My Scoby is Thicker than Yours

The importance of a thick and healthy Scoby

At the end of the first week of my kombucha workshops I always see the glow of pride and satisfaction when a participant successfully brews their first kombucha brew and officially becomes a Kombucha mummy and daddy with the “birth” of a new “Scoby”.

Is it important to obtain a thick “baby” Scoby at the end of each brew?

You bet it does!

A thick baby Scoby after a 10 day ferment measures around 1cm – 2cm in thickness. It is a clear visual indication that the bacteria in the ferment are healthy, active and in sync with the yeast and will continue to produce a healthy batch of kombucha in the future. 

a very thick Scoby

A Scoby is a network of bacterial cellulose that houses the active bacteria and yeast. Naturally the highest concentration of active bacteria and yeast is located in a new Scoby. That is why when you use a fresh virgin Scoby (Read article on virgin scoby) to ferment, it has the highest chance of brewing success.

As the same Scoby is reused, the amount of bacteria and yeast in the Scoby will gradually reduce as it seeps into the new brew, hence the recommendation to retire the “Scoby” after multiple usages.

Let us do a simple calculation to calculate the volume of a Scoby if it is brewed in a round jar.

The Scoby will be cylindrical in shape thus:

Volume of Scoby  =   π x r x r x h

r = radius of Scoby and h = height/thickness of Scoby

So let us say the radius is 5cm and the height/thickness is 1cm,

Volume of Scoby is 3.142x5x5x1 =78.55ml

We can safely say that for a cylindrical Scoby with a radius of 5cm and thickness of 1cm carries with it almost 80ml of active bacteria and yeast.

Based on the calculation above, it is clear isn’t it that the thicker the Scoby is, the more bacteria and yeast it carries with it into a new ferment. So next time when you harvest your brew, take a good look at the baby Scoby and select Scoby that are relatively thicker for future brews to ensure brewing success.

Till next time, Happy brewing!


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