How To: Growing Your Own SCOBY

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Branden Byers

Branden Byers › Branden Byers is a writer, photographer and podcast host for FermUp, a fermented food podcast and ...


Brander Byers shows you how to grow your own SCOBY for truly home-brewed kombucha. Plus, it’s kind of fun to watch the SCOBY grow!

While it is becoming much easier to source a kombucha SCOBY either from an online retailer or locally from a friend, you can just as easily pick up a bottle of kombucha at the grocery store and grow your own SCOBY.

The true origins of kombucha and the mother culture are unknown. Somewhere along the lines of history a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) formed to make a good tasting sweet and sour beverage. If you drink this stuff regularly, then you might as well start making it yourself.


Without a SCOBY, you have no way to ferment kombucha. People ferment their own kombucha for many reasons. Saving a lot of money is a big motivator for some, while others seek experimentation with flavors not available commercially. More importantly, it is fun and easy to ferment it yourself.

The SCOBY is what initiates the fermentation process in sweet green or black tea (or any tea from the Camellia sinensis plant). The SCOBY is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a mushroom. It is a gelatinous-like disk that generally floats at the top of a jar of kombucha-in-the-making. The bacteria and yeast ferment on the sugar and tea until it is slightly sour and bubbly.


Kombucha starter cultures aren’t super expensive, but it is way more rewarding to watch the SCOBY grow. It starts out as just a bit of sludge in the bottom of a kombucha bottle and within one to three weeks you will have a grown-up SCOBY to call your own.

If this is your first time making kombucha, then you need to know it is going to take 7-15 days from start to finish to make the drink. So even though growing your own SCOBY adds more time to the process, it helps build the necessary patience for kombucha brewing.

Click here to read the rest of the article over at FermUp!

This article originally appeared on FermUp. It is partially posted here with permission from the author.

Do you have any good tips for growing your own SCOBY?

Photo Credit: Branden Byers