Just as we should not judge others on their appearances, SCOBYs deserve the courtesy as well. Our SCOBYs are not your glamorous magazine models, at all, not even close, but they make a banging kombucha, and we are grateful for that!
Ahhh, the SCOBY…the humble workhorse and fascinatingly hideous magical secret ingredient of kombucha. Without a SCOBY involved in the process there could be no kombucha, but what exactly is it? “SCOBY” is an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” and, without getting too technical on you, is the active culture that ferments the tea and makes kombucha everything that it is!
Every time a batch of kombucha is brewed and fermented, the SCOBY (which grows to create a film across the top of whatever container, jar, or tank in which you are brewing) doubles in size, leaving you with two times more than you would need to brew another batch. So here at the Sòlas kombuchery, where we brew in tanks ranging from 500-2000L in size, what do we do with all those extra SCOBYs? Well, some of them go with our co-owner Gabrielle to the “How to Make Kombucha” classes she teaches through the local community college to give to students so they can start brewing their own booch at home. Others we turn into probiotic-packed treats for our dogs at home (SCOBY Snacks, if you will), while still others get parked in a SCOBY Hotel where they “vacation” while they’re not actively being used for fermenting.
But with each SCOBY doubling every time we make a batch, that’s a whole lot of extra! What to do with them all, other than just throwing them in the compost bin, is a question a lot of kombucha brewers have been asking themselves as the popularity of the drink has increased in recent years. A lot of creative answers to that question have popped up and we’d love to share our favourites with you here.
Some folks are turning SCOBYs into clothing, from jackets to vests to shoes, and more! To see an example of such handiwork, check out the German company ScobyTec.
Jewelry-making is another popular option for recycling excess SCOBYs, because of its leathery consistency when dried and treated. Just poke around Etsy to see what some artisans are creating using this unique crafting material!
And lastly, there are a lot of interesting DIY ideas being shared on blogs, including soap making, dehydrated fruit leathers, at-home face mask treatments, and the aforementioned homemade dog treats.
Should any of our dear readers take up booch making and suddenly find an abundance of SCOBYs on their hands, either get creative like the folks above or simply pass them on top friends and get them brewing too! And if your schedule is a bit too full to take on home brewing at the moment, we will happily keep brewing up delicious local kombucha for you here at Sòlas!
Clare and Gabrielle are very intimate with our dearest SCOBYs, and yes, below is a SCOBY face mask we made with SCOBY and a touch of orange blossom water and cardamom for fragrance. We initially did the mask for fun, and it WAS fun, but also, we both reported our skin feeling firmer.
NOTE: SCOBY IS REALLY HARD TO GET OUT OF YOUR HAIR.
ALSO NOTE: EVEN A VITA-MIX MEETS ITS MATCH TRYING TO BLEND SCOBY!