The SCOBY is the bacteria & yeast culture that is necessary to ferment your sweet tea. SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria & Yeast. As the sweet tea ferments a new layer of SCOBY will form on the top of your liquid. With proper care a SCOBY can last a lifetime.
Yes! After a couple of brews you'll notice your SCOBY will start to get thicker and thicker. There'll come a time when they will take up more space in your jar than is unnecessary and you'll want to separate them. You can separate them using clean fingers or scissors (it's ok it doesn't hurt them).
Now don't be put-off here, sugar is not a bad thing when it comes to making Kombucha. In fact it's an absolute necessity! The sugar acts as food for the bacteria & yeast to feed off of. Cutting back the sugar (like you'd do in a standard baking recipe for example) would not be ideal. Think of it like starving your baby.. the sugar is the SCOBY's food. Without the proper amount your SCOBY could starve and die. The best type of sugar to use is organic cane sugar. Although white sugar is also great (and a less expensive option) we at Hoochy 'Booch feel much better about using organic vs. non-organic. This is a personal choice. I don't recommend using brown sugar, coconut sugar, molasses or any other alternative sugar as they make a very off-putting kombucha. Sugar alternatives like Stevia, Xylitol and Erythritol will not work since the SCOBY doesn't recognize them as food. Pasteurized honey can be used but it cannot be raw. Raw honey has special bacterial properties that end up "fighting" with the bacteria in Kombucha and will kill your culture. A very important factor to remember is the fermentation process! The sugar goes through a whole 14-30+ day fermentation (digestion) process to break down the sugar into easier-to-digest-and-absorb vitamins & minerals.
In order for Kombucha to become fizzy extra sugar is needed. The yeast in the brew will feed off the sugar and because the Kombucha is now in a closed environment (sealed with a lid) the bi-product of that is C02... it's really quite fascinating. Our 21-day follow-up program will show you the “Bubble Method”.
Second Fermenting (2F) is flavouring your Kombucha. It's done after the initial stage (1F) is complete. This step is also done WITHOUT the SCOBY and is totally optional. Once the first fermenting (1F) cycle is complete your Kombucha is ready to drink as is.
DON'T ferment in plastic, aluminum or dirty vessels. Glass is best, but stainless steel is good too. DON'T ferment with coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses, honey etc. These sugars will put too much strain on your lil SCOBY and you run the risk of getting mold. PLUS, we've tried it and it tastes pretty nasty, like fermented molasses bubbly-ick. DON'T use Stevia, Xylitol or any other "fake sweetener".. These are worse than the above sugars as the SCOBY will not recognize this as food (at all) and will not ferment. DON'T use bottles that don't seal properly. You won't get any fizz that way.