phonetic pronunciation of the word kombucha

How To Pronounce Kombucha

It’s the million-dollar question, “how do you properly pronounce kombucha?”

Even if you’ve fallen in love with the carbonated beverage, there may be a chance that you’ve been saying it wrong. In this article, we’ll break down the origins of this beloved beverage and the surprisingly lost in translation meaning behind the name “kombucha.”

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a beverage that contains living cultures, organic acids, and antioxidants that help with digestion and support the immune system. Real kombucha is raw, unpasteurized, and filled with good bacteria and yeast with valuable health potency.

close-up of a chinese statue

The History & Etymology Of Kombucha

The history of kombucha dates back over 2000 years, with the first evidence of fermented tea originating in China. Archeologists found evidence of the oldest origins of this early form of kombucha in China that dates back to the Qin Dynasty.

The emperor Qin Shi Huang is said to have sought to lengthen his life, and an alchemist produced this beverage at his request. The uncovered script contained a name for this fermented drink, which translated to “Tea for Immortality.”

This, however, isn’t the origin of the word kombucha; there are two versions of the tale of how this beverage got its name.

In folklore, it was said that a Korean physician Dr. Kombu brought the fermented tea to Japan as a medicinal drink for Emperor Inkyo. The fermented drink took the name “kombucha,” after Dr. Kombu and the Korean word for tea “cha” (차).

The more logical explanation?

English speakers mistook the word kombucha to mean fermented tea. English speakers may have heard the word pronounced “kon-bu-cha” when in Japan, and instead of a direct translation as kelp tea, mistook it for fermented tea. Fermented tea in Japanese is called kōcha kinoko (紅茶キノコ).

How To Pronounce ‘Kombu’

The first part of the word – kombu – is believed to come from the Japanese word for seaweed, kombu (昆布). While your average kombucha will not contain seaweed, a popular tea containing kelp powder Japan may have given rise to the name we now know!

How To Pronounce ‘Cha’

The second part of the word – cha – is relatively straightforward, as the word ‘cha’ is the word tea in various languages (think chai tea). Tea is one of the main ingredients of producing kombucha, so it’s only fair that it’s a part of the beverage’s name!

Putting It Together: Kombu-cha

You can trust us when we say we’ve heard virtually every pronunciation of the word; however, the correct way to say it is:


We’re more about spreading the good word of RISE Kombucha’s delicious flavours and its valuable health potency, so if you’re used to pronouncing it a different way, it’s ok!

phonetic pronunciation of the word scoby

Bonus: How To Pronounce SCOBY

In case you were wondering how to pronounce SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), it’s sk-OH-bee. SCOBY, also known as the mother, is a culture that metabolizes all of the great ingredients in our kombucha. It gives RISE Kombucha all of its potency: live cultures (friendly bacteria and yeast), antioxidants, and organic acids!

Making Kombucha at Home - What is Kombucha