Have you ever noticed the little “floatie” bits in the bottom of your kombucha bottle? Would you believe that these are actually newly formed baby Scoby’s? Our kombucha is 100% organic, completely unpasteurised and stored in a light proof bottle, meaning baby Scoby’s can develop in our bottles of booch! Although they are small, these little Scoby’s can grow to become the “mother” of your next brew. So next time you open a bubbling bottle of Hemp Oz Kombucha, be sure to save those floaties!
What is a Scoby?
A Scoby is actually an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. Put simply, a Scoby is just a living raft for the bacteria and yeast that transform sugary tea into fizzy kombucha. Aside from being a home for bacteria, the Scoby protects the brew underneath from the air and harmful bacteria outside while it is fermenting.
P.S. A kombucha “mother” and a Scoby are the same thing!
How do I grow my own Scoby?
A Scoby is a natural biproduct of the kombucha brewing process. The Scoby is continuously regenerating itself and you can see a new Scoby growing on top of the old every time you make a new brew. To grow your own Scoby, all you need is tea, sugar and some Hemp Oz Kombucha, basically all the ingredients you need to make a brew except for the Scoby… That little superstar will feature later!
The ingredients, equipment and instructions are as follows:
- 8 cups of water
- 1 cup of white granulated sugar
- 4 bags of black tea or 2 tablespoons of loose leaf black tea
- 1 cup of Hemp Oz Kombucha
- 1 large saucepan
- Wooden spoon
- 3-5L glass container
- Muslin cloth or tightly woven cloth such as a tea towel or paper towel
- 1 rubber band
Step 1: Brew the Tea. Place the 8 cups of water into your saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the stove top and stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Add the tea bags or loose leaf tea and steep until the tea cools to room temperature. Discard Tea bags/leaves.
Step 2: Combine Tea & Kombucha. Pour the sweet tea into your glass container followed by the cup of Hemp Oz Kombucha. If you see any baby Scoby in the bottom of your bottle be sure to add this too! If you don’t see any, don’t worry, your Scoby will form. Stir gently to combine.
Step 3: Cover with cloth and store for 1 to 4 weeks. Double over your muslin cloth or tea towel and use a rubber band to keep the cloth firm over the mouth of the jar. Place the jar somewhere where the temperature ranges from 25-28 degrees Celsius, out of direst sunlight and where it wont get jostled around too much.
How do I know when my Scoby is ready?
Watch for bubbles! Nothing will happen for the first few days but then you should eventually see groups of tiny bubbles beginning to group on the surface. After a few more days, the bubbles will start to merge and form a transparent, jelly like film across the teas surface. You should also be able to see bubbles forming around the edges of the film. This is Carbon Dioxide which is produced during fermentation and is a sign that all is well in the realm below.
Over the next few days, the layer will continue to thicken and will gradually become opaque. When your Scoby is about ¼ of an inch thick, it is ready to be used as a mother! If your Scoby is looking a bit patchy, rough or “not fully grown” don’t stress! Your Scoby will develop further and become more uniform over the course of a few batches of Kombucha. Keep the liquid used to grow your Scoby. It will most likely be too strong to drink but you should use it to make up 20% of your first batch using your new Scoby.
How long does it take to grow a new Scoby?
Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, it should take approximately 2 to 4 weeks to grow a new Scoby from scratch. The warmer your kitchen is, the quicker your Scoby will grow.
Things to look out for
Remember to keep an eye on your Kombucha and Scoby. A jar of kombucha without a Scoby is highly vulnerable to bacteria (good or bad) as the Scoby protects the liquid underneath from harmful intruders. Ensure that your jar, utensils and hands are clean and free of soap residue before handling the Scoby. Bubbles, jelly like masses and a brown coloured residue are good.
Fuzzy black, white or green spots of mould are bad, if you see these on your Scoby throw out the Scoby and kombucha and start again. Your kombucha should smell fresh, slightly sweet/vinegary and this smell will become stronger as it ferments over time. If it smells cheesy or off-putting then something has probably gone wrong and you should start again.
Tips and Tricks
- If the weather is cold, add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, this should give your brew the kickstart it needs
- The longer you brew, the less sweet it is.
- Add fruit, ginger etc, when decanting kombucha into bottles for the second fermentation
- If you see mould growing DO NOT DRINK!
- Healthy Scoby’s can float or sink, be light or dark and if its too big… split it and gift it!