Kombucha is an ancient drink. With many legends surrounding the origins of Kombucha, one of the central origin stories comes from deep in the lands of China, 221BC.
An emperor called Qin Shi Huang had a keen interest in elongating his life and was known to drink a beverage called "Lingzhi," the elixir of immortality. There is not much evidence surrounding this story, but "Qin" was notorious for restricting knowledge, so there is not much known about Kombucha and its history.
Fast forward seven hundred years to 414AD, Japan, and another piece of documented evidence appears. Whilst on his travels, A Korean doctor named "Komu-ha" is said to have created a special remedy for the Japanese emperor In-giyo.
This "elixir of life" was used on the weak emperor to bring him back to health. The emperor was so impressed with the fermented drink, and the results he received, that he named it after the doctor himself. With the term "cha" meaning tea in Japanese, this is where the word "Kombu- Cha" came from.
Another interesting tale of how the first culture was formed involves a tibetan monk who left a pot of sweet tea beside his window sill. Because he was so engrossed in his meditation, he forgot the tea, and a fruit fly with acetobacter on its wings (healthy bacteria found in Kombucha), landed in the sweet tea. The tea started to ferment, and, accidentally, the first pot of fermented tea was created. The monk was obviously delighted with his new and improved home recipe.
As with most food origins, food and drink are shared between culture and tribes around the world, so it is quite hard to pinpoint the exact beginnings of this tangy, fermented drink.
Whether the origins lie with China, Russia, Korea or Japan - we know the ancient mystical kombucha drink is here to stay, and it can now be enjoyed in every city around the world.