Choosing the Best Water Kefir Ingredients


Which sugar and water you use to make water kefir matters for both the final taste of the kefir as well as the health of the kefir culture.

Choosing a Sugar Variety When Making Water Kefir

There are several options when choosing the best sugar to use when making water kefir.

The first is to use plain white sugar. We recommend organic whenever possible to reduce the amount of chemicals the grains are exposed to.  White sugar yields a light-tasting water kefir and makes the perfect background for most flavoring options (adding juice, etc. after fermentation is complete).

Second, you can use a whole sugar such as rapadura or Sucanat which do not have the molasses portion of the sugar removed. Using a whole (less processed) sugar yields a stronger tasting water kefir that many people like.

We do not recommend using honey when making water kefir. While honey does yield a light-tasting water kefir and is less processed than white sugar, honey also presents a couple of significant issues. Water kefir grains are composed of bacteria and yeast. Honey can produce an antibacterial action,  so over time, using honey can damage and potentially kill the water kefir grains. Additionally, honey (especially raw honey) may have added organic matter than can disturb the balance of bacteria in the water kefir grains. If you do choose to use honey, simply be aware that you will likely have to replace your water kefir grains every few months rather than keeping them for a significantly long period of time.

Choosing a Source of Water When Making Water Kefir

Kefir grains benefit from water sources with higher mineral content. Some water sources such as well water or spring water can be naturally high in mineral content and are ideal for making kefir. 

On the other hand, distilled water, reverse osmosis water and water which has been filtered through a activated carbon filter (such as a Britta or Pur filter) often have extremely low or non-existent mineral levels. If using one of these types of water, it is a good idea to either use a high mineral sugar (such as a whole sugar) or add minerals to your water.

Some options for adding minerals include:

  • 1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon plain baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsulfured blackstrap molasses
  • A few drops of liquid mineral supplement (such as Concentrace)
  • 1 teaspoon oyster shell (sterilized, the kind that is used in aquariums), or sterilized, crushed eggshell (If you use oyster shell or eggshell, put it in a muslin bag so it doesn’t get mixed up with the grains.)

If using tap water, we do recommend filtering the water to remove as many additives, chemicals and contaminants as possible. If filtering is not possible, aerating or boiling the water for 20 minutes will generally remove at least the chlorine. Letting the water stand for 24 hours will also let the chlorine evaporate. Chloramines must be filtered. Fluoride must be removed by filters designed to remove fluoride.

Click here for more information on choosing the right water for your water kefir.






Bottled Water Kefir

Related Articles & Recipes:


Related Products:

Water Kefir Grains Water Kefir Grains (starter culture)
750 ml Flip top Bottle for Water Kefir 750 ml Flip-top Grolsch-style Bottle

Free eBook Library Access & Weekly Newsletter

Sign up today for free access to our entire library of easy to follow eBooks on creating cultured foods at home, including Lacto-Fermentation, Kombucha, Kefir, Yogurt, Sourdough, and Cheesemaking.
  • Library of eBooks for making your own cultured foods
  • Weekly newsletter filled with tips & tricks
  • Expert advice articles, recipes, and how-to videos
  • Join 150,000+ other health-conscious readers
  • We never share your information!
first name last name email address