Have you ever wondered how your kombucha SCOBY works? This rubbery little biochemical factory seems almost magic in the way it can transform sugary tea into a tart, effervescent, nutrient rich beverage. If you are curious about how it weaves its magic, read on!
What is a kombucha SCOBY?
SCOBY is an acronym, it stands for a Symbiotic Community Of Bacteria and Yeasts. This community of micro-organisms like to hang out in a cellulose matrix that has been likened to a mushroom cap, or a tea-coloured jellyfish!
The poor old “booch” SCOBY has reputation for being a bit fugly. What is lacks in the looks department is well and truly made up for by its transformative ability.
How does your kombucha scoby work?
The magic starts when a SCOBY is floated in a cooled brew of sugar-sweetened black tea. The micro-organisms in the SCOBY get to work, fermenting the solution. The result is the fizzy beverage we know as kombucha.
There are two phases in this fermentation process. In the first phase, yeasts dominate the action. They transform the sugar in the brew to alcohol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide makes kombucha fizzy.
The yeasts produce B vitamins, vitamin C and other nutrients that fuel the second phase of fermentation.
In the second phase of fermentation, the bacteria in the SCOBY take over. They convert almost all the alcohol produced by the yeasts into organic acids. It is these acids that give kombucha a distinct tang.
At the end of fermentation, very little sugar and alcohol is left. There is, however, a host of nutrients present that were not here before. It is the products of fermentation that provide additional health benefits to the black tea. These products include:
- organic acids (including acetic and glucuronic acid)
- amino acids (including lysine)
- vitamins (including B complex and C)
- Minerals (including copper, iron, magnesium and zinc)
- antibiotic substances
The transformation of a simple brew of black tea and sugar by a SCOBY into kombucha seems a little bit magic, don’t you think?
If you want to brew your own kombucha (it is super simple), there is a tutorial here.
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