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Why do Kombucha bottles say "DO NOT SHAKE?"

by (867)
Updated about 23 hours ago
Created May 24, 2012 at 11:52 PM

(I tried to search for an answer to this; while there are numerous questions about Kombucha, I was unable to find the answer).

I thought perhaps it stated this so the stuff at the bottom wouldn't get mixed in. Though I have yet to see a definitive answer online, I'm going to guess Kombucha, since it is fermented, is actually bubbly? Will it explode out of a new bottle if shaken before opening?

The one bottle of Kombucha that I bought from Whole Foods wasn't bubbly...Then again I didn't shake it up, either, before opening. I use it a bit at a time, to mix in with my smoothies.

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24538 · June 03, 2012 at 6:46 AM

My brother in law made us some home brew that geysered a good foot in the air when I opened it until the bottle was nearly empty, luckily it didn't explode in the fridge.

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238 · June 02, 2012 at 11:22 PM

alternately, you could try opening it first to release the pressure, then reclosing it and gently shaking it. This seems to make the effusion more manageable.

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10919 · June 02, 2012 at 10:50 PM

not a probiotic drink?I'm confused.

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867 · May 28, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Luckily I haven't had any problems with breaking bottles! I didn't even know it was fizzy, it just looked good...And I didn't drink it out of the bottle, I add it a bit at a time to smoothies.

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5043 · May 25, 2012 at 10:59 AM

I bought a bottle last week and didn't shake it - it fizzed out all over everything anyway, just from the jostling it got in the car on the way home. DON"T shake it!

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1646 · May 25, 2012 at 5:45 AM

Yep, home brewers call those "bottle bombs". Because of the nature of bottle fermenting (how most home brewers carbonate their beer), it's entirely possible to get just a little too much of a fermentable sugar in the bottle before sealing. The carbon dioxide has no place to go, and the pressure rises until it explodes.

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724 · May 25, 2012 at 2:48 AM

I feel very fortunate that I did not get a kombucha bomb. We bought a bottle from the grocery store to try it out for the first time and I shook it up pretty good without reading everything in the bottle because of the sediment stuff in it (seemed like a good idea to shake it up). It fizzed a little, but no explosions. I realized afterward as I began to read the label that it said not to shake it. I always thought it was weird because of the floaties in it.

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385 · May 25, 2012 at 12:58 AM

If you want to mix up the sediment, you could always shake it up, then let it sit for an hour or so before opening it up.

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9 Answers

7f7069fc4d8d2456cec509d0f9e9bb34
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855 · May 25, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Same reason you do not shake a bottle of coke before you open it. It makes it spew. With Kombucha, there is sediment and people want to break that up. But it is also carbonated, so it will spew out if you shake it then open it. If your previous experience was not bubbly, maybe your next one will be. As a natural product, there is variance from batch to batch.

Dc0b6400ec0a34615510f4e01cedab28
385 · May 25, 2012 at 12:58 AM

If you want to mix up the sediment, you could always shake it up, then let it sit for an hour or so before opening it up.

E687b5eb51456c9a0205aff406f44ca3
238 · June 02, 2012 at 11:22 PM

alternately, you could try opening it first to release the pressure, then reclosing it and gently shaking it. This seems to make the effusion more manageable.

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753 · May 24, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Yes, it says on the bottle it has natural effervescence. If you shake it, it bubbles over. And that's a not-so-fun waste of an expensive drink :p

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1578 · May 25, 2012 at 1:07 AM

You know, there's only 1 way of finding out... ** eats almonds like popcorn **

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1240 · May 25, 2012 at 2:34 AM

Yes, it will explode when you open it, and perhaps without you even opening it, if shaken. I find the GT's brand to be less effervescent now that they've re-issued it, though. We used to see it (seemingly) spontaneously burst on the shelves when it had the higher alcohol content due to a longer fermentation phase.

ETA: It's recommended that you gently roll or turn the bottle over slowly to mix the sediment in.

A4216f1b1e1f5ab3815bd91700905081
1646 · May 25, 2012 at 5:45 AM

Yep, home brewers call those "bottle bombs". Because of the nature of bottle fermenting (how most home brewers carbonate their beer), it's entirely possible to get just a little too much of a fermentable sugar in the bottle before sealing. The carbon dioxide has no place to go, and the pressure rises until it explodes.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b
24538 · June 03, 2012 at 6:46 AM

My brother in law made us some home brew that geysered a good foot in the air when I opened it until the bottle was nearly empty, luckily it didn't explode in the fridge.

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20 · May 28, 2012 at 8:26 PM

You're not supposed to shake it because they don't use a bottle that can hold carbonation like beer or soda (it's more expensive to bottle this way).

Fermentation can continue in raw kombucha even in the refrigerator, raising the alcohol level and CO2 at the same time. So if it's too fizzy it's got more alcohol, and possible much more. This is what got them pulled off the shelf two years ago.

Kombucha doesn't need to be raw because it's not a probiotic drink (much mis-information about that). There are other alternatives like Kombucha Wonder Drink and Clearly Kombucha that won't leak, fizz or make more alcohol.

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867 · May 28, 2012 at 9:59 PM

Luckily I haven't had any problems with breaking bottles! I didn't even know it was fizzy, it just looked good...And I didn't drink it out of the bottle, I add it a bit at a time to smoothies.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f
10919 · June 02, 2012 at 10:50 PM

not a probiotic drink?I'm confused.

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11111 · May 25, 2012 at 4:01 PM

I make my own kombucha - but when I do buy the bottled stuff I open it drink a little then put the lid back on & shake gently. My home made stuff is very carbonated so I only fill my bottles about 3/4 full when I do my second fermentation, otherwise when I open it for the first time it will fizz up & out of the bottle and approx 1/4 of the contents goes down the drain.

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0 · May 02, 2014 at 12:38 PM

Kombucha is a effervescent drink (it has bubbles). If you shake it, you might get sprayed when it's opened.

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0 · May 02, 2014 at 2:33 AM

What i do, because it not very bubbly, is i open it, drink some then shake it every time i drink it after that. I've never had it bubble up even a little bit after shaking it after its been opened. :)

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289 · June 02, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Like the others answers said, the contents are carbonated (the kombucha yeasts produce the carbon dioxide).

My homemade brew (stored in used GT Dave's bottles) usually has a lot of the dark yeast cultures, which often sink to the bottom. To get some of the solids from the bottle into my glass, I use these steps:

  1. I tighten the cap first
  2. then invert the bottle to make the cultures sink toward the cap
  3. Then I turn the bottle partway until the liquid isn't touching the cap anymore
  4. Then I remove the cap and pour quickly.

I try to do steps 3 and 4 rather quickly to keep the cultures near the cap.

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