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What is a SCOBY?
It is UGLY! But only until you become familiar with it, and then you will see its' beauty and dote over it like a favourite pet - in fact, I have great difficulty casting surplus into the compost - especially if it is a very lovely one!
It is, in reality, a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. A more scientific name for the leathery culture is a "pellicle". Common names are "mother" and "mushroom". It is not a mushroom at all, in fact, technically not even a fungus. It is referred to as a mother because each successful brew produces a "baby" which is seperated from the mother to produce a new brew - or to be passed on to others to start their own brew. This is how it survives, so we are unwittingly part of the symbiotic relationship!
You can nurture a new SCOBY from scratch but it would require some viable kombucha - preferably with some chunky bits in. It takes about two weeks to grow a SCOBY this way (I haven't tried it yet).
Cultures shown to be present (in varying proportions) within the SCOBYare:
Saccharomyces, Candida Stellata, Acetobacter, Brettanomyces, Gluconacetobacter, Lactobacillus