How to Brew Water Kefir (a quick tutorial)

water kefir grains

Water kefir, a fermented beverage teeming with beneficial bacteria, is remarkably simple to prepare  and often more palatable than other probiotic tonics like kombucha and beet kvass.   Similar in flavor to a dry, slightly fizzy lemonade, water kefir is pleasant and even small children can enjoy it.   When my son was littler than he is now, I’d often fill his cup with diluted water kefir as treat, and he loved the fizzy lemonade, and I loved knowing the treat nourished his growing body.

What is water kefir?

Water kefir, like kombucha, is first cultured by introducing a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) into sugar water.   The beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in the water kefir grains metabolize the sugar, turning it into an array of beneficial acids and infusing it with beneficial microorganisms, additional B vitamins as well as food enzymes.

Water kefir grains are small, translucent, gelatinous structures   and are comprised of assorted bacteria including lactobacillus hilgardii which gives them their characteristic crystal-like appearance.   When properly cared for and regularly cultured, they produce a wonderful probiotic-rich beverage and will continue to grow and reproduce indefinitely.

Water Kefir Benefits

Water kefir, like most fermented foods, supports gut health and systemic wellness.  The beneficial bacteria in the water kefir grains consume the sugar in the sugar water, and as they metabolize the sugar, they produce a variety of beneficial acids, food enzymes, B vitamins and more beneficial bacteria.  This process of fermentation also reduces the sugar content of the drink.

Water Kefir and Alcohol

Like all fermented beverages, culturing water kefir produces a small amount of alcohol.  The alcohol content of water kefir hovers around 0.5% to 0.75% depending on how long it is brewed, and is typically less than what you find in over-ripe fruit which hovers at 0.9% to 1%.  If you’re concerned about alcohol content in water kefir, you can test your brews with a hydrometer (like this one), often used by home brewers, or read this piece about alcohol content and water kefir.

What You Need to Make Water Kefir

Water Kefir Grains

To make water kefir, you need water kefir grains (available here).  Water kefir grains (or tibicos) are a SCOBY, that is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts.  As you brew water kefir, the grains will grow and reproduce, and you’ll have new grains to give to friends so that they, in turn, can begin culturing water kefir at home.  Water kefir should not be made with milk kefir grains, which are a different composition of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that rely on milk to grow and reproduce.  While you can culture non-dairy liquids (like coconut milk, sugar water, sweetened infusions, etc.) with milk kefir grains, you should return them to milk at least weekly lest they weaken with time.  Water kefir grains, similarly, should be kept only for culturing water kefir.

Water kefir grains proliferate best in a high-mineral environment.  While I prefer plain organic cane sugar in making water kefir, for it offers a cleaner taste and clearer drink, mineral-rich unrefined cane sugars (like jaggery or whole, unrefined cane sugar) work well.  Concentrace, a liquid mineral supplement, also works well to support the health of the water kefir grains by providing them with plenty of minerals.

Equipment for Brewing Water Kefir

To brew water kefir, you’ll need a jar with a loose fitting lid or a bit of cheesecloth.  I use mason jars like these.  For secondary fermentation,  a process that gives water kefir its characteristic fizz, I recommend flip-top bottles.

water kefir

Water Kefir

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 quarts

Water Kefir

Reminiscent of lemonade, yet milder and less acidic, water kefir or tibicos is a traditional fermented drink. Like most fermented foods and beverages, water kefir is rich in beneficial bacteria and food enzymes.


    For Initial Fermentation
  • 1/4 cup water kefir grains (available here)
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 dried, unsulphured figs
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • dash concentrace (available here), optional
  • For the Secondary Fermentation
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice OR 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar


  1. Bring about 6 cups of filtered water to a boil, then stir in the sugar. Continue stirring the sugar into the hot water until it dissolves, then allow it to cool to room temperature.
  2. Place the water kefir grains into a 2-quart jar, Pour in the sugar water, and drop in the figs and lemon. Add a dash of concentrace or other liquid mineral supplement, if desired. Cover the jar loosely with a lid, or with cheesecloth secured with cooking twine to allow air in but to prevent stray debris from spoiling your water kefir. Allow the water kefir to ferment for 2 to 3 days. The longer it ferments, the stronger its flavor will become.
  3. When the water kefir acquires a flavor that suits you, strain it through a nonreactive (plastic, wood or stainless steel) strainer into a pitcher. Discard the spent lemon and figs, but reserve the water kefir grains which can be immediately recultured or which can be stored in water in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  4. While the water kefir can be enjoyed as it is, after its initial fermentation, you can also ferment it a second time. Secondary fermentation allows you to flavor the water kefir, and the secondary fermentation process, which occurs in a tightly capped bottle (like these) allows carbon dioxide to develop, producing a fizzy water kefir.
  5. For the secondary fermentation, pour either 1/4 cup fruit juice of your choice or 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar into each of two flip-top bottles (like these). Then pour the water kefir from the pitcher into the bottle, filling them within 1/2 inch to 1 inch of their openings. Seal the bottles, and set them on your countertop to ferment a further 18 to 24 hours, keeping in mind that warm temperatures will speed up the fermentation process while cool temperatures will slow it down. Transfer the bottles of water kefir to the fridge for 3 days to allow the bubbles to set. Open carefully over a sink, as the liquid in the bottle is under pressure, and when you release the bottle's seal, the water kefir may fizz and foam.


Sugar Substitutes. The beneficial bacteria and yeasts that make up water kefir grains and produce water kefir need caloric sweeteners in order to live, and reproduce. I use organic cane sugar in my water kefir; however, you can substitute unrefined cane sugar (available here), jaggery (available here) or honey. Keeping in mind that honey has some antimicrobial properties and may weaken water kefir grains over time.


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What people are saying

  1. says

    I’ve been wanting to try this for awhile. Now I have a great tutorial as a reference :)

    Approximately how long will it keep (and stay fizzy)?


    • Carl Foultz says

      My Wife and I have been using the water kefir for a good while now ( over a year ) and have enjoyed it very much. A little bit of work goes a long way. Not that long ago, Poland Spring bottled water went to a thinner plastic bottle, saying that they were being more green, at any rate, we have had several bottles “BLOW” due to forgetting to tend to them in a timely fashon. What happened was, as the 100% grape juice fermented, the bottle expanded and tipped over and fell out of sight behind our island cart on wheels. Well, I will tell you something. When those bottles blow — what a mess!! So, as a result of that learning curve, we now store our bottlels inside of a plastic store box with good positive lid latching capabilities. Do not leave water kefir in ferment stage unattended inside your car either – you will be sorry. Additionally, we use the all natural sugar ( brown colored ) for the feed stage and any 100% juice will do for flavor. Enjoy.

        • Carl Foultz says

          You can find the water fefir grains on Ebay at a ressonable cost. I would personaly select a vendor with 100% feedback, and pick a batch that was darker in color. I say that because the grains will take on a color of the type of sugar that has been used to ” feed ” the water kefir grains. We use the all natural, turinado ( non bleached sugar ). As a matter of fact, I am drinking some kefir right this very moment! Good luck on your venture.

        • Megan says

          There is a guy that sells them at the farmers market on the Marietta square every Saturday morning, his company is called Ancient Awakenings. You will need to contact him before the market so he can have them ready for you. Hope this helps! I have been using his water kefir grains and they are working great!

        • steffunny says

          the kefir lady has grains — and she is SSSSSOOOOOOO helpful! i’ve only had to purchase from her 3 times (the 1st time i bought dairy defir, then again a coupla years later cuz i KILLED it :( then most recently to try the water kefir — which i love)
          here’s her address:

      • Steva says

        I wonder why you would put healthy kefir in plastic bottles that can leach chemicals into your healthy drink. I use glass beer bottles with swing tops. They work great. I don’t drink beer so I bought the beer and gave it to my cousin to drink.

      • steffunny says

        carl, the best thing to do is to simply cover it with cheesecloth or something like that. it keeps the creatures out and lets the air escape if need be

        • Candance says

          The cheese cloth or a coffee filter is a great idea. I closed off a glass bottle to site for a couple of days with water kefir and the bottom blew out of the glass!!! Thankfully I keep all the bottle together in a plastic container just in case of leakage but I definitely learned the hard way to let it breath LOL it wont effect the bubbles of it either. Good luck to everyone :)

    • Carl Foultz says


      The water Kefir will stay carbonated as long as there is sugar in the 100% juice to ferment on. This will continue uncontrolably unles you use a pressure relief vessel like one would use to make hard cider, which I do not have so — you need to pay attention or BLAMMO & you will have a mess to clean up! Good luck.

      • Katherine says


        I was woken by kids driving by in two cars blasting their “music”. I got up to read on the net and got a good chuckle from your comments; especially the BLAMMO – got me giggling. Now maybe I can get back to sleep.
        Thanks for the laugh!


      • Danielle says

        I have dehydrated mine at room temp spread out on some parchment paper. It takes a couple days. When completely dry, I sealed mine in a freezer bag and kept it in the fridge. This will work if you need to take an extended break from culturing; but I’m not exactly sure how long they will last like this. I have successfully dehydrated and rehydrated both water and milk kefir grains using this process. If you are just going on vacation, however, just put them in some sugar-water in the fridge.

      • says

        Once you ferment the water kefir and remove the grains, you can bottle the fermented water and either flavor it and let it ferment again or, bottle it and refrigerate it.

        The longer your water kefir sits, the more sugars are consumed, which also means more CO2 buildup. If you tightly cap your water kefir make sure to burp it every now and then and also to use proper bottles to keep from having explosions.

  2. says

    I have always wondered if my milk kefir grains could be used in making water kefir. I know they are sold as separate things, but if anyone has experimented with this, let me know!

    • LH says

      Milk kefir grains eat-up and live-on lactose.

      Water kefir grains ea-upt and live-on sugar. I was told the

      milk kefir grains will work on sugar water, but every once in a while they will require milk (the lactose) to stay healthy.

      I’d just get both for their respective natural environments of lactose or sugar/water.

      • Donna B says

        I had this happen too. You need to switch to sugar for a batch between the coconut. I have a bunch of grains that I rotate because the coconut water seems really harsh on them. It could be because coconut is very much anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbal…coconut kefir is quite potent!

        • Courtney says

          It could also be from a lower amount of sugar in the coconut water. I just brewed a batch of coconut water kefir earlier this week and my grains are currently recovering in sugar water. The coconut kefir was VERY sugar-less; it almost had a salty taste. I brewed it for 48 hours, though, so I think my future batches will only brew for 24 hours with a 48 hour sugar water brew in between.

