Scoby sounds a bit like a wonderful mythical creature from a fantasy world. But in fact it is the Kombucha culture. What exactly does the name stand for? How does the tea fungus work in detail? How do I grow my own little Kombucha mushroom and many more answers to your questions about the miracle mushroom can be found here!
First things first: What is kombucha, anyway?
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink with a centuries-old tradition. With the help of the Kombucha Scoby - also called tea fungus - tea, sugar, water and a starter liquid are transformed into delicious Kombucha. The tea fungus, with its many microorganisms and their enzymes, does a great job within 7-14 days. At the end of the fermentation process, four simple ingredients produce a refreshing drink full of healthy nutrients. Kombucha contains, for example, various organic acids, vitamins and trace elements. You want to know more about Kombucha? You can find more detailed information about Kombucha on our KOMBUCHERY blog.
What does SCOBY stand for?
You've probably wondered what the name stands for or where it came from. Scoby is the English abbreviation for SYMBIOTIC CULTURE OF BACTERIA AND YEASTS. So quite simply said a symbiosis of bacteria and yeast cultures. The Kombucha culture is also often called tea mushroom, miracle mushroom or Kombucha mother.
What is a Scoby made of?
The Kombucha Scoby is actually not a real tea fungus. It is more of a lichen than a mushroom in the botanical sense. It has a whitish-beige substance and takes on various round shapes. In this substance, various bacteria (e.g. lactic acid bacteria) and yeasts live together as in a symbiosis. They help each other to survive, so to speak. This is also held together by cellulose. Yeasts produce e.g. alcohol from which bacteria can feed. These then produce valuable organic acids from alcohol and oxygen. A pretty ingenious concept of nature!
At a glance:
- Bacterial cultures (e.g. lactic acid and acetic acid bacteria)
- Yeast cultures
- Interaction in a kind of symbiosis
This is what a kombucha scoby looks like
One thing it almost always has in common. Its round pancake-like shape. It consists of whitish, gelatinous layers. These feel a little gooey and take some getting used to. Depending on the type of tea used, its color can vary from beige to dark brown to slightly pink. Its surface can be smooth, but also very uneven. During the fermentation process, it may even develop holes or small bulges - this is quite normal! Depending on the amount of liquid it contains, the kombucha tea mushroom will be either more or less glassy in composition. If you grow your own Kombucha mushroom, it will be thin at first. It forms new layers from day to day and becomes thicker and thicker.
Check your Scoby: Is this normal?
Not sure if your tea mushroom is still healthy? We can help you interpret your little kombucha friend. A few simple checks and you'll be on the safe side.My Scoby...
... has little black or green spots: Attention, mold - please discard.
...has different colours: this can happen and is quite normal.
...has small white bubbles in the early stages: this can also happen and does not necessarily have to be mould.
...lies at the bottom of the jar: don't panic! In the worst case, a new tea fungus will form on the surface....is dark brown and falling apart: Your Kombucha mushroom is a bit exhausted and should be sent to a well-deserved rest.
This is what a healthy Scoby looks like!
This is what mold looks like on a kombucha culture!
From scoby to kombucha: how the tea fungus works
- Similar to kefir and kefir tubers, kombucha is created during fermentation with the help of the kombucha culture.
- The culture, consisting of bacteria and yeasts, uses the sweetened tea as a nutrient solution.
- A tea infusion of black tea or a blend with green tea is commonly used.
- The kombucha tea fungus initially spreads on the nutrient solution of the vessel. In some cases, the fungus sinks to the bottom. Then a new tea fungus slowly forms on the surface and the lower one usually stops growing. With a little time, it continues to form new gelatinous layers and becomes thicker and thicker.
- The yeasts first metabolize sugar into alcohol.
- Then the bacteria take over and metabolize the alcohol and various substances from the tea again into organic acids and other valuable nutrients .
The symbiosis with a look that takes some getting used to really does a terrific job!
Make your own kombucha: Here's how [recipe]: https://kombuchery.de/blogs/kombucha/selber-machen-fuer-beginner
Where can I get a Scoby for kombucha?
