How to make Scoby without using kombucha as starter?

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Grahammcp

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I hope this is not a duplicate topic, but I'd like to make/grow a Scoby from scratch. I know that I need to obtain cultures, but can I get these from a source other than kombucha. I guess I kinda feel like I'm taking a shortcut by starting with someone else's kombucha!
 

Owly055

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I hope this is not a duplicate topic, but I'd like to make/grow a Scoby from scratch. I know that I need to obtain cultures, but can I get these from a source other than kombucha. I guess I kinda feel like I'm taking a shortcut by starting with someone else's kombucha!
I don't know how this is a "shortcut"...... You have to have a starter.... with or without a scoby. The scoby does not make kombucha, the microbes that are on it and in the starter do.

This is equivalent of making bread or beer using wild yeasts..... It's possible in theory, but the very specific species of acetobacter and yeast that make kombucha as we know it have evolved over time with kombucha being passed from hand to hand throughout the centuries. To do it yourself from scratch might take generations. I don't know how many hundreds of years you are willing to dedicate to the task............

Set some sweet tea outdoors covered with a cheese cloth to keep the insects out. It likely will gather some wild yeast if it's in a suitable location in summer. It will ferment and produce alcohol, and that will sour naturally from naturally occurring acetobacter if left in the open. This would be the starting point. If the result is not what you want, try doing the same thing in Mongolia, or Spain, or Eastern Europe......... Keep trying again and again, and eventually you might get a result you like.

Remember that the SCOBY is misnamed It is not a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. It's simply a pellicle created of microcellulose by acetobacter. This pellicle can be seen in nature anyplace acetobacter is souring anything. The symbiosis is a bit of a myth. The yeast produces alcohol, and the acetobacter sours it. This offers no benefit to the yeast, and actually stops fermentation when the acidity reaches an intolerable level. If this is "symbiosis", then we must regard a lot of things as symbiosis that are not.......... Such as shooting a deer to eat..... Is the relationship between a hunter and a deer "symbiotic"? Perhaps if the hunter creates an environment that is beneficial to deer in general..... which could be said to be true, as deer thrive in hay fields. We must then regard all relationships in nature as symbiotic. Cancer for example. The host creates the environment for cancer to grow in........ Is this symbiotic?

H.W.
 

BGBC

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Agreed, mostly. Some day, a yeast lab might start selling a commercial culture / bug mix for kombucha (WL/WYeast, etc), but I don't know of any out there that are doing that currently. You can get scobies from various sources, but I'd still recommend starting from a bottle of commercial kombucha.

Using commercial kombucha to start your own batch is similar to harvesting yeast from beer bottle dregs. It's probably cheaper than buying a starter kit or any commercial culture anyway. Plus, if you find a kombucha you like, you have a better idea what you might get with your own batch.
 

thegreatbrewnorth

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As far as I understand it, most commercial Kombucha available currently is not good to make your own SCOBY as it is pasteurized in some fashion to prevent further fermentation during bottling as they did not want to sell overly alcoholic Kombucha in order to avoid alcohol regulations
 

BGBC

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As far as I understand it, most commercial Kombucha available currently is not good to make your own SCOBY as it is pasteurized in some fashion to prevent further fermentation during bottling as they did not want to sell overly alcoholic Kombucha in order to avoid alcohol regulations

I started mine from a bottle of GT's a few months ago, which is pretty widely available, and it's been working great for me so far.

If there is visible sediment in the bottle it's probably worth a shot. I've seen some kombucha 'soda' that is crystal clear and I doubt that would work for you.
 

Owly055

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As far as I understand it, most commercial Kombucha available currently is not good to make your own SCOBY as it is pasteurized in some fashion to prevent further fermentation during bottling as they did not want to sell overly alcoholic Kombucha in order to avoid alcohol regulations
There are other ways of controlling alcohol. I know from experience that GTs works very well.

