What is Kombucha?
Kombucha has been called a health elixir, the tea of immortality and a nectar of the gods. For some people it’s a way of life, for others it’s a tasty and healthy treat. But just what is kombucha (and why is everybody talking about it?)?
Fizzy, bright and noted for its probiotics and antioxidants, kombucha is a lightly-effervescent drink made by combining sweet tea with bacteria and yeast. The result is a sometimes sweet, sometimes tangy and always delicious beverage.
While people still enjoy crafting home brewed kombucha, many stores now stock a wide and wild assortment of flavors from a variety of professional brewers.
Fermented foods and drinks such as kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi are high in vitamins and good bacteria and help contribute to overall digestive health. Kombucha helps balance your body, and simply put, when your body is in balance, you feel better!
The Origin of Kombucha
Kombucha is an ancient beverage, long treasured in China and Japan for its restorative properties. Homebrewers have produced kombucha in the US for decades and, today, breweries of all sizes are thriving and creating kombuchas with a wide variety of flavors and attributes.
Though nobody has a definitive answer to the question “Who made the first kombucha?,” a popular theory holds that it was first imbibed during the reign of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China (he ruled from 220 to 210 BCE), and at the time the elixir was known as the Tea of Immortality.
Even the etymology of the term kombucha is lost to history (and the drink has more than 80 names around the world today). One history of kombucha maintains that a Korean doctor named Kombu (with “cha” being the word for tea in much of Asia) brought it to the Japanese Emperor Ingyō in 414 CE, where it purportedly became popular with samurai, who carried it into battle for the energy boost it provided.