How to Grow a Kombucha Scoby

How long does it take to grow a kombucha scoby?

It takes roughly 2 to 4 weeks to grow a new scoby from scratch. The time might be less if your kitchen is warm or longer if your kitchen is cool. In general, try to keep your kombucha at an average room temperature of about 70°F, and your scoby will form in a little over two weeks.

How do you start a scoby?

  1. Brew a fresh batch of sweetened tea.
  2. Cool and pour tea into a large jar.
  3. Add a scoby and its growing liquid to the jar.
  4. Cover the jar with a cloth and a rubber band.
  5. Place in a dark cupboard for 1-2 weeks until ready.

Why is my kombucha not growing a scoby?

If your scoby seems to stop growing it could be a sign that something is off with your brew. Healthy Scoby’s will continue to grow until they cover the surface of the brewing container. During the fermentation process, a healthy scoby will add layers.

What does a scoby need to survive?

The scoby is actually a biofilm made of cellulose and is produced by the bacteria found in the kombucha culture. Since the yeast and bacteria require oxygen to thrive, the bacteria create this biofilm in order to be closer to a source of oxygen. This is why scobys form on the surface of the brew, and not the bottom.

Can apple cider vinegar grow a scoby?

The scoby is similar to a vinegar mother (the thing you see floating around in some bottles of apple cider vinegar), and will grow and reproduce as you continue fermenting your kombucha.

How long can you keep a scoby without feeding it?

The easiest way to store your kombucha scoby is in a sealed container in the fridge. Always label the jar so that no one in the household gets rid of it by mistake! The scoby then goes dormant and can be stored for up to 6 months.

Is eating scoby good for you?

Scobys are full of probiotics and antioxidants. Another reason to eat a scoby is that its a concentrated form of the same probiotic benefits you get from drinking kombucha. Probiotics are healthy bacteria found in fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut that can improve digestive function.

Should my scoby sink or float?

When you drop in your scoby, it will initially sink but then slowly float back up to the surface. As carbonation develops in the brew, it will lift the scoby back to the top. If the natural carbonation of your first fermentation kombucha is slowed, this could cause the scoby to sink.

How many times can you use the same scoby?

Every scoby can be used four times before it gets too old and needs to be discarded. With each batch of kombucha a baby scoby is produced and the process starts again, you will have a fridge full of scobys before you know it.

Is kombucha still good if it’s flat?

Although kombucha does not spoil in a traditional sense, unrefrigerated raw kombucha can continue to ferment if left out too long. This extra fermentation can result in kombucha that is more vinegary, more acidic, more carbonated, or even contains a little extra alcohol.

How do you keep a scoby alive without brewing?

Cover the scoby hotel with a breathable cloth (no lid), then just add scobys to the jar whenever you have extras. Every 4 to 6 weeks, drain off some of the liquid in the SCOBY hotel and replace it with sweetened tea so the scobys can continue to have food and nutrients.

How long can a scoby live in a hotel?

Your scoby hotel can go 30 to 90 days without maintenance, depending on the temperature of your house. You can optionally decide to remove excess yeast. These are the stringy brown bits that usually hang off the bottom of the scobys.

Can I make kombucha without starter tea or scoby?

Yes, you can use an equal portion of distilled white vinegar in place of starter tea. Alternatively you may use bottled raw, unflavored kombucha tea, which can be purchased at many health food and grocery stores.

Can I rinse my scoby in water?

A scoby, by contrast, doesn’t need rinsing. You’ll rinse away some of the microbes that are responsible for helping your sweet tea to transform into kombucha, so, as a best practice, move your scoby directly from one batch of kombucha to the next, with minimal handling and it’ll do just fine.

Can you grow kombucha from store bought?

You would just take a large amount of kombucha (get some from a friend or use multiple bottles of store bought kombucha), pour in a glass jar, cover the top with a cloth and leave it in a warm place and wait for a scoby to grow.

Is scoby alive?

A scoby is literally alive with active yeast and bacteria. But have no fear – it won’t be crawling out of your fermentation tank or vessel anytime soon.

What is scoby made from?

A scoby is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast used in the production of kombucha. You can buy one from local or online retailers or make it at home using raw, unflavored kombucha and sweetened green or black tea.

How can I make my scoby grow faster?

We recommend using all black tea for growing the scoby, because black tea will produce the fastest cellulose growth. Other teas will work for growing the scoby but the growth will be slower and the scoby may be different (e.g., green tea scobys tend to be thinner but are perfectly healthy).

