Kombucha – Science Meeting Art and Design

In Year 6, the STEAM unit is focussed around the creation of sustainable art that represents a variety of Asian cultures:

The students have investigated circuity during their Scientific discovery phase and have started discussing sustainability concepts.   Yesterday with Mrs Chisholm, the students were involved in the beginning of their work with kombucha – the popular health drink that can also be used to create a textile.  This textile is kombucha scoby – a floating mat of yeast, bacteria and their byproducts created when kombucha tea ferments.    Work at the Edge, in Brisbane has revealed that when dried and moisturised, the scoby adopts leather-like qualities.

The textile  is strong and supple, and less smelly with the use of particular oils – pretty cool stuff. Watch this video below to learn more:

The students have been guided to place their own ‘scoby’ in the right conditions to enable growth.  The image below shows a mat of the textile drying which Mrs Chisholm had been growing at her house.  The container to the right is one student growth tray ready to be left alone out of direct sunlight in a place where it won’t be disturbed.  The students are conducting a scientific study of how the scoby grows and develops with their digital portfolios being used to record predictions and their observations.


  1. Wash your hands… properly- not just a social wash
  2. Thoroughly clean all utensils and receptacles using mild detergent and rinse
  3. Boil water and measure 500mL into your tub or tray
  4. Add 85g sugar stir til dissolved
  5. Measure out 6gm of tea and place in muslin (or organza) bag
  6. Add muslin bag of tea (or 6 teabags)
  7. Wash your hands again
  8. Cover tray/ tub with lid. Cover the breather hole in the lid with cloth square taped down around the edges with the PVC tape.
  9. Allow tea to steep until the brew cools to room temperature.
  10. Yep… wash those hands again
  11. Remove muslin bag (or teabags) and add 400ml of cold water to the brew
  12. Add a piece of the scoby or pellicle (40mm x 40mm you have cut from the larger mass with clean scissors).
  13. Add at least 100ml of the starter sample of fermented kombucha tea.
  14. Replace the lid
  15. Keep your kombucha in a place where it won’t get disturbed and out of direct light.

We look forward to hearing of the progress of this work.

A link on caring for your kombucha

Kombucha – Making with Microbes