Water kefir FAQs

Water kefir is one of the healthiest beverages you can make at home. Besides packing a powerful punch of probiotics, this tasty drink has also been shown to amp up immunity, slow cancer cell growth, and improve overall health.

We have compiled this list of FAQs to help you learn more about Water kefir! From water kefir basics to choosing ingredients to instructions for making water kefir, these FAQs cover nearly everything you need to know to start making water kefir at home, whether you are just starting to experiment with culturing or are experienced with fermented foods. If you still haven’t found what you are looking for, reach out with more questions. We are here to help!

Water Kefir

Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made with water kefir grains. Water kefir grains can be used to culture sugar water, juice, or coconut water. A powdered Kefir Starter Culture may also be used to culture coconut water or fruit juice.
Water kefir grains consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The term "kefir grains" describes the look of the culture only. Water kefir grains contain no actual "grains" such as wheat, rice, etc.
There are three primary differences between water kefir grains and powdered kefir starter: Water kefir grains have a larger number of probiotics than powdered starter culture. With proper care, water kefir grains can be used indefinitely to make water kefir. Powdered starter culture can be reused for a number of batches, but will eventually stop culturing. Powdered kefir starter culture has a smaller initial investment cost than do water kefir grains; however, you will need to continue to purchase new culture.
Our water kefir grains are grown in mineral water and organic sugar.
Water kefir contains fewer strains of bacteria and yeasts than milk kefir. On the other hand, water kefir contains far more than other cultured products, like yogurt or buttermilk.
While the probiotics can vary with each batch made with water kefir grains, a list of bacteria and yeasts generally found in water kefir grains can be found in our article.
Yes! Water kefir contains no dairy and are grown in mineral water and organic sugar.
No, water kefir grains do not contain gluten.
Yes, water kefir grains are reusable. Once a batch of water kefir is finished culturing, simply remove the water kefir grains and place them in fresh sugar water, juice, or coconut water. (Although reusable, it is not advisable to use your only set of grains in juice/coconut water, as this can be very hard on them. It's best to use a separate set of grains.) The powdered kefir starter culture may also be reused several times.
If cared for properly, water kefir grains have an unlimited life span and can be used repeatedly to make water kefir. Kefir made with a powdered kefir culture (direct-set) can often be re-cultured from 2-7 times. The exact number of successive batches will depend on the freshness of the kefir and hygienic practices employed.
Water kefir can be made using a starter culture or reusable water kefir grains. When you receive water kefir grains from us, you will also get an instruction set along with the grains.
Water kefir generally takes 24-48 hours to culture. The exact time will vary depending on environmental factors, the most important of which is temperature. Allowing the water kefir grains to culture for longer than 48 hours puts you at risk of starving the grains and potentially damaging them.
If your grains are working, the liquid may lighten in color and turn cloudy. The flavor may become less sweet and it may have a slightly tangy or sour aroma and flavor. If your water kefir ever looks, smells, or tastes unpleasant, we always recommend that you refrain from consuming it.
The taste of finished water kefir varies greatly, depending on the sugar used and the culturing time. Water kefir can be fairly sweet and may have a flat taste unless bottled. Most people prefer to add flavoring to water kefir before consuming.
Finished water kefir can be stored as follows: At room temperature (22° to 25°C): 3 to 4 days In the refrigerator (2° to 8°C): 2 to 4 weeks In the freezer (0° to -4°C): 1 to 2 months or longer Storage recommendation: Refrigerate
To culture 1 liter of water kefir, use 3-4 tablespoons of water kefir grains (around 50 grams) and 3-4 tablespoon of sugar (around 50 grams).
No. There is no need to rinse the water kefir grains between batches, and regular rinsing may be detrimental to the health of the water kefir grains.
We recommend using a clean container for each batch of water kefir. However if you wash it every day, make sure that you don't use chlorinated water and detergents that contain chemicals. Also make sure you dry the container before starting the next batch.
