How to Make Water Kefir Soda

How to make water kefir

It’s a probiotic… it’s a carbonated drink… it’s Water Kefir!

I started making this as part of my mission to get more probiotics in our diet and it has worked like a charm! The kids love it and ask for it each morning.

Water Kefir Culture

You will need one unusual ingredient for this recipe: water kefir cultures (also called Water Kefir Grains). They aren’t really grains, but are a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria that create probiotics and enzymes during the process of breaking down natural sugar.

I got my water kefir grains from this family-owned company. You’ll also need…

Equipment Needed

  • Glass Jar (1 quart or half gallon)
  • Wooden spoon for stirring (avoid metal)
  • Towel, cheesecloth or coffee filter to cover jar
  • Rubber band
How to make healthy probiotic water kefir natural soda

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How to Make Water Kefir Soda



Yield 4 +

A healthy probiotic-rich drink that you can make quickly and easily at home for pennies.


  • Hydrated Water Kefir Grains (I get mine here)
  • 1/4 cup sugar per quart of water (I like organic unprocessed Rapadura sugar) Do not use honey!! Non-chlorinated filtered water (If you use reverse osmosis, consider adding a few drops of trace minerals back in or sticking a rinsed pastured egg shell in for minerals) If you just have tap water, boil it to remove chlorine and cool before using


  1. Dissolve the sugar in small amount of hot water.
  2. When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm- it must be at room temp!
  3. Add the hydrated water kefir grains
  4. Cover with towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band to keep out insects or small children.
  5. Leave on the counter (preferably at 70-75 degrees) for 24-48 hours. The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out, so if you ware limiting carbs, I recommend 48 hours. Don't leave longer than this! It can starve the grains!
  6. After 48 hours, strain the water kefir grains through a bamboo or mesh strainer (don't use metal if you can help it!) pouring the liquid into another container. I use a half gallon jar for the first process and strain into two quart size jars.
  7. Restart the process by dissolving more sugar in water, adding cool water and adding Water Kefir Grains.
  8. To make the Water Kefir carbonated, pour a couple ounces of fruit juice into the strained water kefir you just strained. I've found Grape, Pomegranate, Apple and Cherry to work the best. I don't recommend citrus for this part, as it makes stringy yeast like things that are not tasty! Once you've added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an air tight lid and leave on the counter an additional 1-3 days before drinking or refrigerating. Repeat the process!

Courses Drinks

Cuisine Fermented

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My Favorite Kefir Variations

  • After the first fermentation, cap the water kefir without adding any juice. After two days, put in fridge and add vanilla extract before drinking- tastes like cream soda!
  • Adding lemon juice and drinking right after the first fermentation- tastes like lemonade!
  • Doing the second fermentation with grape, apple, cherry or pomegranate for a fizzy fruit flavored soda.
  • Adding raisins or prune juice for the second fermentation- tastes like Dr. Pepper.
  • Making a grape or berry flavored second fermentation and mixing with iced herbal tea for a carbonated fruity iced tea drink.
  • Add pineapple juice after the first fermentation, but drink right away- don’t allow to ferment or it gets slimy!

Water Kefir Recipe Video Tutorial

This video that explains this in more detail and gives step by step instructions. You can also check out Cultures for Health to find the supplies to make Water Kefir Soda and other great fermented probiotic-rich foods and drinks!

Have you ever made water kefir? What’s your favorite flavor?

Water Kefir is a naturally fizzy fermented drink that is full of probiotics and enzymes for a delicious and healthy drink!

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Reader Comments

  1. Can’t wait to try this! I’ve made water kefir before, but never using the method you describe. Thanks for sharing (found you at FBF). Blessings, ~Lisa

    • Hi.
      My friend has recently given me some kefir plant and now I am trying to grow it. But is seems to have died… can i tell if it is still alive.

    • Hi I’m not sure that this is the right place to post this comment??
      I have been struggling to make kefir water for about 2 months now….I have traveled a lot.
      But i have finally got to the point where i can see some new clear grains. But my drink does not seem to be carbonating at all or just a very little. why is that. Not even in the second fermentation. In our country we are now in winter. Could that be the cause?

      • Go to the cultures for health website for help. The kefir grains must be fed enough sugar water to be healthy….sometimes every 24 hours until they get healthy again. Read the information on that website and it will help you a lot.

      • I brew my water Keifer in a sealed canning jar (wire clamp kind 1 liter) and add dried cranberries. 2 days on the countertop then leaved sealed and place in refrige until needed. After I’m ready for it, I keep it in a wire clamped bottle to hold carbination.

      • I use swing top bottles for my second firementation and either a little bit of dried fruit (peaches or pineapple are our favorites), or one half can of nectar (like the soda cans) in each 34 oz bottle. It’s important if you use the swing too bottles to use bottles that are round in the bottom and not square, as the square ones have a tendency to explode.

    • In the recipe you say avoid metal strainer but…I can’t seem to find a mesh strainer that isn’t metal. I mean all the strainers I find are metal or plastic but as far as small strainers go there isn’t a mesh one that is not metal.

      • I started making kefir drink two ago. I checked everywhere to find a non-metal strainer, places like Macy’s, whole food, target, bath bed and beyond … But none of them has it. Finally, I went to a chinese store in Chinatown, Manhattan nyc. I found a pack of three plastic strainers with nylon nets, costed only $1.19. Their sizes are 3 1/4 , 4 1/2 and 6 inches.

      • I just placed a cheese cloth over my metal/mesh strainer and it hasn’t harmed the grains at all. Plus it makes transferring the grains easier.

      • I use a sprouting lid, works like a charm!

      • I found a set of three plastic mesh strainers (just cheap-y ones) at Walmart for under $2

      • Dollar General has a small plastic strainer that is perfect

      • Silicone works great. Bed Bath and Beyond has a small one with tiny holes (not as fine as metal, but works great).

      • Walmart has a set of three sizes for under $2

      • Try WalMart for mesh strainers.. They have a set of four mesh strainers small to large sizes

      • I use a plastic drain cover! lol

      • I use a cheesecloth to cover with a rubber band, and found just pouring it into another glass jar for the second fermentation works well. Then I take off cheesecloth (after tapping any grains down into original jar), add the sugar water to grains, move the cheesecloth to a dry part and put rubber band back onand repeat 🙂 saves me a step, once I lost my plastic strainer moving from Denver to Austin! 🙂

  2. We’ve been enjoying water kefir soda for a few months now, but I’ve never tried adding juice and doing a second ferment.  We usually drink it with fresh lemon juice squeezed in, but a second ferment would certainly be more convenient. Thanks for the tips on what juices work best!  Have you ever tried using strawberries/strawberry juice for the second ferment? Just curious as we’re swimming in strawberries from our garden right now.

    • I haven’t tried it because our strawberries aren’t producing yet, but
      I’ve had friends who added in sliced strawberries or strawberry juice
      and they said it was great!

      •  Thanks!  I’ll try it with the batch that is fermenting right now!

      • I’m wondering how much juice to add to the water keifer and also what is the difference between first and second fermentation?

      • Sorry, I just noticed your recipe says a couple of ounces for the fruit juice?

  3. I’ve tried several batches of water kefir, but my kids don’t like it (and to be honest, neither do I). Mine tastes very alcoholic, like bad wine. Not at all like the fizzy fruit soda that I tried from the woman who gave me the grains.  Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

    • If it tastes too alcoholic, you’re probably leaving them for too long (or it’s warmer there, as temperature accelerates the process). Try leaving the grains+sugar water for 24 hours at room temperature, then filtering the kefir grains out, adding fruit juice and putting it in the fridge (instead of outside) for a day.

