BESTIAL BEAUTY. Kombucha Culture: How To Brew Your Own Kombucha Tea

A diet inclusive of probiotics (live microorganisms beneficial to the host) is a great way to maintain overall good health, as they are said to improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and help detoxify the kidneys and liver. One of the most common probiotic foods is live culture yoghurt, of which I love the flavor, but unfortunately for me, causes bloating and stomach cramps. So in order to get my daily dose of good bacteria, I drink Kombucha tea, which is brewed from the Kombucha culture, and tastes like slightly carbonated iced tea infused with a splash of vinegar.

Kombucha tea has been a popular probiotic drink on the market for over twenty years now, and brands like Synergy Kombucha are sold at Whole Foods for $3.99 per 16 oz. bottle. However, I prefer to brew my own Kombucha tea at home, and use the following basic recipe, a combination of ingredients and techniques I’ve adjusted to my liking over the past few years.

There are a few options in terms of obtaining a Kombucha culture. You don’t necessarily have to buy a culture to start with, although the fermentation process is faster when your tea is brewed from a full sized culture, and oftentimes these are available for FREE on Craigslist. You can purchase full sized cultures for about $20 online. has free shipping and sells them for $16.95. You can also grow your own culture by adding a 16 oz. bottle of mass produced unpasteurized and unflavored Kombucha tea to your own tea at Step 3. Youtube has a great video with additional information on this method.

1 Kombucha Culture

6-7 Tea Bags of Black Tea

20 Cups Water

1 Large Glass Jar (1½-2 Gallon Capacity)

¾ Cup Granulated Sugar

½ Cup Brown Sugar

3-6 Unbleached Coffee filters

Wooden Spoon

Rubber Band

Paper Towels or Cheesecloth

Sealable Glass Bottles for Storage

*Coffee Maker

*There is some debate whether or not using metal cookware/containers/utensils in the brewing process of the tea will compromise the integrity of the Kombucha culture. I find it is just far more efficient to use a standard coffee maker to brew the tea, thus eliminating the concern. If you don’t have a coffee maker, boil the water in a glass or ceramic pot.

1. Use 5-7 tea bags in the brewing chamber (where the coffee filter normally goes), and pour through 10-12 cups of water twice to brew 2 pots of tea.

2. Pour the tea into the large glass jar and add the sugar. Stir with the wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.

3. Once the tea has cooled, place the Kombucha culture in/on top of the tea (normal-may sink or float). Cover with a couple layers of the paper towel and secure it with a rubber band.

4. Leave the tea in a undisturbed area for 2-3 weeks to ferment.

5. After the fermentation period, strain the tea using unbleached coffee filters into sealable glass bottles.

To receive its optimal benefits, Kombucha is best served cold, 4 oz. every morning on an empty stomach. I feel an instant energy boost when I drink it, and notice an overall improvement in my complexion as well.

The bottled and filtered Kombucha tea can be stored in the refrigerator for 6-8 weeks.

Store the Kombucha cultures in glass jars with a bit of tea, which will keep it growing, or refrigerate them on a glass plate covered with a layer of wax paper underneath plastic wrap or a plastic bag.


BESTIAL BEAUTY. Sumbody to Love


Sumbody, based out of Sebastopol, CA, is one of my favorite spas and manufacturers of eco-friendly beauty products. Founder and CEO, Deborah Burnes, started the company in 2001 in response to the need for natural and ethically made skin care products.

Burnes recently wrote, Look Great, Live Green, a highly informative and tremendously helpful book and resource for anyone trying to live a greener lifestyle. It includes a comprehensive guide on product labeling,  natural skin care alternatives, and at home beauty recipes.

The following are just a few of my Sumbody faves, which also make really fantastic gifts:

Sumbody’s Study Buddy Aromatherapy Kit $19.95

Sumbody’s Study Aromatherapy Kit contains four mini-Zappers in: Distraction, Fatigue, Anxiety, and Stress. These aromatherapy oil blends are absolutely incredible in terms of “zapping” what they’re named after. Instructions say to apply on temples, neck, and chest, and I find swiping them on the ears and wrists to be highly effective as well. Anxiety (motherwort, chamomile, lavender extracts) and Distraction (sage, rosemary, peppermint extracts) are particularly beneficial to me on an almost daily basis. The full size Zappers are $14.95 and are available in many other helpful formulas.

Sumbody’s Zen Natural Soap $5.95

My entire well being feels…well, well in its being whenever I use Sumbody’s Zen Natural Soap. The citrus and eucalyptus blend of essential oils creates a very clean, peaceful, and uplifting experience while green tea and wakame seaweed reduce the signs of aging.

Sumbody’s Milky Rich Bonbons $3.95

Sumbody’s Milky Rich Bonbons are formulated with sea salt, cocoa butter, and goats milk, which keep skin exfoliated, glowing, and moisturized during the cold, wintry months. Delicately scented with vanilla and citrus essential oils, each bonbon lasts for 2-3 uses, and is the ideal stocking stuffer. Also available in a variety of scents.


Sumbody’s Mustard Detox Bath Fizzer $5.95

Slipping one of Sumbody’s Mustard Dextox Bath Fizzers into the tub is one of the greatest ways to fight off the winter blues and/or an illness as mustard warms and relaxes, detoxifies, and stimulates circulation. All you need is a good book and a couple hours.


Use online code: scrub
For online customers, simply type in the code after your last name when placing your order to redeem the special. For example: Smith – scrub
*Free scrub will be a random pick from assorted scents

CA BOOK SIGNINGS OF Look Great, Live Green
12 Nov 2009 (7pm) Barnes & Noble Jack London Square
98 Broadway, Oakland CA 94607

20 Nov 2009 (7pm) Copperfield’s Books
138 N Main St # 1, Sebastopol CA 95472

04 Dec 2009 (7pm) Sumbody Napa
3800 Bel Aire Plz Napa, CA 94558

10 Dec 2009 (7pm) Sumbody Alameda
1350 Park St Alameda, CA 94501

11 Dec 2009 (7pm) Sumbody Sebastopol
118 N Main St Sebastopol, CA 95472