Does Kombucha Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on December 18th, 2022

Don’t you believe the information manufacturers tell us regarding Kombucha’s shelf life and how to keep it is a little confusing?

This sweet fermenting tea is an unusual yet highly nutritious beverage.

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Whether you have bottled or prepared this product with a starter, you should know how long Kombucha lasts and goes Kombucha goes bad after all.

What Is Kombucha?

Kombucha is just a fermented tea, typically brewed using black tea. Sugar and a yeast culture known as SCOBY – symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – are involved.

What is a SCOBY?

Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) is an abbreviation for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. It is a live creature that produces good bacteria and yeast, providing probiotic benefits. It is a rubbery layer of stuff that generally forms on the top, although “baby SCOBY” can occasionally be found near the bottom of any bottle of kombucha.

That SCOBY makes kombucha fizzy, why it’s high in probiotics (similar to pickles), and why some people find the drink terrifying.

The bacteria and yeast are extremely tightly managed, generating a batch of probiotics that aid digestion and the stomach.

Because this is a fermented drink, the flavor will vary from batch to batch because no two SCOBYs are the same, which affects the taste.

Kombucha Advantages

Drinking kombucha is said to provide several health advantages. Among them are the following:

  • Because of the intrinsic probiotics, the digestive system is healthy.
  • Green tea kombucha boosts metabolism.
  • Antioxidants defend against free radical damage, avoiding developing many chronic diseases.
  • Heart disease risk is reduced.
  • It may aid in managing type 2 diabetes.
  • It may help guard against cancer.

How Is Kombucha Produced?

Kombucha is created by infusing a “SCOBY” into brewed black or green tea. SCOBY is an abbreviation for the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. After that, the mixture is left to ferment for a week to a month. The fermentation duration will determine the drink’s sweetness; the final product will become less sweet as it ferments for longer.

Does Kombucha Goes Bad?

Kombucha is a sweet, somewhat alcoholic fermented tea with a mild, slightly vinegary fragrance. Because of its health advantages, it has been served cold for over a thousand years.

This drink often has a sweet flavor.

It can’t last forever, even if it ferments over time. However, the fermentation process extends its shelf life for a short period. Furthermore, you will likely be able to utilize it after its expiration date.

How Long Will Kombucha last?

Pure raw Kombucha may technically survive indefinitely. In truth, fermentation will result in sugar consumption and taste alterations. In other words, your drink will get sour and bitter as time passes.

The key distinction is to distinguish between the best-before date, the suggested date of consumption, and the use-by date, which refers to the final day of safe eating.

As a result, the container will have a best-before date, indicating that you may use this product with low PH levels for considerably longer. The reason for this is that an acidic environment prevents bacteria development. The lone exception is flavored Kombucha that contains mold-prone fruit pieces.

Unopened commercially-bottledUp to 8 months
Opened commercially-bottled7 days
Homemade1 to 3 months

How Long Does Unopened Commercially Bottled Kombucha Last?

Kombucha producers must include an “expiration date” or “best before” date on all bottles. The date is a best-guess estimate for optimal consumption.

Because kombucha is a fermented beverage, it has a naturally long shelf life and can easily outlast the expiration date indicated on the bottle. Kombucha that has passed its expiration date isn’t inherently terrible; the flavor may be slightly off.

Kombucha has a best-before date, which is distinct from the expiry date. There is no risk in consuming kombucha after the best date, although the flavor profile and live culture composition may vary.

How Long Does Opened Commercially Bottled Kombucha Last?

We realize that you may not want to consume all of your kombuchas in one sitting, particularly if you have a bigger, 1L bottle. How long do you have to drink a bottle once you’ve opened it and placed the remainder away for another day?

Because kombucha interacts with oxygen as soon as the bottle is opened, it is suggested that it be drunk within one week, in the same way you would treat a bottle of Pepsi.

The beverage will not spoil after one week if stored properly, although it will lose part of its enthusiasm.

Room Temperature, Unopened Homemade Kombucha

Kombucha will always ferment, which is aided by heat and sunlight exposure.

Because there are no preservatives added and the product is natural, this technique is even more powerful for homemade kombucha.

So, if you leave your fresh kombucha someplace in the shade, it should survive approximately a week at room temperature.

