Our team “The Smell of Science” hacked SCOBY during Science Hack Day Vilnius 2018!!

We started with an idea to make biodegradable Xmas wrap, which quickly evolved to biodegradable t-bags, t-bag based SCOBY culture starters, vegan dumplings & sausages and more 😅

See the protocols we used, especially for tea bags (which worked best of all!) below.

And here’s the video we made about the entire process for the final presentation of our hack (thanks to Vi.Zo! 😊):

Here’s a quick summary of the SCOBY material preparation “protocols” for wrapping paper, tea bags & vegan sausages !


Correction. It’s actually 1 cup of sugar for that amount of water ^. We grew our SCOBY in a large plastic box for ~2 weeks. It was about ~1cm thick.


That worked really well for making wrapping paper ^. You need to oil the drying SCOBY sheet (we used ~1:1 warm coconut oil & olive oil mixture).


Don’t use untreated metal grids for drying the SCOBY! It has lots of acid & oxidates metal, which is why it changes color and becomes this ew-looking thing!


Beetroot is a good natural way to dry the SCOBY !


Tea bags were produced as follows:

1) dry freshly recovered SCOBY sheet on cool air for ~1 hr so it loses >50% of water, but is still wet. The texture of it should be similar to removed human or animal skin 😬

2) cut pieces of SCOBY of preferred size, and sew them into a teabag shape, leaving one edge open. (Ever sown human or animal skin? This will feel the same!)

3) fill the bag with preferred tea and sew the bag together completely. Leave extra thread.

4) dry the tea bag by hanging it in front of a source of hot air (blow dryer, air heater etc.)

5) keep an eye on your tea bag so it doesn’t over-dry. Up to 1 hr should be enough to turn it into a tea bag-looking thing without it getting overly dry & brittle.

6) poke holes into the teabag with a needle.

7) fill a cup with nearly boiling water (~90 C) & dip your teabag in it! Make sure not to leave it too long, because the bag will absorb too much water and start melting. But it should not do so before your tea is ready!

8) the teabag might have a slight SCOBY smell (kinda fruity & a bit acidic), but the tea shouldn’t !

If it fails - try again !! 😜 (and don’t forget to report that failure somewhere, as well as the successes!)



P.S. yes, SCOBY smells. Yes, that’s the smell of science.



“The Smell of Science” hack during #SHDV18: SCOBY biodegradable tea bags & wrapping paper! The hack claimed the “Best Science Hack” award.

Send us links or other documentation of your hacks too - we’ll open source it through our blog ! ;)