A cold do you have to refrigerate kombucha slows down the fermentation process, which can help prevent spoilage and ensure that you are drinking a healthy drink. It also helps maintain the balance between the yeast and bacteria in your SCOBY, making it more acidic and flavourful.
While leaving kombucha at room temperature doesn’t cause any harm immediately after brewing, it can begin to lose its flavour after a few days, and may develop a vinegary or yeasty smell. If this happens, it is likely that the kombucha has gone bad, and should not be consumed.
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However, if you do decide to keep your kombucha at room temperature, it is important that you place it in the fridge as soon as possible after opening to uphold its freshness and carbonation. This can be done in the same way that you would store a cold beverage such as milk, and will allow you to enjoy your Strainge Beast for longer at a tidier temperature!
We recently ran a study in which we monitored the microbiome of kombucha beverages stored at different temperatures over time, utilizing both culture-dependent and independent approaches. Our results show that the diversity of kombucha’s core microbiome is not affected by storage temperature, but that total yeast counts do decrease over time. In addition, we isolated and characterised a number of yeast strains found in kombucha and compared their functional activities to determine whether they were influenced by the microbes’ response to changing temperature conditions.