H.W.
 

hunter_le five

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As far as I understand it, most commercial Kombucha available currently is not good to make your own SCOBY as it is pasteurized in some fashion to prevent further fermentation during bottling as they did not want to sell overly alcoholic Kombucha in order to avoid alcohol regulations
I grew mine from a bottle of commercial kombucha (unflavored Buddha's Brew), and it was fine. The bottle label even advertises something to the effect that the probiotic organisms in the bottle are still alive and active.


Regarding the OP: obtaining your culture from a commercial bottle is not a shortcut, it's just yeast harvesting, just like in beer making. The end result is the same (your own continuous living culture and SCOBY), and it's a lot cheaper than buying a scoby or isolated culture from a store. I don't see how obtaining a culture from elsewhere is any more or less of a "shortcut".

Just buy a bottle of unflavored, unpasteurized, etc kombucha, pour it into a 1 gallon glass jar of sweet tea, and let it sit for 2 weeks or so. Presto! Your own SCOBY and starter tea/culture, ready to go.
 

swmalone

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Wow, I wish my Scoby was grown in two week. I'm going on 3 weeks now and it is still pretty small and at the bottom of the jar.
 

hunter_le five

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Wow, I wish my Scoby was grown in two week. I'm going on 3 weeks now and it is still pretty small and at the bottom of the jar.
Mine took about a month to get big, but it was in the winter and cold in my house.

Now that it's warmed up, the scoby is growing much faster and I end up splitting it in half every-other batch or so.

As Owly mentioned, the scoby itself isn't all that important. You could probably go ahead and use the little scoby and some of the starter tea and start a new batch of KT.
 

shelly_belly

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Wow, I wish my Scoby was grown in two week. I'm going on 3 weeks now and it is still pretty small and at the bottom of the jar.
Once submerged it will quit growing and a new one will form on the surface if left undisturbed. That's why I never reuse the pellicle. When I did, mine would always sink and a new one would always grow. They just get in the way of siphoning for me. Here's my latest batch at 15 days. House temp has been around 65F, maybe a little warmer in the kitchen where it sits.

0327151908b.jpg
 

BGBC

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Once submerged it will quit growing and a new one will form on the surface if left undisturbed. That's why I never reuse the pellicle. When I did, mine would always sink and a new one would always grow. They just get in the way of siphoning for me. Here's my latest batch at 15 days. House temp has been around 65F, maybe a little warmer in the kitchen where it sits.

What kind of tea is that? Looks like tomato juice :)
 

tinnnk

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It looks beautiful to me.....wish I had that.....I'm on my second batch and mold both times.....used to make this years ago....with no problem, used plain sugar.....this time used organic sugar.....going to go back to the old way. I also used to boil 2 cups of water, put in tea bags......8 regular, steep for 15 min. then add sugar. then add the water at room temp to the jug......cool, add scabby and cover. Never had mold?!
 

Wizard Works

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Response to:Owly055

"Remember that the SCOBY is misnamed It is not a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. It's simply a pellicle created of microcellulose by acetobacter. This pellicle can be seen in nature anyplace acetobacter is souring anything. The symbiosis is a bit of a myth. The yeast produces alcohol, and the acetobacter sours it. This offers no benefit to the yeast, and actually stops fermentation when the acidity reaches an intolerable level. If this is "symbiosis", then we must regard a lot of things as symbiosis that are not.......... Such as shooting a deer to eat..... Is the relationship between a hunter and a deer "symbiotic"? Perhaps if the hunter creates an environment that is beneficial to deer in general..... which could be said to be true, as deer thrive in hay fields. We must then regard all relationships in nature as symbiotic. Cancer for example. The host creates the environment for cancer to grow in........ Is this symbiotic? "

All due respect
I disagree and agree- acetobacter doesnt only sour, Acetobacter is a genus of acetic acid bacteria. Acetic acid bacteria is characterized by the ability to convert ethanol to acetic acid in the presence of oxygen.
Cancer by nature is characterized by the environment it is able to adapt and thrive in- Its symbiotic because it is able to use the resources it has to multiply itself and use it to its advantage at the expense of the host body it is using- that by choice- happened to create an environment for cancer to grow in. If it was anything less then a choice- maybe it isn't symbiotic. Sometimes though- and this is the reason I think all relationships in Nature are symbiotic is not everyone with cancer had a choice- could be genetic. Regardless of whether it was a choice or a matter of fact the environment allowed it to thrive and reproduce- therefore even unwilling is symbiotic being the setting is there before the choice is able to be made. The "pellicle created of microcellulose by acetobacter"
creates yeast as a by-product in the first place therefore creating a environment tolerable by the yeast to exist. You act as if all the yeast dies- Ive slanted yeast from multiple brews- multiple tea's even in acidic conditions just for experimental means.

