In recent years, kombucha has become a popular drink choice for many. But what is kombucha exactly, and where does it come from? In this blog post, we will explore the origin of kombucha and how this fermented tea drink has been known for some of its claimed health benefits.

So What Exactly is Kombucha?kombucha origin

Kombucha is a fermented tea traditionally famous for its speculated health benefits. The drink is packed with probiotics and other health-promoting nutrients that have been around for centuries. This drink has grown increasingly popular over the past few years and is en route to becoming one of the most popular beverages of the 21st century.

While many different brands and flavors of kombucha are available, the essential ingredients are black or green tea, sugar, water, and a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Kombucha is made by adding specific cultures of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) to sweetened tea.

In addition, many people enjoy the unique flavor and slightly fizzy texture of this drink. Because kombucha brewers use traditional fermentation methods, it can also be considered a more natural and wholesome alternative to other beverages like soda or energy drinks. It is also a low-calorie alternative to sugary beverages such as soda and juice. 

If you are looking for a tasty afternoon pick-me-up, kombucha is worth considering.

The Origins of Kombucha

Despite its recent popularity, very little is known about the kombucha origin. Its long history dates back over 2000 years. Many fundamental questions remain unanswered, such as where and when it was first created. To uncover the kombucha origin, we need to look at both historical and scientific evidence.

The historical evidence suggests that China or Russia first developed kombucha in China or Russia. However, there is no definitive proof of this. The earliest recorded mention of kombucha comes from a Chinese medical text dating back to 221 BC, during the Qin dynasty. This text describes a fermented beverage made from black tea and sugar used to treat various ailments.

While the historical evidence provides some clues about the kombucha origin, it is not conclusive. The scientific evidence provides a better complete picture. Studies have shown that kombucha contains several beneficial compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

The drink was then introduced to Japan in 414 AD and spread to Korea and other parts of Asia, making its way to Europe in the early 19th century, and has gained popularity in recent years.

Popular Theories of the Kombucha Origin Include:

  • The drink came from China and where it was used as a medical tonic
  • Kombucha originated in Russia, where it was known as “chai kvass”
  • Used to cure Emperor Inkyo in Japan in 414 BCE

Kombucha Around the World

Kombucha and World War I

During World War I, kombucha became particularly popular among Russian and German prisoners of war. When food and water were often in short supply, kombucha provided a source of hydration and nutrients. What’s more, the fermentation process helped to purify the water, making it safer to drink. 

Few know that Russian and German prisoners of war drank kombucha to prevent scurvy during World War I. The vitamin C in the kombucha helped ward off the disease. At the time, kombucha was not widely available in Europe, so that the POWs could obtain it from their captors. Once they realized its potential as a source of Vitamin C, they began brewing their batches using tea leaves and sugar.

Kombu and Kombucha

It is rumored that in 414 BCE, a Korean doctor named Kombu brought kombucha to Japan to cure Emperor Inkyo. Suffering from indigestion, Inkyo drank kombucha for 30 days and the Emperor was cured. 

Kombucha in Italy

In Italy, kombucha is sometimes known as “panacea” or “miracle water” due to its supposed health benefits. Some people believe that kombucha can help treat everything from digestion problems to fatigue and anxiety. 

However, some priests in Italy were dismayed to find parishioners mixing kombucha with holy water. They believe that the kombucha fermentation process could contaminate the holy water and make it unsuitable for use in religious ceremonies.

Holy water is blessed by a priest and used for religious purposes such as baptism, consecration and absolution. It does not have any unique healing properties and actually, mixing it with kombucha can negate the probiotic benefits of the fermented tea. So if you’re looking to improve your health with kombucha, stick to drinking it on its own. Your gut (and your priest) will thank you for it.

Brewing Kombucha at Home

Making kombucha at home is a relatively simple process, and it only requires a few ingredients. First, you’ll need to brew black or green tea. Once the tea has cooled, you’ll add sugar and a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) to the tea and allow it to ferment for 7-10 days. The fermentation process creates beneficial probiotics that are excellent for gut health. 

After fermentation, you can bottle the kombucha and enjoy it cold or carbonated. Making kombucha is a great way to save money, and you can customize the flavor by adding fruits or herbs during the fermentation process.

Kombucha at Elixir Lounge

Check our kava and kombucha selections at Elixir Lounge when we post our menu or when we open soon! Reach out to us at 801-706-1929 or via email at