How Long Bottled Kombucha Will Stay Fresh After Opening

Whether you enjoy kombucha regularly or haven't tried it yet, this drink has seen a surge in popularity for the past few years. According to Polaris Market Research, sales of these tea beverages are expected to surpass $11 billion by 2030. While interest in this drink has grown in the United States since the 2010s, many people don't know a lot about kombucha. You might wonder what goes into this drink, and if its fermentation process makes it last for a long time.

To make kombucha, yeast, sugar, and black tea are fermented together to create a fizzy drink full of probiotics, with a tart, almost vinegar-like taste. Unopened kombucha can last for several months, while an open bottle will last about a week in the fridge. Kombucha is highly acidic, which hinders the growth of mold and foodborne microbes that can cause spoilage, and fermentation also lengthens its shelf life. 

However, this one-week limit is just a guideline. Many kombuchas are mixed with perishable ingredients like fruit juice, making them likely to spoil faster. On top of that, kombucha is fizzy, and just like soda, it can go flat after opening. For this reason, some brands recommend drinking their products a few days after opening, rather than a whole week. Labels are your friend here, so always check the best-by or use-by dates and storage instructions on your bottle. Proper storage is what really helps to keep your kombucha fresh and fizzy for as long as possible.

Tips to maximize the shelf life of opened kombucha

Much like with a carbonated soft drink, thoroughly sealing your bottle of kombucha is your best friend. While tightly screwing the lid on your kombucha won't entirely prevent it from going flat, it will definitely keep all the fizz from escaping into the air. You can go a step further by closing your bottle ASAP after pouring the kombucha into a cup. Drinking straight from the bottle keeps it open for a while, which dissipates the bubbly carbon dioxide. Refrigeration is also a must when storing leftover kombucha. Many foodborne pathogens cannot grow in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure your fridge is at least this cold for the sake of all your food and drinks, not just kombucha. 

Storing your leftover kombucha in the fridge will also prevent its active cultures from growing too much. Overgrowth of the probiotics already present in the drink can make your beverage develop rancid flavors. As the bacteria releases gas, it can even build pressure in your bottle and cause it to forcibly pop open or shatter. Seal your kombucha well, keep it in the fridge, and most importantly, drink it before its time is up, or you'll have to waste it at best, and might have to clean up a mess at worst.