For those unaware of what Kombucha is, it is a fermented drink made by fermenting sugared tea with the help of bacteria and yeast (more commonly known as SCOBY).
The cultured bacteria is added to the sugar and tea, and then the mix is left to ferment.
Kombucha can either be prepared at home or bought as a bottled version. It can have an array of health benefits like helping regulate blood pressure and prevent cancer till getting used as a probiotic.
The reason why many people are in love with Kombucha is not really its benefits but its unique amazing taste.
Kombucha tastes refreshingly fizzy with a little shy of sweetness while slightly sour at the same time. The taste of Kombucha can be referred to as tart taste.
Due to its distinctive taste, differentiating a fresh Kombucha from one which is not fresh gets difficult. Thus, it is important to know how long Kombucha last.
How Long Does Kombucha Last?
The shelf life of Kombucha and how long it will last depend on a number of factors. Most of the time your regular Kombucha will last for more than months. If stored properly your Kombucha may last for more than a month.
In most cases, when you purchase a bottled Kombucha, they mention the expiry date, after which it is not suitable or unhealthy to be used.
The shelf life of Kombucha will depend on several factors like its pH, temperature, and also alcohol content.
So, how do you make your Kombucha last longer than normal? Here are some tips and factors that affect the shelf life of Kombucha:
- Store your Kombucha in the refrigerator. A lower temperature will slow down the fermentation process, helping it last longer.
- A safe pH range for the longer life span of Kombucha is 2.5-4.5 pH level. If the pH level of your Kombucha increases, it can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria.
- When you open a Kombucha bottle, the contamination from other bacteria through any source can decrease its shelf life.
When you keep the above factors in mind, you can make your Kombucha last longer than usual. Using a refrigerator is the best advice to save your Kombucha.
But what after your Kombucha has reached the expiry date or even crossed it? Can you still drink expired Kombucha? The answer to this is right below.
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Can You Drink Expired Kombucha?
What once your Kombucha expires? Can you still drink Kombucha when it expires? The answer is yes you may or may not.
It can be consumed when you store your Kombucha in a refrigerator under cold temperatures with the bottle not opened, even if it crosses its expiry date.
If you store Kombucha out of your refrigerator, the fermentation process might still continue and turn it more acidic, just like vinegar. While it is still safe for drinking, the taste might not still be as pleasant.
So, what do companies mean when they get their bottles printed with “Best By” dates? While it is not necessary, the Food Marketing Institute requires an expiration date to be printed on the bottle by the respective companies.
When your Kombucha gets old enough, or you can say expired, it is more likely to taste tarter with some off smell.
The shelf life is even shorter in the case of opened Kombucha bottles. This is since open bottles might get contaminated by bacteria.
When opened, the safe practice is leaving the bottle outside the fridge for 1 to 2 days and then placing it back. This process helps restore carbonation in your Kombucha.
Some people prefer homemade Kombucha over bottled ones, and the shelf life of homemade Kombucha also is more than a month. But after that, its taste starts to fade.
Thus, Kombucha can still be consumed after expiry but proper storage habits like storing your Kombucha in the refrigerator and restoring carbonation should be followed.
How To Know If Your Kombucha Is Expired?
If you’ve ever discovered an old bottle of your fave fizzy, fermented tea in the back of your refrigerator. Then you’re presumably wondering whether it’s still safe to drink. Well, fear not
Here are some tips to help you determine whether your Kombucha is expired or still a tasty delight. Let’s take a look at each method/tip.
1. The Nose Knows
First thing first, give that booch a good smell. If it smells off, sour, or just plain funky (and not in the typical, kombucha-y manner), toss it. Believe in your senses and trust your nose as it is usually pretty good at detecting when something is wrong.
2. Examine the Expiration Date
Kombucha has a relatively long shell life because the fermentation process creates an acidic environment in which harmful bacteria cannot grow. Store-bought Kombucha usually comes with a “best by” or “expiration” date on the bottle.
While this isn’t an absolute rule (Kombucha can still be consumed after this date), so it’s a good starting point for determining whether your kombucha is still fresh. if the expiration date has passed, you should probably discard it.
3. The Unpleasant Taste
You can sample your kombucha if it passes the sniff test is within its expiration date, is still fizzy, and is mold-free. It’s probably time to throw it out if it tastes off, vinegary, or unpleasant.
4. Fizz Factor and Cloudy Appearance
One of the best parts of kombucha is that delightful fizziness. If your kombucha is flat, it could mean that it’s expired. Flat kombucha isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it might not be as enjoyable as a fresh, fizzy batch.
If your kombucha appears to be cloudy, then it’s a sign that the fermentation process has gone wrong, and the drink may not be safe to consume.
5. Mold Watch
If you notice any mold or strange growths in your kombucha, it’s time to say goodbye. Mold can be extremely harmful to health, so don’t take any risks or chances. Remember that a healthy SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) should resemble a slimy, off-white pancake hovering on top of your Kombucha.
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A healthy fresh Kombucha can have several health benefits such as improved gut health, immune health, and the benefits of a probiotic.
The good thing about Kombucha is its shelf life isn’t short. In most cases, Kombucha expires after a month or more.
Kombucha can be consumed even if it gets expired according to the date mentioned on its bottle (the best-before date). However, the taste of it might get faded and more tarted due to excessive fermentation.
The best way to store Kombucha is to store them in the refrigerator which prevents excessive fermentation that can lead to more carbon dioxide and alcohol formation.
So, Kombucha can be taken if expired, just note that it doesn’t develop floaties, mold, or a vinegary unpleasant taste.
When you find your drink is no longer fizzy, causes excessive bubbling, or looks a little cloudy, you can predict that the Kombucha you carry is probably spoiled.
About the Author
Purushottam is the founder and content writer at Health On Planet, a place where regular health enthusiasts visit to get honest reviews about the supplement. He has been reviewing popular dietary supplements with his years of expertise in the wellness industry. You can always trust his expertise on supplements to help you make informed choices.