A SCOBY is a living culture made up of healthy bacteria and yeast
Getting down to business, a SCOBY stands for a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.
A SCOBY, commonly known as the “mother” looks like a cream coloured jellyfish floating across the top of your brew. This Jelly-like mat is made up of a collective of microbes joined together by cellulose fibers. This community of bacteria work together to protect your brew from pathogens, stop evaporation and facilitate fermentation. Essentially, the SCOBY is the mothership for the healthy bacteria and yeast to live on. This symbiotic relationship works together to transform your sweet tea into the delicious, tangy, naturally fizzy, kombucha we love!
A SCOBYs role in fermentation
When a SCOBY is put into a sugary solution the microbiome comes to life and the fermentation process begins. The yeast is stimulated to convert the simple sugar into ethanol, which the bacteria then turns into organic acids.
Alcohol in Kombucha
The bacteria in kombucha are super efficient at converting the alcohol into organic acids, which keeps alcohol levels low. While Kombucha is not completely alcohol free, it only contains trace amounts. Compared to other ferments like wine and beer, a typical kombucha will have an ABV of 0.5% to 1% while beer is around 5% and wine is between 12% to 15%.
The diversity of a SCOBY
With all living things, not all SCOBYs are created equal. SCOBYs can be of different quality and composition. As a result, some will naturally brew tastier kombucha than others. Just as siblings in a family have different, tastes, looks and personalities, SCOBYs can brew kombucha that looks or tastes completely different from an identically prepared batch.
You can never completely control a natural process, including brewing kombucha. Fermentation is a living process that evolves and changes with each life cycle. That’s part of the fascination of learning how to brew kombucha and understanding fermentation. With each brewing cycle the mother SCOBY grows thicker and develops a new “baby” SCOBY.
I was immediately drawn to my kombucha cultures the very first time I brewed. Just as with plants, a nurturing relationship evolved and I grew attached to both mother and baby kombucha cultures. I find myself checking in on them frequently throughout the day…singing & chatting to them. I feel like bringing positive energy is just as important to them as it is for me!
The transformation of each SCOBY is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. They mature so quickly and are visibly different from moment to moment.
Each brewing cycle and the development of the baby SCOBY, brings the opportunity to share your labor of love with friends!
So, get to know a SCOBY! You can get your own SCOBY culture and kombucha starter from our online shop.
To find out more about brewing kombucha visit our website Sorsa Kombucha.