Stop the madness – companies selling kombucha scobies for $30+! Ouch! And people buy because they are misinformed.
This article assumes that you’re already convinced that you want to brew kombucha and you’re trying to figure out how to get going. You’ve probably been researching whether you need to buy a kombucha scoby or not and that’s how you have arrived here.
I have been brewing/drinking Kombucha on and off for the last 40 years. Where I was born Kombucha has been around for hundreds of years, unlike it’s the case in the North America, where it was first introduced in 1995, didn’t quite make it, and it became a run away success some time in the first decade of this century.
FYI you don’t need to buy any scobies to grow your own kombucha. You can buy a cheap bottle of unpasteurized kombucha at your supermarket, pour it in a glass, cover with cheese cloth and in 1-2 days you will have your own scoby for free. $30+ to sell you a scoby is a ripoff, especially since the so called scoby is not the kombucha culture, it’s the byproduct of it and kombucha also uses to get oxygen through. Kombucha culture is the liquid. So you buy a lie when you buy a scoby. Note that they don’t sell you just the scoby, but it’s immersed in the kombucha liquid culture, which is what you buy for just a few dollars when you want to drink it.
And if you want to learn how to make your own, there are hundreds of free videos on youtube. All you need is a jar, cheese cloth, large elastic band, any caffeinated tea and sugar. The easiest healthiest tasty drink you can make in no time. And now that you saved yourself all that money by not buying the scoby – you can buy the tea, sugar, jar and cheese cloth. Of course if you like books, there are a ton of books on kombucha – making, health benefits, etc.
Please note that not all bottled kombucha you buy in supermarkets is alive – some brands, who jumped on the kombucha-crazy bandwagon, sell dead kombucha, as it has gone through pasteurization, which kills the culture. So really sometime when you think you buy a loaded with live microbiotics elixir, you actually buying a glorified soft drink. And you’re being mislead into the health benefits of it, which are null.
I’ve just recently started a new brewing home product from a single bottle of GT brand of kombucha, that I bought for ~$3. How can you know whether you bought an “honest” kombucha? The test is easy — leave some uncovered kombucha overnight at the room temperature, if a thin film (scoby) started forming — it’s a live culture, if not — it’s probably dead. If it’s cold, the scoby won’t form regardless, so make sure the experiment is performed at room temperature. BTW, this is how I got that whole scoby insight – one day I didn’t finish drinking my kombucha that was in a glass – and the next day I found a scoby formed on top of the liquid.
Another important note about the culture – if you want to park your culture for whatever reason, you can put the whole thing in the fridge with a lid on it and it’ll hibernate there easily up to 6 months. When you want to brew it again, simply take it out, add fresh sweet tea and it will restart. I usually keep a back up culture in the fridge in case I left my growing culture out for too long and it became too vinegary, which can’t be recovered from. I start anew using the back up.
Enjoy your home-made Kombucha at a very little cost!