Monday, July 9, 2012

Kombucha--Part 1 Growing a scoby

This is what I am currently working on, thus blog worthy.  (and a good place to keep all of my notes.  :-)  )

With the help of my amazing, friend Mackenzie (check out her blog here) I am attempting to grow my own scoby to make Kombucha.

First, a little preview of Kombucha and what a s.c.o.b.y. is.....

Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea that is used as a functional food.  In, short, Kombucha is a healthy version of pop (without high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring and aluminum).  It is loaded with probiotics, aids in digestion, helps detoxify bad stuff out of your body, is a dramatic immune system booster, can help prevent cancer, can help the body eliminate the chemotherapy from the bodies of chemotherapy patients.  You can make it yourself (very easy and inexpensive) and it tastes great!  

A scoby is also known as a Kombucha culture.  S.C.O.B.Y. stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.  They look sooo bizarre!  You might think they look a little gross, they do, but that's ok.

Buy a GOOD quality of Kombucha first.  Not the Wonder Drink brand.  I bought this and it must have been a old, watered down Kombucha because even after 1 month my scoby never grew.  I had two tiny ones about the size of a dime.  Instead of one large one that should have covered the top of the liquid.  I highly recommend the brand GT's Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha Original.  Do not buy a flavored bottle, you want Original, no natural flavoring to grow your scoby.  Swirl the bottle around while you are in the store, you should see stringy stuff in the bottle.  If you do, buy that one.  There may be scoby's already starting to grow in your bottle!!  Merry Christmas...that is a REEEAlly good bottle!! See picture below. 
Look!!!  There is a start of a scoby in this one!!!!!  Soo cool!

Ok, so here we go...
1 16 fl oz bottle of GT's Organic Raw Kombucha, room temperature (Downtown Farm Stand, Whole Foods or online)
1 cup water (reverse osmosis or filtered is HIGHLY necessary)
1/3 cup organic sugar from sugar cane (not the bleached white sugar we grew up on)
3 tea bags (organic tea here.  black, green, oolong, anything you like here)
1 glass jar (small one, enough to hold 3-4 cups) (do NOT use antibacterial soap to clean this glass jar before use)
Dish rag/towel/scrap of material
Thermometer, if you have one (I bought a little one from Wal-Mart a long time ago that also measure humidity)

Here is a pic of what I use.....

Let's begin!  Bring your 1 cup water to a boil, pour in your 1/3 cup of organic cane sugar.  Stir until dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Place 3 tea bags in hot water.  Set a time for 2 hours and walk away.  :-)  

After two hours, remove tea bags and add to your compost bin.  

Pour room temperature sweetened tea into your clean glass jar.  Gently roll your GT's Kombucha so you no longer see any sediment on the bottom (the bottle says not to shake, but I want all of the good stuff in the bottle in my glass jar, so gently roll) very careful as you open the bottle, fizz will have built up and you definitely do not want any of your precious GT's to go on the floor....turn the cap a little, wait for the fizz to settle down, twist a little more, wait, you get the picture, then pour all of the room temperature 16 fl oz of your GT's Kombucha into the glass jar with the sweetened tea.  Swirl the jar to combine the sweetened tea and the Kombucha.  

Cover with a cloth and place a rubber-band around the top.  Find a location that is consistently 76 degrees and place jar there.

Beautiful steeping tea.

Ready to grow a scoby!!! Yay!! (Picture taken July 9, 2012)

I am starting my scoby project today!  Let me know how your project goes!  I will post pictures along the way.  Keep checking back to this blog post. :-)

My scoby is growing!!  (Picture taken July 16, 2012)

Book/Websites/Blogs that I researched to find this info (and read frequently).....

Nourshishing Traditions by Sally Fallon


  1. How long did it take to form the SCOBY? From the images above, how long was it from the "Ready to grow a SCOBY!" image to the "My SCOBY is growing" image?

    Thank you in advance,


  2. Hi Pedro,

    I took the pic "Ready to grow a SCOBY!" on July 9, 2012 and I took the pic "My SCOBY is growing" on July 16, 2012.

    So it took 7 days. You can wait a few days longer or you can start using it when it looks like the one in the picture.

    Hope this helps.

    Just make sure you buy a good store brand original (no fruit added) Kombucha.