Is “Kombucha” Japanese?

Is “Kombucha” Japanese?

Iie, chigaimasu-yo!

Kombucha belongs to everyone. While the word sounds Japanese, it isn’t. People get confused by this and come up with really fanciful stories of a legendary “Dr. Kombu” and his secret tea, or “cha” in Japanese. To make it even more weird, there is a tea in Japan made from seaweed. It is called “konbucha”, with an “n.” “Konbucha,” (also called “kobucha”), has absolutely nothing to do with our beloved kombucha but non-Japanese often confuse the two. In fact, one of the larger American kombucha makers has an anchor as its symbol because they believe kombucha has something to do with the sea…!

How Do You Say “Kombucha” in Japanese?

The word for kombucha in Japan is, “koucha kinoko,” or “black tea mushroom.” This is the same name, with different pronunciation, used in Chinese and in Russian.

Know the Difference!

So, it you go to Japan and ask for “kombucha,” they will hear “konbucha” and give you a nice cup of steaming kelp.

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