Bring the funk
EC: How to Open a Kombucha Bottle Without Making a Mess
Credit: Photo by Werner Blessing via Getty Images

I drink kombucha every day because I'm tedious like that, but I haven't yet embarked on making my own. Problem is, bottled kombucha explodes on my worldly possessions and befouls them on the regular. I know, I know, making your own kombucha is eleven trillion times cheaper than buying it pre-bottled and it's better for the environment because you're not wasting all that glass and it's just somehow more cosmically correct not to fork all your resources over to Big Kombucha or whatever, but that's where I'm at. I'm already doling out my limited kitchen real estate to a sourdough starter (his name is Bernard and you'll hearing a lot more about him) and all his discard, so another bucket of something creepy that needs to be tended to is more than I can physically or emotionally handle right now.

So I buy a lot of the bottled stuff and each day is a new adventure in preventing kombucha from exploding all over my desk and laptop. It's not an innocuous fluid. Extra Crispy Editor Ryan Grim refers to it as "hippie poison" because he's not yet experienced his woke kombucha journey, and he sits right next to me and he's my boss, so I try to take his as-yet-to-evolve views on the matter into account and not subject him to the smell. OK fine, Ryan, it reeks.

Kombucha is a funky, fermented tea packed with probiotics that are excellent for gut health (that's why I'm drinking so dang much of it). That also means that it's alive and wants to expand and it's hell-bent on escaping its glass prison. So often when I open a bottle of kombucha—say one I have toted along in my bag to work—it's been jostled and bobbled along the way and out of the fridge for at least half an hour. If those bacteria, yeast, and the resultant built-up gas sense an exit opening up, they're gonna rush toward it in the form of a vinegary Vesuvius.

I've taken to playing a little game of chicken with the kombucha, twisting the lid just a little bit to see if it's hissing and ready to strike. If the bubbles are speeding too enthusiastically upward, I'll quickly screw it shut to the point where the "sssssss" is more akin to a garter snake than a python. If it's a crown-top bottle, I pry up the edge just the tiniest bit. This game goes on for anywhere from 15 minutes to a whole hour before it either settles sufficiently or I get impatient enough that I walk downstairs to the office kitchen and let it spew into the sink. I hate wasting food or drinks, though, so when I can manage to remember, I try to catch the excess in a cup or open it in a plastic bag, and the whole thing is sort of pathetic, really.

It would seem, per Reddit's rather robust r/Kombucha that the key is to keep the bottle as cold as to keep the gas soluble and minimize the fizz, and to let it rest for at least one hour after transit. Possibly on Ryan's desk.