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DEC 9, 2021

What is Kombucha and where did it come from?

Emma Thackray, Hip Pop co-founder

Kombucha Origin

Dating back centuries, Kombucha has become known as an elixir for the mind, body, and soul. A great alternative to sugary soft drinks, kombucha leaves us feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the day. The exact origins of Kombucha continue to perplex drinkers. While we are pretty sure it was first brewed in the Manchuria region of China, during the reign of the Qin dynasty, whether it has been around for two centuries or two millennia is a topic of some debate. By the turn of the early 20th century, however, kombucha had crept west across Russia and into the broader European consciousness. The tea’s popularity then truly built up momentum, and it entered the mainstream during the early 2000s. Several decades later, kombucha continues to be loved all across the world.

A Brief History of Kombucha

If you're living around Europe, you're probably thinking how did kombucha reach the continent. Back in China, this fermented and sugared tea was prized for its healing properties. Its name is believed to come from a Korean doctor named Dr. Kombu who travelled to Japan to use kombucha as a treatment for the Japanese emperor and soldiers during the world war. After some time, kombucha moved beyond Asia and reached Europe in different variations of names like Kambucha (Russia) and Kombuchaschwamm (Germany).

Kombucha Tea - What is it?

If you have ever tried one or are a regular booch enjoyer ,you will have noticed that Kombucha is a fizzy, fermented soft drink.

At Hip Pop, the kombucha brewing process begins with a huge pot of loose leaf tea ( we use a mixture of organic green and black tea) to which organic cane sugar is added. Then a mixture of billions upon billions of friendly yeast and bacteria are added to the pot, which then eat the sugar and ferment the tea and transform it into kombucha. After a few weeks the kombucha is flavoured with organic fruits and bottled and delivered to our customers fresh from our farm.

The fermentation process is what makes kombucha a special drink. Through fermentation, natural sugars are broken down and create a remarkable taste sensation

Kombucha as a Fermented Tea

The fermentation process is what makes kombucha a special drink. Through fermentation, natural sugars are broken down and create a remarkable taste sensation. During this process, a small percentage of alcohol is produced as a by-product. But does that make kombucha an alcoholic drink? How much is the alcohol content of this beverage?

There’s no need to worry about becoming intoxicated, kombucha will keep you sober. The magic of the fermentation process eliminates most of the alcohol content. When the tea base is cooled down and mixed with organic cane sugar, it will be introduced to a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast -- more popularly known as a scoby. Kombucha has earned the nickname "tea mushroom," due to the shape the mass produces as the results from the bacteria and yeast reproducing. As the yeast eats sugar (creating alcohol), the special bacteria eats the by-product (the alcohol!) and turns it into acid -- removing most of the alcohol on your kombucha drink! This gives you the tangy taste from your booch that's surprisingly refreshing.

Why do people drink kombucha?

While drinkers celebrate the wonderful and unique flavour and love of kombucha simply because of its beautiful flavour, a quick Google search will show the many health reasons behind why people choose to drink kombucha. Kombucha is made from tea, and tea is an antioxidant because it is abundant in polyphenols. Vitamins and minerals are also produced during a kombucha fermentation. One of the few ingredients in the drink is cane sugar which, when broken down by the yeast, produces a cornucopia of marvellous microscopic molecules.


Kombucha is rich in vitamin B, especially in B1, B6, and B12 . All vitamins are essential to healthy living, but B vitamins are crucial to the production of red blood cells and to a healthy gut in general.

A final aspect of kombucha are the antioxidants it can bring into your body. The free radical theory of aging explains that the breakdown of our bodily systems over time is caused by unstable atoms named free radicals. As these atoms do not have a solid outer shell, they react and bond with other molecules very quickly, beginning a process called oxidative stress. Antioxidants, as the name suggests, are molecules produced by your body that fight against this. Teas are abundant in these already and more are produced during the fermentation process. Studies highlight kombucha’s high gluconic acid content as an explanation. Gluconic acid helps your body produce bifidobacteria – an essential group of bacteria that helps your stomach digest food.

Adding kombucha to your diet is not only a simple and effective change to make, but a delicious one as well. And regardless, although substituting your morning cuppa for one a little more fermented may sound odd, your taste buds will definitely thank you for it.

Kombucha Brewers in the UK

Kombucha started in the UK through independent shops and restaurants producing it on their own before it became big and available in the supermarkets in the last ten years or so. But, there are also lots of people who have been home-brewing their own tasty kombucha for decades, too!

With the rising popularity of kombucha in the UK, it is now sold commercially in both small and large shops, cafes and bars, rather than being solely a family recipe passed on from generations to generations. The brewing process is also more advanced, producing bottled kombucha to fit the ever active lifestyle of UK folks. Though advancements in fermented foods processing is evident, nothing beats the producers brewing kombucha in a traditional way.

Hip Pop is a local kombucha brewer craft brewing in a very traditional way in a microbrewery on a beautiful farm in Cheshire. We ferment our organic mixture of green tea and black tea, raw cane sugar and live bacteria and yeast cultures for two weeks, which creates our mind-blowing kombucha, full of the good stuff (The Hip Pop way!)

We’re a small family business without investors snapping at us to cut costs so we can afford to brew our kombucha in a traditional way with nutritious organic ingredients. We don’t use any sweeteners like Stevia/Erythritol or use marketing shizzle to cover any misgivings in our kombucha. This allows us to experiment and play until we create honest kombucha that speaks for itself - full of flavour, body and goodness.

The story of Hip Pop started with one of our founders, Kenny, experiencing tummy issues. His friend Emma, gave him some of her homemade kombucha. Emma got into kombucha whilst living in the US, where this beverage is highly popular; there are even kombucha taprooms open to the public all the time around the country.

Hip Pop - Organic Kombucha

The story of Hip Pop started with one of our founders, Kenny, experiencing tummy issues. His friend Emma, gave him some of her homemade kombucha. Emma got into kombucha whilst living in the US, where this beverage is highly popular; there are even kombucha taprooms open to the public all the time around the country.

The kombucha was an instant hit and Kenny was so impressed by the results that he convinced Emma to put up a small brewery in her garage to start sharing this amazing drink to others.! They sold their homemade kombucha to local farmers and markets where they got amazing feedback.! A few months later, a proper grown-up brewery was built on a beautiful farm in Cheshire producing kombucha known today as Hip Pop.

Hip Pop won a Great Taste Award in our first year along with some other prestigious awards to follow: best soft drink in the Mums choice awards 2020 and another Great Taste Award in 2021. In 2021 we were also up for best independent drinks producer in the Manchester Food and Drink festival. Beyond awards, customer feedback and satisfaction is at the centre of everything we do. To boost everyone’s morale in the office and brewery, the team reads aloud every product review that we get during team meetings. The amazing feedback from our customers is what fuels our team forward.

Along with our in-house team of brewers Hip Pop kombucha is also taste-tested by BBC’s Food and Drink expert Kate Goodman and her team to ensure that every batch lives up to high standards.

So, if you’re looking for a local kombucha brewer for your fermented tea favourite, Hip Pop is a great option! Our organic kombucha is vegan and lower in sugar. It’s already sold in the world famous Harrods department store as well as the supermarket chain, Booths. You can also find us in over 400 independent locations, including coffee shops, yoga studios, health stores, bars and restaurants all around the UK. Hip Pop Kombucha comes in four delicious flavours: Ginger-Yuzu, Apple-Elderflower, Blueberry-Ginger and Strawberry- Pineapple which are all amazingly delicious! Try them all today! To learn more about Hip Pop follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

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