There's really no arguing that it's ugly. And kind of alien-looking. And yeah, even downright gross. But dang it! Scobys make some delicious kombucha! If you want to save a few bucks on your 'booch habit, there's just no getting around it. You're going to need a scoby.
You can beg a scoby from a kombucha-brewing friend, or you can order a fresh one online. But there's one more option: you can grow your own.
What is a Scoby?
"Scoby" is actually an acronym: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. And that's exactly what it is! A scoby is the living home for the bacteria and yeast that transform sweet tea into tangy, fizzy kombucha — think of the scoby as the coral reef of the bacteria and yeast world. It a rubbery raft that floats on the surface of the kombucha. Aside from being a home for yeast and good bacteria, the scoby seals off the fermenting kombucha from the air and protects it from outside, undesirable bacterias while it's fermenting.
P.S. You'll also sometimes hear scobys referred to as "kombucha mothers" or "kombcha mushrooms." If you read or hear references to these things, know that it's all the same thing.