  4. Just an FYI… I started drinking kefir water about two weeks ago and now have my first yeast infection in 5 years. Saw my chiro/nutritionist and kefir is the culprit. He said there are 700 types of probiotics and not all of us respond favorably to them. 🙁 Even “good” probiotics can mess up your flora. I just say this in case other woman experience the dame thing and don’t consider it might be the kefir cause it’s a probiotic.

    • Could that possibly be a ‘healing crisis’ or some kind of detox reaction/flare up? I have read that if you already have an imbalance you’re likely to feel worse before u feel better, it’s like the ‘bad’ bacteria is protesting =)

      • Wondering the same thing as it’s what happened to me also.

      • thinking that too- look up “candida die-off”

    • Interesting about your yeast infection. My first infection dragged on for 6 months until I discovered water kefir.

      But you’re right, people are not one size fits all!

  5. where can I get the kefir grain at? What kind od store do I got to?

      • You can also order it on amazon.

      • Keysands is great! I lost my grains during a move – they had lasted for 2 years. I ordered again from Keysands. Customer Service is great and the grains are healthy.

  6. Can I use black strap molasses in place of sugar?

    • You can add it but it doesn’t have quite the same chemical composition to completely replace the sugar…

      • I actually use 1/4 c sugar and 1 tsp molasses. Yummy!

    • You can add it but it doesn’t have quite the same chemical composition to completely replace the sugar…

      • It also tastes incredibly strong. I have used 1/4 Tbs. Molasses in conjunction with other sugar fuels, just for the mineral content.

  7. I have been doing water kefir for about 6 months now and I have noticed some things and wondered if you had any thoughts on them. I really like it with lemon, but with the price of lemons and not wanting to go to the store so often with my 3 youngsters I bought some organic lemon juice. I feel good about the source and feel its an ok substitute, but I noticed my kefir doesn’t get bubbly with it. Is that bad? Do you think it’s killing the good stuff? I would really love to get your opion.

    • It is probably fine to use, especially if its organic. There is probably more available sugar in fresh juice, so that is why it gets bubblier. As long as you aren’t adding the juice to the ferment with the kefir grains, it should still be high in good bacteria…

    • Lemon is not used as a flavor, it is used to feed the grains. They get a lot of what they are after from the skin, that is why lemon juice is not as good.

  8. Hi, Kefir soda is an absolute godsend.  I have a very imbalanced digestive system and the use of probiotics is life changing, I can’t stress that enough. Thank you very much for helping spread this knowledge to others! However, I’ve been making my own kefir soda and I have a problem… my latest batches (using the finest ingredients) aren’t carbonating!    First I was using a simple Apricot nectar from a can plus some lemon juice. no preservatives but not organic and had added sugar. still, i got some carbonation. next i used an all natural, no preservative fruit punch of apple cherry pear and grape…a little fizzier but not as great. then i got an all organic, no added sugar, no preservative pomegranate cherry lime juice and…NO carbonation. wha? I always leave my 1st and 2nd ferments for 24-30 hours. should I try leaving them longer? are my grains dead? I’m confused! Thanks!!!

    • Sometimes the carbonation is just slow to come. I have noticed that if I add a bit (1 tsp per quart) of honey to the SECOND fermentation then it kicks the yeast in butt and says, “Wake up!” Also, if your house is < 70 degrees then you might have to let it ferment longer/ move it to a warmer spot. Another thing to think about is sealing the second fermentation tight. I usually let mine ferment for 24 hours unsealed and for 12-18 hours sealed tight, to lock in the bubbles. This makes an incredibly fizzy beverage, especially when paired with fresh berries or juice!

      • This is yeast based? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of a probiotic? I thought yeast caused candida overgrowth?

  9. Should you add lemon and other dried fruit for the first fermentation?

    • It can actually mess up the grains if used with them, but is fine after for the second ferment.

  10. Does the acidity in kefir harm our teeth? How much kefir might be too much in a day? I have been making and drinking kefir made with milk and seem to be getting good results with my GERD issues. My sons won’t drink it because of the tartness. I think they may like this if I use the word “soda”!

    • From everything I’ve seen as long as you have good oral health this won’t harm your teeth at all… It actually isn’t very acidic either

  11. Can U tell me if the process eats up all the sugar? (after 1st ferment not after additions)

  12. May sound like a silly question but when getting filtered water for these recipes, how to you know the filtered water doesn’t have chlorine or fluoride Does just buying the jugs of filtered water at the grocery store work, I don’t think they say on the labels? We have a water filter on our fridge but it doesn’t filter out these things. I don’t want reverse osmosis water because of lack of minerals. We are eventually going to get a full house filtration system to eliminate chlorine and fluoride but that might not be for a few months.

    • You could actually use distilled. We use reverse osmosis for the water kefir, etc since we have it, but any should work. The spring and drinking waters in the stores do have chlorine and fluoride though.

      • Chlorine is used in processing spring water, but is then later completely removed. Fluoride is still found in most RO water, dependent on the source, but is not commonly used in spring water. I find that spring water works best for water kefir due to the high mineral content.

      • We also have a reverse osmosis filter. I’m now thinking we should supplement our water with trace minerals. How do you do that? Do you have any brands you recommend? Thank you for your website and all the great information you share!

        • I use a brand called concentrace mineral. They are in a small bottle and are liquid. I got them locally from a healthfood store but I know you can get them online. I use them because of the RO water. Hope this helps!

        • I also have an R/O filter and was worried about having minerals stripped out of my body. I like that it’s clean – but I don’t want it to clean out my minerals! 🙂 Anyway, I used the drops at first, but I didn’t know exactly how much to do with each thing I was using (what if it was only a cup of water? I still wanted minerals but I couldn’t do half of a drop or less.), so I found a different mechanism for getting the minerals without me even having to think about it. I found a company based in California (I think) that has a remineralization filter that attaches to your R/O system – it works with all of them. The name of the company is called Vitev and the thing is called REMIN. I have been very happy with it. It is easy to put in, easy to change out. They have good customer support, too. I recommend them if you don’t want to do the drops. Anyway, just my $0.02!

    • I’ve been successfully using store-brand spring water sweetened with processed dark brown sugar to make my kefir for two years and have had no problems at all. Just have to remember to burp the second ferment.
      I also cultured organic coconut water sweetened with raw sugar which caused the kefir grains to grow so rapidly (quadrupling in 2 days in my under-70-degree home) that I actually put it in the refrigerator to slow them down – and it did continue to culture in there!
      For those unable to source kefir grains, either dairy or water, there is an international list of people willing to share their excess for local pickup, the cost of postage or maybe a little more at There’s something about kefir that invites sharing. 🙂

    • Kristy Kelley – this is off topic but can you reference a good house system to remove chloride/fluoride for a water system? They are so darn expensive! RO I don’t like either due to lack of minerals.

      • Can you get rid of fluoride without RO? I didn’t think so. I think Dr. Mercola just adds Himalayan salt to his for minerals. That’s what we might do when we get ours.

        • You can get rid of fluoride with a Berkey filter.

          • Did you hear about Black Mica by Adya? I read about it yesterday in internet. The mineral was found by Japanese. It claims it can clarify fluoride Chloride and heavy metals in water and change them into something human bodies can expel them. I wonder if it can be trusted.

    • As long as you take care of them, you can reuse them for years…

      • How do you best care for your kefir grains? Also, I’ve seen others suggest using honey, but you stated that it was “anti-bacterial” correct? I’ve just started using kefir grains and it doesn’t seem like there is much carbonation at all, though there is fermentation. I initially made the mistake of adding the sugar to the water without dissolving it in warm water first, before I found your video. Would that have affected the grains?