All Roots and Micchorhizae fungas are symbiotic in nature- and without plants oxygen wouldn't be feasible- therefore any mammals breathing and existing off O2 would die & evolution would have had to adapt to its environment in a different way- most likely life forms not needing oxygen would thrive.
The same could be said of this colony of bacteria- If it never existed specific strains of yeast would have never been able to exist along with the pioneering of these microcellulose friends of ours.

I'm not trying to debate or be an ass- i'm saying all of these things to create a different view point of before this specific yeast was able to be designed as a by- product by this pellicle of microcellulose the environment wouldnt exist- therefore no specified strains of acetobacter- no microcellulose- no evolved yeast.

yeast would have had another entry point in nature just not in the same way- that doesn't make it a myth, simply a matter of your opinion.
 

JBwell

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I know this is an OLD thread, but I had a ginger bug fermenting in the same cupboard as my kombucha... I forgot about using the ginger bug for a long time. Finally I took notice when when what looked like there was a SCOBY forming in it. I let it grow, drained the concentrate and tossed the ginger chunks. I figure the jars of kombucha “cross pollinated” into the ginger bug.

Just made my first batch of ginger kombucha, it was a great starter for a delicious kombucha. Was it a totally new SCOBY? I don’t know, but I’m going with it.

I hope this is not a duplicate topic, but I'd like to make/grow a Scoby from scratch. I know that I need to obtain cultures, but can I get these from a source other than kombucha. I guess I kinda feel like I'm taking a shortcut by starting with someone else's kombucha!
 
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Although it is an old thread, you may have given it new life. :)

What is ginger bug? I love ginger in general and I also make kombucha... sounds like a good combination.

Rick
 

Quinazo

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I don't know how this is a "shortcut"...... You have to have a starter.... with or without a scoby. The scoby does not make kombucha, the microbes that are on it and in the starter do.

This is equivalent of making bread or beer using wild yeasts..... It's possible in theory, but the very specific species of acetobacter and yeast that make kombucha as we know it have evolved over time with kombucha being passed from hand to hand throughout the centuries. To do it yourself from scratch might take generations. I don't know how many hundreds of years you are willing to dedicate to the task............

Set some sweet tea outdoors covered with a cheese cloth to keep the insects out. It likely will gather some wild yeast if it's in a suitable location in summer. It will ferment and produce alcohol, and that will sour naturally from naturally occurring acetobacter if left in the open. This would be the starting point. If the result is not what you want, try doing the same thing in Mongolia, or Spain, or Eastern Europe......... Keep trying again and again, and eventually you might get a result you like.

Remember that the SCOBY is misnamed It is not a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. It's simply a pellicle created of microcellulose by acetobacter. This pellicle can be seen in nature anyplace acetobacter is souring anything. The symbiosis is a bit of a myth. The yeast produces alcohol, and the acetobacter sours it. This offers no benefit to the yeast, and actually stops fermentation when the acidity reaches an intolerable level.

H.W.
Thank you for that information!
"Sours the alchohol", can you please tell us more about this process?
 

JBwell

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A ginger bug is the starter for making your own ginger ale or other natural sodas. Baisically add sugar and filtered water to grated fresh ginger and cover it. I use a coffee filter and rubber band like I do for my kombucha. Keep adding sugar daily until it starts to bubble. [there are many recipes out there to get specific directions.]

I find it has a warm nutty finish after the powerful ginger front. I will add some to flavor my home brew hard cider at times.

Have fun!


Although it is an old thread, you may have given it new life. :)

What is ginger bug? I love ginger in general and I also make kombucha... sounds like a good combination.

Rick
 
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