Now that you know so much about the miracle mushroom, you probably want to know how to get it to your home. It's not hard at all, and it can be done in a number of different ways.
Make your own Scoby
Many people don't know it, but growing your own tea mushroom isn't hard at all. All you need is sugar, tea, water and an unpasteurized kombucha as a starter liquid (e.g. our Kombucha Original). This way you can save money and watch the kombucha process from the beginning. You can find detailed instructions on how to make it at home here.
Making the Kombucha Mushroom [Instructions]: https://kombuchery.de/blogs/kombucha/kombucha-selber-machen-rezept
Several vendors have made a business out of growing kombucha scoby and sell it on the internet. This can save you time in which you would have to grow the tea mushroom yourself. These are then shipped in a starter liquid. Which is really just very acidic unpasteurized kombucha.
Give Scoby as a gift
If you're a really lucky guy, you have someone in your circle of acquaintances who can spare a tea mushroom and some starter liquid for you.
Save Scoby for Kombucha
The great thing about a kombucha mushroom is that you can use it for more than just one fermentation. Well cared for and stored, it can give you pleasure for quite a while. Kombucha lovers also like to affectionately call the place to store it a hotel. A place where the tea fungus feels at home and is waiting for you for the next fermentation. Simply put, the hotel is a large jar filled with brewing liquid. The liquid used is unpasteurized sour kombucha. The jar should be stored at room temperature. Your kombucha mushroom should be completely covered with the liquid and covered with an air-permeable cloth. A PH of 2.3 to 3.5 is ideal for your tea mushroom. The low PH value makes it difficult for germs to multiply.
At a Glance:
- store at room temperature
- no direct sunlight
- cover the jar with a light cloth
- tea mushroom should be covered by the preparation liquid
- if necessary, feed with a little sugar from time to time
- can also be stored in the refrigerator with the jar closed (must be reactivated afterwards)
Everything for storage in the Scoby-Hotel: https://kombuchery.de/blogs/kombucha/scoby-hotel-lagerung-und-haltbarkeit
Scoby or not Scoby - the mushroom makes it bubble!
As you noticed, the Kombucha Scoby is a true miracle of nature. With a little patience, you can grow your own tea fungus at home and start fermenting your own kombucha right away. If that's too much work for you, that's no problem. We ferment our Kombucha like your grandma and bottle it directly for you. You can still grow your own kombucha mushroom from our Raw Original Kombucha.
TO SHOP :
FAQs about Scoby and Kombucha
How long does it take to grow my own scoby?
Depending on conditions, it can take 6 to 21 days. It often takes longer in the winter than in the summer.
Can you accidentally break the mushroom?
The tea mushroom can take a beating. You can even use scissors to rid it of yeast streaks or the like. However, it can suffer under various conditions and become inactive and sluggish. For one thing, it should not be too thick. Also, never wash out the container he lives in with detergent beforehand (rather use vinegar). Take care of a hygienic environment without fruit flies. Do not put it in hot tea.
Can you eat the scoby?
In fact, you can actually eat a tea fungus. Whether as an ingredient in a smoothie or dried as a jerky. Some kombucha hardliners also use it as a substitute for raw fish.
How is a Scoby made?
Through budding or/and splitting, the complex structure of cellulose, yeasts and bacteria is created during fermentation. Initially, a gelatinous layer forms on the surface of the sweetened tea. Over time, new layers continue to form.
Is it dangerous to grow the Scoby yourself?
Growing a scoby is in no way dangerous. The important thing is to follow all the hygiene rules. If the Kombucha mushroom is infested with mold, you must of course be very careful and rather dispose of it. Important: Small bubbles, foam and tea deposits are not mold, but normal results of the fermentation process.
How often can you drink kombucha?
There is no exact consumption recommendation for Kombucha. We recommend a slow approach to the tea drink. Everyone tolerates the drink differently. However, a bottle every day integrated into the daily routine is a good measure.
How healthy is kombucha?
Kombucha offers a healthy alternative to conventional soft drinks. With its many live cultures and various nutrients, it is a drink that not only quenches your thirst. However, it's also true here that a kombucha with lots of sugar is obviously not as healthy as one with as little as possible.
Thanks for reading!