    • Leah says

      You might already have found your answer…but water kefir grains and milk kefir grains are different. I’ve been making water kefir for a while now and my whole family loves it!

      • Alejandro says

        Someone have water kefir enough to giveme some, I live 30 miles north of Aflanta Georgia, USA. Norcross.

        • Beto says

          I’m not far from Norcross & I have both water & milk kefir grains. Did you ever get some? If not, fone or text me @ four one five, 299, twenty five oh nine. Btw, I’m 1 block away from the Whole Foods store in Duluth

        • Cindy says

          I got mine on Amazon (Prime-no shipping) from keysands. They were shipped priority from Colorado and came with instructions. Mine were in great shape. Your welcome.

    • Amanda GIll says

      She stated in the description not to use milk grains as they have different cultures and make up then the other grains. I never knew there was a difference. I just have a tea scoby given to me by a friend and a coffee scoby. I had no idea there were so many variations! :)

  3. Jenny says

    Ren –
    It’ll stay fizzy as long as it’s tightly sealed. I’m not quite sure how long it’ll stay flavorful before turning into vinegar as we usually consume it within a week or two.

    Kara –
    You can convert milk kefir grains into water kefir grains but they are NOT the same cultures and if you plan to culture and reculture water kefir, you should purchase water kefir grains (see sources. I addressed converting milk grains to water grains in this post (Reader Questions: Homemade Cider,Water Kefir Grains.

  4. Rosy says

    I had water Kefir grains, but I killed them :(

    I liked dried pineapple and 1/4 grapefruit in mine. I am the only one in my house to drink it, so I couldn’t keep up with how fast my critters ate there sugar water.

    Oh well I will just have to try again later.

  5. says

    I’ve been loving my water kefir! Thanks for helping me get started. So far our favorite is made with white sugar and a drop of blackstrap molasses, with fresh pineapple added. Yum! But I have to say…it’s never fizzy, even when I use Sucanat. Thoughts?

    • Jenn says

      I read in Ani phyo’s book that the tightness of the lid will determine the amount of fizziness. looser the flatter the water. hope this helps

      • Bekita says

        The initial brew does really well with a loose covering so the grains can get oxygen (even a cloth secured on the lid with a rubber band works well). The “juice” will not be very fizzy but you can stick it in the fridge in a bottle or jar with a tighter cap for a few more days to get more bubbles/fizz. Continual brewing in a plastic bottle is not recommended because the plastic chemicals may leach into the juice; however, a few days in the fridge for extra carbonation seems to be okay.

    • Laura says

      I make raw milk kefir all the time and when I need it to be more fizzy rather than sour, I start it out in a cooler temperature, like on the porch or refrigerator, to give the yeasts a head start over the lactic acid bacteria. After about 12 hours at a low temperature, I put it in the kitchen to warm to room temperature until it’s done. Of course, I shake it every chance I get, and shake it kind of vigorously to also disrupt the bacteria from separating the curd and whey. I don’t know if this would work with water kefir, but it might. After it had done its thing, if I still want more fizz, I’ll add a teaspoon of maple syrup or other sweetener, just enough to feed the yeast without being detectable to someone drinking it. Really catering to the yeasts seems to bring on the fizz.

      • deedub says

        Laura, thanks for posting your experience! This explains what changes I have noticed in my milk kefir over time when I got lazy and stopped warming up the milk every day before adding to the strained off colony of grains. I just poured cold milk on them straight from the refrigerator. My friend commented that she thought they looked “hardier”, having to deal the with harsher conditions of the sudden cold, much like people in the north who have to deal with winters. They continued to grow fast, indeed larger and faster. So if this treatment has caused the yeast component of the colony to grow faster and hardier than the bacteria component, I guess that explains the changes in taste, behavior and appearance I’ve noticed: It separates faster into whey and firmer large curds than before, it tastes less sour, it definitely is fizzier. If after the kefir goes thru its daily sieving, I leave it on the counter for 12 or 24 more hours to undergo a secondary ferment, then I get all the sour I want. I am now gonna try this with my water grains!

  6. Jenny says

    Michelle –
    It might be that you’re not screwing the lid on tight enough during fermentation. If you keep the lid on tight, the C02 that results from the bacteria will stay in the jar and make it fizz, but if you’re not screwing the lid on tightly that carbonation will escape. Hope that helps.

  7. Betsy says

    I’ve been making water kefir for a month or so now. I don’t have any jars bigger than a quart, so that’s what I use. I brew with just grains and sugar water. I strain the results into another quart jar, put a lid on it and put it right in the fridge. It’s delicious and carbonated enough for me.

    The first time I made it I put some vanilla in after removing the grains. It was good, but I never bothered again. Once or twice I put the jar in a cupboard for a day or two before refrigerating it, but I guess I never noticed a difference. I’ll have to give it a try with the lemon and raisins and ginger. That sounds interesting.

    • says

      Interesting about the vanilla. I think that vanilla extract might be a bit harmful to the bacteria since it’s usually made with alcohol. However, It would be interesting to try adding a piece of actual vanilla bean to the ferment. Vanilla bean are fermented so they might add interesting yeasts to the ferment, plus the flavor of vanilla. I don’t know but most fruits have yeasts on them so why not?

      My other question may be hard to answer. When I started making Kombucha I simply purchased some live raw kombucha and grew a SCOBY feeding it tea and sugar until it grew big enough to make Kombucha from. Now I want to try that with water kefir. I bought some Kefir that has lots of grains and matter in the bottom of the bottle. Has anyone grown kefir grains using store bought kefir? I thought to feed the slurry of kefir grains in the bottle with sugar water to see if they would grow and multiply. Thoughts anyone?

      I know I could buy or procure them other ways, but I get a thrill out of extreme DIY:)))

      • Mary Arthur says

        I am growing my own from a little bit I bought at whole foods. I can finally see them starting to multiple

      • mezzie says

        Hi someone gave me a bottle of fizzy kifir water when I got to the bottom I added water sugar lemon rind ginger and raisins left in on the bench about 5 days and I had the most beautiful fizzy drink….been doing this for weeks there are very few tiny grains in the bottom and it keeps goin yay

  8. Elisa says

    I have been making water kefir for a couple of months now and we love it. Our favorites have been black raspberry, red raspberry and peach. (although we like it with pretty much anything). I just add 1/4 c. sugar to a quart jar, then add 3 c. water, then shake until dissolved, then add kefir grains(about 2 T.) and then a handful of fresh or frozen fruit. It is pretty much always fizzy, but I brew every 24 hrs. and I notice that it is a lot better on the warmer days. The only problem I have is that they don’t seem to be multiplying. How much and how fast should they?

    • Sara says

      Your grains will NOT multiply if you are adding fresh fruit or fruit juice to the primary ferment. Meaning, if your grains are in the mixture, you should not have anything other than sugar, water, grains, lemon, ginger, fig or raisins in the ferment. Once you have removed the grains, you can then add whatever you want for the secondary (aka flavor) ferment. This is where I would add raspberries, and allow the water kefir to rest in a lightly capped jar for 24hr in cupboard. Then cap tightly and transfer to refrig. The longer it remains in refrig, the more carbonated it will become. The key is tightly capped in refrig. If you leave it tightly capped on countertop, you risk exploding containers….unless you remember to release the pressure once or twice a day. Have fun.

      • Annie Laurie says

        Sara, when you remove the grains, do you store them in refrigerator until you are ready to start another batch? How long will they keep? Thanks for any hints!

      • nance says

        I always add a fig, a few fresh cranberries, a few golden raisins and 1/4 of a lemon to my primary fermentation. My kefir grains double in volume (or more) with each batch. I eat some on my yogurt every day (and the now-delicious fig) but I am forced to throw some grains away every day, sometimes a cup or more. Anyhow, it must depend on which fresh fruit you add because lack of expansion is NOT a problem I have with my grains. :-))

        • rachel says

          If you are throwing away extra i would love to have some as well! I will pay shipping:) my mothr made us milk kefir for awhile, and while i hated the taste i loved the benefits. I’d love to try water kefir instead.

        • rachel says

          If you are throwing away extra i would love to have some as well! I will pay shipping:) my mother made us milk kefir for awhile, and while i hated the taste i loved the benefits. I’d love to try water kefir instead.

        • says

          How will you know what grains need to be thrown away? I just ordered some yesterday and they’ll be coming in next week, so I’m reading up now.

      • Leo says

        We use a very raw and unprocessed sugar, called jaggery sugar (about 1 heaped tablespoon), in combination with blackstrap molasses (2 teaspoons on 1½L water). The water kefir absolutely loves it, and multiplies relatively quickly. Compared to making kefir with just sugar, it makes a more fizzy and slightly more tangy drink as well. If you don’t like the tangy taste, just use 3 TBS sugar. Yummy with figs, lemon/lime and ginger!

        We use 1½L Fido jars. They are heat-shock resistant and have the clip-top lids and rubber seal. They can handle pressure very well, but do have to stand up, so any over-pressure does not cause leakage.

      • dawn says

        thank you sarah for the information you provided here about providing an environment for the kefir grains to multiply. I have not found that info anywhere else.

  9. says

    This is great Jenny! I just got my cultures to make dairy kefir, once I have that down, I will also try water kefir! It sounds really good. We hardly ever drink sodas. My husband enjoys an organic cola about 3-4 times a year, and I like ginger beer (another thing I want to try my hand out). But that is about it! This sounds yummy!

  10. says

    I am finishing up my first batch, and it’s not fizzy at all. I’m wondering what I did wrong. The only thing that I see different is that the instructions that I got said to cover with a coffee filter for the first fermentation. Should I instead cover with an air tight lid? Thanks.

    • Val says

      It’s normal for the first batch to not be very fizzy. Mine wasn’t at all until after it set in air-tight bottles for a couple days. Subsequent batches were a bit fizzy before I even bottled them. I bought my grains mail-order and they take some time to rehydrate and adjust before they work optimally.

      I let the crystals work on the sugar water for about 48 hours, then strain and add flavor or unsweetened real juice and bottle for a secondary ferment.

    • nance says

      I have a few bubbles on the top of the pitcher every morning, but the real carbonation occurs after you strain out the grains and add fruit juice (or not.) I bottle mine in tight bottles and leave it on the counter all day so the microbes in the kefir can eat the sugar in the blueberry/pomegranate juice I like to add. Then it goes in the fridge for a couple days and I get a nice sigh when I open the bottle along with nice bubbles as I drink. I call them “soft” bubbles–they’re definitely there but they’re smaller than the “hard” bubbles in commercial sodas. I like them better.

