Kombucha is all the rage right now. Whether you make it yourself or buy it at the store, you might be wondering, “Does kombucha expire?”
Because kombucha is a fermented drink, it will last a long time past the “use-by-date” on the label. That is one of the main benefits of fermentation, preserve foods for a really long time.
However, the flavor will change over time and become more acidic. It will start to taste vinegary. Storing it in the refrigerator will help the drink last longer and keep its flavor.
Does store-bought kombucha expire?
After you open it, the kombucha will start to lose its carbonation and flavor. Manufacturers recommend drinking it within 3-5 days after opening and always keep it refrigerated to ensure you experience the optimal taste and fizz that they say it has.
If it’s an opened bottle and you leave at room temperature the fermentation process will work faster causing the drink to become more acidic. It is even possible for a SCOBY to form in the bottle, which you could then use to make your own kombucha.
With that being said, use common sense when drinking anything that is past its expiration date. If it smells bad and tastes bad, then it is probably bad. Throw it out!
Unopened Bottle of Store-Bought Kombucha
Say you left an unopened bottle of store-bought kombucha in the fridge for a month or two and now you are wondering if it has gone bad?
NO, it has not gone bad, the flavor notes might have changed a bit, becoming more acidic or vinegary as I’ve already stated, but it’s still fine to drink. If you like the flavor.
My first suggestion is to open it slowly because bottled kombucha can explode from the buildup of carbonatation. Cover the bottle with a towel and slowly open it over the kitchen sink.
Next, just taste it. If you don’t like the taste, then throw it out, but I doubt it will hurt you. If anything, it will be a little tart and vinegary due to the continuing fermentation process. Even though cold temperatures slow the fermentation process down almost to a standstill, it still does continue at a slow rate.
Furthermore, all food manufacturers are required to put a “sell-by-date,” “use-by-date” or “best-before-date” on the packaging, but you can still drink it.
Such a date just means that this is when you will get the best flavor and quality.
After that date has passed the taste, smell, texture, and look of the drink may be different, but that does not mean that it has spoiled.
As long as it has been unaffected by harmful bacteria, it should last for some time, just like pickles and vinegar.
However, if you have health issues that are triggered by acid or bacteria, it is advisable to toss it out to avoid allergic reactions, infections, or a really nasty upset stomach.
If you want to learn how to make your own kombucha, check out my recipe on how to make one gallon of kombucha.
Are you following a keto diet, you can find out if kombucha is keto-friendly or not?