Keep in mind that if your room temperature becomes consistently hot, it may impact the drink and quickly turn it vinegary.

In certain severe circumstances, the carbonation levels may get excessively high, causing the bottle to rupture.

Unopened Homemade Kombucha in the Fridge

Fresh homemade kombucha will keep in the fridge for much longer. The extremely low temperature keeps things under control.

The bacteria and yeast are still active but will continue to process extremely slowly because of the cold.

In summary, unopened fresh home-made kombucha should keep in the fridge for a few months.

The maximum suggested period is three months.

Any more, and you risk overpowering the flavor.

Refrigerated Homemade Kombucha

When you open a bottle of kombucha, it won’t last long.

It should be drunk within 2-3 days because otherwise, the flavor will alter dramatically, and the carbonation will be lost.

When drinking from the same bottle of kombucha for multiple days, please use a glass.

Everyone’s mouth has bacteria, which is natural, but it also interacts with the bacteria already present in the kombucha, potentially ruining both the probiotic benefit and the flavor.

What Happens if You Don’t Keep Your Kombucha Refrigerated?

Many meals and beverages need a consistent, narrow temperature range. Kombucha, like dairy, meat, and juice, requires refrigeration to keep the organisms alive and active.

When the live cultures are left at room temperature, they become more active, resulting in excess carbonation, an acidic flavor, and the generation of alcohol.

If the bottle is kept at room temperature for an extended period, excessive pressure may cause the lid to fly off.

Can I Drink Expired Kombucha That Hasn’t Been Opened?

This entirely depends on how the beverage was stored and how long it has “expired.” Because kombucha does not legally expire, it should be safe to drink if properly stored and well packed.

Refrigeration is essential since heat can degrade cultured drinks.

In general, you should be OK if you add two or three months to the expiration date. At room temperature, the live cultures in the drink become more active, resulting in extra carbonation and a sour or tangy flavor.

If your kombucha tastes vinegary, it might be because it has been stored at a high temperature for too long or has beyond its expiry date.

Can Kombucha Turn Alcoholic?

Kombucha may be fermented into an alcoholic beverage comparable to beer with added sugar. To generate alcohol, yeast consumes sugar. This is unlikely to happen with the bottle of kombucha you bought at the shop, especially if it is kept in the fridge. However, if you make kombucha at home, you may turn it into an alcoholic beverage.

Is There More Alcohol in Old Kombucha?

An older bottle of kombucha has fermented for a longer length of time than a younger bottle. Yeast transforms sugar into alcohol during the fermentation process. So, the higher the alcohol concentration, the longer a bottle ferments.

However, because kombucha contains relatively low quantities of alcohol, the alcohol concentration should not bother you when drinking older kombucha.

Why Is There an Expiration Date on Kombucha?

You might be shocked that federal law does not require an expiry date for most items.

Infant formula and baby meals are the only foods that must have expiry dates. Milk, eggs, and meat are occasionally regulated by state legislation and, as a result, must have expiration dates.

So, why are there expiration dates on other foods?

Foods, including non-perishables like kombucha, have expiry dates set by producers to ensure they are enjoyed at their peak.

A year-old kombucha that has been properly preserved is still safe to consume but will most likely taste bad. To avoid consumers drinking bad kombucha, producers will print an expiration date on the bottle so that everyone consumes their kombucha at its best.

Why Isn’t My Kombucha Fizzying?

If you’ve noticed that your once-effervescent kombucha has gone flat, we’ve got an explanation! It all boils down to a science lesson.

The brew rests at room temperature during the kombucha-making process. This allows live yeast to feed on the sugar and sweeten the tea. As the yeast consumes the sugar, it produces carbon dioxide bubbles, which give your kombucha that famous bubbly sensation.

If you’re wondering, “Why isn’t my kombucha fizzy?” This question may have arisen after you had taken a bottle from the refrigerator.

Cold temperatures can cause yeasts to fall dormant and carbonation to settle. You may often revive the consuming process that is taking place within the bottle by shutting it up and leaving it out for a few hours.

How to Tell If Your Kombucha Is Bad

Kombucha is a fermented beverage whose quality changes over time. Even while it does not decay as quickly as some other beverages, you should keep an eye out for symptoms of deterioration if it remains in your freezer for an extended period.