      I’ve also found that how it behaves is affected by how full you fill the bottle. If quite full, the bottles have to be burped every few hours until cold or you’ll get a fountain. I leave the entire neck of my bottles empty and I just get a nice sigh.

    • shashinyc says

      With this, my third “brew,” the kefir is finally fizzing…guess it needs time after shipping. I love this beverage, so tasty AND healthy! I’ve used organic, fair trade sugar, slices of half a lemon, a few sliced dried organic figs, and a chunk of peeled ginger in a big canning jar with rubber-seal glass lid for 48 hours, not 24. This batch had a nice little kick. Bought a few glass bottles of 99c sparkling water for indy rebottling. Such fun!

  11. Jenny says

    Diana –

    If this is your first batch and you’ve used grains that have been stored either for shipping or for a length of time before they got to you, they may take a bit of time to liven up as it were.  Reculturing regularly and frequently is likely to help.  You can and I often do use a tight lid during the first fermentaton, but take great care to make sure that there’s plenty of airspace in the bottle or jar you use to prevent explosion.  Also, water kefir is rarely as fizzy as people anticipate.  It’s definitely not as fizzy as soda, though it makes a very good alternative to soda.

    Take care –


  12. Lisa says

    Hi,I’ve tried fermenting twice with the water kefir grains, along with dried figs & organic lemon. Both times, after 48 hrs, the water wasn’t fizzy, it was thick & “mucousy”. What am I doing wrong?? Lisa

    • Jeremy says

      I am having the same problem when I try to ferment a second time, thick like syrup and bubbles that rise really slow! ew. An answer to this problem would be great :)

      • Kim says

        I have been experimenting with different sugars to use with water kefir and also had the same problem; my family wouldn’t drink it syrupy like that. I found that if I use organic white sugar, then the consistency was more like water, but if I used palm sugar or sucanat or more raw sugars, even when mixed with the white, then the consistency would become more syrupy. The dried figs will also increase the syrupy texture, at least it did for me.

      • danglero says

        I have been doing water kefir for over a year and a half, religiously, and can usually pinpoint a change in my kefir fairly rapidly, because I am so consistent in my method. Suddenly, my water kefir became VERY thick. I have read that too much minerals in my water could be a result. Kim, here, also mentioned her sugar type. So, I had noticed that my Sucanat looked different than ususal (very chunky and coarse). I also noticed that our typical water that we used, had changed source at the same time. So I changed over to distilled water and added mineral drops (on the light side – 20drops/half gallon). No change.

        My next step is to do 2 batches one with a new sucanat and one with old. both with straight distilled water.

        Unfortunately, both variables changed at the same time. But it does look like my kefir grains are still very active, so I think they will survive.

  13. john schwarzenbach says

    I have been enjoying Kefir water for 4 or 5 months now. I am always amazed at how refreshingly good tasting it is. I have learned that if you use sulfered dried fruits, you will bleach the crystal white: they will take on the color of your sugar (brown or turbinado), red from cranberries or blood oranges, slightly brown from dates, yellow from lemon, etc. I think if you use too much sulfered fruits you will kill the crystals. I love it with fresh peeled ginger plus what ever fruit I might have around. I think it is important to use organic fruits. The fizz is something you have to pay attention to or you might miss it. It does have some. If you want it very fizzy, just get one of the Nitrous oxide powered carbonizing containers, and charge it up. I have done that also. Lots of fun. I think it is very beneficial to your digestive system, especially if you are on antibiotics (like yogurt).

    • Bekita says

      You’re right, John: Too much sulphur is harmful to the grains because sulphur is actually anti-bacterial, and we’re trying to promote beneficial bacterial growth in the water kefir. Thus fruits treated with sulphur can actually be undoing the very good we want! :)

  14. Jenny says

    Hi John –

    I love water kefir with fresh ginger too!  It’s one of the best combinations, I think.  Do you know where to get one of the carbonizing containers?  At the farmers market years a go, a woman would make carbonated whole fruit that was a amazing stuff.

    – Jenny

    • Kathleen says

      I have quite a few beer bottles just like the one shown in the video. They are Fischer Amber beer. I was buying the beer for the bottles for which I had another use at the time (and suffering through drinking the contents *smirk*). I do not know whether you can find these. But they’re great bottles with that clamping top.

  15. Anita says

    Hi Jenny,
    I just love my Water Kefir/Tibicos.♥♥♥ I think it does so much good for me.
    Mostly, just plain with some organic lemon slices, & a piece of fresh organic ginger root. It’s not very fizzy, but I like it that way:)
    Also, I use a pinch of bicarbonate soda to get the water pH right, & 2 clean dried eggshell halves, for their calcium. You look after the grains, & they’ll (help) look after you.

    A lot of people have great difficulty re-activating dried water kefir grains, so I don’t recommend them.
    You will have the best success with fresh LIVE grains, direct from someone who’s been looking after them well. SKG like simplicity & consistency in their routine, & never over-fermenting .
    If you’re in Australia, I can supply some. gamgo AT

  16. says

    I have my first batch of water kefir incubating, I’m excited to try it!

    I got fresh ‘grains’ from Marily Kefirlady, & they are quite lively. I also got milk kefir culture, & used coconut milk for that – so yummy! I’ve read (Dom in Australia) suggestions of doing a second ferment with dried fruit, etc – Marilyn suggests getting two batches going & saving one set of grains for 1st ferment experiments.
    I have a fairly cool home, & set them on top of my stove hood light, for a bit warmer winter incubation. Marilyn suggests cloth on top with a rubber band, & comments that it won’t fizz as much that way.

  17. says

    I have my very first batch of kefir brewing right now, what a coincidence! Are the raisins or other dried fruit necessary? I thought it could just be done with water and organic sugar. I am sensitive to fruit, and while I know the kefir grains eat up the sugar in fermentation, but I don’t want to add any more sugar than necessary. I am also allergic to lemon; is the lemon really needed? Thanks!

  18. Kai says

    Are there different kinds of kefir cultures? I was gifted one by a friend, but I was under the impression that she used dairy with it. Is that different then the water kefir?

    thanks for sharing!

  19. Lori says

    I’ve been drinking water kefir every day for about a month now. I use spring water and about a half cup of organic juice (rather than fruit which is harder to keep around). I sometimes float a dried apricot or a handful of raisins but it’s not necessary. I like it better with raw cane sugar than white sugar. When I drink it on a totally empty stomach, I can sometimes feel a slight alcohol effect but very slight. I also like the plastic wide mouth mason jar lids rather than the metal because they seal tighter and don’t get rusty. No matter how tight I secure the lid, I can always hear a small bit of air escaping when the fermentation gets going. What are the benefits most people experience from drinking it every day?

  20. says

    I am looking for some WKG as a starter. Does anyone have a surplus that I can buy, or can you point me in the right direction? I found DKG at the co-op, but not WKG. Thanks, Jenn.

    • says

      I’ve tried Water Kefir Grains from three sites so far and my favorite by far for the grains and the follow up information is:
      Amazing customer service and AMAZING information for Water Kefir, Kombucha, Ginger Beer and Sourdough Bread!

      • mary beth says

        I also had a very good experience ordering from Yemoos, lots of good info and they will answer any questions you have. Is anyone else overrun with wkg…. they are mutltipying exponetially. I hate to throw them out, any ideas what to do with the extras. No one around me wants any. They quardruple in amount every day. I guess they are very happy.

        • Dianne says

          I have been trying to find some recipes that could use dried grains but no luck yet. My grains have grown so much that I dried them as nobody else wanted any. Do the dried grains still have some health benefits? I know that people eat the excess live grains so would dried still have the same effect. Mine were dried with cold blowing air so no damage from heat.

          • Connie says

            I’ve tried water kefir but it got slimy like substance on top. I so much wanted to have a healthy drink all the time. If anyone has excess water kefir grains I would pay postage, please.

  21. steph carlson says

    Just got done with a 68 hour rehydrate from some WKG I got from Cultures for Health. It smelled pleasant, but yeasty. It was thicker than water, maybe a few bubbles. Tea like in appearance. Tasted better than it smelled. ( did not smell bad, but I was expecting a really yeasty flavor.) Tasted like slightly sweet water.

    I have seen some videos of people drinking it with out fermenting it a second time ( minus the grains) Is this Ok? Does it change in its health strength if you let it sit another 24 hours?

    Do you have to refrigerate it for the second ferment?


  22. Sara says

    How many calories are in water kefir? I put 2 tablespoons of sugar to nourish the grains in about 1 litre of water… will they eat it or will I have to include sugar in my kcal count?

    • LH says

      That’s what I want to know, too -How many calories are in water kefir? There not really any sugar for a start is it just water or kinda like a beer or champagne now? (-Less than 1 % alcohol of course).

      • LH says

        I mean the sugar is eaten up so the sugar is not part of the calorie count.
        & after drinking it should eat up sugars inside. -it’s supposed to balance our sugar along with intoducing good probiotics to the body.

    • LH says

      The lemon is optional.
      Some like ginger.
      PH balance can be addressed by lemon or a pinch of baking soda, or not at all.

  23. Rosie says

    Is there a way to use a bit of one batch to start a new on, without having to use more crystals? Or is it necessary to use fresh crystals every time a batch is made? Someone just gave me some water kefir, and I’d like to make my own, but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to buy the crystals. Any thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Rosie –
      You reuse the crystals from the previous batch to start the new batch – as long as they’re recultured more or less regularly, they’ll continue brewing water kefir indefinitely. You shouldn’t have to buy them again.

    • LH says

      If I understand your question: ” Is there a way to use a bit of one batch to start a new one, without having to use more crystals? ”
      I think the answer is no, if your suggesting the brewed is a starter. -although (I heard from either a ‘youtube’ or read in Ani Phyo’s Raw Food cookbook), the brew continues tol eat up sugar. Still I think you need the living water kefir grains. -Whoever gave you the brew could also be you source for a starter of 1/4 cup or so. Soon you’ll have grown to more than a 1/4 cup of grains and you can blend them into a smoothie, make more Water Kefir, or share the wealth with someone else interested in starting some at their home!

  24. sophie says

    I have just received my water kefir grains, but I am going on holiday for 8 days on Friday, what should I do with them for that length of time, will they starve or go funny if I leave them in the same jar fermenting for 8 days? And should they be in the fridge or the cupboard?


    • Skye Byrne says

      Sophie, I’m sure you’re back from that holiday you mentioned, but for future reference, I found out you can keep the kefir frains in sugar water in the refrigerator for a week. You can also freeze them! Although if you chose to freeze them they will need some time to ‘reactive’ – a few batches of kefir, I imagine.

