Boat Brew: Fizzy Kombucha

By Sarah Fingarson

Impress your friends this sailing season by fermenting your own bubbly booch. The flavor is completely different than anything I have ever tried at health food stores and it surprised me how easy it is to make in my own galley. It’s an extremely affordable gut-friendly drink loaded with probiotics and fruity flavors perfect for any occasion. I’m addicted to the fizzy bubbles and the geeky science behind the fermentation process so let’s hop to it.

Kombucha on a boat

If you’re a beginner to brewing kombucha, it’s best to learn how to avoid common brewing mistakes by reading this article first.

To learn how to make your own Scoby, click here. Health food stores or your local kombucha brew shop will also have a Scoby for sale.

Ingredients for First Fermentation

14 cups (3.3 L) water (tap water should be fine)

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

8 bags black tea or 2 TBS loose black tea leaves

2 cups (480 mL) unflavored kombucha (either from a previous batch or unpasteurized, unflavored store bought kombucha)

1 Scoby


1. Bring water to a boil in a pot. Remove from heat and whisk sugar until completely dissolved.

2. Add the tea bags and allow to steep for at least one hour or until room temperature.

3. Strain the sweetened tea into a very clean 1-gallon glass or ceramic jar (or 2 half-gallon jars), followed by the kombucha (divided equally if using 2 jars).

4. Using very, very clean hands, gently place the Scoby into the jar (if you’re using half-gallon jars, you can cut your Scoby in two with scissors or a knife that has been thoroughly cleaned and rinsed in hot water). Cover with a clean dish towel, and secure with a rubber band or a length of string.

5. Set the jar or jars somewhere dark and cool, and allow to ferment 8 to 14 days, tasting occasionally after 1 week. The longer the tea ferments, the more sugar will be eaten by the Scoby and the less sweet it will be. Aim for a light fermentation and a slightly vinegary taste.

The warmer the air temperature, the faster the kombucha will ferment. The longer the tea ferments, the more sugar molecules will be eaten up, the less sweet it will be.

Not Required: Reserve 2 cups to use as starter kombucha for your next batch (just leave it in the jar with Scoby). The rest can move into the second and final fermentation.

Ingredients for Second Fermentation

Homemade kombucha from the first fermentation

Sweetener (fruit, honey, or sugar). General ratio is 1 cup kombucha to 1 to 2 tbsp mashed fruit, fruit juice, or 1 to 2 tsp honey or sugar.


1. Using very, very clean hands, transfer the Scoby to a jar, then pour 2 cups of the fermented kombucha on top. (You can save this mixture for the first fermentation process of another batch. You could also peel off the newer second layer from the Scoby, separating the “child” from the mother to double your production of kombucha, give it to a friend or discard it, as you like.)

2. Strain kombucha again, and whisk in the juice or fruit of your liking. Pour it through a funnel into four very clean quart-size fermentation bottles with swing-top caps.

3. Let sit somewhere dark and cool for 3 to 7 days, checking after 3 to taste how bubbly the kombucha has become, then place in the refrigerator until ready to drink, to stall fermentation and enjoy!

Komboucha on a boat

Pineapple basil and strawberry hibiscus are two of my favorite flavors.

Comment below some of your favorite flavors that you have tried recently!

Sarah Fingarson

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she began sailing during college and has been on the water ever since. She's an advocate for the environment, an artist, scuba diver, free diver, and a nomadic sailor. In 2020, she quit her job as a learning and development consultant, sold everything, and bought a racing boat to fulfill her dream of living an intentional life while being connected to nature. She is a scrappy creator of many things, a lifestyle photographer and a visual storyteller; one who openly shares her experience sailing the Pacific Ocean and raising her adorable red golden retriever. Her goal is to sail to the Caribbean islands and document her time on the open sea, a story she hopes will inspire others to dig deeper and find ways to connect to their life passions.

Follow along with Sarah's adventures and her gorgeous photographs


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