Questions on Water Kefir Grains

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  • From Virginia at 5/27/11 1:46 PM
    • Thank you for sending my order out so quickly! It was placed on Sunday, and arrived by Thursday, in excellent shape.

      My question is about the water to use for water kefir grains. The instruction sheet said to use spring water, or boiled tap water rather than filtered water as through a Brita filter. Is this a hard-and-fast requirement for healthy kefir grains, or only a suggestion? (My family drinks Brita-filtered water all the time, and I would much rather use that than fuss with other water sources.)
    • The problem with using Brita-filtered water is that the charcoal filter system removes the trace minerals the grains need for nourishment, and over time it will weaken or starve them.

      You can use charcoal-filtered water if you replace the minerals. You can add 1/8 tsp unrefined sea salt, or 1/2 tsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses to each quart of solution to provide additional minerals for the grains. There are other ways to do it too, but those are probably the simplest.
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  • From Dana at 5/30/11 6:33 PM
    • Can I use the water kefir grains to make Kombucha, as well, or do I need to buy Kombucha starters for that?

      What about the dairy kefir grains? Can I not use them for water kefir or Kombucha?

      Thank you!
      Dana
    • Water kefir, milk kefir, and kombucha are three completely different organisms. The difference in the bacteria strains is what produces the different products. You will need a kombucha starter to make kombucha, and you will need milk kefir grains to culture milk.
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  • From shawna at 6/8/11 7:24 PM
    • If I use orgainic cane sugar at the suggested ratios what will the caloric content be per quart of fermented kefir?
    • We are unable to say exactly what the caloric content of the finished kefir may be. About 80% of the sugar you use in kefir will be converted to glucose, which is used by the grains for nutrition and reproduction, leaving about 20% by volume of fructose. The fructose will continue to ferment and reduce.

      The exact final caloric content will depend on your specific culturing conditions.
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  • From jo at 6/11/11 11:12 AM
    • Can I use organic coconut sugar to re-hydrate my new water kefir grains?
    • Coconut sugar may be okay for rehydrating water kefir grains. It is about 80% sucrose (table sugar is 100% sucrose), and is loaded with minerals, which water kefir grains like.

      We have noticed that coconut sugar can be hard on the grains, however. For best results, rehydrate the grains in cane sugar. If you'd like to culture sugar water made with coconut sugar, keep an eye on your grains. If they begin to break up or turn mushy, please switch back to cane sugar or alternate batches with cane sugare and coconut sugar, to keep your grains healthy.

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  • From Sally at 6/23/11 4:59 PM
    • I've been looking for kosher kefir grains for quite a while. Would you happen to know if this is kosher?
    • They are not CERTIFIED kosher. However, they are made using nothing but spring water and organic cane sugar. The equipment used to make them is not used for anything else.
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  • From Sally at 6/23/11 5:52 PM
    • Thanks for answering my question so quickly. Can I use these water kefir grains to make milk kefir?

      Thank You!
    • Sorry, milk kefir and water kefir are entirely different organisms. Milk kefir grains can sometimes be converted to work with water, but can't be converted back, and you can't convert water grains to work with milk.
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  • From Jennifer at 6/26/11 2:32 PM
    • Can I use honey or agave nectar instead of sugar?
    • Honey is not a good choice for water kefir, as it has antibacterial properties and may weaken or kill the grains. Agave nectar is primarily fructose, and you may get a good fermentation from it, but the grains need glucose to grow and reproduce. Cane sugar tends to give the best results for water kefir. The sucrose of the cane sugar is converted to glucose (used for growth and reproduction) and fructose (which will continue fermenting and produce carbon dioxide).
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  • From paula at 7/7/11 10:36 PM
    • I've had great success with my water kefir, but lately I've noticed a lot of sediment or floating strands especially in the second fermentation step. What is that?!
    • That sounds like yeasty growths, and may be a result of your grains wanting more minerals. Try adding 1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt to each quart of sugar water and see if that helps.
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  • From Jan at 7/7/11 2:03 PM
    • What water works best with the water kefir? I have reverse osmosis and I heard there isn't enough mineral in the water. I am afraid to use tap water!
    • It's true that RO water is too clean for water kefir!

      Actually, tap water is usually best, unless it contains chlorine or fluoride. Chlorine can be removed by boiling or aeration; chloramine (a chlorine alternative) needs to be charcoal-filtered. Fluoride is a litte trickier, and requires special filters.

      If you have to use ultra-pure water, you can add in minerals with 1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt per quart of water, or 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, or 1/2 teaspoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses. Some people add oyster shell, or clean eggshell.
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  • From jon at 7/14/11 8:01 AM
    • regarding kosher kefir grains - you state

      'They are not CERTIFIED kosher. However, they are made using nothing but spring water and organic cane sugar. The equipment used to make them is not used for anything else.'

      this would be fine - however - do they somehow originate from a sheep stomach or something lovely like that - if so - how remote was that?
    • No, there are no animals involved in any part of water kefir production. The grains themselves are a collection of bacteria and yeast, making up a complex polysaccharide. There is very little known about the true origin of the organism, but some evidence points to its original discovery in cactus plants.
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