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What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a drink made from a sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a gelatinous colony of yeasts and bacteria. Fortunately for writers like me, this clear definition hides a mysterious beverage with a murky, complex history, as well as a confusing identity. Is it a refreshing health drink? A way of life? A drinkable organism? A guilt-free way to get buzzed? I’ll clarify the murky morass that is booch by exploring its identities, history and modern resurgence.

Where did kombucha come from?
According to Rachel Kanaan, Co-Founder and Formulator of Unity Vibration Kombucha, the beverage kombucha“originated in Asia, then made its way to Russia and around the world through war and trade.” Numerous articles suggest that kombucha originated in Northeast China, (known historically as Manchuria). Health-conscious friends recall drinking it in the U.S. in the 1960s. Alongside other products in the widespread consumer “wellness” trend (yoga pants, herbal supplements, etc.) kombucha rose to prominence gradually throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, and now the category is becoming well-established.

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