  25. Kat Kitterlin says

    Will the ferment work with Xylitol or Agave or Maple, etc? I avoid cane sugar. Is distilled water ok to use? Thanks

    • Jenny says

      1) Xylitol and agave nectar are not natural sugars, and I wouldn’t recommend them in water kefir or in other dishes. Agave nectar is manufactured using a process similar to that used in the manufacture of high fructose corn syrup. I’d encourage you to avoid it. Xylitol is also heavily processed and because it doesn’t contain sugars, it wouldn’t be able to feed the water kefir grains – that’s what they need to grow. Maple syrup *might* work. There’s no reason to avoid cane sugar unless you have an allergy to it. It is a traditional, natural sweetener and most of its sugars will have been metabolized by the bacteria leaving very little remaining carbohydrate in the water kefir itself.

      2) Distilled water would not work either. Distilled water lacks trace minerals and the water kefir grains need trace minerals to survive. If filtered tap water is unacceptable where you live, you could potentially use distilled water but you’d really need to add concentrace or an other mineral supplement to it.

      • says

        Raw Chef Russell James reckons that maple syrup makes your grains grow faster than anything else. I’ve tried it but not really noticed any difference. I’d be really interested in hearing other people’s experiences with it.

    • says

      Christal, rapadura does work. Because it’s not had anything taken out of it, it should have a much higher mineral content than other sugars, which the grains like. I used it when I first started making water kefir, but the flavor was too strong for me (even though I love the taste of rapadura sugar itself). So now I use organic, fair trade sugar.

  26. says

    Wow, your dried cherry flavored water kefir sounds delicious, and beautiful! I’d love to try some of that. I drink a lot of fermented drinks, kefir, kombucha and I must say that water kefir is my favorite by far. Partly because it is so versatile.

    • says

      Kris that sounds delicious! I have frozen organic blueberries, I’m going to try them tomorrow morning. So how do you use them? Do you put them into the first ferment, or blend them up and use them in a second ferment, or what?

  27. Soccy says

    I have never made water kefir before. I have a few questions:
    1. Which is better for kids’ palates: kombucha or water kefir?
    2. After first ferment, while the bottles are fermenting further and we’re later enjoying the 6 bottles of kefir, what do I do with the kefir grains? It will only take a day or two to make more but we won’t be done with the 6 bottles by then.
    3. Do you add the lemon with the peel or not?


    • says

      Soccy, most kids will definitely like water kefir better than kombucha. Some kids do like kombucha too, but water kefir is a better bet.

      You can add the whole lemon, cut in half. The peel is fine. Just make sure the lemons are organic. I got an 18 kilo box of organic lemons one time and peeled mostly juiced them. I peeled them with a vegetable peeler and dried the peels. I’m still using the peels in my water kefir. The taste is not as strong as using the whole lemon, but I always squeeze lemon or lime juice into mine after it’s finished brewing. The peel does add a slight lemon flavor that’s really nice – not tart, just nice and citrusy.

  28. Joan Smith says

    I’ve been making water kefir for a few weeks now, using palm (coconut) sugar. I have been using Duong Thot Not discs, a really light color so I think must be refined. I switched to unrefined palm sugar the other day because I ran out of the other, but now I’m getting a film on top of the kefir, looks kind of yeasty, it is bubbly and filmy. It still smells like water kefir, just looks strange. Have I contaminated my starter or is this OK?

  29. Robert says

    Ginger Kefir Drink
    Nice ginger kick. Not too much sugar. Healthy. This makes about a gallon. Here ’tis.

    500 grams ginger root, mas o menos. Scrape off peel. Grate the big chunks. Finely chop the small chunks. Use dull side of paring knife or a spoon to scrape off peel. (just thought I’d offer a suggestion, while I have your attention)
    The tea is optional, more for nutrition than taste.

    4 liters water

    4 tsp salt

    5 green or white tea bags, or handful of tea leaves

    1 cup sugar

    1 cup lime juice
    60 grams kefir grains, mas o menos

    Steep tea in hot, not boiling, water for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Mix all ingredients in suitable jar with lid. Cover tightly. Leave at room temperature for 2-3 days, swirling occaisionally. Strain and enjoy, iced or hot. Keeps in refrigerator for months, but it won’t last that long.

    • Cindy says

      Does it hurt the kefir grains to put lemon juice in before fermentation? I read on one site where citrus juices can harms the kefir grains. Thank you for you reply.

  30. Lisa S says

    Hello. Wondering if water filtered by a RO would be acceptable? We’re installing one this week. I know it takes out some minerals but not all, right?

  31. Sarah says

    I’m curious, is safe to drink water kefir during pregnancy? I’m considering making this, but since I’m pregnant right now, I didn’t know if I should wait until after baby is born.

    • Cap says

      It’s an alcoholic drink with a slightly varying alcohol content. You should avoid alcohol altogether when pregnant, including this.

      • Jenny says

        Water kefir is not an alcoholic drink. The alcohol content of water kefir is about that of an overripe banana.

    • Karen says

      “Sugar is TOXIC”


      No, it isn’t. If it were, we’d be in big trouble, since much of what we eat is converted into simple sugars in our body eventually, even if it started out the wholest whole grain that ever was whole.

      • Sara says

        Due to honey’s antibacterial properties it will interfere with the natural action of the organisms which make up the unique matrix of water kefir. You CAN use it if you boil your honey and water together and allow it to cool before adding your kefir grains, but know that over time your grains will be destroyed.

  32. Sej says

    Must I use filtered water? Do I have to go out and buy it? Our water here in Oakland, CA is pretty good and I haven’t gotten a filter yet.

    • Sara says

      Do not use filtered water for water kefir grains, it will turn them to mush over time and they will not reproduce easily. If your tap water is drinkable, then it is fine for your water kefir grains.

      • Jenny says

        Incorrect. Filtered water should be used on water kefir grains – as it removes chlorine and other chemicals which damage the grains. Using unrefined cane sugar or an other source of minerals keeps the grains healthy.

      • Diane says

        If your tap water is chlorinated, you can let it sit out for 24 hours before using it or boil it and the chlorine should evaporate out, but fluoride won’t. If your tap water is fluoridated, you need reverse osmosis filtration or some other type designed to remove fluoride. Kefir grains are made up bacteria and yeast and both chlorine and fluoride will harm them. I use water that has been through reverse osmosis filtration, organic cane and palm sugar, a bit of unsulphured molasses for every batch, and add a cup of organic coconut water every 2nd or 3rd batch. I’ve only been doing this for a couple of weeks but I have more than twice the amount of grains I started with and many of the individual grains have grown in size as well. They seem to be doing okay on filtered water.

  33. Becca C says

    My kefir water was super fizzy when I drained it, but after I let it sit out another 24 hours, it seemed flat. What did I do wrong? It still tastes ok, it’s just not as fizzy.

  34. says

    Is it possible to ferment coconut water? I have been making water kefir for a few months and am curious about using coconut… I would like to try the VitaCoco or other brands of coconut water- not a fresh coconut. Any thoughts?

  35. Karen says

    Can anyone share what health benefits you have noticed drinking kefir? I have a 400 lb diabetic husband I so want to see some help for him. I have such bad arthritis pain that I have notices lots of relief from. I seem to crave heathier foods myself but think it is because since I am doing kefir for my body I want to encourage the good benefits.
    Thanks and please share what it has helped with.

  36. says

    Wow, this is the greatest thing I’ve seen posted in forever! Thank you so much. I cannot wait to try this. I love Kombucha but just cannot afford it and have been so curious about how to make my own for ages. Thanks again!

  37. Bekita says

    I find that my water grains have better growth when I add a cleaned egg shell to the batch. According to Marilyn at, from whom we purchased our water kefir, the grains thrive with the addition of a calcium carbonate supplement. We started with a few tablespoons of grains and in 10 days were overflowing 1 cup. By 2 weeks we couldn’t keep up drinking as much juice as the grains were brewing so I gave my extras to a friend. She told me that they brewed well, but just “stared” at her if she didn’t add the eggshell. :) When we get too many grains too fast now, we simply eat the extras in ice cream or oatmeal for additional probiotic benefits.

  38. Barb says

    I’ve been using my water kefir grains for about a year without problems, but they now grow a film on the top of the liquid with every batch – – I’ve tried rinsing them a couple of times to remove whatever invasive “bug” is causing this film (similar to a young kombucha scoby), and have tried adding cleaned egg shell, sodium bicarb, etc… but the film keep reappearing – – any thoughts/help before I discard them (the grains still look healthy)?

    • deedub says

      Yeah, I had that happen after I tried adding some of my water grains to coconut water. As I did not care for the ferment that it produced, I took the grains and tried to rehabilitate them back to water kefir by filtering and feeding new sugar water solution every day. The smell is way different than before I put it in the coconut water – sort of yeasty, and not in a pleasant way. They have not straightened out yet, and I’m very glad I kept my mother Kefir culture uncontaminated. I read up on Kombucha a little. The bacterias in Kombucha produce acetic acid, which is vinegar, as opposed to the bacterias in Kefir, which produce lactic acid. It could also be MOV (Mother of Vinegar) a complex that is produced in vinegar production. A couple of times I fished the thing off and tossed it. Now I’m thinking I might put it into a container and encourage it, to see what happens.

  39. StarlaJ says

    I was given water kefir. It was shipped to my house in sugar water. I was told to only add organic sugar and bottled water. I have followed those instructions but it doesn’t get bubbly. I asked for help from the person that sent it to me and they said let it sit longer. I have let it sit for a week with no bubbles or fizzy. What am I doing wrong? What do I need to do? Thank you in advance!

  40. heather says

    I’ve just started with milk kefir, but the milk is getting expensive, so I want to do water kefir instead.

    \oes anyone know the nutritional (probiotic) difference between the two beverages?

    • says

      Well think of it this way- which ever nutrients are in milk (protein, calcium, b vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins etc) will not be in water kefir as water itself does not contain these nutrients. But both drinks have similar probiotic benefits.

  41. Deb says

    Hi Jenny,

    I just found a jar of water kefir grains that I had stored in the refrigerator over a year ago in sugar water. Is there a way to tell if they are still good, or should I throw them away and start with fresh ones?

    Deb Casey

  42. taryn says

    water kefir is exciting to me, but as with kombucha, it seems the culture has been unwilded. it can’t be that cane sugar was the original sweetener used to ferment these beverages — in the parts of the world where they supposedly originated, can sugar wouldn’t be available. has anyone had success fermenting these drinks with maple syrup? i’m hoping that, when the oil economy runs out, we can still make kefirs and kombuchas with the sweeteners available!