        • It should still be fine. To get carbonation, you have to do the second fermentation to get the carbonation.

          • Hello Katie,

            I am a new kefir user, but a long-time kombucha user. Picking up on how to make kombucha seemed really easy for me, with no knowledge on the topic (except from a bottle, at the health food store) – and seemed to have great luck with it, to where I have multiple kombuchas and scobies, of varying degrees all over the house. I like the low-maintenance aspect of the kombucha process.

            However, I am not having a good time with kefir, and want to give up. My water kefir was purchased from Amazon; they arrived in good health and began multiplying quickly after 1 full cycle. Everything seemed to go well: purified water, melted sweetener (1st attempt: molasses, 2nd attempt: brown sugar, 3rd attempt: organic raw sugar, 4th attempt: organic coconut sugar), left in rubber-band secured coffee filtered covered mason jars for 24 hours (with slight micro-bubbles erupting from bottom of jar, when kefir water is moved, and then more “sugar-water” of the using the type used for the initial 24 hour attempt, and then this solution separated from kefir and poured into “swing-top” glass bottles, and left out for another 24-48 hours. Every attempt has yielded an end result that smells – BAD. Thinking that my sensitive smell was causing me to be too picky, I forced myself to take a sip and IMMEDIATELY spat it out. It was horrible, and tasted like something that should not be consumed – like mold, with a faint hint of alcohol (this happened whether I waited 24 or 48 hours for the 2nd fermentation), and no carbonation.

            If it matters, I live in northwest Florida. The kefir was kept in room temperatures between 70-75 degrees.

            Since I have given up, I have put my kefir in the fridge, and occasionally add sugar to the kefir’s solution, and it is still multiplying nicely.

            Based on what I hear others saying about their successful kefir, I want to try again – but don’t want to continue wasting money and product.

            So, that being said:

            1) What exactly am I doing wrong?
            2) What should kefir taste like? What should my senses be experiencing when I taste a proper, successful kefir?
            3) What are the things that I should be avoiding, or being sure is happening throughout the kefir soda process?

            I appreciate any/all advice, input and/or recommendations. Thanks ahead of time.

          • Was the taste any different based on which sugar you used? I’ve had the best result with raw sugar and not coconut sugar or any other type. I found that using organic sugar and a tiny amount of molasses was a good mix. I’m wondering if the molasses in the first run gave too much sulfur and changed the taste. i’d try washing the grains carefully with clean water and making another batch with just the raw sugar. I’d discard that batch and then try to the second batch made the same way.

  13. Thanks!! Someone shared Kefir grains with me. It was raw milk based, now coconut milk based. Can I removea section & make it a water based Kefir?

    • Unfortunately they don’t switch from milk to water well at all…

      • i switched some to water and they work just fine. only thing is that they don’t grow. i think it’s the same with the coconut milk though also. i switched mine more than 6 months ago and they are still working just as well as at first. in fact, about 3 months ago i added more so i could make larger quantities of water kefir.

  14. A couple of questions: the sucrose is converted to fructose. While this doesn’t impact blood sugar, isn’t fructose worse for you overall? Second, do you have an idea how much sugar might be left after a full fermentation time period? I am still in a weight-loss phase but I do want more ways of getting probiotics in my diet. (I also want more to drink than water) will drinking this hold back my efforts?

    • I think that both of those are addressed on the site with the cultures (link above)

  15. I’m so glad you posted this. My son has digestive issues and kefir was recommended to us but he hates kefir milk. I never thought about kefir water soda. I’m definitely giving this a try. Thanks!

  16. I want to start incorporating water kefir in our home, but I’m not sure how to start. How much water kefir do you start drinking each day and how much for the kids? I have an 8 and a 5 year old, and will have a newborn in February. I can’t find any info on quantities and would love your help. Love your website!!

    • We started with about half a cup each, including the kids, and now I just let everyone drink as much as they want…

  17. I like the fact that you “brew” your water without the added figs or raisins, but they can be added later. Recently I purchased some grains so I can make this water for my daughter who has a damaged liver due to prescribed medicines over many years, which took their toll on her liver. She cannot tolerate dairy and she refuses to drink my Kombucha tea which has helped me keep the swelling out of my legs and ankles. The water seems like something she can be comfortable with.
    Thank you for your interesting site.

  18. I’m a little confused, you say to cover with a breathable cover (towel, coffee filter) but the package of kefir grains (powder) I have says put in a jar with a lid. Which is better?

    • For the first ferment, a light cover like a towel, for the secondary to make it bubbly, a lid…

      • Thanks!

  19. I got my kefir grains and have been making the water kefir for a few weeks now. At first they worked great then they didn’t work so well for a few batches and I figured it was due to the tiny bit of real salt I added (for minerals). I switched back to the egg shell method and it was producing some great kefir soda, but this last batch I made smelled like feet. I have been cleaning the glass jar with water thinking the soap might leave a residue that would harm the kefir, but now I am wondering if I caused some kind of pathogen by not cleaning properly between batches?

    • You can clean with a white vinegar rinse…don’t use soap!

  20. Just curious, why should I avoid a metal strainer?

    • It can be harmful to the kefir grains…

      • How is it harmful? Can you give an explanation please?

        • pbi- I don’t know the science behind it but it can make your kefir taste metallic or bloody

          • metals are reactive to acids, minerals and other sugars and will cause a chemical reaction damaging the grains, making your resulting water an off taste. some reactions cause the waters to heat enough to kill the grains and corrode the metal. Because the grains need these minerals and sugar to grow, you will need to use a non-reactive spoon and strainer such as plastic, wood and glass.

    • I use a stainless steel strainer with no issues.

  21. Hello! I just began brewing water kefir. My first batch came out great! I kept it simple – first brew was just organic raw sugar and unfiltered tap water. Then, I strained and bottled it with slices of orange for the second fermentation. It came out perfectly. Second batch, I got fancy. I bought a Britta filter thinking that would help. I brewed with raw sugar and filtered water. Second fermentation was left for two days with lemon and ginger in a sealed jar and more orange slices in my two sealed bottled. For the record, my ratios of sugar to water at roughly the same as yours.

    The orange kefir in the bottles ended up completely flat and sour, while the jar was perfectly carbonated and sweet.

    Third attempt, and I’m using just jars, along with the filtered water. I have raspberries and ginger in the second fermentation. So far they’re not bubbly after two days. They still taste ok, but I’m afraid they’ll be sour tomorrow.

    What gives? Is it the filtered water? Why was my jar the only successful batch in the second brew? Could it be how much I’m filling each bottle/jar up? My successful jar was half full, while the bottles had about and inch and a half of unfilled space. I’m stumped!

    • Are space can make a difference, and so can water quality. Even the temp of the water when the grains are added can make a difference. I’d stick with what worked the first time and then change only one thing at a time until you figure out what is causing the change…

  22. Two questions: How long does the finished water kefir keep in the fridge? If I can’t or don’t want to start brewing a new batch right after I’ve fermented a batch, how long do the grains keep in the fridge and how often do I best feed them (with more sugar?) during their hibernation ? Thank you!!

    • Brewed kefir will keep weeks on the counter or the fridge and the grains will survive for a few weeks in the fridge if properly stored…

      • And how do I properly store the grains in the fridge?

      • The kefir does last a long time, but I did read somewhere that the probiotic qualities diminish over time.

