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September 30, 2021 4 min read

Where did kombucha originate? As this tasty beverage grows in popularity, it’s a question that gets asked a lot from people who want to know more about this beverage and its tasty benefits. 

Where did kombucha originate? Kombucha has origins in Northeast China (referenced historically as Manchuria) around 220 B.C. The name is derived from Korean physician Dr. Kombu, who brought the tea to Japan and presented it to the Emperor of Japan. Kombucha’s origination story is vast and interesting though, with rising popularity from China to the United States. 

Learn more about this tasty beverage and kombucha origins below!

Is Kombucha Chinese or Japanese? 

Many people confuse the kombucha origin based on what we described above. It gets more confusing because the kombucha name is Japanese and means “kelp tea.” Even better? Japan calls kombucha “kocha kinoko.” Let’s circle back to kombucha’s culture of origin below to learn more. 

What is Kombucha Called in Chinese?

In China, the kombucha origin country, kombucha is referred to as “hong cha jun.” In English this translates to “black tea mushroom.” Today’s kombucha, however, does not taste like mushrooms. 

What Culture is Kombucha From?

The reality is that kombucha has origins in China, yet it has historical roots in Japan since Dr. Kombu brought the tea to Japanese Emperor Inkyo hundreds of years ago to reveal its healing powers. 

Did Kombucha Originate in India? 

Even more confusing is that many people think kombucha originated in India. While kombucha is popular in India, it does not have origins in the country. While it originated in China, kombucha has seen major growth in popularity in areas of India such as Delhi, Goa, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Mumbai. 

How Long Has Kombucha Been Around?

When did people start drinking kombucha? According to legend and lore, kombucha originated around 200 B.C. when Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi was the first to craft the delicious drink. Both tea and the fermentation process were very popular around this timeframe

What Countries Drink Kombucha Today?

Besides China and Japan, kombucha has become a popular beverage around the world in recent decades. Other countries known to partake in a tasty kombucha include: 

  • South Korea
  • Russia
  • United States
  • England
  • Eastern Europe

Who Made Kombucha Popular? 

kombucha in a mason jar

There is no one moment that made kombucha explode onto the beverage scene in the last 20-30 years. It’s been more of a push by several pioneers, including some in the United States to make the beverage popular in this part of the Western Hemisphere. 

Wonder Drink Founder Stephen Lee has his own rich history with tea and kombucha. On a trip to Russia, Lee learned about the delicious sparkling fermented tea. Lee was so infatuated with the tea, he returned home from his trip and founded Wonder Drink in 1999. 

When Did Kombucha Come to the U.S.?

When was kombucha bottled and sold commercially? Kombucha started to be sold across the country regularly in 1995. Kombucha, though, was on the United States’ radar as early as the 1980s, when it was a drink used during the HIV/AIDS epidemic to promote wellness and support compromised immune systems. 

Where is Kombucha Most Popular?

Many ask where is kombucha typically consumed? Believe it or not, more than 50 percent of all kombucha sales worldwide happen right here in the United States. Here’s a deep dive on some of the most popular places to buy some kombucha: 

  • In New York, New Yorkers lay claim to the first kombucha bars in the city. Today, New York sales of kombucha are still three times more than the average. 
  • No one buys more kombucha than those residing in and around Portland, Oregon. The Portland area buys 78 times more kombucha than the average!
  • Los Angeles and other regions in California also enjoy their share of kombucha.

Oregon Roots Wonder Drink Kombucha

As we mentioned earlier, Wonder Drink Founder Stephen Lee returned to the United States to create Wonder Drink kombucha. More specifically, Lee returned to Portland, Oregon to make his delicious sparkling fermented tea. Wonder Drink organic kombucha has grown on the West Coast in natural food stores, pubs, spas, grocery stores and more. It’s also branching out all over the world online! 

Overall, the kombucha industry continues with growth year over year. Kombucha is the fastest growing functional beverage category worldwide, according to Kombucha Brewers International. 

Oregon Kombucha Craze

There is something about this fizzy sweet and sour beverage with reported health benefits that people in Oregon and the surrounding area can’t get enough of. It’s a craze that continues to grow locally and branch out nationwide. 

Portland and nearby areas are known for: 

  • Local kombucha brews
  • Kombucha on tap at local pubs and breweries
  • Organically grown kombucha

There is something about that symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY for short), combined with probiotics and spices and fruits, that people love. Overall, kombucha sales have grown from $1 million in 2014 to $1.8 billion in sales in 2019, according to the trade group Kombucha Brewers International

What Brand of Kombucha is Best?

The best brand of kombucha is the one that you love the most. At Wonder Drink, we believe you will fall in love with our line of prebiotic kombucha, which helps to create a healthy gut that your digestion system will enjoy. Wonder Drink kombucha provides all this with just 10 grams of sugar, which also makes our kombucha a great soda replacement alternative. 

Try the Wonder Drink Kombucha Experience

The results are in. Whether you live on the West Coast or want to have some Wonder Drink shipped to you, our original organic prebiotic kombucha is a must try. There are four flavors to choose from. Shop Wonder Drinktoday!

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