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In February I came home from a fermentation workshop with a new pet. She is called Scoby, a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. My daughter was not impressed “Ugh gross!” was her reaction.

how to make kombucha for beginners
The scoby

    Scoby, used to make kombucha, does resemble a fairly revolting, rubbery alien-life form, but is just one small vowel short of being a dog with a rapacious appetite and an ability to solve crimes. Scoby was certainly the pet for me: we have so much in common. Like me, Scoby loves tea. To produce kombucha, leave Scoby in two litres of tepid, sugary tea in a large glass jar. The jar needs to be covered; I used a piece of old school shirt tied on with ribbon, allowing Scoby to breathe, but preventing any insects falling in. Over the course of a week, Scoby transforms the tea into an effervescent drink, simultaneously creating a copy of itself – baby Scoby! When not in use, Scoby occupies a container in the fridge known as a Scoby-hotel.

    The health benefits of kombucha are debated, but it is a refreshing drink. I am confident that it must be better for me than a large glass of red wine and cheaper to make at home than to buy at a health food shop.

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