  23. Hello, to water kefir drinkers out there, what share my experience back in Mexico,my mother gave use what she called: Tepache de Arroz this was back in the 90’s we drank it plain and we loved it, I’ve had my batch of grains for ten years in Florida, I brought them in 2002, I use piloncillo always have and they still multiply like crazy , and when i moved to the Chicago area i got lazy and did not change the water or gave them any more piloncillo for almost a year, i have done this in the past i don’t even put it in the fridge or any thing, just in the cabinet, back in Florida I even left it over night in a metal strainer totally forgot about it but here we are still making my Tepache de arroz! and when i was googling bulgaros i saw kefir, water kefir thats how i came to know the correct word and in my experience and most of the people that have this “grains” back in my home town of Mexico, no special sugar needed just piloncillo and drinking water and at end of the first fermentation when we stain it in to our glass we add a pinch of baking soda and stir and enjoy =D

    • That’s awesome! I just ordered kefir grains, but i didn’t know it makes Tepache!
      I love Tepache! the one i know is de Pina fermented pineapple soda It was in the Spanish food store here until last year and now there’s some nasty junk with artificial everything replacing it! The Tepache was so delicious! I really felt like it was ok for my body even though it was soda. How cool to find out that maybe I was right! Maybe someday I’ll be able to semi-duplicate it. mmmm! delicious

      how do you make it with rice?

    • Hi how do you make the tepache?

  24. How does you kefir water look so clear? I use unrefined, unprocessed whole can sugar (Rapuzel brand) and it’s really dark! Also, what kind of air tight lids to you use? I have been using the plastic lids that fit onto canning jars and I don’t think my water is getting very fizzy. Do I need to buy different lids/jars/bottles? Thanks!

    • I googled “how to keep water kefir clear” and this site came up because of your post – I was sure hoping for an answer because mine is very cloudy 🙁

        • When I first received my grains I started a batch spring water and 3 Tablespoon organic cane sugar and 1 Tablespoon organic granulated maple sugar. I drained that off after 48-hours and used coconut water.

  25. Anyone try this with dandelion “juice”? (Pick as many dandelion heads (must be from good organic soil) as you can and then cover with boiling water.)

  26. hi i’m qorya from indonesia, everyday i making water kefir from Japanese species of algae white crystals. I am happy if the benefits of water kefir greatly assist the process of healing the disease, every day I always gave away our old lady neighbors who have a particular disease can be cured by the Japanese crystal algae. and of course to our earnings back here to sell online japan crystal algae that we have

  27. Thanks for this article. I ordered some dehydrated water kefir in 2010.

    Unfortunately, I was unable to use it and still have it in my refrigerator in its original packaging (ie the grains are in a zip lock bag which in turn is inside of a bubble envelope).

    Has that batch expired?

    Thank you.

    • I’m not sure… I”d check with the company as I’ve never waiting that long so I don’t know…

  28. Allright, I’m getting on to it ! But I thought fructose was bad for you… On the video, it sais that’s what the kefir bacteria produce. Am I getting muddled up?

    • The bacteria eat the fructose to create the beneficial bacteria, so most of the sugar is fermented out….

  29. I’m a vegan and trying to lose weight – I began drinking Kevita (store-bought water kefir) not only to clean my gut but also to eliminate sugar cravings. It worked great but at $3.49 a bottle seemed costly so I decided to try making it. My first batch worked well – I like the slightly vinegary taste so I left it on the counter 72-hours. Initially using organic sugar then adding coconut water. My grains are multiplying rapidly but I’m concerned about alcohol and sugar content. The Kevita has 10 calories per serving with only 1 gram of sugar. My batch tastes much sweeter and more alcoholic. What do I need to do to reduce the sugar and alcohol? Thanks!!

    • I assume you would just add less sugar to the water when fermenting, and keep at a slightly lower temp…

    • Hi I also found Kevita and because of the price, I’m hoping I can recreate it at home.

  30. Has anyone been successful with putting the kefir in a BPA free plastic to-go jug on 2nd ferment after straining and adding juice? I am trying to wean my husband off of soda but he needs to take a plastic thermos jug and not glass bottles to work.

  31. I made water kefir two days ago – when I checked it today it had what looked like a powdery white substance and bubles on the top. Is the ok to drink?

  32. When I started making water kefir and it wasn’t working well at all. I found out from a friend that you can add a fig to the first fermentation and it makes my kefir super bubbly. I believe the fig adds trace minerals. I also started adding a day of baking soda. I have had the most bubbly kefir. Now that its so hot I let the first fermentation sit for less than 24 hours because its so fizzy!

    • Are you adding a whole fig or a piece to the first fermentation? Are you adding baking soda to the first fermentation also?

      thanks! I am having fizziness issues! LOL

  33. Hi I am new to kefir and I was wondering how much should you begin drinking? I got mine off a friend who said it can cause quite an upset stomach and to take it in small doses, and the clerk at the health food store told me to take only 1 or 2 tblsp per day… is this right? I can’t find much about kefir causing stomach upset online or about initial quantities to take, but most recipes seem to make a drink that you can guzzle to your hearts content….? My grains have only been in the sugar solution 1 day and are already very bubbly and active, but I don’t want to get sick from drinking too much, please let me know 🙂 thank you

    • I make milk kefir, water kefir and kombucha. Milk kefir is the mildest of the probiotics but hard for those lactose intolerant. Kombucha which I love, can be damaging to the liver in large amounts, and those with a compromised liver, acidosis, or hepatitis in any form should never drink kombucha. Water kefir is very versatile and can be made in most any that has sugar in it, even tea on the second ferment. When first starting any fermented drink, start out with 1 oz or less to gage your bodies reaction. Many just starting probiotic drinks can go through a detox cycle until you reach a balance or homeostasis. gradually increase your intake. eventual you can drink it as you would water. I limit my kombucha to one glass a day and follow it with several glass of clear filtered water to prevent acid build up. milk kefir I have in the morning milk kefir grains seem to be more delicate then water kefir and required more careful prep, and water kefir I drink off and on all day.

      • Rosalyn,

        Where did you get your info on Kombucha being hard on the liver? My health coach recommends Kombucha to help support the liver in the detox process. Just don’t want people getting confused? We need to make sure we’re passing on correct information. Interested to read your resources.

  34. I want to start fermenting foods but I hate how how you have to add sugar to everything! Can you make water kefir without sugar?

    • Unfortunately no, but most of the sugar ferments out… it is the food for the beneficial bacteria…

      • Thank you! I appreciate you letting me know…makes me feel a lot better! 🙂

  35. 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?

    • apples have high pectin, which can leave a “mother” in the bottom of the jar. it is actually good for you, just shake before you drink. any fruit that contains pectin will leave a mother. also excess yeast will settle to the bottom of the jar, it can mean your grains are not multiplying at an uniform rate.

  36. Do you mix in or discard the sediment of the second ferment prior to drinking?

  37. Help! My water kefir tastes and smells like sulphur. I’ve tried resting them in sugar water in the fridge but it didn’t help although the next batch was less slimy/cloudy. My first attempts I used 3 tbsp white sugar and 1 tbsp cocnut sugar per quart of water. Thought I was adding too much minerals so I cut the cocnut sugar down to 1 tsp but its still sulphury. I tried no cocnut sugar just white sugar and it didn’t ferment at all. After two days it was just sweet water. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Rehabilitating Water Kefir Grains

      Water Kefir: Rinse, Rest, Recover
      Water kefir is a delicious and refreshing drink, loaded with probiotics and easy to make. Under ideal conditions, you can put a couple of tablespoons of water kefir grains in a quart of sugar-water, coconut water, or fruit juice, let it sit for a day or two, then strain, add flavoring, and let ferment for a few more days. The result will be a light, slightly fizzy drink that kids and grownups love to drink.

