Belle Richardson, originally from Canada, was looking for an alternative to coffee to get an energy boost when working long hours in Los Angeles, California, and that’s when she got hooked on kombucha, a fermented tea that reportedly boosts energy while also serving as an antioxidant, activates the body’s defenses and stimulates circulation.
The tea drink originated in China and is made using a bacteria and yeast culture. However, kombucha wasn’t available in Costa Rica when she arrived here 6 ½ years ago. Eventually, she was able to bring a kombucha culture from the United States and started reproducing her own organic culture. In February, she started bottling her unique kombucha drinks in Samara, and during the month of July she delivered more than 1000 bottles to a growing list of stores and restaurants in Samara, Nosara, Malpais, Santa Teresa and San Jose.
“It’s good for your body. It gives me an energy; it makes me feel calm,” Richardson related. “I drink it all day long.” She affirmed that she has never been sick since she started drinking it.
Her fizzy kombucha drinks have a base of black, white or green tea and pure cane sugar, and they come in six flavors, with two more on the way as well as coconut water. Try Natural for pure kombucha, Passion for a soft fruity flavor (passion fruit, pineapple and strawberry) or Lotus for an exotic twist (lychee, ginger and plum). Richardson said she tries to create appealing flavors that add kick and take away the vinegar flavor of natural kombucha.
In Samara, Bellabucha drinks are for sale in the Natural Center Organic Market, Princesa Bakery, Iguana Verde, Mini Super Las Olas and Super Samara, as well as at Rancho de La Playa, Lo Que Hay and Zen Den, where you can have kombucha mixed with alcohol. In Nosara, look for Bellabucha in Organicos, Mini Super Delicias del Mundo and Bagelmen’s. Prices vary depending on the location but tend to be around 2000 colones ($4) for a 400 mL bottle.