Best Place To Buy A Kombucha SCOBY
Getting started in brewing kombucha means getting a SCOBY, a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. This alien-looking cluster of mutually compatible microorganisms is what transforms a simple mixture of strong tea and sugar into a powerful probiotic drink that has the antioxidants and nutrients people all over the world depend on for real health benefits. But unless you have a friend who’s already brewing kombucha and has a stash of extra SCOBYs they’re willing to share with you, you might not know where to find this all-important starter culture. There are two places to buy SCOBYs: from an online retailer specializing in fermentation and/or brewing, or from a local source.
1. From a Trusted Online Retailer
Home-brewed kombucha has been popular for centuries because of its many health benefits, and the history of kombucha stretches back at least two thousand years, if not more, particularly in the Far East. In the Western world, kombucha really started picking up in popularity at the beginning of the 20th century, and at the start of the 21st century kombucha officially became “a thing” in the United States. Naturally, many people jumped on the kombucha bandwagon, hoping to become a part of this “thing” – especially when it became obvious that kombucha was turning into a real money-maker for local brewers and large beverage corporations.
Just searching for the phrase “kombucha scoby” in the Etsy search window (www.etsy.com) brings up over 150 different sellers! You can also find Kombucha SCOBYS for sale on Amazon and on ebay. There are dedicated websites that sell Kombucha SCOBYs too.
So who should you trust?
There are many people who got into selling kombucha equipment and supplies simply as a way to earn money, and not all of them have the brewing experience and deep knowledge of how to grow a healthy SCOBY that will give you a quality product that you can use to start your own long-term kombucha brewing cycle. So be wary.
If you’re looking for a source for SCOBYs by surfing the internet, be sure to read as many customer reviews as possible before you buy. Try to find someone who has been brewing kombucha for themselves for a while, because they’ll often have good recommendations about trusted sources for SCOBYs.
Note, if you BUY a SCOBY, make sure you buy a LIVE SCOBY that comes in Kombucha starter. We don’t recommend you buy a dehydrated SCOBY. You’ll be less likely to have problems if you get yourself a living SCOBY rather than a dried out one that you have to re-activate (your chances of a unhealthy SCOBY or a mold problem is magnified many times if you source your Kombucha from a dehydrated one).
Online Retailers That Sell SCOBYS
Generally, you can buy a SCOBY from an online retailer from:
Blogs / Kombucha Stores Online That Sell Living SCOBYS
There are a number of Kombucha blogs that started a business selling SCOBYs. While I’ve never ordered a SCOBY from these websites, they generally do have a positive reputation from what I’ve heard. So if you can’t get a FREE SCOBY from craigslist in your city or from a friend / family, then you can buy a SCOBY for around 20 to 30 bucks with starter from one of these websites:
See our dedicated post on where to buy SCOBYs online.
2. From a Reliable Local Source
If you can find a local source for kombucha brewing supplies then you’ll not only have a good place to get a healthy SCOBY, you’ll also be linking up with other people in your area who are brewing kombucha and other fermented foods, as well as making home-made wine and beer. When you’re just starting out, you’ll probably have a lot of questions, and if there’s someone you can meet or talk to about kombucha, you’ll have more confidence in the process.
To get hooked up with the local kombucha scene, check into:
- brewing supply stores (beer, wine, or kombucha)
- organic gardening supply shops
- community centers
- the local library (also a good resource for books and information)
If you’re on Facebook, you can also search for “kombucha” and “wild fermentation” to find online and local groups. The forums and discussions on these group sites are a great place to get information and answers to your questions about kombucha.
NOTE: If you don’t want to buy a SCOBY, it’s possible to grow your own SCOBY using raw, unfiltered, unflavored kombucha, and you’ll probably find that through one of your local sources as well. Commercially-produced kombucha is usually pasteurized, and you may not be able to successfully grow a hardy SCOBY using store-bought brands, although many people have done so in the past — if you do buy store bought Kombucha, you’ll need to get organic, unpasteurized and unflavored Kombucha from a health food store.