      However, there are a few problems that can come up when the grains are stressed from overcrowding, lack of nutrients, or contamination. These problems include:

      Grains are slimy.
      Kefir is syrupy.
      Kefir smells bad. (Sulfur smell, smells like rotting fruit, smells “like feet,” etc.)
      White film forms on the top of the kefir.
      Grains start to diminish in volume.

      These problems can be a result of the kefir not properly re-building themselves, which is a result of undernourishment. Or, it can be an imbalance in the bacteria and yeasts in the culture, which can come from undernourishment, or overnourishment, or just the wrong ingredients.

      Kefir grains need not just sugar as food; they also need minerals. It’s very easy to supplement with minerals when needed. However, while minerals are essential to the good health of water kefir grains, they can also get too many minerals, or an imbalance. Or, they can change their requirements for minerals: having had enough of one mineral, they may now need a different one!

      Often water kefir grains will benefit by a short time “on vacation” so they can re-balance and. So while adjusting the ingredients in your water kefir can be helpful, sometimes it’s a good idea to let the grains rest a little as well.

      Here’s how to give your grains a “rest and recover” treatment that will get them back on the road to robust productivity.

      Make a Resting Solution

      Start with fresh, clean water. Make sure it does not have fluoride in it. If your tap water is fluoridated, it is not likely that an ordinary house filter will remove it. You will have to use bottled spring water, or get a filter specially designed to remove fluoride. Chlorine can be removed by filtering, evaporation, aeration, or boiling. Chloramines, used instead of chlorine in some municipalities, must be filtered out.

      Bring the water to a boil and let it cool for five or ten minutes. (If you boil for 20 to 30 minutes, it will also remove the chlorine.) You will need a quart for the resting solution, plus a quart or more for rinsing the grains.

      In a quart-size mason jar, put 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar. The best type to use is an unrefined organic sugar such as turbinado, Sucanat, evaporated cane juice (unbleached), rapadura, etc. You can also use white table sugar. Don’t use honey, agave, coconut sugar, or any other type of alternative sugar. (Some of these are okay for culturing, but you want to just keep it simple for now.)

      Now, depending on the mineral content of your water and the condition of your grains, you might need to add some mineral supplementation. Small, mushy grains can usually benefit from some minerals. Syrupy kefir is usually a result of too many minerals. If you have an idea of the mineral content of your water, add minerals to soft water, or leave them out of hard water.

      You can choose any one of the following:

      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.)

      Fill the mason jar with the boiled water to about an inch or two from the top, and let it cool to room temperature. Set the rest of the water aside. When it is cool, you can rinse the kefir grains.

      (Alternatively, you can use just enough boiled water to dissolve the sugar, and fill the jar with cool, filtered water.)

      Rinse the Grains

      Ordinarily you should not need to rinse the kefir grains, but if they have gotten to the point where they are slimy or stinky, it’s a good idea to clean them off.

      Put some filtered or boiled, cooled water in a shallow bowl, and set up a plastic mesh strainer so you can put the grains in the strainer and have them bathed in the water.

      Stir the grains around in the strainer gently with your finger, brushing them lightly up against the strainer. This will clean off any loose yeast or contaminants off the surface of the grains without damaging them.

      Pour off the water, which will be cloudy.

      Repeat the rinsing a few times until the discarded water is pretty clear. Your grains are now “naked” and ready to rest.

      Rest the Grains

      Put the cleaned grains in the prepared solution, and cover the jar with a plastic lid. (If all you have is a metal lid, put a coffee filter over the top of the jar, then put the lid on top of that.)

      Now put the jar of grains and water in the refrigerator and leave them there for at least three or four days. The cold will put the grains to sleep. They can stay in the refrigerator for as long as a month, resting and rebuilding.

      Get the Grains Back to Work

      After your grains have rested, you are ready to make a new batch of kefir.

      Set up the new kefir solution the same way you made the resting solution, with clean water, granulated sugar, and mineral supplementation if needed.

      Strain the grains out of the resting solution. If you want, you can save the liquid. If it has only been in the refrigerator for a few days, it will be mostly sweet water with some probiotics in it. If you left it in the refrigerator for a long time, it may be very lightly fizzy and can be treated like kefir. In any case, it should smell better than it did before you started. If the grains still seem distressed (slime, bad smell, or white film), make a new batch of resting solution and rest the grains again.

      Add the rested grain to the new kefiring solution. You should have between 2 and 4 tablespoons of grains to a quart of water. If you have more grains than that, you can either divide them into smaller batches and make more jars, or use a larger jar. Make sure you maintain the right proportions of sugar and minerals in the water.

      Cover the jar with a paper towel or coffee filter secured by a rubber band, and let the grains sit for 24 to 48 hours.

      The resulting kefir should be clean and fresh, and ready for you to strain off, flavor, cover, and let sit for a couple of days to ferment again.

      Badly damaged grains may require two or three cycles of rinse, rest, recover. The good news is that once they are fully recovered, you can continue to use them for many months to come.

      • Thank you – very comprehensive information 🙂

  38. Thank you for this! I’ve been following your blog for a while and just started making Kefir water. Your recipes are great!

  39. I understand that there is approximately 1.4% fructose that remains in the final water kefir product but i need to know the percentage of glucose remaining so that i can work out the glucose/fructose ratio as i need to know this as i have a high fructose intolerance and the amount of fructose is only relevant in relation to how much glucose is also present. Can you help me with this information please?

  40. If I add dried apricots or cranberries or some other dried fruit to the first fermentation of kefir, can I eat it rather than throwing it out (adding it to a smoothy)?

    • You certainly can add them to your smoothie or eat them! My Kefir Guru who taught me all I know about this even adds some of her excess grains to smoothies!

  41. Once the Kefir water is prepared so you have to drink it in one serving or can it be kept for the next day? Can you also drink it daily and if so how many times? Thanks! x

  42. I keep hearing….don’t kill the kefir grain (tap water, metal, or doing it wrong). But just how do you know if your grains have been destroyed? Do they disappear or change color? Thanks! First batch a success.

  43. I made my first batch of kefir cherry soda and I’m so excited that it carbonated. It tastes subtly sweet and sour! It’s yummy and good for the tummy. This was only the 3rd batch from dehydrated water kefir grains; the 1st batch I dumped, and the 2nd didn’t carbonate. They are not multiplying yet, but I’ve read that it can take 6-8 weeks before that happens. I’m keeping them in our water heater closet which is inside the house. I tried putting them on top of the water heater but I think it might have been too warm, so now they are on a box on the floor and the temp seems about right.

  44. I did my second ferment and put it in flip top bottles. I was so excited to try it so after placing them in the fridge overnight, I opened one. IT was like a volcano! I lost all the precious kefir all over my kitchen. Any ideas of how to avoid this next time?

    • I have had the same thing happen somewhat, depending on what I’ve added for my second ferment. I’d say keep practicing with your additives and the amount of time left on the counter for the second ferment. It’s amazing to me how each juice or additive ferments differently. I love doing fresh ginger (cut into matchstick’s) and fresh lemon juice. I also do a pomegranate and blueberry blend that’s delicious!

      • Mine are like volcanoes every time I open them… but there’s an art to opening/pouring immediately that prevents the mess.

        Near the sink and with a glass ready to fill nearby, ‘pop’ it open *without* holding the lid down (it will sound like champagne, warn people first lol.) Immediately tilt the bottle at an angle over your glass and pour gently with both glass and bottle at an angle. This allows the maximum air space inside the bottle for the fizz to offgas. You don’t want to pour too fast or it will come shooting out of the bottle, likewise you don’t want to let it sit upright or it will shoot straight up. Takes a couple tries but I haven’t spilled a drop since ;).