    • says

      I was SO hoping someone could answer this question about the original sweeteners used. My own research is limited to my smartphone and I’ve gotten nowhere. Since it has to be fed year round it had to be a sweetener available year round. I have a serious problem with relying on processed anything, including sugar.

      • Jenny says

        Water Kefir is traditionally made with sugar. If you wish to avoid anything that is processed, you would likewise need to avoid flour, butter, yogurt, kefir, maple syrup, salt (including unrefined salts), coconut oil, ghee, olive oil and a slew of other traditional foods. In preparing this, you need to remember that the sugar isn’t for you, it’s for the water kefir grains.

  43. DebbieB says

    Have been brewing water kefir for a few weeks. I got the grains from a company who sells them through e-bay. Per quart of bottle Spring water, I use 3 T organic sugar, 1/4 lemon, 1 T molasses, and sliced ginger. It fizzes nicely after about 2 days. Tastes great at harvest with nice bubbles, but when I put in used kombucha bottles with screw top lids, it seems to lose the fizz in the fridge. Maybe I’ll try a secondary fermentation.
    Grains look like they are thriving.

  44. Sumaya says

    Does anyone know if it’s ok to eat the grains ? I will soon have too many for my needs. I know it’s ok to eat the milk kefir grains as a kind of live probiotic, but I don’t know if water kefir grains are edible.

  45. becky says

    I have been making water kefir for a year or so now and love it. I tried this lemon/raisin recipe and it was my kids favorite. I make a gallon at a time. When I poured in into 2 1/2gal. jars after the initial ferment (till raisins were floating), one jar was the normal water consistancy and great. The other jar had a thick syrupy consistancy. Same exact batch. It smelled fine and tasted ok (i think, i spit it out cuz i was nervous!). But I was a bit hesitant! I’ve never had it turn syrupy before. What’s wrong?! I threw that batch out. Any thoughts? Could there be too much sugar?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Jane Campbell says

      Did you get an answer to why it turned syrupy? My first batch was the same and I have been to scared to make anymore…Would appreciate what you have learnt…
      Many thanks ,
      Jane Campbell..

      • says

        Based on stuff I’ve been reading the syrupy water kefir could come from too many minerals in the ferment. Minerals can come from many sources, water, fruits, sulfur from dried fruits, egg shells, unprocessed sugars, molasses in sugar etc…So maybe just simplify your ferment with just white sugar and good water and see if it loses that consistency.

        Or maybe it happens occasionally and you just get rid of the offensive batch.

  46. Rian says

    can someone tell me what happens with the dried fruit and the lemon and ginger afterwards? do we through it away or we keep it for next batch? thanks!

  47. Madie says

    Here is a list of people (all over the world – listed by country) offering their excess kefir grains, where you pay the postage: shipping

    You can just add your name to the list when you have some available to share

  48. Julie says

    Does anyone know the final sugar content in the water kefir you would drink once it’s ready? One, because I’m hypoglycemic and have to be very careful with sugar, and two because I’m dieting down for a figure competition and really have to watch my sugar/calorie intake. Thank you!

    • MJB says

      It’s hard to say, because some of the sugar is turned to alcohol & some is used to make more grains. But at most the amount of sugar left is the amount in what you started with, usually a tablespoon per cup. And some people even think the beverage is slimming because it increases your metabolism or something, though I’m skeptical.

      • Mary says

        I read on Cultures for Health is that at least 80% of the sugar is consumed in a 48 hour fermentation, depending on temperature, so if you started with the “standard” 1 Tbsp sugar per cup of water (12g sugar), you’d be looking at 2-2.5g sugar (about 10 calories) per cup of kefir-ed water. (The dried fruit is actually optional, most of the recipes I have don’t use it.) It IS possible to make kefir with less sugar – I’ve seen blog posts by people who use 2 Tbsp sugar per quart of water, but it takes longer to ferment and the grains slow or stop growing. The second ferment may contain more sugar depending on what you add and how long you ferment that, but considering that most people’s second ferment additions are on the order of a couple of tablespoons of fruit or juice for a quart of water kefir and then _that_ is fermented, the sugar/calorie content in an 8oz (for example) serving is quite low, even when the kefir tastes fairly sweet – something about the chemical reactions. Many people don’t do a second ferment at all, it’s certainly not necessary, and there are many ways to flavor kefir in a second ferment that not only use up more of the sugar left from the first ferment, but add no additional calories. Vanilla bean for “cream soda” and sliced ginger for “ginger ale” come to mind; lemon or lime juice has around 5 calories in a tablespoon. I tasted a really jazzy cranberry-lime kefir soda that had a squeeze of lime and five somewhat-crushed cranberries in the pint bottle, it was really surprising how much flavor those few cranberries contributed.

        You can purchase something called “Diastix” on Amazon (or from a local pharmacy, they’re probably behind the counter) to measure the glucose content of the kefir – Diastix are actually made for testing glucose in urine for diabetics and hypoglycemics, but some kefir/kombucha brewers found this nifty alternate use for them. A container of 100 test sticks costs around $15. Even better, for about $20 you can purchase a disposable blood glucose meter (usually 50 uses) and a box of lancets, and test your BG after you consume kefir brewed different ways, with different ingredients, etc. (A homebrew supply shop can hook you up with the right gadgets to _very_ accurately measure sugar content as well as alcohol content, if you’re worried about any calories from alcohol; Kelly the Kitchen Kop did a great blog entry on that, working with a chemist to ascertain just how much alcohol was in her “kefir soda”. Some people make what I call “hippie wine coolers” 😉 by putting water kefir grains in 100% fruit juice and fermenting that for 3-4 days and then yes, you get a good bit of alcohol and sugar there, but that’s a different animal from water kefir.)

        Many people find water kefir “slimming” because it is a flavorful drink that is quite low in calories, and yet can be sweet enough to satisfy a soda jones (soda has something on the order of 3 Tbsp sugar per 8 oz, or nasty artificial sweeteners, except for a few stevia-sweetened products and the jury is actually still out on stevia’s long-term safety) and to encourage someone to take in additional low-calorie fluids which is generally considered a good idea when one is trying to manage weight. Many people think they are hungry when they are actually thirsty, and a tasty beverage may avert that inclination to eat where boring ol’ water 😉 may not. Fizzy drinks are often more filling than flat ones. The probiotic content of kefir and other cultured foods encourages regularity and efficiency of the digestive system, which reduces constipation and bloating and improves nutrient absorption, which can in turn reduce appetite in some people because there is not a “need” to continue eating to get the necessary amount of nutrients. (Many people who eat a nutrient-poor diet feel hungrier because they’re not satisfying their nutritional needs so the body continues to demand food, and then eating can become a habit or an addiction. It is a battle I am fighting now as I improve my diet.) For some people it acts as a diuretic, reducing water retention. Some recent independent studies in reputable peer-reviewed medical journals are suggesting that some probiotics can _help_ with fat loss, but the research is very preliminary.

  49. says

    Ae you sure kids can have this?? I don’t drink or like alcohol nd it defiately tastes like alcohol sometimes, even though i just leave it out for max 48 hrs before i strain and put it in the fridge..

    Also have a question about the raisins/apricots/figs. Can they be eaten afterwards?? Or is that not a good idea? And does the alcohol content go into the dried fruits too?? (as in, can i give my 1 yr old the raisins???

    Thanks so much!!!

    • MJB says

      The amount of alcohol in the finished product depends on how much sugar was in what you started with & how long you let it ferment. The sugar would come from fruit as well as from the sugar itself. Use less sugar/fruit &/or ferment for only 24-36 hours & there will be less alcohol. The result can contain less than 0.5% alcohol. In beer, anything less than 0.5% alcohol is legally near-beer rather than beer.

      You can try the raisins to see how they taste. Much of their nutritional value will have gone into the water kefir. I’m very sensitive to alcohol, but there is so little in water kefir that I’d imagine I’d have to drink at least a quart at a time to notice even the slightest effect.

      • MamatoBabes says

        Ages late I know but might help someone. My children drink water kefir from the time they’re weaned pretty much, and they love it! I mostly use raisins in the first ferment which I find means I can cut the sugar down, then if I do a second ferment I chuck in frozen berries and sliced oranges, or our homegrown, home dried fruit. We’ve never had any concerns with alcoholic content, never had tipsy babies either and they drink up to a litre each a day. We also make kefir iceblocks and kefir slushies during summer and occasionally during winter when we’ve made too much and don’t drink it.
        I do not, however, give them the fruit from any of the ferments because I find they can be very alcoholic! I think the sugar in the fruits may ferment and because of the high sugar content it does get that ‘knock you on your butt’ factor that the water kefir itself doesn’t. Doesn’t that sound scientific?! Lol…
        I drink water kefir during my pregnancies, I find it really helpful actually as I get hyperemesis and the kefir seems to boost my body’s nutrition levels even while very sick. I’m on baby #4 and there haven’t been any nasty side effects 😉
        That’s our experience anyhow :)

  50. Gavin says

    I was fortunate enough to obtain some water kefir grains from a friend. :) They said they do not use dried fruits, just organic evaporated cane juice. Their recipe was 1/4 c organic sugar, add 3 cups water, and 1/2 c. grains. This sort of worked when I tried it, but it took over 48 hours, and was only slightly bubbly. It tasted like flat beer. So I ran an experiment to see which type of sugar worked best, hoping to reduce alcohol and decrease brew time.. I followed the same recipe in three jars, but each had a different sweetener: evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, or maple syrup. The maple syrup left the other two in the dust! Much fizzier, very minimal alcohol (solved the alcohol problem). But still nowhere near as fizzy as a coke.
    So I ran another experiment. I adopted the cost efficient recipe of 1/8 c. each of sugar and maple syrup to 3 c. water plus 1/3 c. grains. But to one jar, I added 1/2 an organic date. This was ready in 24 hours and very fizzy and palatable (again, very minimal alcohol). I was getting very close to coke bubbles.
    Then I decided to run a final test. I did the dual sweeteners with dates in two jars, but to one I added a tbs. organic currants and a nice big slice of organic ginger. This one was ready in a mere 16 hours!!! And as fizzy as any soda you’ve ever had. It tastes like glorified ginger ale with the underlying tones of sweet dates and tart, fruity currants. Not to mention, the grains nearly doubled in the 16 hours! I figured that meant they were super happy. :) I will also upgrade to rapadura once I obtain some.

