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Who Invented Kombucha?

By: Brew Your Bucha Posted: August 18, 2019 in Kombucha

The story of Kombucha is an ancient tale, one long buried in history. While its exact origin is not absolutely confirmed, the consensus belief is that Kombucha was invented in Ancient China sometime around 220 B.C. In fact, the drink gained its name from its supposed inventor: Doctor Kombu, a Korean doctor who brought the drink to Japan for Emperor Inkyo. While the stories of this mysterious inventor have faded, we present you with our own story that answers the age-old question: Who Invented Kombucha?

It Began as an Accident

Doctor Kombu rushed into his home, the memory of his forgotten concoction just returning to his mind. It had all started a few weeks ago when the doctor wanted to brew a new type of medicine, one that used the dried leaves of a specific plant that were soaked in hot water to create a dark, strong brew. While Kombu himself enjoyed the drink, he found that others found it off putting and complained about the bitter taste.

In order to make it more enjoyable, Kombu added some honey he obtained from a neighbour. Honey had been used in the town for years, both as food and medicine. He had seen its power in his own experience, and he knew it was the right addition for his new concoction. He added the honey into his brew and left it in a dark corner of his home, uncovered and open to the world.

Then, he forgot about it.

The jar containing his newest creation sat in that dark corner for weeks. Since the doctor left it uncovered, the jar was open to any visitors, big or small. A few mice tried to enjoy the liquid inside the jar but recognized that trying to steal a drink would lead to a watery grave. Insects were successful in infiltrating the liquid, and a few even floated on the top, but many found the contents too sour and harsh for their liking. Yet, there were some other organisms that were attracted to the brew, but these ones were microscopic, so tiny that nobody could view them with the naked eye. In fact, the discovery of these microorganisms was still hundreds of years away.

However, when Kombu finally returned to his creation, the one he had forgotten about for weeks, he saw something strange: something was sitting on top of the liquid. When he tried to lift whatever foreign substance that had invaded his jar, he found it very slippery. At first, he believed his creation was corrupted, spoiled far beyond consumption. However, when he smelled the liquid, he found a pleasant, slightly sour smell. As a Doctor, Kombu was familiar with the smell of corruption; he had treated many wounds that caused the skin to grow black and smelly. Yet, this smell was different: it did not smell of death.

The Doctor grasped a nearby cup and plunged it into the jar. The dark liquid filled the vessel to the brim, small bubbles rising to the surface. Kombu took a deep breath before he placed the cup to his lips and began to drink. It mainly had a sour taste, but there were hints of sweetness at times. When the cup was empty, Kombu placed it down on the table and began to wait, wondering what effect his creation would have on him.

Years passed and Doctor Kombu’s new creation became a mainstay in his repertoire of medicines. After a few months of drinking his creation, he found that he had fewer moments when his stomach ached. Often, the Doctor would wake up at night in gastrointestinal distress, but those incidents slowly dissipated over the weeks. Furthermore, others would comment on the Doctor’s appearance, claiming that his skin shined. These benefits were not lost on the Doctor, and he began prescribing his creation to all his patients. Soon, the entire town was enjoying his new drink, marvelling over its wonderful health benefits.

A Message From A Foreign Land

A messenger entered the small town, desperately looking for the local doctor. He was not familiar with the town; his own home was hundreds of kilometers away. Nevertheless, the messenger had entered the town with one mission: find the famous Doctor and relay the emperor’s message. The messenger scoured the town, talking to everyone he could. Eventually, he heard about the local doctor, a man who created a special drink seemingly full of health benefits. He knew he had finally found his man.

When the messenger finally met the Doctor, he presented Kombu with a long, dusty scroll. The scroll was ornate with gold lettering covering most of the surface. The seal on the parchment revealed that it arrived from Japan, containing the words of Emperor Inkyo himself. The Emperor, who had long suffered from stomach pains, was desperate to end his torment. He offered a place in his court and great riches to anyone who could end his pain. Doctor Kombu looked at the parchment, his eyes slowly scanning the entire document. Then, his eyes darted towards the jars sitting in the corner.

It was time.

Doctor Kombu set off on his journey to Japan, his mysterious jars filling the wagon behind him. There were some troubles on the road, but he safely arrived in the Court of Emperor Inkyo. The moment before he stepped into the palace, he remembered how his journey started with his forgetfulness. He was once a local doctor, and now he was standing in front of one of most powerful people in the world.

Now, you may be wondering how the Emperor received Doctor Kombu’s creation, but you already know the answer. For if the Doctor’s creation displeased the emperor, then Kombu’s name would be buried in history forever. Yet, his legacy endures and his name is forever remembered through his creation: Kombucha.

Continue Kombu’s Legacy

If you’re interested in brewing your own Kombucha, just like Doctor Kombu, then please visit our shop page. We have everything you need, including full brewing kits, to brew your own Kombucha at home.

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