Humans of St. Augustine At Work: Kombucha Edition

By Katherine Lewin |

Kombucha is typically most well-known for its powerful probiotic properties that help to balance the bacteria in your stomach and strengthen digestion.

Follow MoonBooch on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find them every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Old City Farmers Market to try their kombucha for yourself.

“Making kombucha is quite a process. First you brew the tea. Then it has to ferment for 21 days with the sugar and yeast to actually make kombucha. Then the kombucha is strained and put in the fridge for 24 hours to cool. Then it gets flavored. Then it gets carbonated,” said Steve Mekoski, owner and founder of MoonBooch.


Bagged blood or watermelon juice? Steve Mekoski sorts through labeled bags of fresh, organic watermelon juice to make a batch of kombucha. The first recorded use of kombucha comes from China, around 221 BC.


Steve Mekoski portioning out pineapple juice with turmeric juice to flavor another batch of kombucha. MoonBooch uses only fresh, organic ingredients throughout their process.


Steve Mekoski doing the “Keg Dance.” Mekoski started MoonBooch because there were no other companies in the area making fresh kombucha using only the freshest and purest ingredients.


Watermelon datil juice. Fresh juice is added as one of the last steps in the lengthy process of making MoonBooch kombucha. I tried a sip – it literally feels like you set your mouth on fire with a watermelon-flavored match.


A dead fish? A brown plastic bag? An alien creature? No, it’s symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This turns the tea into kombucha over a 21-day period and is what gives the drink its health properties. Over three weeks, the SCOBY digests the sugar and produces a range of organic acids, vitamins and amino acids. The room where the SCOBY turns the tea into kombucha must be kept at around 70 to 75 degrees fahrenheit. It’s warm and has a strong, yeast-like smell.


Steve Mekoski mixes fresh pineapple juice and turmeric juice before storing them for future use.



Hannah Drozd, the second-in-command, and Steve Mekoski, working together in the kitchen. “I was running the bar and he came in. Didn’t you just come in with a bottle of kombucha?” “Yep.” “Then he was like, ‘Oh, I make kombucha.’ And he brought it to me at the bar to make a cocktail with it.”


“I usually cut about 8 quarts of the ginger at a time because it takes two hours to peel it all. You can really only do a little at a time, or you’ll go nuts,” Drodz said.

“It’s really sad ’cause these eight quarts of ginger root will only yield about two cups of juice,” Drozd said, juicing ginger after peeling it.


Hannah Drozd taking a break after cutting and juicing ginger to tell the story of how she first was introduced to kombucha. “Our carpool would drop us off at Diane’s, which is a local health food store,” Drozd said. “We would go in there and get candy and drinks and she was like, ‘Oh, try this! It tastes like wine.’ And I was like ‘Hell yeah!’”






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