culture, is more important than the pellicle. You could eventually do without the pellicle, but not the liquid culture.
Indeed, the majority of the microorganisms needed for fermentation are found in this liquid!
Now that we know what we’re talking about, you’re all set to start your mission to find your own scoby. Here are three options!
1. Ask a Friend for One
Keep your eyes open! You may have a friend who is a kombucha brewer.
Ask them if they have a baby kombucha scoby to give away. Yes, the kombucha scoby multiplies itself!
In fact, your friend may have gotten his scoby the same way. It is a tradition to share kombucha scobys.
All you have to do is detach a pellicle from the scoby that has duplicated itself, and add 500ml (2 cups) of a healthy kombucha liquid into a jar.
Now you have the essentials to start a small kombucha production. With 500ml, your first recipe could make up to 5 litres, which should be more than enough.
The kombucha scoby grows throughout the fermentation process and new layers are constantly being created.
So there’s no risk of damaging your friend’s strain by asking him for a baby scoby. You could even cut it off with a pair of scissors without hurting it… #thisisisnotananimal
2. Buy a Kombucha Scoby From a Producer
If you can’t find a quality scoby in your circle of friends, another option is to buy one.
It is possible to buy kombucha scobys online, but beware of the quality!
If the kombucha scoby did not grown properly, you may end up with a fermentation that goes bad, a kombucha that is not very fizzy, or a less interesting taste.
Above all, look for a kombucha scoby with healthy liquid culture. The vivacity of the microorganisms it contains is essential for good fermentation!
Our kombucha scobys are lovingly grown in Canada, from organic tea and sugar. They come with plenty of (very healthy!) liquid culture to start your first kombucha fermentation.
We guarantee their quality, and we’ll be there for you if you have any questions!
3. Become a Breeder and Produce It Yourself!
It is also possible to make your own kombucha scoby from bottled kombucha.
This method requires a little more time and skill. But it’s definitely doable!
First, you need to get unpasteurized kombucha with little or no flavouring. Avoid kombucha with hops or essential oils, as these are detrimental to the growth of microorganisms.
Then add this kombucha to sweetened tea (like a normal recipe!) and wait for 2 to 3 weeks. A new kombucha scoby should gradually form on the surface.
For more details on this method, read How to Make a Kombucha Scoby.
(Cover photo credit: Mathieu Dupuis)