RISE kombucha bottles neatly lined up

Does Kombucha Expire and Go Bad?

In a short space of time, kombucha has become a staple part of a balanced lifestyle. We’re sure you’re more than familiar with the sparkling, fermented tea’s potency, but how much do you really know about this beverage?

Much like when you add anything new to your diet, we’re sure you’re full of questions.

What is the shelf-life? How do you store it properly? How can you tell if it’s gone bad?

Kombucha aficionados will know that kombucha has a relatively long shelf life. Still, when you visit the supermarket, you’ll find several kombucha brands, each with different storage and shelf life information. With a mismatch of information, it’s easy to see why this can be a little confusing to the kombucha novice.

In this post, we straighten out the issue and explain how you can properly store your kombucha to get maximum flavour and potency in every sip!

products in the refrigerated section of a grocery store

How Long Does Kombucha Last?

Kombucha is filled with beneficial living cultures that need to be kept in a refrigerated environment. Think of your yogurt; you’d never dream of storing the tubs in your pantry, and kombucha is the same.

For that reason, how long kombucha lasts is largely dependent on when it was opened and if it was stored correctly. Kombucha stored in a fridge will last for months, but the same bottle left open on a countertop will degrade much faster.

How Long Does Commercially-Bottled Kombucha (unopened) Last?

Canadian kombucha brewers are legally obligated to have an “expiration date” or “best before” date on all bottles. The date is an estimation for optimal consumption.

Since kombucha is a fermented product, it naturally has a long shelf life and can easily exceed the date listed on the bottle. Kombucha beyond the labelled date isn’t necessarily bad, the flavouring might just be slightly off.

RISE Kombucha is stamped with a best before date – this is different from the expiration date. If you consume kombucha after the best before date, there’s no risk in drinking it, but the flavour profile may change as well as the living culture content.

The RISE Kombucha Classic line and the RISE 1g line both have an 18-month shelf life at bottling.

How Long Does Commercially-Bottled Kombucha (opened) Last?

We understand that you might not want to drink all of your kombucha in one go, especially if you have a larger, 1L bottle. Once you have opened a bottle and set aside the rest for another day, how long do you have to drink it?

As soon as the bottle has been opened, the kombucha interacts with air, and so it is recommended that kombucha is consumed within one week of opening. Similar to how you would treat a bottle of soda.

The beverage won’t go bad if you store it correctly beyond one week, but it will lose some of its effervescence.

How Long Does Homemade Kombucha Last?

Perhaps you’re a kombucha wizard, and you’re experimenting with your own kombucha concoctions at home. Once you’ve whipped up a batch, you can expect the homemade kombucha to last between one and three months when stored in the fridge.

What Happens if Kombucha is Not Refrigerated?

Many foods and beverages require a stable, specific temperature range. Like dairy items, meat and juice, kombucha needs refrigeration to maintain the live and active cultures. When kept at room temperature, the live cultures are more active, resulting in excess carbonation, a tart taste, and production of alcohol.

NOTE: excess pressure build-up could cause the cap to blow off the bottle if it is left at room temperature for too long.

close-up of a glass of kombucha

How Can You Tell if Kombucha Has Gone Bad?

Suppose you find a bottle of kombucha hiding at the back of your fridge (a nice surprise, indeed!), but how do you tell if it has gone bad?

Although kombucha has a long shelf life, there are certain situations where you might prefer to discard the beverage. If the kombucha is well past the best before date, or it hasn’t been stored correctly, it may taste overly tart or vinegary. It is up to personal preference, but it might be a sign that it’s time to open a fresh bottle.

Don’t be put off by any floaties or strands in the bottle – these sediments are part of our ingredients, and they are totally normal if it’s been a while since you last opened it. Gently flip the bottle and swirl to mix before drinking.

pouring RISE kombucha into a glass

How to Store Kombucha For Best Results?

Of course, you should always store your kombucha in the refrigerator – the beverage needs constant refrigeration to maintain flavour, quality, and living cultures.

Just like other products such as kefir and yogurt, kombucha is full of living cultures. When kept at room temperature, these cultures are more active, resulting in excess carbonation, a tart taste, and production of alcohol.

NOTE: excess pressure build-up could cause the cap to blow off the bottle if it is left at room temperature for too long.

What Temperature Should Kombucha Be Stored At?

Keeping your kombucha supply in the fridge is the only way to store the beverage. Keep it at about 4°C – anything below this will force the living cultures into hibernation.

RISE Kombucha is packed with living cultures, antioxidants, and organic acids and it tastes amazing too! Have a sip and you’ll see why we’re Canada’s favourite booch! Take a look at our delicious kombucha flavours and discover where to buy RISE Kombucha near you.

Making Kombucha at Home - What is Kombucha