    My recipe for super fizzy, tasty, and healthful kefir: Heat filtered water on stove-top. In a quart mason jar, put 1/8 c. each rapadura and maple syrup. Add hot, but no boiling water to bring mixture up to 1 1/2 c and dissolve sweeteners. Add 1 1/2 c. cold filtered water, and make sure the liquid is not above 110 or so degrees F. Pour in 1/3 c. kefir grains, then 1/2 chopped organic date, 1 tbs. organic currants, and a big slice of organic ginger. Kefir will be ready in 16 – 24 hrs, make sure you “burp” the lids at least twice! Enjoy! 😀

    • Carol says

      Thank you very, very much for your post! Experimentation requires a great deal of patience and perserverance. I sincerely appreciate the info you shared! I purchased water kefir grains from Marilyn Kefirlady, and am just getting started. I want to give your recipe a try. Thanks so much!

      What a great discussion here, folks! 😀

  51. Danielle says

    Does anyone know if potassium sorbate harms the kefir grains? I know to avoid sulphured fruit, but my prunes have this added as a preservative and I don’t want to hurt my new grains!

  52. Teresa316 says

    Water used to be chlorinated with chlorine. If you let it sit 24 hours the chlorine would evaporate. Many water departments no longer use chlorine, but chloramine, instead. Chloramine cannot be removed by boiling, distilling, or by standing uncovered. It needs a dechlorinator. Check with your water department to determine what they use to dechlorinate your water.

  53. says

    Hi All:
    I bought my water grains from yippeeskippee26 on ebay (took a chance) LOL.
    Read on but… The grains were great.
    Here’s the link…
    My grains were in the mail box on a Monday.
    I got a 1/2 cup (activated) so I started 2 quart jars, 1 with cranberries. (tight lids)
    On Wednesday I strained and re-bottled and found I had 3/4 of a cup of grains. WOW
    Started 2 new jars AND the extra 4 Tbs. went into a jar of their own sugar water (loose top) to see how well they will grow.
    Poured myself some of the cranberry batch AND was surprised to feel fizz on my tongue. It was not much but it was there. I will have this gone B4 anything bad can happen to it that may call for refrigeration.
    The other quart got 1/2tsp. of pure vanilla and is sitting for another 24-48 hours. (tight lid)
    Well, good luck everyone. I know if I can do it you can too.

  54. says

    OK – First post does not seem to have made it because of link to eBay seller of grains.
    His eBay user name is yippeeskippee26. (search for it on eBay)
    So, I ordered my grains (1/2 cup – activated) and they were in the mail box on Monday.
    Got them home and had 2 quart jars going by 6 pm.
    Using a combo of filtered and bottled spring water, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp. of molasses in both.
    I added dried cranberries to one jar.
    Strained and re-bottled both on Wednesday.
    Well, to my surprise, not only did I gained 1/4 cup of grains. (From the 1 that did not have the cranberries)
    BUT… the cranberry batch had fizz that I could feel on my tongue. (Not a lot but it was there.)
    All this in just 46 hours. So I guess that sellers grains are pretty good little guys.
    Second batch of 2 quarts going and the extra 1/4 cup went into its’ own (just sugar) water to see if I can grow more. If not I have not lost anything.
    The cranberry batch I’m drinking and I’m sure it will be gone even B4 the next batch is ready.
    The plain batch I added 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract and it is sitting (tight lid) for another 48 hours. (Can’t wait for Friday – LOL)
    Everything mentioned above was done with lids on tight EXCEPT the 1/4 cup extra for growing.
    Well, good luck everyone. If I can do it I know you can too.
    Be well; Be safe. Keep your animal loved ones healthy too.

  55. Paula Oliver says

    I just started making milk kefir about three weeks ago. I like the milk kefir but I am drinking it all by myself so I have a reserve in the fridge and am giving my grains a rest. I would like to try the water kefir. Is there anyone out there that would like to donate a tablespoon of water kefir grains? I can pay the shipping.

  56. William says

    Thanks for all the great info and comments.
    I would like to know which nutrients milk kefir grains need to thrive.
    Has anyone tried to use these grains on sweetened almond milk or other mineral rich dairy alternatives?
    I read in a comment that you can add raisin juice to water kefir. Can you continue your water kefir culture continuously with grape juice only? I have grape vines and would love to do this year round,

    • Jenny says

      Milk kefir grains need milk (any mammal milk) to survive. You can culture them in water or other liquids like coconut milk temporarily, but you must return them to milk at least every few days or you might damage/kill them. I don’t recommend culturing water kefir in grape juice, though you could culture them in sugar water and add grape juice to the 2nd fermentation.

  57. Kirsten says

    This looks like a great recipe. I bet the ginger makes a nice kick. Just mixed it up & hoping it’ll revive my grains. They were looking a little wonky…

  58. says

    I drop a comment when I like a post on a website or if I have something to add to the conversation.

    Usually it is triggered by the passion displayed in
    the post I looked at. And on this article Water Kefir: How to Brew Water Kefir.

    I was actually moved enough to drop a thought 😉 I do have a couple of questions for you if you
    do not mind. Could it be only me or do a few of the responses appear as if they are coming from brain dead visitors?
    😛 And, if you are writing on other places, I’d like to keep up with everything new you have to post. Could you make a list the complete urls of all your community sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  59. Ana says

    They suppose to be NOT FOR SALE , do not buy them if they ask for money. The entire world know that they have to give them away for free. The do not have the same effect under business! please do not make this web a business. Thanks

    • Jenny says

      That’s utter nonsense. They lose their effect when bought? Like the bacteria and yeast know money’s been exchanged and suddenly stop working. Besides HOW are you going to get them if no one you know has them, and you can’t buy them? And when you work for free, then maybe you’d be in a better position to decide whether or not other people can be in business … or not.

    • Lynn says

      I don’t believe so. The sugar content that remains after they eat up what they want, is fructose, so it’s a by-product, rather than a food source.

  60. hilda says

    warning: I tried this with half a lemon as described and it ruined my grains! The pulp from the lemon contaminated the grains and made them spoil. yech. Either the grains or the fruit should be put in a muslin bag to prevent this. Every other recipe I’ve read says this.

    • Lynn says

      I’ve read in many places *never* to expose the grains to citrus. The only recipes that seem to advocate citrus are more traditional hispanic ones, and they always include a fig, so maybe that makes a difference?

    • says

      I scratched my head as to why the recipe above did not say “juice of 1/2 lemon” and I think that is the reason. I have never squeezed the lemon, only cut it into quarters, and then placed those quarters in. That way you don’t have an issue with pulp getting into your grains.

  61. lily says

    hi, i have a question i just got some grains and the first batch was good really fizzy….now the second batch started to look weird my grains arent bubbling at all???? how can i now if they are not active…i drank the water n tasted mainly like sugar, it didnt have that acidy taste to it anymore…..i used brown sugar n ginger….does anyone know how they look when inactive or dead..thanks!

    • Lynn says

      Sometimes mine fizz in the first ferment and sometimes they don’t. I make a big bin of my mixture of panela sugar and white sugar, so they have been eating exactly the same stuff for a week, and yet the results still vary. Sometimes they are huge, sometimes tiny. Sometimes they go up and down like a lava lamp, sometimes they go right to the top and all collect there, and sometimes they just stay on the bottom (most likely when they are tiny).

  62. TanyaC says

    I just got some milk and water kefir grains from two different friends yesterday. I can’t wait to start experimenting. I feel like a kid in the science lab!! Thanks for the posts and comments to help me get started. BTW, I love your site!!

  63. Eecole COpen says

    I would like to use your recipe in my nutrition class tomorrow. Do you mind if i copy and paste? I am happy to give your website credit.

    Thank you!

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  65. Shawna says

    I have been making and drinking water kefir for a few months now, my family loves it! I was wondering if you have ever tried a continuous brew water kefir. I want to start a continuous brew in a 2 gallon jar but I’m not sure how much I should feed it or how often. Do you have any suggestions?

    • MJB says

      It’s probably safer to make continuous batches instead. That way you know how much sweetener is in each batch. I’d only try it if you have enough grains to put some aside so you can use them if the continuous non-batch attempt stops working after awhile.

  66. Wyntarra says

    I used to make and drink my own fresh milk kefir every day. I used organic milk from a local dairy. It was good at first but then I began to dislike the taste and felt like I was having to force myself to drink it every day. I ended up quitting and giving my grains to a friend. That was about 2 years ago. About a month ago a friend and co-worker was talking about her yummy water kefir drinks she made herself and I got excited. I had always wanted to try the water kefir and see if I liked it better than the milk. She had an over abundance of grains and said she would be more than happy to give me some for free. The next day she brought in a mason jar with a batch she started the night before just for me. I forget what juice she said she had put it in. She gave it to me with a tight lid on it. When I got it home I took the lid off and replaced it with a once folded paper towel and secured it in place with a rubber band. Two days later I strained the grains and immediately enjoyed my very first ever taste of water kefir. It was soooo good! Better than I remember the milk one ever tasting. I started making my batches using just organic evaporated sugar cane and letting it sit on my kitchen counter for 2-3 days then enjoying it right away. I read somewhere that if you used filtered water then you should replace the minerals somehow. It was suggested that when I had melted the sugar in the water and put my grains that before sealing the top of the jar I should pour just a bit from the previous batch into the jar as well. Not much, just a bit. My grains LOVE me for this. In a month I had to expand to 3 more mason jars. I am now getting about a gallon of water kefir every 4 days. I have another friend that I have introduced water kefir to and thankfully she is around when I am preparing my batches so she helps me drink some while I put the rest away in the fridge. I like having some after work. It’s a lovely treat to come home to. I don’t add anything to it after initial fermentation. I prefer the regular flavor the evaporated cane sugar gives it. My friend who drinks it with me was recently diagnosed with Type 2 and she was worried at first because it’s made with sugar but she has found that when she sips this while eating then testing her blood sugar levels later that her numbers are lower than they normally are. When she visits me tomorrow night, I am giving her one of the jars so she can make it at home too and not have to come over every time she wants some. :)

  67. Sue says

    I have my water kefir gains and am making kefir water but I notices little white strings in my kefir….there are also big kernels. Is it falling apart and what are the little white strings? I am mixing raw sugar with unsulphered black strap molasses and spring water. I am concerned that my kefir are dying. Help!

  68. Jennifer says

    I have been making water kefir for a few months now. i don’t boil the water for the water kefir just the kombucha.
    the water kefir is VERY fizzy, which is fine when i remember to bleed it off regularly. what is the purpose of boiling the water and sugar together? thank you!