Theoretically food-grade plastic shouldn't cause any damage to the culture but we always recommend glass when working with starter cultures, due to the potential of plastic to leach undesirable chemicals.
There are endless ways to flavor water kefir. Ginger, Lemon or any fruit juice can be added to the strained kefir and put it for a second fermentation for more building more carbonation. For more detailed instructions on flavoring water kefir, visit our article on flavoring.
We do not recommend adding fruit or other flavoring to the water kefir with the grains. Some fruits and other flavoring may be damaging to the water kefir grains.
Yes, some fruit juices can be used to make water kefir. However, using water kefir grains in juice and then moving them to sugar water may result in unpleasant-tasting water kefir. We recommend maintaining two sets of water kefir grains instead, one for juices and one for sugar water. Alternately, add juice as flavoring after the grains have been removed.
Yes, coconut water can be used to make water kefir. Before getting started, make sure your grains are fully have been culturing in sugar water for at least 3 weeks prior to using coconut water. Alternate coconut water batches with sugar water batches to keep the grains healthy.
We do not recommend using honey to make water kefir.
A number of kinds of sugar can be used to make water kefir, however, we do not recommend making water kefir with honey, molasses, or sugar substitutes like agave, stevia, monk fruit, or Splenda. These can either be damaging to water kefir grains or not provide them with the proper "food" to survive. We always recommend using either organic jaggery or Sulphur-less sugar.
We do not recommend using RO water and filter because it may still contain chlorine or other chemical content. We have seen many customers getting their grains spoiled when they used RO/filter water. We recommend using well water (chlorine-free) or mineral water.
No, there should be enough sugar in the juice to feed the water kefir grains.
The remaining sugar in finished water kefir will vary depending on ingredients used and culturing conditions. Generally speaking, water kefir cultured for 48-hours will result in less remaining sugar than water kefir cultured 24-hours under similar conditions.
Use water as free from contaminants as possible, for the health of the water kefir grains. We recommend using well water or mineral water that is not chlorinated. We also recommend to refrain from using RO water as it may still contain chlorine content. If you are sure your RO water doesn't contain chlorine or any other chemicals, you can use it at your own risk.
As with all cultured and fermented foods, a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol is typically present in the finished product. Although the amount will vary from batch to batch, for the typical brewing period, the amount should be quite low.
Water kefir grains are known to multiply, but at times they are reluctant to do so. Even if they do not multiply, with proper care, water kefir grains can be used repeatedly to brew water kefir.
Making water kefir does not require any specialized equipment. You need a glass/plastic container, a plastic/wooden spoon, a cheese/cloth and a rubber band.
While a plastic mesh strainer is preferred, stainless steel is acceptable. Avoid all other types of metal when working with water kefir grains. If you use stainless steel, make sure that it is made of high quality SS material.
If you are out of station for a week and would not be able to make kefir, add adequate amount of sugar water and keep it in refrigerator (not freezer) by covering with the cotton cloth. In refrigerator, the fermentation will be slower as the temperature is low and hence it can stay for a week. Once you are back home, you can strain the grains and start your daily batches (You can consume the strained kefir). Or if you again want to keep it for another week or two, we recommend you to change the milk every week. We do not recommend to continue this process for a long time. If you don't want to make kefir for a long time, the best option is to dry the kefir grains and store it in refrigerator by adding some organic jaggery powder.
We recommend using 3-4 tablespoons (around 60 grams) of water kefir grains to culture 1 liter of sugar water. More grains cause the culturing process to progress very quickly, so it is best to remove any amount above 4 tablespoons, to avoid over-culturing and to impart the best flavor. Extra water kefir grains can be used to culture another jar of water kefir, shared with friends, eaten, blended into smoothies, or dried and stored in a sealed container in the fridge as backup.
The water kefir grains may be contained in a muslin bag. Be sure the bag is submerged in the sugar water. If it floats it can mold.
If you are using a quality water and sugar source, mineral sources should not be necessary.