How thick should your first scoby be?

You want the scoby to be 1/4 inch thick. At day 20, it had reached that thickness, but I let it hang out until day 25 until I had enough time to make the next batch of sweet tea to brew the actual kombucha.

How do I keep my scoby healthy?

  1. Store in clean glass jars to help keep them safe.
  2. Never refrigerate scoby. Always keep at room temperature.
  3. If scoby gets too big, cut into smaller pieces to use separately.
  4. Don’t remove the stringy yeast unless there is excess build up. This helps develop carbonation and keep pH balanced.
  5. Peel off top layers (and dispose the oldest) for best scoby health.
  6. If continuous brewing, keep an appropriate amount of starter liquid for scoby size.

What does scoby feed on?

It’s because scoby feed on three things: plain “real” tea (not herbal teas or infusions), cane sugar and water. If you add other ingredients into the mix, you’re feeding your scoby things it may not be able to digest. And it could throw off the symbiosis of the bacteria and yeast.

Does new scoby grow on top or bottom?

A new scoby should always grow on floating top of your brew, but the location of the Mother scoby could be at the top or on the bottom, or somewhere in between. The starter liquid acts as your protective barrier the first couple days while a new scoby baby grows.

Can I use vinegar to start kombucha?

No! Let’s be crystal clear right up front: despite what you may have read or heard, vinegar should never be added to Kombucha as starter liquid. Use only well-fermented Kombucha as starter liquid for your brews.

Are there different types of scoby?

It turns out there are different types of kombucha scoby strains (like Heirloom and Tibetan!) that can yield different results in your finished kombucha.

How do you make a scoby hotel?

  1. In a clean mason jar, add the scobys.
  2. Pour enough the kombucha into the jar to fully submerge all the scobys. Add sweet tea if necessary.
  3. Cover with the dishcloth and place elastic to keep dishcloth in place.
  4. Keep in a cool, dark place. Do not refrigerate.

Does kombucha need to be in the dark?

If your kombucha has already acidified to the point that you’re bottling it, you likely don’t have to worry much about sunlight killing your bacteria. But if you really want to be safe, just keep it in a dark area as your bottles F2 for however many days it takes to build carbonation.

Do you throw away old scoby?

You will only need to replace your scoby if it has developed mold or if it is continuously struggling to ferment. Often with struggling scobys, things can be done to help bring balance to your culture depending on the situation, and you won’t need to start over completely.

What can I do with my old scoby?

You can use your spare scobies to experiment with new tea’s (or even coffee) or different sugars and then throw the scoby away when you have finished. Add a small piece of scoby to smoothies or juices to add a bit of extra zing and nutition and probiotics (not too much though!) Make Kombucha Jerky

Can I put two scobys in my kombucha?

To keep things simple, we generally recommend adding both scobys to your next batch. However, once you have several scobys, you can consider starting a scoby hotel. With the scobys removed from your brewing container, it is time to remove the remainder of the Kombucha from the container.

Can you revive a dried out scoby?

The simplest way to fix that is to run it through a coffee filter. Now that you have both the scoby and the starter liquid ready for action, all that’s left is to make a batch of sweet tea. Don’t use anything fancy here because it will only get in the way. Brew with cheap bags of black tea and regular old table sugar.

What does a healthy scoby look like?

A healthy scoby is always white or light tan, or some shade in between. A darker brown scoby might just mean that the scoby is older, and probably won’t work to brew kombucha. A scoby can have streaks of brown or black on it – this is just leftover remnants of tea from the last brew.

How do you know if your scoby is working?

If your scoby floats to the top or it sinks to the bottom but a new thin layer forms on the top of your tea, it is fermenting properly. The tea will lighten in color over several days and will see some bubbling also. Finally, you can taste it. A developing vinegary flavor indicates all is well.

How long can scoby stay out?

Your scoby will safely ferment at room temperature for 30 days, so you can let it brew without worrying.

Can scoby be stored in plastic?

A scoby is typically stored in a glass container. A stainless steel, oak or even a high-quality plastic container will also work.

Can I freeze scoby?

Never freeze or refrigerate a kombucha scoby. This living culture can be negatively impacted by extremely hot and cold temps. We recommend our brewers keep their brew no cooler than 64 degrees. Yes, we think the fridge is too cold for a scoby. When a scoby gets cold the bacteria go to sleep.

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Written by Kristen Cook

I am a recipe writer, developer and food stylist with almost over 5 years of experience after completing the three term diploma at Leiths School of Food and Wine in 2015.

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