        • Yep. I was doing the second ferment with some pomegranate juice and I exploded the glass flip top bottle. Thankfully nobody was in the kitchen when it happened. It was literally shards of glass everywhere and spray up, down, and everywhere. What did I learn? 🙂 Burp your kefir on the second ferment every few hours and do not exceed 24 hours of secondary fermentation. (It was also summer, so it went really fast.)

          As far as making sure it doesn’t champagne-type explode, someone suggested putting the jug/container/grolsch bottle in a bowl in the sink and having another bowl ready to put over the top of it so it can rain down into the bottom bowl and you don’t lose any.

  45. a friend gave me a bottle of water kefir and I drank some the first day. I mixed it with apple juice and it tasted like, well, diluted apple juice. No fizz or anything. Then life got crazy busy and the bottle got further and further back in the fridge – and now three weeks or so has passed. What should I do with it now? Does the flatness mean anything? Should I throw it out and ask her for some grains and start all over again?

  46. How long can kefir water last shelf/fridge once made? (After 24-36 hrs)And if you ferment with fruit etc.

  47. It doesn’t say how much water… or am I missing something?

    • Depends on the amount of kefir grains you have. Check the cultures for health website for more info, but if I remember correctly you need at least 3 tablespoons for a quart.

  48. I’m making water kefir right now and that’s how I found your site! I was looking for recipes on the second ferment. I’m going to try the pomegranate juice!

  49. Would I be able to use CountryTime Strawberry Lemonade flavored mix drink as the sugar substitute, by chance??

    • check the ingredients list. kefir grains will not ferment with artificial sweeteners. Most drink mixes are made with artificial sweeteners, anti caking and preservatives. It can damage the grains. In my opinion drink mixes often leave an after taste that I do not like. I tried the root beer mix for the Soda stream machine and it had a long list of artificial ingredients and chemicals and nothing natural at all. it had an after taste that made the soda unpleasant to drink. I will try a natural root beer extract next to compare.

  50. which is not an acidic carbonated soda, grapefruit, lemonade or distilled water

  51. Thanks for sharing . I would like to try my hand at the water kefir but cannot use cane sugar ( for medical reasons) . I am wondering if coconut sugar would be fine for the fermentation process . Kindly guide , thank you .

  52. Hi 🙂 I am just learning about Kefir water (a little nervous about trying it since my family is not enjoying our journey to healthful eating!). It is winter now and we keep our home at 62 degrees during the day, 65 at night to conserve energy and money. But the recipe says to ferment at 70 – 78. Can I still make it?

    • I keep my house below the recommended temps in both summer and winter. The grains are very adaptable if you take care of them. The process just takes longer in lower temps. I just add more sugar than other people do to start with so they don’t starve – e.g., if most people’s grains kefir a quart of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 or 2 days and mine take 4 or 5 days, I start them in a quart of water with 2 tablespoons of sugar. My grains have been perfectly healthy for two years, now, so it’s safe to say that cooler works just fine. 🙂

  53. Hi, I want to go away on holiday and I’m worried about leaving my kefir! You say you shouldn’t leave it for more than 48 hours with sugar and water. How can I store it for safe-keeping, just drain the liquid off and leave the grains in a jar?

    • Water Kefir Grains
      The simplest method to preserve water kefir grains is to place the kefir grains in fresh sugar water, cover the container with a snug lid, and place the jar in the fridge. Kefir grains will generally keep for up to a few weeks in this manner. Keep in mind that when you remove the kefir grains from the fridge, it can take a few batches for the grains to come out of hibernation and begin reliably making kefir again. (You may have to toss a few batches that do not kefir properly.) We do not recommend putting kefir grains in the fridge frequently, but for the occasional trip out of town, this is the most reliable method.

      For longer-term breaks, water kefir grains can be dried. Rinse the water kefir grains thoroughly with cool, unchlorinated water, and place them on a piece of unbleached parchment paper. Leave the kefir grains in a warm safe place to dry where the temperature will not exceed 90°F. Depending on temperature and humidity, it will generally take several days for the grains to dry thoroughly. Once dry, place the kefir grains in a ziplock bag. Keep the bag in a cool dry place or ideally the refrigerator. Dried kefir grains will generally keep for at least a year.

  54. Question, can I use a ginger flavored simple syrup with my water kefir grains? I am planning on making ginger flavored simple syrup using fresh ginger.

  55. Is there any way of making this GAPS legal?

    • Just use dried figs, fruit juice and water. It works fine!

  56. Hey, I just had one question! Can you continuously brew Water Kefir as you do kombucha? I brew my own kombucha and its much easier with the continuous system.

    • I’ve been brewing mine continuously for two years, if that helps. 🙂

  57. It’s pronounced “Keh-FEER”

  58. I’m so excited. I received my cultures Kefir and Kombucha today. Can’t wait to start!

  59. 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

    • It does need to breathe since oxygen is part of the reaction and I’ve never tried that way, so I’m not sure if the probiotic powder will work..

  60. Hello, I’ve tried for a couple months to get some water kefir to be successful. CFH even sent me a second packet of water kefir grains thinking there was possibly an inert packet sent to me the first time. I’ve tried using Trader Joes evap cane juice sugar, adding some sea salt, using spring water from a local public tap, molasses… it’s never done anything. no change in flavor or aroma. Would you have any opinions?? I change it out every two days, sometimes three if I notice it is still just as sweet thinking it just needs time.
    I look forward to brewing kombucha once I’m done nursing my very last ever baby. He just turned one, so it could be any time.. maybe… but water kefir was supposed to hold me over til then!
    Thank You!!

    • and you are following the repine and using the same proportion of sugar?

    • Kefir needs some time to acclimate to new surroundings. Mine has been going strong for two years with just spring water or well water and brown sugar, Here are some thoughts:

      Be sure to start with a glass jar thoroughly cleaned with vinegar – not soap or detergent.
      Don’t use metal spoons or strainers.
      Give your kefir enough time at first. It may need more than two or three days at a time to acclimate. Just keep tasting and you will know if they still have sugar to eat. Mine took a while to really get going. I just had to be patient.

      Hope you have success!

  61. Hello,

    If the ideal temperature for making water kefir is between 70-75 degrees F, what happens when we drink it where the average body temperature is nearly 100 degrees F? Won’t the probiotics all die off because of the excess heat?

    Thank you for your answer!

    • It is fine in the body but just ferments too quickly and can go bad at higher temperatures.

  62. Wondering what the shelf life is for kefir water. Should it be stored in the refrigerator or can it be stored in a cool dark place. I’d like to sell it at farmers markets………….also interested in perhaps selling grains…… feasible would this be?????

    • Water kefir continues to ferment the longer it’s kept, although refrigeration slows it down considerably. You also have to either store them loosely capped or continue to burp airtight bottles to reduce/eliminate the risk of explosion.

  63. Can we add our D.E. to the water kefir, and how large a container would you start your water kefir with for a family of 8 or 10.


    • You will have to start with a quart size and you can move to bigger jars as the culture grows.

  64. Can you use home-made jam in your second ferment? From what I am understanding the sugar would be perfect for a bubbly kefir, but not sure about the pectin content???? I am rehydrating my grains now and will be ready for my first batch the first of the week….any input will be appreciated. I am also starting my first Kombucha brew, and have drank some that is marketed in a local healthfood store, but have never tasted Kefir. I’m taking a leap of blind faith here! 🙂

  65. Thank you, looking forward to our first batch. Would it be okay to add our diatomaceous earth to our water kefir soda?

  66. Great video. I thought kefir grains had to go into milk periodically?

    • There are two very different kinds of kefir grains – one that looks like cheese curds (milk grains) and one that looks kind of like translucent plastic beads (water grains). Some people have used their milk grains to kefir water and non-dairy milks and those have to be periodically “re-charged” in dairy milk. If you have water grains, you never need to feed them any milk.

