The Kombucha SCOBY
A kombucha SCOBY is one of five ingredients that go into brewing kombucha tea. SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. “Symbiotic” means that the bacteria and yeast strains live together in a complex, mutually supportive community, supporting and depending on each other.
The Science Behind Fermentation
Making kombucha is a simple process using very few ingredients, but there is a complex biological process happening to create that delicious beverage.
Kombucha is made through a symbiotic relationship. The SCOBY itself is a symbiotic culture, as mentioned above, in which bacteria and yeasts co-exist in harmony. Because that SCOBY is a living entity, it needs food and a proper environment to thrive.
A kombucha SCOBY’s food source is sweetened black tea. When you place a SCOBY into the prepared tea, it begins to consume the sugars and form another SCOBY, often referred to as a baby.
The other symbiotic relationship therefore exists between the SCOBY and the sweet tea. The SCOBY needs the tea to survive and kombucha cannot be made without the SCOBY. This process can take as little as a week, if it is warmer, and up to a month in cooler temperatures.
The by-products of this process are organic acids, a multiplication of the bacteria and yeasts within the sweetened tea, carbon dioxide (which is how kombucha becomes carbonated), a trace of alcohol, and B vitamins.