Keep in mind that the fermentation of cultures such as Kombucha never stops. You may discover floating fragments when you leave your drink in the fridge for an extended period.

These SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) are not signs of deterioration but proof that your Kombucha is still alive and full of beneficial living microorganisms.

When you buy clear Kombucha, you can be confident that it has been filtered or pasteurized and is free of microorganisms. Just one more thing! Brown floating threads are yeast strands, which are natural components of the drink.


If you don’t detect any mold or symptoms of spoiling, you can try a sip of Kombucha to see how it tastes. Remember that even though it tastes vinegar-like and too sour, this drink is not spoiled; you should avoid drinking it because it tastes unpleasant.

You can drink this tea if you prefer acidic beverages and don’t mind such flavors. It is merely over-fermented but is not harmful and will not cause stomach difficulties or poisoning.


Because old Kombucha ferments for a long time, yeast will convert sugar into alcohol. The alcohol levels will rise over time but never become dangerously high.


When it comes to Kombucha, the most common issue is mold. Mold will not frequently form in the bottle with this drink, but you may occasionally see it around the top. Nothing can assist your drinks, and you must get rid of them.

Mold and Kombucha sediment on the bottle bottom should not be mixed. It is often pale, whereas the mold is pigmented and frequently black. Furthermore, fizzing nearly invariably occurs as a result of its emergence.

What Happens if you Consume Expired Kombucha

Kombucha offers various health advantages, but many people dislike the flavor. If you are not one of them, you can drink it for an extended period without the danger of spoiling.

Unfortunately, it will not last forever. Therefore you should understand how to tell the difference between a healthy product and one that has gone bad and become dangerous.

The crucial question is whether drinking outdated Kombucha poses any hazards. Because not everyone reacts the same way, the answer might be a little complicated.

Even though the beverage is not expired, some people experience stomach pain and bloating. Guts may respond to newly introduced bacteria because they may disrupt their normal equilibrium.

Furthermore, your stomach may react to this drink due to the carbonation, especially if you are not used to drinking this sort of beverage.

Furthermore, Kombucha contains significant quantities of FODMAP carbohydrates (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols), which can induce digestive irritation.

Keep in mind that this drink might be harmful to certain people. Bacteria are the main issue. Even though Kombucha includes healthy microbes, it might be contaminated during fermentation.

A strong immune system will easily deal with them, but sensitive persons and the elderly should avoid drinking them.

Kombucha is not advised for:

  • Patients who are immunocompromised due to an autoimmune illness, renal disease, or cancer
  • Children with immature immune systems
  • Women who are pregnant
  • Women who are breastfeeding

This beverage is unsuitable for people who are sensitive to alcohol and caffeine. On average, 8 ounces (0.2 liters) of Kombucha contains 10 mg of caffeine, which may induce adverse effects in caffeine-sensitive people, including:

  • Digestive problems
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness

Mold-contaminated kombucha is harmful and can lead to the following:

  • Uncomfortable stomach
  • Nausea
  • Headache and neck discomfort
  • Reactions due to allergies

How to Store Kombucha

Most store-bought kombucha, sealed or unopened, should be stored in the refrigerator. This is due to the presence of live cultures in the drink. However, bottled kombucha may have been prepared so that it may be stored at room temperature as long as it is kept from heat and light sources that can harm the cultures.

Remember that most kombucha should be stored in the refrigerator since its probiotics become more active at room temperature, resulting in extra carbonation and a sour flavor. Kombucha may turn to vinegar if kept at room temperature for too long!

Transfer homemade kombucha to the refrigerator after fermentation to dramatically slow it down, retaining your kombucha’s greatest flavor.

Is Kombucha Freezable?

The solution to this question is not at all complex. No, Kombucha cannot be frozen under any circumstances. Otherwise, the low temperatures will kill the live things in the drink, damage its consistency, and render it worthless.


Kombucha is a complex beverage. It is nutritious. However, it might induce bloating. It can survive for months due to the fermentation process, even after the best-by date indicated on the box. If you keep this drink properly and at a suitable temperature, you will be able to enjoy its fresh flavor for a long time.


Editorial Staff

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