SCOBY Who? What’s The “Mushroom” In My Booch?

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At Booch, we get so many questions about our SCOBY, such as:

  • What is floating in my Booch?
  • Does your kombucha have that SCOBY thing in it?
  • Can I drink the SCOBY?

We’re here to answer any and all inquiries you have about SCOBYs, to clear up SCOBY misconceptions, and to explain the purpose and functionality of this pancake, mushroom-like substance. (Though it is not a mushroom!)

What is a SCOBY?

SCOBY is the acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. While a SCOBY does mimic a mushroom, there are no mushrooms in Booch. A SCOBY is the living organism that ferments the tea into our delicious craft brew kombucha—Booch! A SCOBY, along with mother tea vinegar, are how you start the process of turning tea and sugar into a fermented beverage known as kombucha.

What does the SCOBY do?

Think of SCOBY as the starter-kit for kombucha: it’s the culture invigorator that initiates the fermentation process. It digests sugars in the kombucha blend and produces all the beneficial by-products—the vitamins, acids, enzymes, probiotics, and more. It also eats away at the caffeine and sugar, but not all of it, because without some sugar, Booch would be pure tea vinegar (often called “mother vinegar”).

Aside from being the home of the bacteria and yeasts used to make kombucha, the SCOBY seals off the kombucha from air during fermentation which protects it from the outside world to ensure growth of beneficial bacterias and yeasts.

Why is the SCOBY called the “Mother”?

A healthy SCOBY produces a “baby SCOBY” with each batch of kombucha that’s brewed. The term mother can be used in one of two ways when it comes to kombucha. The term mother can be used to describe the rubbery disk like culture used to start a batch of kombucha or that forms in the bottle of raw kombucha that has been sitting for a period of time. The term is also used to describe "mother vinegar" which is necessary for safely brewing a fresh batch of kombucha.

What is the SCOBYs purpose?

To consume sugar and tannins from tea so that it may reproduce itself. Without feeding a SCOBY with organic tea and sugar as needed it can die. Thus the SCOBY and humans have a symbiotic relationship. Without consuming what each other have to offer either is liable to become sick. It is alive!

How is SCOBY made?

Patience is the secret to making healthy, vibrant SCOBYs. In the Booch brewery we groom and record our culture's, health making sure they have plenty of rest and get lots of love from our staff. We monitor the health in a number of ways under the close supervision of our brewmasters and lab director.

You can purchase a SCOBY, or make your own from scratch. SCOBYs can be grown from a bottle of pre-made kombucha. That said, there are many safety precautions that need to be in place for home brewing and make sure to follow reliable resources if you are home brewing any fermented beverage.

Can I ingest SCOBY particles?

Each of our hand-brewed batches of kombucha make about 40 individual bottles, each of which have residual baby SCOBYs floating around that look like this:

Though they may appear a bit gnarly, they’re excellent for health as they are essentially a little colony of beneficial yeast and bacteria ready to battle unwanted bacteria and ultimately boost your immune system!

Does your Kombucha have that SCOBY thing in it?

Yes. SCOBY particles add a dose of probiotics to your beverage and are a sign of optimal health in this living beverage. Most raw kombucha have SCOBY formation, and if these weren't growing in the bottles, then we’d be worried that the brew is not optimal. That said, not every bottle will form a SCOBY as certain yeast found in the raw fruits we use can slow the growth and colonization of the bacteria and yeast cultures. There is almost always a SCOBY in the majority of the flavours.

Promote health. Connect community. Celebrate gratitude. At Booch Organic Kombucha, we believe that healthy beverages are the basis for vibrant living. We are committed to food security, run a socially responsible business, and love nourishing our neighbours. We use the ancient elixir of yesteryear to heal gut disturbances, one bottle at a time.