  67. I am so excited to try this out – you made it sound so do-able!! Two newbie questions if anyone knows…..

    ….do the jars have to be boiled/sterilized or can they just be dishwashed jars?

    ….could a silicone spoon work for stirring? I don’t have wooden yet.

  68. If i double the first ferment recipe, in a 2 quart jar, instead of 24-48 hours do i let it sit longer?

  69. I love the theory behind this drink :To your knowledge is it suitable for diabetics?
    My partner is type 2 with stable sugar levels. We’ve been together 6yrs now and my house is a no soft drink and fruit juice household. Water, Milk and Herbal Teas are allowed. Before moving in with me he consumed Litres of soft drink daily, I’d hate to kick start the habit again. Thanks

  70. I have found that the kefir grains will also make a great kefir wine. I have had great luck making honey mead as a second ferment.
    I started with a cup of strong ginger bug and added a lb of honey, one lemon, one orange(both sliced), a handful of raisins and enough water to fill a half gallon. I use an airlock to ferment. It takes 3 months to complete, straining after the first month and aging for the additional 2 months to allow the sediment to settle. It taste just like Verde with champagne bubbles. I also have made Dandelion wine and adding grains to the first ferment instead of brewers yeast. I have also used the kefir grains to make fruit and herbal tonics starting with a thicker juice concentrate and adding beneficial herbs. these make a great tonic for taking in small doses before flu season hits. I have had great results with kefir grains.

  71. The ingredients arent showing in the recipe?

  72. I have been making and drinking 2nd ferments of kombucha and water kefir. But have been noticing that when I drink the kombucha I tend to get that gnawing feeling in my gut about 2 am or a few hours after drinking in the day. I am not noticing this with the water kefir. I really enjoy the taste and have consumed about 6 oz in the morning and then again about oz of either in the mid day or evening. Any input on why this gnawing feeling? I do not have ulcers and feel good overall besides excessive swelling and arthritic pain in my hands in which I only noticed recently after the drinking of the tea.

  73. Hi. I’ve been trying to make kefir and what i cant figure out is that even though my grains seem very healthy and are multiplying like crazy, they don’t seem to eat a lot of sugar and the kefir tastes very very mild with no vinegary taste at all. I’ve made batch after batch for about a month now and when I try to second ferment it wont carbonate, standing on the counter or on the windowsill for the sun. I continually made kefir last summer and didn’t have those problems. It ate the sugar, carbonated a lot. and had a slight vinegar taste. I got the grains from a friend who had them standing in her fridge for months but i don’t think she fed them much. Thank You!

  74. I have been making water kefir for several months now. It was working well, but now I’m wondering if my storing it in the refrigerator after each batch is causing it to be less carbonated. I store in the refrigerator 1-3 days after each batch covered in water. Would that be causing a lack of carbonation? Also the grains have grown a lot and I wonder if having too many grains could be a source of the problem.

  75. I recently made my first batch of water kefir. I did the grape soda variation and it turned out great! My second batch is done its first ferment and I wanted to do the cream soda variation. I misread the instructions though and put the vanilla extract in right after I strained the grains out, instead of waiting until after the second ferment. Is this going to be a problem? Should I chuck it now or wait and see what happens in a couple of days?
    Thanks for your help!

  76. I was wondering if I put minced ginger (or lemon, or pineapple, or orange) in the coffee filter and tie it and put it in the bottle with kefir for the second fermentation would it still be flavoured and bubbly?

  77. I finally started using flip-top bottles for my water kefir in it’s second (flavored) fermentation. Since I strain it a bit through several layers of cheesecloth, I was quite surprised to see white things growing in the bottles. It looks like milk kefir. It only showed up in the strawberry and the strawberry/ginger.
    What is this? I have pictures, but don’t know where to post them.



    • It is probably just creating new cultures. As long as they resemble the old ones, it should be fine 🙂

  78. I’ve been making it for about a year. The flavors for the second ferment are limitless and so fun to be creative. I use a Pickle-it jar for the first ferment and flip top bottles for the second. The carbonation is over the top (literally) and my ceiling proves it! Cleaning jars and bottles—I poor boiling water over the jar and bottles before I use them to sterilize before each batch. May not be necessary but I like feeling cleaner about it. Let the jars cool before you start, however. I have also made batches using lavender tea (first make big batch of tea and use it for first ferment). It is great before bed. I’ve made it with other teas as well (green, mint, burddock, dandelion). I try to make slightly herbally medicinal batches from time to time. Like I said, it is limitless what you can do. My grains like orgainc sugar and a pinch of himalyan sea salt and bottled spring water in the first ferment, best. I think grains vary…some like molassas…mine hate it. Some things to try for the second ferment—cherry juice and chia seeds (similar to Synergy brand), grapefuit, elderberry (fights virus), ginger, pinapple and coconut. I sweeten with stevia in f2. I am hopeful most of the sugars have been eaten up by the grains by the time it is done so I think it needs a little extra sweetness. It is limitless and so fun.

    • Are the same grains used to make Water Keifir and Milk Keifer? I accidentally bought a package for Milk and was wanting to make Water Keifer. I already make my own Kombucha. I even added Chia seeds to some the other day. It was really good. My favorite Kombucha so far is citrus. I can’t wait to experiment with Keifer.

  79. I didn’t see this question yet. Can you use the grains over again? If so how do you store them? I’m asking since they were being sold in quantities of 2 tsp.

    • Yes, you can use them indefinitely. You just add them to a new batch and follow the same instructions.

  80. Hello- I know this post is dated but I am hoping you can help me. I have been brewing WK for just about two months. I have had nothing but success until now. The last two batches are great until I move them to the fridge after the second ferment. It’s all fizzy but after moving to the fridge it loses all the fizz and just doesn’t taste the same. I typically stick with lime juice in my second ferment because it’s like limeade but now it def does not taste the same. I am not doing anything different than I was before so I am stumped. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  81. Hello – I have been making water kefir for about two months now and I have had nothing but success until my last two batches. They lost fermentation after I put them in the refrigerator after the second fermentation. The first one I had used blueberries and attributed it to that but the second one I used lime juice as I typically do and the carbonation was gone the next day. My other batches have been super fizzy and remained fizzy until the last drop. I have not changed the way I prepare both the first and second ferments not my storage vessels. I am stumped. Any insight?

  82. Hi,

    I am kind of new to kefir. I have been making it on and off for the last 2 months. I finally got the stuff to get bubbly (though only with grape juice, my lemon is ALWAYS flat) and I notice that when I drink it, I burp an egg flavor or sulfur taste, (sorry to be gross) — the finished product actually bubbles a lot, isn’t too alcohol-y — it tastes good, and doesn’t make me feel sick. But I can’t find anything on the web about this, and I don’t know if it’s me, normal, the grains etc. ?? It only happens while I am actually drinking it (about 3-4 oz. a day) and after I drink it the belching, and gross flavor goes away. I don’t think this is normal but don’t know how to fix it. Please help!!! Thanks

  83. Another person with questions about water kefir. I just made my first batch today. It still is sitting on my counter, but as I was looking at it, I noticed a bug in the kefir! Yuck. I placed a coffee filter over the top with a tight elastic band to prevent this from happening. Are my kefir grains bad now?

