n. A fermentation of sweetened tea.
Kombucha is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a "symbiotic 'colony' of bacteria and yeast" ( SCOBY). Actual contributing microbial populations in SCOBY cultures vary, but the yeast component generally includes Saccharomyces (a probiotic fungus) and other species, and the bacterial component almost always includes Gluconacetobacter xylinus to oxidize yeast-produced alcohols to acetic and other acids.
The geographic origin of kombucha is unknown and its etymology is uncertain. Historically, kombucha has been home-brewed or locally brewed, but in the late 1990s, commercially bottled kombucha became available in North American retail stores. It is known in Chinese as chájūn , Japanese as , Korean as hongchabeoseotcha (홍차버섯차), Vietnamese as giam tra (giấm trà) and Russian as chaynyy grib (чайный гриб). These names translate literally to "tea fungus" or "tea mushroom."
Kombucha has been claimed to have various health benefits, but there is little evidence to support such claims. There are several documented cases of serious adverse effects, including fatalities, related to kombucha drinking, possibly arising from contamination during home preparation. Since the mostly unclear benefits of kombucha drinking do not outweigh the known risks, it is not recommended for therapeutic use.