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We've compiled this list of FAQs to help you learn more about water kefir! From water kefir basics to choosing ingredients to instructions for making water kefir, these FAQs cover nearly everything you need to know to start making water kefir at home, whether you are just starting to experiment with culturing or are experienced with fermented foods. If you still haven't found what you're looking for, be sure to check out our full collection of expert advice on making water kefir at home or reach out with more questions. We're here to help!
A. Water kefir is a probiotic beverage made with water kefir grains. Water kefir grains can be used to culture sugar water, juice, or coconut water. A powdered Kefir Starter Culture may also be used to culture coconut water or fruit juice.
A. Water kefir grains consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The term "kefir grains" describes the look of the culture only. Water kefir grains contain no actual "grains" such as wheat, rye, etc.
A. There are three primary differences between water kefir grains and powdered kefir starter:
A. Our water kefir grains are grown in filtered water and organic sugar.
A. Water kefir contains fewer strains of bacteria and yeasts than milk kefir. On the other hand, water kefir contains far more than other cultured products, like yogurt or buttermilk.
A. While the probiotics can vary with each batch made with water kefir grains, a list of bacteria and yeasts generally found in water kefir grains can be found in our article, Composition of Water Kefir Grains: Bacteria & Yeasts.
For our powdered starter cultures, a list of ingredients can be found on each product page.
A. Yes! Water kefir contains no dairy and are grown in filtered water and organic sugar.
A. No, water kefir grains do not contain gluten.
A. Yes, water kefir grains are reusable. Once a batch of water kefir is finished culturing, simply remove the water kefir grains and place them in fresh sugar water, juice, or coconut water.
The powdered kefir starter culture may also be resued several times. Simply follow the instructions for Making Kefir with a Direct-Set Starter Culture.
A. If cared for properly, water kefir grains have an unlimited life span and can be used repeatedly to make water kefir.
Kefir made with a powdered kefir culture (direct-set) can often be recultured from 2-7 times. The exact number of successive batches will depend on the freshness of the kefir and hygienic practices employed.
A. We strongly recommend moving the water kefir grains to fresh sugar water after four days, maximum. The grains can starve if left longer without fresh food.
A. We don't recommend drinking the rehydration liquid. Since the water kefir grains spent their time rehydrating rather than consuming the sugar, the resulting solution will likely contain a large amount of sugar. Also, the sugar water may taste unpleasant, as part of the rehydration process involves the rebalancing of the yeast and bacteria that comprise the water kefir grains.
A. Water kefir generally takes 24-48 hours to culture. The exact time will vary depending on environmental factors, the most important of which is temperature. Allowing the water kefir grains to culture for longer than 48 hours puts you at risk of starving the grains and potentially damaging them.
A. Many homes maintain temperatures that are cooler, especially in the winter. For tips on keeping cultures within proper temperature range, see our article, Cold Weather Care for Starter Cultures.
A. The liquid may lighten in color and turn cloudy. The flavor may become less sweet and it may have a slightly tangy or sour aroma and flavor. We always recommend that you refrain from consuming anything that looks, smells, or tastes unpleasant.
A. The taste of finished water kefir varies greatly, depending on the sugar used and the culturing time. Water kefir can be fairly sweet and may have a flat taste unless bottled. Most people prefer to add flavoring to water kefir before consuming.
A: Finished water kefir can be stored as follows:
A. To culture 1-2 quarts water kefir, use 3-4 tablespoons of hydrated water kefir grains.
A. No. There is no need to rinse the water kefir grains between batches, and regular rinsing may be detrimental to the health of the water kefir grains.
A. We recommend using a clean container for each batch of water kefir.
A. Theoretically food-grade plastic shouldn't cause any damage to the culture but we always recommend glass when working with starter cultures, due to the potential of plastic to leach undesirable chemicals.
A. Detailed instructions can be found in our article and video, How to Flavor Water Kefir.
A. We do not recommend adding fruit or other flavoring to the water kefir with the grains. Some fruits and other flavoring may be damaging to the water kefir grains.
A. Yes, some fruit juices can be used to make water kefir. However, using water kefir grains in juice and then moving them to sugar water may result in unpleasant-tasting water kefir. We recommend maintaining two sets of water kefir grains instead, one for juices and one for sugar water. Alternately, add juice as flavoring after the grains have been removed.
A. Yes, coconut water can be used to make water kefir. We recommend rehydrating the water kefir grains using sugar water and then making a few batches of sugar water kefir prior to using coconut water. Alternate coconut water batches with sugar water batches to keep the grains healthy.
A. We do not recommend using honey to make water kefir.
A. A number of sugars can be used to make water kefir. Consult our article for more information on Choosing Ingredients for Making Water Kefir.
A. No, there should be enough sugar in the juice to feed the water kefir grains.
A. The remaining sugar in finished water kefir will vary depending on ingredients used and culturing conditions. Generally speaking, water kefir cultured for 48-hours will result in less remaining sugar than water kefir cultured 24-hours under similar conditions.
A. Use water as free from contaminants as possible, for the health of the water kefir grains. For more information, consult our article, Choosing Ingredients for Making Water Kefir.
A. As with all cultured and fermented foods, a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol is typically present in the finished product. Although the amount will vary from batch to batch, for the typical brewing period, the amount should be quite low.
A. Yes. Culturing water kefir grains in 100% juice (especially with added sugar) for several days will result in a higher alcohol content. Also, it is possible to make a type of beer using water kefir grains.
A. Water kefir grains are known to multiply, but at times they are reluctant to do so. Even if they do not multiply, with proper care, water kefir grains can be used repeatedly to brew water kefir. For more information, consult our article, Encouraging Water Kefir Grains to Multiply.
A. Making water kefir does not require any specialized equipment. Please see our article How to Make Water Kefir for more information
A: While a plastic mesh strainer is preferred, stainless steel is acceptable. Avoid all other types of metal when working with water kefir grains.
A. Detailed instructions can be found in our article How to Take A Break from Making Water Kefir.
A. We suggest a distance of at least 4 feet between cultures. When stored in the refrigerator with a tight-fitting lid, there is no need to keep distance between cultures.
A. We recommend using 3-4 tablespoons of water kefir grains to culture 1-2 quarts of sugar water. More grains cause the culturing process to progress very quickly, so it is best to remove any amount above 4 tablespoons, to avoid over-culturing and to impart the best flavor.
Extra water kefir grains can be used to culture another jar of water kefir, shared with friends, eaten, blended into smoothies, or dried and stored in a sealed container in the fridge as backup.
A: The water kefir grains may be contained in a muslin bag. Be sure the bag is submerged in the sugar water. If it floats it can mold.
A: If you are using a quality water and sugar source, additives should not be necessary.