    • Mary says

      Boiling is just to dissolve the sugar completely – a lot of the less-refined sugars don’t dissolve well in cold water.Boiling water can also remove chlorine (but so can just letting a jar of water sit open/loosely covered on the countertop for 24 hours, and even the most basic filters like Brita remove chlorine). Contact your water department – or check your city’s website – and request the “water quality report”. It will tell you what is in the water. Boiling, standing, and Brita-level filters will not remove chloramine, which some water departments add instead of chlorine. (Not all water departments add fluoride, happily mine does not so I could save money on my filter.)

      There are ways to avoid having to burp your kefir – use an airlock lid such as a Pickl-it, or a Fido jar. Fido jars, made in Italy by Bormioli Rocco, are awesome! They don’t let oxygen in, but when CO2 builds up enough pressure, it lifts the lid the very tiniest amount and burps itself! Also, the way it is designed, if things get REALLY crazy in there and CO2 builds up too quickly to seep out, the wire frame comes apart and lets the lid pop off so the glass does not break. Pretty cool, eh? And the wire can be replaced if that happens, too. They’re not that expensive, granted much more so than a mason jar, but I think I paid about $5.50 for the 1-liter and $7 for the 1.5L at a local kitchen store. Anchor Hocking has a line of similar jars called “Heremes” (sometimes misspelled “Hermes”) sold at mass-merchandisers like Walmart and KMart, but they’re only a couple of dollars less than the real Italian-made Fidos. The “Bormioli Rocco Frigoverre Jug with Hermetic Lid” is fantastic for the second ferment. Because of the lid design you won’t get the “kefir fountain” because you can release the pressure slooooooowly. (The Bormioli Rocco “Gelo” jug has the same lid.) I think they’re more convenient than the skinny-necked flip-top bottles, especially WRT cleaning!

  69. Sue says

    I’ve recently started making kefir water, and I love it! In most cases the recipe has been fool proof but not in one finished batch. I made apple kefir from dried apples and then bottled it. Yesterday when I checked on the finished product, it appeared I had a thick half inch “mother” inside the bottle! It has been stored in a fridge that isn’t opened much (spare in the garage), so I was shocked to see it. Do you know if this means the batch is bad, or have you ever heard of a “mother” springing to life like that?

  70. says

    Hi jenny

    Can I ask why you have to boil the filtered water as I have read others recipes that dont do this. How do you feel about the body ecology powered kefir?

    Thanks so much

  71. Roberta says

    Regarding sugar, it should be noted that most white sugar in North America (not incl Canada) is from GMO sugar beets patented by MONSANT OH!. As most GMO foods are injurious to the digestive (gut bacteria) system ( humans are composed of 90% bacteria cells) it should be considered that it might do the same to the living organisms in your kefir grains.

  72. Monique says

    My water keifer graims has some little black seed looking things… has this happen to anybody and if anybody know what this means?

  73. says

    Is it possible to get coconut milk kefir grains rather than using the raw milk grains to culture coconut milk. The reason being that the grains usually die out after a month or so of use. Kindly advice.

  74. says

    If I keep adding more sugar over a few days, would the kefir keep growing, and so would this raise the alcohol content? Or, is there an environmental limiting factor (besides sugar and oxygen).

  75. Judith-ann says

    Hi – I was wondering if you can eat the excess grains – I have some frozen but my daughter said that you can eat them??? Also can kefir be harmful (like can you make it wrong and get sick from it)?? Thanks

  76. Rebecca says

    We don’t really care if it’s fizzy – I’ve got a ginger bug going for when we want “soda”.

    Usual evening routine (for a 3 person household) is to filter the quart of water kefir (started the night before) into another quart jar. Fill up original jar with spring water, 1/4 cup organic sugar, 5 raisins and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Measure out 1/4 cup of the strained out grains (from the previous batch) and add it to the jar. Put on the plastic cap (not airtight) and drape a kitchen towl over it to keep it out of direct sunlife the next day.

    Excess grains get put into a jar of plain water that we keep in the fridge. This is emergency backup and/or grains to pass along to friends and/or to snag a teaspoon of the live grains as a pre-meal “snack” if the tummy isn’t feeling so hot.

    The strained kefir gets two herbal teabags tossed into it (we *love* the Tazo “rest” formula), a (non airtight) plastic lid on it, and then it’s tucked into the fridge to make a kefired refrigerator tea for the three of us to split the following afternoon/evening.

    • oolie says

      I don’t know too much about kefir other than making it from milk recently, but my understanding using sugar water to promote kefir grains is just activating the yeast which is creating the fizzy water because it is converting the sugar to alcohol. curious about how the kefir survives as my understanding it is dependent on animal fat in milk to survive. also is giving a mild alcohol beverage great for kids. Just thinking don’t want hater comments just educated feedback. thank you

  77. Marcella Smith says

    I am new to water kefir and have a couple of questions. I take probiotics about 100-150 billion a day, what is the average amount of probiotics in a cup or a tablespoon of water kefir, I don’t want the exact as they all are different, but what is it compared to the amount I already take. I have looked at the commercial water kefir and it is 100 billion a tablespoon but I was told home made is much better. SOOOO, does anyone have a ’round about’ amount?
    Also, how much of this water kefir do you drink every day? Only a tablespoon doesn’t sound like much, but no one ever really says, so how much is an average serving

    Thank you

  78. says

    Hello! So, I’d like to try and make some water kefir, but I’m a bit confused about what to do with the grains after I make a batch. We may not drink it so quickly that I need to constantly be making more…how do I “store” the grains in between batches? How do I know if the grains are no longer good? Also, how does kefir water compare to kombucha (as in, in taste?)


    • MamatoBabes says

      Pop it in the fridge in some sugar water. Or just make smaller batches 😉 we make iceblocks with any extra. I reckon it tastes similar to the flavoured water you can buy – it’s a lovely light flavour but not as watery or chemically but that would be the closest example of taste. We use sultanas/raisins and it gives it a grape-y taste if we don’t do a second ferment. Kombucha is a lot stronger IMO and we’ve never enjoyed it as much (we being 2 parents and a growing number of small children :)), in fact it died during my current pregnancy and I’m probably not going to replace it. We LOVE water kefir though, we drink a ridiculous amount of it. HTH abit. Obvs preference is down to the individual palate and fermenting process.

  79. Beverly Bailey says

    I did a second ferment and after putting the flip top bottles in the fridge overnight I was very excited to try my new batch. When I opened the bottle it was like a volcano! It erupted all over my kitchen! Any ideas of how to avoid this?? It’s such a waste of my wonderful kefir!

  80. Oscar says

    I’ve been brewing water kifers grains for 2 months now. I started them with 1/4 c.of the grains, 1/4 c.of rapadura sugar, and 4 c. Of mineral bottled water. This, just a simple recipe, but it works wonders. The grains have multiplied fast and healthy and the taste of of the brew, delicious.
    I drink about 7 oz. of the brew in the morning, no more throughout the day. Here, I use common sense, because thus far I haven’t heard or read any were, how much is the ideal amount to drink.
    I’ve set up for friends with the water kifers. They follow the same recipe and maintenance of the W.K. And results are also excellent.
    Occasionally I eat a tea spoon of the W.K. Grains, there is no taste in them, but is OK, easier that way to eat them.
    As far as my own experience with the benefits of drinking the brew, we’ll, I’ve more energy, lost 4 pounds in wait, my sugar’s level is lower and my blood pressure is back to normal.
    I hope all of you get a lot more wonderful results.

  81. Pita says

    Is there any way of stopping the carbonation from blowing up bottles during the secondary fermentation? I have friends and family who want water kefir soda but are inclined to forget about a bottle for a month on the counter or in a pantry.

  82. Gerald Knauss says

    Thanks for the posting! Just bought some water Kefir grains from Amazon and look forward to trying them out. Never knew these things existed prior to a few days ago when I started to do some research on sources of probiotics (just knew about the lactose variety), was originally trying to find out more information on Kombucha. Nice to read all the replies and the sharing of experiences and advice.

  83. joni says

    I messed up with my kefir. I did not realize that I was suppose to boil the water and add the sugar to the water first. I added the sugar to the cold water, stirred it up, then I added the grains. Have I ruined the kefir? Is there anyway that I can save the grains? Please help

  84. Jessica says

    I have a question about sugar. I normally buy Florida Crystals. They sell two varieties, natural and demerara. Which do you think would be better for making kefir? Thank!
    Also, is it alright to put the lid on during the first fermentation instead of using a cloth?

  85. James says

    Can you ferment with the lid on?
    Does the ferment need to breath – if so why?

    I’m not actually using Kefir culture – instead I have used some wholefood probiotic powder blend mixed with coconut water in a jar with lid screwed on.

    I hope someone can clarify my questions. Many Thanks

  86. Marisa says

    Is this okay to drink during pregnancy? I drink milk kefir regularly already, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not to start drinking water kefir for the first time during pregnancy. Thanks!

  87. Danu Geraci says

    Can I do the second fermentation in a canning jar, or do I have to get a glass bottle with a “pop” top? What is everyone using for second fermentation storage?

    • jay says

      i’ve been using canning jars for the second fermentation since that’s what i have on hand. no explosions so far! i’m still experimenting with various procedures, but mostly i let the first fermentation go for 48 hrs, strain the grains out, divide the brew up into pint or quart canning jars, add various things for flavor, seal them up and leave at room temp for another 48 hrs before putting them in the fridge. the chilled beverage is always consumed within a week, so there has never been a case of long-term storage. i have read in the older comments here that “fido” jars will “burp themselves” if pressure gets to high, so they might be a safer alternative.

      • jay says

        i have to amend my previous comment. this morning when i woke up, one of four quart canning jars that contained a second fermentation of water kefir had exploded overnight. this second fermentation had been sitting on the counter-top at room temperature (~75F) for about 24 hours after the addition of 6 oz. of pureed strawberries for flavoring, with lids on tight to increase the carbonation of the finished product. after cleaning up the huge mess, and before moving the remaining three quarts to the fridge, i burped them. two had high levels of carbonation and one had virtually none. this seemed odd since all four of these containers were prepared exactly the same and together as a batch. a leaky lid on the low-fizz jar? perhaps, but that didn’t seem likely. in any event, i intend to change my procedure to reduce the amount of time before refrigerating the second fermentation AND either leave them un-sealed during this time or reduce the quantity of flavoring added. so to address the original posters question about the viability of using canning jars for a second fermentation, yes they may explode if conditions are right. and since brewing kefir is subject to many variables, it can happen in a very short period of time!

