What's floating in my Kombucha?
by Nikhil Yadav
“I am a SCOBY.”
“The one floating in your Kombucha”
When we first have Kombucha most of us are not sure about the actual ingredients that render a perfect cup of kombucha tea.
Before we begin, let us walk you through - What is Kombucha SCOBY?
What some call "Scobay" or "Sco-bee", take your pick. Stands for
‘Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast’.
Yes, bacteria and yeast. Doesn’t sound exciting, right?
Well, truth be told, there is a lot of action that takes place to make or brew a batch of Kombucha.
SCOBY is the ‘Kombucha Mother’ or a ‘Kombucha starter’ or the ‘mushroom’ that gives this beverage its distinct acidity and sour taste.
It may look gross, or even freak you out, but it is this mystery ingredient that is most important in making that perfect batch of Booch.
When we say, the drink is Alive! It actually is, with living bacteria and yeast happily co-existing inside the bottle itself. Bacteria and yeast working together to transform our sweetened tea into Kombucha. The yeast in the SCOBY feeds on the sugars of our Kombucha, converting them into ethanol. Together with bacteria, they team up as friends and much-needed probiotics.
Why is SCOBY referred to as Mother crop or culture?
The ‘mother’ of the drink, this weird looking jelly-like substance is what makes this beverage all whizzy and fun. Why is it called a Mother? It multiplies and can
produce layered ‘babies’ that can, in turn, be used to make more Booch. Each of
these babies can then be used to make a fresh batch of Kombucha. This is how Kombucha is made!
How does a SCOBY appear?
SCOBYs can vary in size and density but are usually round, opaque, rubbery, with a slight vinegar-like smell. Holding a SCOBY can be quite a task as it does hold a lot of Kombucha in it, looks gross and is quite slippery. SCOBYs are quite tough if thick, which means they can hold their structure quite well without falling apart.
Why does it even have to be in the Booch?
Kombucha is a fermented and fizzy tea, right? For it to ferment it needs a certain catalyst. That’s where the SCOBY thrives in the Booch concoction amidst black or green tea and sugar. The more sugar it is fed, the bigger it gets and when the sugar finishes, the party comes to an end.
Fermentation increases the concentration of probiotics, a kind of good bacteria that works wonders on our gut. Thus, Kombucha is said to have a couple of health benefits that aid a healthy lifestyle.
The specific flavors depend on how long it has been left to ferment, the kind of tea used and the addition of other delicious ingredients like juices, fruits or herbs. This essentially helps in getting the right Kombucha tea flavors that one wants.
How to make a SCOBY?
To make the perfect Kombucha SCOBY, you can use unflavoured raw kombucha and
1 cup or 250ml of green or black tea, sweetened with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Leave the kombucha ingredients to ferment in one corner in a tightly fitted jar in a warm spot. Let it ferment for about 30 days to see the effects taking place.
Once the SCOBY is around ¼ inch thick, you can take a slice of it and add it to a new batch of black or green tea with sugar to brew some more.
How should a SCOBY look in color?
It is quite natural for SCOBY’s to have different shades of color. While some are
crystal white, others are dark or brownish. It is quite normal for SCOBY to have these colors.
Black tea can result in the SCOBY becoming dark while green tea may make it look slightly brownish. The dark color can occur in SCOBYs that are fed regular sugar and tea.
Many of us love to get personal with our SCOBY but yes, it is quite important to
understand how they behave and react in the brewing process.
With a home brewing kit, we all can make the better fizz at home, along with a
lot of patience and love.
Here are the current running flavors that make us feel refreshed and energized.