Water kefir grains trouble shooting FAQs

Water kefir grains may require 1-3 days to activate back from transit. It is common for the taste of the water kefir and the activity level of the kefir grains to change over the first few days after the water kefir grains are activated. If you have questions or concerns about your water kefir, please contact us.
Yes. There may or may not be any bubbling with newly activated grains. Wait for a week or two and contact us if you don't see any bubbles during fermentation.
Always test aroma and flavor to make sure the water kefir grains are working properly. The finished water kefir should smell pleasant and maybe a bit sour, and it will be less sweet than the sugar water or juice you started with. The liquid will generally lighten in color and turn cloudy during the fermentation period, as well.
Maybe. It is normal that the kefir smell a bit yeasty at first. In the beginning, the yeasty smell is a sign that the yeast and bacteria in the kefir grains are still getting into balance. Normally the yeasty aroma will lessen significantly within a few batches. If the yeasty aroma continues, the water kefir may be over-culturing, which can cause an imbalance. Make sure to reduce the culturing time in warmer temperatures, to keep the grains well-fed and in balance. With grains that have been in use for a while but have begun to smell yeasty, it can help to add ⅛ of a washed organic lemon to 2-3 batches, to increase acidity and reduce yeast.
Yes, it is normal that the newly activated water kefir grains will mature for the first few weeks, and the flavor of the finished water kefir may change.
It is normal that water kefir not be very bubbly when using refined sugar. Try a darker sugar or add mineral supplementation. To get carbonated finished water kefir, bottling the finished kefir in a tightly-sealed bottle is usually necessary.
It's a common misconception that water kefir grains that aren't multiplying are not working. Water kefir grains are known to multiply, but at times they are reluctant to do so. Even if they do not multiply, with proper care, water kefir grains can be used indefinitely to brew water kefir.
Yes, it is normal for the liquid to turn cloudy as it ferments.
The grains may have become contaminated or gotten out of balance. You may buy another set of grains to consume making water kefir.
Grains can break apart, disintegrate, and become mushy for a few reasons: Over-culturing: In warmer temperatures, shorten the culturing time and transfer the grains to new sugar water more frequently. Over-mineralization: An unrefined sugar and water that is high in minerals may be too much for the grains. Too much mineral supplementation can also cause grains to break apart and turn mushy or yield syrupy water kefir. Reduce the mineral content of your sugar water solution as soon as possible, to allow the grains to recover. Improper ingredients: Coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, and other sweeteners are not the best food for water kefir grains.
Water kefir can be syrupy for a couple of reasons. Over-mineralization: An unrefined sugar and water that is high in minerals may be too much for the grains. Too much mineral supplementation can also cause grains to break apart and turn mushy or yield syrupy water kefir. Reduce the mineral content of your sugar-water solution as soon as possible, to allow the grains to recover. Improper ingredients: Coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, and other sweeteners are not the best food for water kefir grains
The water kefir grains are likely very hungry after more than 48 hours without fresh food. Change the sugar water out every 24 hours for the next few cycles until the water kefir grains start behaving normally again. If it has been longer than 6 days, the odds of saving the water kefir grains are significantly reduced.
While it is uncommon to find mold developing on a batch of water kefir, it may occasionally happen. White formations on the surface of the kefir may be mold or maybe yeast. Please contact us before discarding anything. If mold does develop, immediately toss the entire batch, including the water kefir grains. Do not try to salvage a moldy batch, even if you do not see mold on the water kefir grains themselves. Doing so may be dangerous to your health. Obtain a new set of water kefir grains, clean the jar thoroughly, and try again another day.
If mold has been a problem in the past, or if you know there is mold in your environment, dip, drizzle, or spray the jar cover (coffee filter, cloth napkin, etc.) with distilled white vinegar. Follow up by spraying the cover every other day to deter mold formation.
Water kefir grains can be stored short-term in the refrigerator or long-term by drying them.
Water kefir grains make a wonderful gift to friends. Alternately, they can be eaten, blended into smoothies, or shared with chickens or pets.
There are a few ways to increase the amount of carbonation in water kefir: Whole unrefined sugars will normally produce more bubbly water kefir than water kefir made with white sugar. Once the culturing process is complete and the grains have been removed, bottle the finished water kefir with or without added flavoring for 24-72 hours in a tightly-sealed bottle, to allow carbonation to build. Bottling water kefir is necessary for a very fizzy finished water kefir drink.
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