Shaking Kombucha: This Is Why You Shouldn’t
by Susan Grey on October 11, 2019
No, you should not shake your kombucha bottle. A lot of the popular varieties of kombucha advise to not shake before drinking. It is recommended to not shake for both commercially produced brands as well as homebrewed kombucha. This article explains the reasoning and science behind this recommendation as well as delving deep into answers to all common questions that you may have.
Why Should You Not Shake Your Kombucha?
There are a couple of main reasons why it isn't recommended to shake your 'bucha. One is the potential for an explosion or overflow, the other being that you would be tasting sediment.
Carbonation - Like other popular soft drinks, such as cola or lemonade, kombucha is carbonated. Carbonation occurs when the ferment releases gas, the gas can then build up in pressure. Just like when shaking cola, if you shake your fizzy kombucha, when you open the cap, it could fizz everywhere.
Yeast - Particularly prevalent for homebrewed kombucha, there may be sediment gathered at the bottom of your drink. This sediment, although harmless, isn't the most appetizing of textures or tastes. If you were to shake the kombucha the sediment would be distributed throughout the batch, meaning that you would consume some yeast every time you drank.
What Do The Bottles Say
Here are a couple of quotes from large kombucha producers. These companies commercially produce kombucha and are some of the largest kombucha tea companies in the world.
GT's kombucha: "Do NOT shake the bottle. If shaken, an overflow can occur due to the natural effervescence. To mix the sediment, we recommend tilting the bottle gently back and forth." Source: GT's Living Food.
Brew DR Kombucha: "NO! You wouldn't shake a beer or a soda, so don't shake your kombucha. If you see bits of mystery ingredients settled at the bottom of your kombucha bottle, those are naturally-occurring bacteria that make kombucha kombucha. You can gently tilt your closed bottle back and forth to distribute, or leave the happy particles right where they are." Source: BrewDrKombucha.
Both do not advise to shake kombucha, at any time. For the fizzing and yeast will be released throughout the brew. Many see that on the packaging it states it shouldn't be shaken, but never look into the reasoning why.
Effect Of Shaking Kombucha
If you shake your brew, the taste may change and be slightly off. The two likely differences will be the fizzy taste and possible yeast strands through your brew. Just like when pouring beer, you don't dump the beer out or shake it up before. If you do this with kombucha, you'll get the same results. It could be very gassy. The second, if you've shaken it and disbursed the inactive yeast and bacteria, then there may be strands that you'll taste when drinking.
How To Prep Your Bottle Before Drinking
If you would like to mix your drink before consuming, then there are a couple of options. To stir the bottle or gently rock. The methods are outlined below.
Stirring The Bottle. Place a utensil in the bottle. To avoid dispersing the bacteria and yeast throughout the brew, don't put the utensil to the bottom. Lightly stir a couple of times, this should be a strong enough stir to mix up the drink without compromising the yeast and bacteria.
Gently Rock. Make sure the lid is on and secure. When ready rock the bottle from side to side, use the edges to pivot the bottle on. Don't do this too vigorously; otherwise, you risk moving the yeast throughout the batch as well as increasing the carbonation.
I've Shaken My Kombucha, Can I Drink It?
Don't worry, as long as the bottle hasn't exploded. Then it will be safe and delicious in a few hours to pop the cap and enjoy.
When transporting food and drinks, it's common for them to be handled roughly or thrown around. The movement is similar to shaking. What's recommend is for you to place your bottle in the fridge and then leave the bottle for a couple of hours until all of the visible sediment has sunk to the bottom, and there are no more bubbles rising. After which, you can remove the bottle from the fridge and drink.
Can I Drink The Stuff At The Bottom?
Yes, you can drink the full contents of the drink. The "stuff" at the bottom is naturally occurring yeast and bacteria. During the fermentation process, there is much microbial growth. After the kombucha has been bottled, the batch may carry on fermenting and produce more bacteria. After it has stopped feeding and becomes dormant, it will sink. Once a lot of the microbes have sunk, then they will become visible.
What's The Slime In Kombucha?
The slime is just coagulated yeast and bacteria. When the yeast and bacteria feed on the sugars, then they grow and multiply, creating more yeast and bacteria. The yeast and bacteria are slimly to touch.
Is Homebrew Different To Commercially Produced Kombucha?
No, the same advice stands for both homebrewed kombucha and commercially produced brands. A popular bottle choice for homebrewed kombucha is a 16oz glass bottle with a flip-top style lid. This would be commonly stored in the fridge after a second ferment where it would stay until drank. Follow the same steps for the homebrew if you would like to mix it as a commercially produced bottle.