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A kombucha SCOBY contains the bacteria and yeast cultures necessary for fermenting sweet tea into kombucha. The term "SCOBY" stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast. This culture transforms the tea into the tangy, effervescent beverage known as kombucha. Each time you brew kombucha, the SCOBY continues to thrive, perpetuating the fermentation process.

In essence, the SCOBY is the key component that allows kombucha to replicate itself, much like how sourdough bakers use a “starter” to make more sourdough bread. Instead of flour and water, SCOBYs require tea and sugar to thrive and produce kombucha.

Kombucha SCOBYs have various names:

- The mother 🤶
- The mother culture
- The kombucha culture
- The pellicle
- The pancake 🥞
- The mushroom (though it's not an actual mushroom)

However, "SCOBY" is the most common term among home brewers.


Why is there a SCOBY?

When brewing kombucha, bacteria in the culture create a structure (pancake thing) called a pellicle on the surface of your brew. This pellicle begins as a thin layer and thickens over time. After the pellicle gets to thick, you can throw it away. A brand new one will grow in its place. 😎

Although it might seem otherwise, the pellicle itself isn't alive; it's a cellulose layer produced by specific bacteria in the culture during fermentation. Essentially, it's a byproduct of the kombucha brewing process. The exact reason why bacteria form this structure is not entirely clear, but some theories suggest it may be to protect their food source from contaminants or to block out light. 🕵️



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