Kombucha What?!

I’ve been drinking kombucha off and on, for about 6 months now. I didn’t know why I was drinking it. I didn’t know what it was, or what it was made from. I just knew it tasted good, made me feel good, and my health nut friends told me I should be drinking it.

During my journey of fermentation discovery, I’ve been hearing a lot of crazy words and references when discussing fermented beverages with people, like SCOBY and mushroom cap. Mushrooms? What’s SCOBY? I thought I was drinking tea or soda!

I decided I should probably educate myself. When I started researching kombucha, I got a bit confused. There is so much information out there! Some sites explained it as fermented black or green tea, and even provided recipes that seemed pretty simple, aside from the SCOBY part, which I still didn’t totally understand. But where do mushrooms come into play? Have I really been drinking fermented mushroom juice? I like mushrooms, but yuck!

I found out there are no mushrooms in kombucha. The word mushroom refers to the SCOBY, also known as the “kombucha mother.” This is a vital part of making this fermented beverage.

SCOBY on a plate


SCOBY is an acronym, which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. The SCOBY metabolizes sugar and caffeine in the green and black tea resulting in a beverage that contains billions of probiotics.

I’ve discovered that the coolest part of making kombucha, is the sense of community that forms around SCOBY sharing. Yes, passing your bacteria along to someone else. When I asked our fermentation specialist, Jennifer Harris, about SCOBY sharing, she said, “What I love is seeing friends posting and offering some of the 2nd and 3rd generations of SCOBYs that have come from “daughters” of mine years ago. I traded with someone on Ross Station Rd in 2009 for one and I have given many, many away since then. Bacteria, love and knowledge all exist to be shared!”

You can buy SCOBY or receive it from other home brewers. You can also make your own, as long as your utensils and containers are squeaky clean and you keep you eye on it.

Jennifer’s kombucha recipe can be found at The SHED in Healdsburg, (SHEDkombucha) as a part of their kombucha kits. You can also visit Farm To Fermentation for more recipes.

I can’t wait to get my hands on some SCOBY and start my own batch! I’ll let you know how it tastes.

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