The kombucha scoby is where the colony of live bacteria and yeasts turn into kombucha. Scoby, which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeasts, floats on the surface of fermenting kombucha. It starts as a very thin film and thickens a little before the tea is ready. The kombucha scoby is easy to make at home, but it takes two to four weeks, which is important to remember when developing your own.
- 7 cups (1, 5 L) of water;
- ½ cup (120 g) white sugar;
- 4 packs of black tea;
- 1 cup (240 ml) of unflavored, unpasteurized commercial kombucha.
Method 1 of 3: Mixing tea with bottled kombucha
Step 1. Boil the water
Put seven cups (1, 5 L) of water in a large pot and let it come to a boil. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Step 2. Add sugar and tea packets to water
Mix half a cup (120 g) of sugar in hot water and stir until completely dissolved. When it is dissolved, add the four packets of tea.
Step 3. Allow the tea to cool
Allow the beverage to come to room temperature, then remove and discard the tea packets.
Step 4. Mix the tea with the bottled kombucha
Put all the sweetened tea you made in a large, clean jar. Then add one cup (240 ml) of unflavored commercial kombucha. If there is a small scoby forming in the drink bottle itself, add it to the bottle as well.
- If you have a small scoby in the jar, it will grow into a “mother” scoby.
- Don't worry there's nothing in the bottle; a scoby will still develop in the bottle.
Method 2 of 3: Developing scoby
Step 1. Cover the bottle
After combining the kombucha with the tea, cover the jar with layers of cheesecloth, coffee filter, or paper towels. Then put an elastic band to secure the material over the mouth of the bottle.
Step 2. Keep the bottle out of direct sunlight
Place it in a closet or in a corner out of direct sunlight in a room with room temperature (approximately 20 °C).
Contact with sunlight can hinder the development of kombucha scoby
Step 3. Store kombucha for one to four weeks
Keep it closed for this entire time and have a look at the bottle twice a week.
- By the end of the first week, bubbles should form on the surface of the liquid, and you should be able to see a very thin film forming.
- When the scoby has finished growing, it should be about half an inch thick.
Step 4. Remove the scoby
When it is opaque and with the expected thickness, it is ready to be used. Remove it and use it to make your own kombucha!
- Discard the liquid used for preparation as it will have a very acidic and strong taste. Keep only one cup (240 ml) if making kombucha.
- If the scoby starts to mold or has a sour smell, it is likely that harmful bacteria are forming. Throw it away and start the process over.
Method 3 of 3: Using Scoby to Make Kombucha
Step 1. Heat six cups (1, 4 L) of water
To start making nearly two liters of kombucha, place six cups (1, 4 L) of water on the stove and heat until it almost bubbles. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Step 2. Put the sugar and tea packets in the water
While the water is still hot, add half a cup (120 g) of sugar and stir until dissolved. Then put four packets of tea in the water to infuse.
Step 3. Allow the tea to cool to 24°C
If you want a strong tea flavor in your kombucha, leave the packets in the liquid until cool. If you want a light taste, remove the packages after 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4. Remove packages and add tea from the beginning
Once the drink has cooled, remove the packets and place the sweetened tea in a large, clean jar. Then add a cup (240 ml) of the tea you made when you were making the scoby. If you've already thrown it all away, substitute a cup (240 ml) of white distilled vinegar.
Step 5. Add the scoby
Carefully place the scoby in the bottle of liquid. It should float on the surface and cover all the liquid.
Step 6. Cover the bottle
Place a coffee filter or cheese-making cloth over the kombucha jar and use elastic tape to secure it.
Step 7. Let the kombucha rest for one to three weeks
Place the kombucha in a cupboard or kitchen table away from direct sunlight. The ambient temperature should be 20 to 29 °C. Do not lift or shake the drink while it is developing.
If you want the drink to taste sweeter, let it sit for just a week or a week and a half. If you want a stronger vinegar flavor, let it sit for two or three weeks
Step 8. Pour the kombucha and keep the scoby in the jar
When ready to serve, remove most of the beverage from the bottle and retain the scoby and approximately one cup (240 ml) of the liquid. You can use the scoby and starter tea to make another batch of kombucha.
If you're not going to drink the whole drink, put it in a closed bottle and keep it in the fridge
- Try using glass jars instead of plastic ones when making kombucha so that the chemicals in the plastic don't interfere with development.
- Be careful when removing the scoby from the bottle so that it does not break.