Save 20% Site Wide! Coupon code: HOLIDAY

$3.99 Flat Rate Shipping* Click here for details

Choosing the Best Water Kefir Ingredients

The sugar and water used to make water kefir can affect the flavor and carbonation level of the finished product and may affect the health of the grains as well.

If your water kefir is too sweet for your taste or too flat after bottling the finished water kefir, try a different type of sugar.

If your water kefir grains do not appear to be active, you may simply need mineral supplementation or a different sugar and water combination. Please contact Customer Support for assistance in making adjustments.

Choosing a Sugar for Making Water Kefir

When choosing a sugar for making water kefir, always read the label. Some sugars may contain anit-caking additives or other ingredients that could affect the health of the water kefir grains. Look for plain sugar with no added ingredients, for best results.


 Type of Sugar  Description  Results
Refined white sugar

Pure white, free of minerals

Makes a sweet water kefir
Organic Cane Juice Crystals Less refined than white sugar; very low mineral content Makes a sweet water kefir

Turbinado or     Raw Sugar

Sugar that is spun to have most of the molasses removed. Slightly less refined than OCJC; medium mineral content

Makes a less sweet water kefir than white sugar or OCJC
Rapadura or Sucanat

Sugar cane juice that has been pressed and dried; high mineral content

Makes a stronger-flavored water kefir
Brown Sugar

White sugar with molasses added back; high mineral content

Makes a stronger-flavored water kefir
Coconut Palm Sugar

Sugar extracted and dried from coconut palm trees; very high mineral content

Too rich for water kefir; can damage water kefir grains. Use small amounts only in combination with cane sugar. 
Maple Sugar or Syrup

Made from the sap of the sugar maple tree

Too rich for water kefir; can damage water kefir grains. Use small amunts only in combination with cane sugar.
Honey Natural sugar from bees; high in mineral content  Raw honey has its own bacteria that can compete with water kefir grains; some honey is contaminated with high fructose corn syrup; NOT recommended
Molasses  Very high mineral content Molasses used on its own can be damaging to water kefir grains; use only ½ tsp as mineral supplementation, as needed.

Agave, stevia, monk fruit, Splenda

Sugar substitutes  Will not provide food for the water kefir grains. NOT recommended


Choosing a Water Source for Making Water Kefir

Water kefir grains may 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 an activated carbon filter (such as a Britta or Pur) often have extremely low or non-existent mineral levels. If using one of these types of water, and your water kefir grains seem sluggish or inactive, it may help to either use a high mineral sugar (see above) or add a mineral supplement to your water.

Mineral Supplementation Options:

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 may remove at least the chlorine. Letting the water stand for 24 hours will also allow the chlorine to evaporate. Chloramines must be filtered. Fluoride must be removed by filters designed to remove fluoride.

Structured, alkalized, or pH-adjusted water is not appropriate for culturing water kefir.

Click here for more information on Choosing the Right Water for Culturing.


Choosing the Best Water Kefir Ingredients

Related Articles


Related Products

Water Kefir Grains Water Kefir Grains
Water Kefir Starter Kit Water Kefir Starter Kit
Flip-top Grolsch-style Bottle 750 ml Flip-top Grolsch-style Bottle
Fermented: A Four SEasons Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods Fermented: A Four Seasons Approach to Paleo Probiotic Foods

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 180,000+ other health-conscious readers
  • We never share your information!
first name last name email address

Updating your cart...