  88. Carolyn says

    I have been making water kefir for a couple of years, but for several reasons the grains have been waiting paitently in the refrigerator for a few months until I got them out this week and made up a jar. When I looked at it a few hours before it would be finished at 72 hours I saw it had a thin white scum on the top that looked like mold to me. At 72 hours I skimmed off as much of t he white stuff as possible and them filtered it through an unbleached coffe filter. I rinsed the grains and put them in a clean jar and covered them with spring water. Do you think the liquid I saved is safe to drink? It tastes about like it usually does. What happened and how can I prevent this from happening again?

    Thank you for your replay that I hope will come be email so I don’t have to search through the above comments.


  89. says

    I have been making water kefir for about a year now – and I think, for the most part, people make it way too complicated. Figs and fresh lemons tend to be a bit expensive where I live, so I keep it simple with just 1/4 c organic raw sugar and a bit of unsulphered blackstrap molasses dissolved in hot water, cooled, and then added to a quart jar with the kefir grains. My grains are still growing great.

    Sometimes I do a 2nd ferment with added flavorings, but usually I just drink the kefir right then. My grains don’t multiply too quickly – maybe because our temps are on the cool side – but when they fill up half the quart jar, I either divide and start a new jar, dehydrate them, share with friends, or eat them.

    This sure has turned into a long thread! Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and giving some inspiring ideas to try!

  90. says

    This is my second time trying the water kefir. My Kombucha has been going for over two years, but the kefir grains didn’t do so well the first time. My question is , “Is it alright to keep a closed lid on the first fermentation step as well?” My kefir is tasting better and has been consistent ever since I started using a lid in place of a coffee filter. Any comments or suggestions?

  91. Isa says

    I have a question about the recipe. Does the 1/4 cup water kefir grains mean 1/4 cup dried? Or 1/4 cup hydrated? I had 1/8 cup dried, so I started with that and cut the whole recipe in half. Not sure if I have done it right.

    Thank you.

      • Tammy says

        Hello. I’m new to all of this, so forgive me if this is a silly question. Can I use bottled spring water to make water kefir or does it need to be distilled or filtered/purified and then have the concentrace added? Thanks so much for your time.

    • Jenny says

      The real key is that it needs to be free from chlorine, which can interfere with the fermentation process, so spring water should work.

  92. H says

    Jenny, can you explain why you boil the water for your water kefir first? I ‘ve been using my tap water (well water) for about 5 months now, straight from the tap, add some demerarra sugar and my grains are happily multiplying.

    Also, Just for general information, I found a packet of dehydrated water kefir grains that I had purchased about 3 years ago. They perked up after the third ferment (I could tell because the water was a much lighter shade and tasted less sweet). Never hurts to try! Now I can’t keep up with these things, they are multiplying like the Tribbles from Star Trek!

  93. Anya Lynn says

    I made your recipe for water kefir and it went well until I made the second brew. I came home after about 13 hours and it had exploded all over my kitchen. I left room at the top for expansion. What can I do next time to avoid this. I also used the bottles you recommended.

  94. Minka Robinson Stevens says

    Hi Jenny, Thank you so much for the post. I caught your lecture at the SB Fermentation Festivsal and it was AMAZING! I am a passionate culturing enthusiast and acupuncturist in Santa Barbara and I just reposted your info to our blog, because I LOVE your recipe and the water kefir. Thank yo so much for making the journey, it wash and is such a treat.

  95. Minka Robinson Stevens says

    Hi Jenny, Thank you so much for the post. I caught your lecture at the SB Fermentation Festivsal and it was AMAZING! I am a passionate culturing enthusiast and acupuncturist in Santa Barbara and I just reposted your info to our blog, because I LOVE your recipe and the water kefir. Thank yo so much for making the journey, it was and is such a treat.

  96. Jillian says

    The last two batches of water kefir I’ve made have been a weird thick consistency – like egg whites. I can’t bring myself to drink it and am wondering what has happened? Is something wrong with my grains? It was working great for a while there. Thanks for your help!
    – Jillian

  97. Emma Bruinsma says

    Hiya, I have a couple of questions, Im new to all of this! :)

    can I use coconut sugar or honey instead of cane sugar?
    can coconut water be used instead of spring/filtered water?
    How long do the bottles last in the fridge after second fermentation?
    How much of this can I drink daily? I have about a cup of milk kefir daily also. Thanks so much!

  98. Anna says

    Hi! Thanks for this great post :) I’m just wondering: How important is it to have only a 1/2 – 1 inch gap at the top of the bottle during the second ferment? I have just started a second ferment in an airtight jar, but the water kefir only half fills it. Do you think this will be ok?
    Thanks so much!

  99. Carla says

    I misread a different recipe and put activated kefir grains (hydrated in two rounds of sugar water) in with water mixed with fruit syrup (berry liquid cooked down with sugar). Is it ok to have the fruit syrup in with the grains or does it have to be separated from the grains and added to just the fermented water?

  100. Piper says

    I have brewed water kefir 3 times now. The third time I got this waxy/oily film on top. Is this okay or should I be concerned? It smells the same and everything.

  101. Petra Hoette says

    I have been making Kefir water for 1.5 years now and my initial batch lasted me a year. Since this summer I have had to buy 2 new starter batches, because I am running into a problem I don’t seem to be able to fix:
    Syrupy Kefir!
    I have not changed anything, use filtered water from my fridge filter, (we also have a house filter, our ph is 6.4 with 0 alkalinity when it comes out of the fridge double filtered), I have not changed the sugar, but after the syrup thickness started but went from to organic brown to white–thinking it may have too high of a mineral concentration) and I always use 1/2 organic lemon in my first brew.

    I have rested my grains for 2 weeks, cleaned them thoroughly and when I restart a brew, the first one is “ok”… but the next ones get to be thicker and thicker…

    The Kefir itself looks great, some nice thick clusters, the color has changed from brown to white now, due to the white sugar.

    Does anyone have an idea? My guess is that my water is too alkaline, has too many minerals, though we filter it and always have. (maybe the water company changed suppliers since we are in a drought?) I am willing to change to buying water at the store, if that will solve my problem, but don’t really know which kind to buy. Arrowhead spring water has the highest alkalinity and pH, so I doubt I can use that gallon I bought…
    Thanks much

    • Ruth says

      Due to drought our well water got so bad that I bought a distiller. Of course I add a little minerals and a pinch of Real Salt (from Utah) and my kefir grows like crazy. My guess is your well water has something in it to cause the problem. Filters and reverse osmosis do not remove all of the minerals and chemicals. I love my distiller and bought it from Amazon for less than $150.

  102. Kristina says

    So…I brought home kefir crystas, did the recipe…drank it up and made more. Life happened and I found my jar while cleaning my cupboard (MONTHS later). Are the kefir crystals stil good if rinsed?

  103. Jackelyn says

    I was wondering about my water kefir grains and if they are still good? I’ve had them in my fridge for several months now ( because I kept forgetting about them ) they are in water. Would they still be any good?

    • Jenny says

      Sugar has been used for thousands of years. It’s possible it wasn’t grown or prepared in absences of sugar. You need a caloric sweetener to make this work and to feed the grains. If caloric sweeteners don’t mesh with your diet, best to skip water kefir altogether.

  104. Chelsea says

    We have been home brewing Kombucha for about 6 yrs and recently decided to try our hand at water kefir. We are a family of six and so we can go through about 3 gallons of Kombucha in a brewing period (about a week-give or take depending on temperature). Although sometimes we make it to the secondary brewing in individual bottles, typically we brew, dump it straight into a gallon container for the fridge. Can we “brew” water kefir in larger batches? Is the ratio incrementally increased based at the same rate between water and grains (6:1/4) in your recipe above?

  105. Jackie says

    Hi Jenny, I just wobdered if you could use a water kefir to boost a new sourdough starter? Specifically a gluten free one? I don’t have a dried cultured starter to help and I wondered if this would work? Thanks! Jackie

    • Jenny says

      I wouldn’t recommend it, as I think the best starters are flour+water, but I know that some people have done well with a kombucha start.

  106. Sammy says

    My mom began drinking milk kefir and noticed within two weeks that she was loosing weight without trying. Has anyone noticed anything similar with water kefir?


  107. says

    I’ve been making WK for several years. I do workshops and sell grains on my site too. I love love love it!! It’s great to rinse hair with first ferment….makes your hair super shiny!!! Great post I used to boil water, but stopped..just stir sugar in…works great and saves ton of time!!

  108. Katie says

    @Jenny, would these work also for coconut water kifer (the grains you have a link to — sorry for the dangling preposition!)

  109. Anthony says

    I have some water kefir grains. I have a problem with them. Something red is growing in the grains. So now the grains look like pink Himalayan salt. Does anyone know what this is, how it happened or if I should just throw it out?


  110. Beth Armstrong says

    Hi there – thank you so much for all the information you are giving as I am new to making water kefir. I have a question for you…
    I want to take some of my water kefir to work with me so I can drink it throughout the day. 1. Can I take it in an aluminium or stainless steel thermos container.
    2. Can I also take it in a plastic drink bottle
    Unfortunately I do not have any suitable glass containers and I am not sure whether metal will remain detrimental to the finished product.
    I hope my questions make sense. I look forward to your reply 😀

  111. Daniel says

    Thanks for the recipe! I have some water kefir someone gave me with a few grains in the bottom. Can I make small batches and let them grow until I have a 1/4 C. or do I need more of a critical mass? I was thinking of using some of the liquid as a starter to speed the process too….

  112. Monica says

    i made the 1st fermentation water kefir with the lemons and figs a few times. When I strain the kefir grains to re-use them I see that the seeds from the figs remain with the kefir grains. It would be difficult to remove these seeds but is it ok to leave them there with the kefir grains?

  113. Sandra says

    I love your website and posts. So clear and easy to read

    I have a couple of of questions regarding the jars to use.
    For the first fermentation, I can use a Mason Jar with the lid lightly lose, instead of a cloth? You mention this, but I want to make sure.’, as in the photo it seems you use both. Also, the lids for the Mason Jars are not plastic, right? But some sort of metal? Would that influence the kefir?
    For the second fermentation, can I use a Lido Jar? The opening is bigger than the flip top bottles?
    Finally, to store the kefir…Is it then okay to keep them in the fridge in mason jars with the ‘metal-like’ lids? Or the white plastic lids are better? I don’t have those.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  114. Sheri says

    My extra water kefir grains, I feed to my chickens. I’m sure they appreciate a healthy boost, I need to watch to see if they get as much thrill out of them as we do.

  115. Heidi says

    True…but they aren’t the same grain, so you cannot use dairy grains to make water kefir, or water grains to make dairy kefir.

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