Does Kombucha Go Bad? How Long Does It Last

Quick summary: Yes, Kombucha will go bad. Even if not spoiled in a classic sense, it will become undrinkable over time due to over-fermented flavor. 

In short, kombucha is actually fermented tea. Special yeasts are used for this purpose. It is full of probiotics and other health benefits, so it is no wonder that this drink, created initially in China, found its way to the rest of the globe. Over the years, there have been more and more manufacturers and different versions of this drink on the market. 

Can it go bad? Yes, it can. In addition, kombucha never actually stops fermenting, so over time, it will surely become undrinkable and acidic like vinegar. Here’s what else you need to know about this unusual sparkling drink.

How Long Does Kombucha Last?

It is impossible to give an unmistakable answer to the question of how long kombucha can last. This will largely depend on the product itself, the ingredients it is made of, the exact process by which it was produced, and how it is ultimately packaged. Globally, you can follow some guidelines.

Unopened kombucha 

Manufacturers will give a fairly safe estimate of how long their kombucha can last. We remind you that the drink will not necessarily be spoiled after the expiration date, but the taste can change significantly, considering that fermentation takes place all the time. However, we can be almost certain that the drink will last at least a month or two after its expiration.

Opened kombucha

For durability after opening, the manufacturer provides instructions on the package. It will probably be a few days to a maximum of a week. We can advise you to keep the drink in the refrigerator after opening it and not to extend the consumption period for more than a week.

Can Kombucha Go Bad?

Kombucha has a natural defense against bacteria and mold, so it is unlikely that it will spoil in the classic way, but anything is possible when it comes to food. What will happen in most cases is that the fermentation will lead to a vinegary taste and it won’t be very appetizing to you.

Sign 1: The smell is off

A foul smell will indicate possible spoilage but also excessive fermentation of the drink. If you open the bottle and smell a vinegary sour fragrance, surely the kombucha is no longer pleasant to drink.

Sign 2: Taste is acidic

If you taste kombucha and it seems excessively acidic, it means that its time has expired. Fermentation has taken over the flavor and irreversibly turns your sweet drink into vinegar. In any case, a bad taste is a sign that you are not consuming the drink.

Sign 3: It does not look good visually

Sediment is very normal when it comes to kombucha, and you don’t need to worry about it. But if there are significant changes in appearance compared to the original, such as cloudiness or spores in the liquid, it is possible that the drink has spoiled.

Kombucha is often recommended as a replacement for sake. So why not use these sake substitutes ideas if your kombucha has gone off.

Which is the Best Way to Store Kombucha?

Kombucha prefers colder places because the chill will slow down the fermentation process, so keeping it away from heat is the main rule. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when storing kombucha.

Tip 1: Keep at a suitable temperature

If the manufacturer recommends keeping it in the fridge all the time, then, by all means, do it. If refrigeration is not mandatory, you can opt for a pantry, but we definitely recommend that the temperature be lower. Chill greatly hinders fermentation, so if you are leaning towards more extended storage, this is the main rule you should follow. After opening, be sure to put the leftovers in the fridge.

Tip 2: Seal well after use

If you refrigerate leftover kombucha to consume it the next day, be sure to tightly close the cap before storing it. This applies to the storage of all types of food and beverages to preserve maximum quality.


How long is kombucha good for after the expiration date?

If stored properly, Kombucha will probably be good for about a month or two after its expiration date. It may last longer, but be sure to check the correctness before consumption.

How can you tell if kombucha has gone bad?

If you smell a sour scent that is more like vinegar, it means that it has been fermented too much. Also, a bad taste that is too sour is a clear sign.

Can you get sick from drinking expired kombucha?

Even if the kombucha is over-fermented, it shouldn’t give you any food poisoning. You will have a sour and tasteless drink, but if you don’t mind, you are probably safe.

Kombucha is an increasingly popular drink around the world. It was originally created in China and is actually a fermented tea. It can have different flavors and is recommended due to the high level of probiotics. 

It is generally recommended to keep kombucha in a cool place, ideally in the refrigerator, even before opening it. In this way, you significantly slow down the fermentation process that constantly takes place in this drink, so it will last longer and have better quality.

*image by Pompjaideaw/depositphotos

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