Is Kombucha Refrigeration Necessary?
You’ve done it. After weeks of fermentation, your homemade kombucha is finally ready. But now that you’ve made it, should you refrigerate it or not? As delicious as kombucha is, no one wants a fizzy surprise when opening a bottle or worse, a spoiled batch.
When it comes to properly storing your kombucha, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. For maximum quality and fizziness, the fridge is best. Here’s what you need to know to keep your kombucha fresh and tasty.
Is Kombucha Refrigeration Necessary? Know the Reasons
So you've got your hands on some kombucha and now you're wondering—does this stuff need to be refrigerated? The short answer is yes, it's best to refrigerate kombucha after opening to maximize freshness and flavour. Here are a few reasons why:
Kombucha contains live cultures (like probiotics) that can continue fermenting at room temperature. Kombucha refrigeration slows the fermentation process and prevents over-carbonation. An overly fizzy kombucha loses the subtle flavours that make it taste so good. Without refrigeration, the natural sugars in the kombucha will continue to convert to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
While kombucha has a shelf-stable alcohol level, additional fermentation at room temperature can increase the alcohol percentage and carbonation to undesirable levels. Warm temperatures speed up the oxidation of nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants found in kombucha. Refrigeration helps maintain the nutritional benefits by slowing oxidation.
Kombucha develops a tangy, acidic flavour due to the production of organic acids during fermentation. At warmer temperatures, these acids break down more quickly, causing the flavour to become unpleasantly sour or vinegar-like. Kombucha refrigeration preserves the balanced, refreshing tartness that it is known for.
The bottom line? For the best quality, safety, nutrition and taste, refrigerate your kombucha bottle after opening and enjoy within 1-2 weeks. Keeping your kombucha chilled will ensure each sip is as fresh, fizzy and flavourful as the first. Here’s to your health and happy sipping!
Also Read: Kombucha Brewing 101: A Beginner's Guide
How Long Does Kombucha Last at Room Temperature?
Unopened bottles of kombucha can last for several months when stored at room temperature. But once opened, it's best to refrigerate. As long as the bottle seal is undamaged and unopened, kombucha can last 6-12 months when stored in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight.
Without the airtight seal, bacteria and yeast can start to grow again. For the best quality and safety, consume the kombucha within 7-14 days of opening the bottle. Look for any unpleasant changes in appearance, odour or flavour before drinking, as this could indicate spoilage.
When in doubt, it's best to discard the kombucha. Your health and safety should be a top priority! By following proper kombucha refrigeration and storage guidelines, you can enjoy delicious kombucha for months to come.
Signs Your Kombucha Has Gone Bad
As with any perishable good, kombucha can spoil if left unrefrigerated for too long. Here are some signs your kombucha may have gone bad:
Fizzing or Bulging Kombucha Bottles
If your kombucha bottle is bulging, swollen or show signs of built-up gas pressure, that usually means wild yeasts or bacteria have contaminated the brew. The microbes feed on the sugars and create carbon dioxide gas as a byproduct. Discard any bulging or fizzy bottles immediately.
If you spot mould, yeast or slime growing in or on your kombucha after opening, it has gone bad and is unsafe to drink. Kombucha naturally contains live active cultures, but unwanted moulds and yeasts can take over if left unrefrigerated.
Your kombucha should smell mildly sweet and tangy, like vinegar and tea. If you notice unpleasant odours like putrid, rotten or cheesy smells coming from the bottle after opening, the kombucha has spoiled and should be discarded.
Sour or Putrid Taste
While kombucha has a naturally sour and tangy flavour from the fermentation process, it should still taste pleasant and balanced. If your kombucha tastes extremely sour, rotten or putrid, it’s a sign the good bacteria have gone out of control and the brew has spoiled. When in doubt, it’s best to discard it.
Also Read: Does Kombucha Help Digestion?
If you want to try kombucha, try Mountaintribe, one of the best kombucha brands in India. We offer raw, unpasteurized kombucha with live active cultures and 5 grams of sugar or less per serving. You can find our products online.
In the end, kombucha may be part of a healthy diet for diabetics, as long as you account for the sugar, watch your portions, and buy kombucha online India from reputable brands.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it, the lowdown on how to properly store your kombucha. Keep it simple and you'll be sipping on delicious probiotic goodness for weeks to come. Remember, once opened, keep it refrigerated and consumed within 3-4 weeks. If unopened, you've got a bit more leeway but for maximum freshness and fizz, stick to the 'best by' date.
The most important thing is to do what works for your needs and enjoy it! Kombucha is meant to be savoured and shared, not left forgotten in the back of your pantry. Buy kombucha online, crack open a bottle, pour a glass, and relish in the tangy, refreshing flavour of your favourite kombucha brand. Your gut will thank you for it.
- Do I have to refrigerate kombucha?
Only after opening. Unopened kombucha bottles can be stored at room temperature.
- How long does canned kombucha last?
Unopened, 6-12 months from the 'best by' date. Refrigerated after opening, 1-2 weeks.
- Will the kombucha lose carbonation?
Some loss of carbonation is normal over time. For the fizziest kombucha, choose a 'best by' date as far out as possible and refrigerate after opening.
- Does heat affect kombucha?
Yes, extreme heat can speed up fermentation in the bottle and potentially cause bulging or rupturing. Avoid prolonged heat exposure.
- Can I freeze kombucha?
It is not recommended to freeze kombucha. Freezing may affect the flavour, fizziness and the can integrity.