    Also, I purchased these grains from a local natural food store. They came in a plastic bag that I presume were grown by the owners of the store. When I opened the bag, it smelled of apple cider vinegar. I read on another site that storing in apple cider vinegar is actually not a good idea, but its best to store them in white vinegar since it has antibacterial properties. Is this the reason that I found a bug or did it just creep through my jar’s defenses?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  84. Thanks for the easy to understand article! I was wondering, is it possible to just add more sugar after the first ferment(in the original jar, with the grains)? Instead of pouring out the water and straining the grains to drink or do a second ferment? We can’t drink enough of it yet(we’re starting out drinking just a couple ounces a day since our bodies aren’t used to it yet), and I hate wasting all that spring water.

  85. Hi, thanks for the great instruction but I have a few questions that I feel weren’t answered. I read thru a lot of the comments but there are so many I could have missed them.
    1) You mentioned that the grains multiply, do they actually reproduce? Do you eventually get a mason jar full of them?
    2) Can you eat the grains if you end up with too many?
    3) How is this Kefer water different from Kombucha?
    4) You mentioned that the sugar water is essentially turned into fructose. There is a lot of information suggesting that your daily intake of fructose stay low.
    5) How many times can the grains be reused? Do they eventually stop producing the desired results?
    Sorry for the excessive questions, I appreciate your consideration.

    • 1. Yes, depending on temperature and other factors.
      2. I’ve not tried. I just pass them on to friends so they can make it as well
      3. This is higher in probiotics
      4. The kefir feeds on the fructose and it is turned in to probiotics so the fructose is not left in the finished product
      5. Indefinitely as long as you keep them heealthy

  86. I have so many kefir grains so I think that I can take some risks and experiment with them. Can I add the grains directly to store bought bottled lemonade, and not do the 1F?

  87. Hi! This will be my first time making water kefir and Im very excited! Just bought the kefir grains. One question- when you say “the 2nd fermentation” is needed to make it carbonated..what does that mean? How do I do a 2nd fermentation? Am I using the first original batch? This might seem like a silly question. Katie? Anyone?

    • The 2nd fermentation is after you’ve strained the grains out and added any flavour and with a lid 🙂

  88. I’m sorry if you’ve answered this question before but what if I didn’t want to make another batch of water Kiefer right away? Could I let the Kiefer grains dry out and use them again later?


    • It is better to keep them in the fridge in a sugar solution (as if you were making another batch) and just drain that and use again (outside the fridge) when you are ready.

  89. Hi Katie! I received my kefir grains in the mail from Poseymom, the link that you provided above and they came looking wet and with a “gel like” texture. Is that normal when you first receive them? There is no contact information on the poseymom website. Im sorry to bother you about this. I just need to know if I can start making my first batch exactly like the video shows or is there a different step I need to take first since they are not dry crystal at all. Thank you. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Kayti,

      I also purchased my kefir grains thru Poseymom and they came the same way. Just rinse them off and follow the instructions provided in the shipment. They work great and within a few weeks you’ll have tons of grains. They are great just the way they arrived!

  90. Help!! I ran out of bottled spring water last night, so I boiled tap water for 20 minutes. While waiting for it to cool down, I forgot about, until this morning!! That means my grains were set in my plastic mesh strainer overnight. Is there any way of salvaging them??

  91. Do you know the carbohydrate count on a cup of water kefer? Is it low carb, or can it be made low carb?

  92. Why not honey? Just curious.

    • Raw honey is antibacterial and can kill the beneficial bacteria in the kefir grains.

      • Does that mean that honey kills ALL bacteria? or just the pro-biotic bacteria?
        And does it mean that you cannot have kefir before having honey and the other way around? Do I need to wait a few days in between?
        Thanks, and keep up the good job! 🙂

        • I would be really interested to know more about the effects of using honey with probiotics. I am hoping to start making water kefir here in Portugal, but many of the products mentioned in the posts are not available, and one of the few unadulterated products we have is natural honey, which I wouldn’t want to give up.

  93. Help! I dropped crushed raspberries in my jar of water kefir and then realised I had not strained the grains out. I’ve tried to separate them but I can see raspberry seeds amongst the grains. I will try to pick them out, one by one, the next time I strain but have I ruined my grains?

  94. Hi,
    Just found someone to get some grains of want to get more fermented foods into my diet to cure tooth decay. Just concerned about using sugar, while trying to remineralize teeth. Would coconut water kefir be better? In the book healing tooth decay it is recommended to keep away from kombucha would this be similar. Thanks

  95. I have 2 successful batches of water kefir under my belt using brown sugar and molasses. I don’t like molasses and really don’t want to use brown sugar either. So, I started a batch using just turbinado sugar and I’m not getting any bubbles at all. What’s the deal?

  96. HELP, my Kefir is turning into syrup!

    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 went from 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 twice already, 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 and I think the lemon “cleans” them.

    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

  97. this is a great explanation *I love your website* but I have never found a good answer to this question. I need to avoid yeast as I have candida issues. Is their leftover yeast in the water kefir? Is it “bad” yeast or actually helpful yeast? Thank you so much for this great website!

    • I did ok with it when I was on a candida diet, but on a strict no yeast diet, this would be avoided too, at least for a while.

  98. Hi Katie! Your site has been such a blessing to our family over the last few years. Thank you!!!!

    Question about the alcohol content in water kefir. I’ve been making it for years now but just realized it is actually producing a small amount of alcohol as it sits (I guess due to the yeast?). I was wondering if you were aware of that and if you’d still be fine giving your kids some and drinking it during pregnancy? My husband said I should stop drinking it now (I am pregnant) and my kids could drink 8 oz (plus) a day because they love it so much.

    Thanks. – Michelle

  99. Why does it matter if there is fluoride?

  100. Can I use well water? Does it need to be boiled?

  101. I use a few star anise and a stick or two of cinnamon for the second ferment.

  102. Can I use milk kefir grains…I have so many and would like to try water kefir. I had water kefir grains years ago, given to me. I would like to start up again, but only have the milk ones now. Is that possible?
    Thanks for your help.

      • You can use milk kefir grains in water but you have to do a milk batch with them every month or so, otherwise some of the bacteria will die off.

  103. Thank you so much for this post, I wanted to ask if you know if it would be okay for me to use my water kefir grains in apple juice to ferment and then switch back to a back of sugar water, then maybe coconut water. Is it okay to switch it around like that, or do I need to keep using the same base for one batch of grains.?

  104. Quick question! My Dr prescribed me a drink called Inner Ecco (coconut water kefir drink that you can get at whole foods/sprouts) 1 tablespoon a day which has 100 Billion probiotics in just that one tablespoon. I would love to make this at home to save money but how can I tell how many probiotics I’ll be getting? Does anyone know? Thanks!

  105. Hello,
    I have quite a few kefir grains I have been using to make milk kefir, is there any way to transition them to water kefir brewing?

  106. Hello,

    I do the all-in-one-ferment; just put the kefir grains in water with sugar (no need to dissolve), a slice or two of lemon with zest (supposed to be anti-fungal and adds some taste) and a handful of dried fruit (any kind can be used) and leave for a day or two. This works really well, tastes great, and it carbonates beautifully without a 2nd ferment. It doesn’t harm the crytals either, as suggested above. Just never cut figs, the little grains are a mess to get out.

    But I too was wondering about the alcohol content? It seems that water kefir has somewhere between 0.2 to 2.5% alcohol after 2 days of fermentation (I’m sensitive to alcohol and I can feel it. Not taste it though). So I’m not sure about giving it to the kids. Is there anything that you think makes it safe though?

    Love your site 🙂

  107. I find my kefir water has a lemony odor to it (I do not put any lemon in). Is this normal?


  108. Hi there! I was wondering if you could use mason jars instead of swing top bottles for the second fermentation (perhaps with a small hole poked in the lid?)? This is my first time to ferment anything, and I want to make sure that I get it all right!
    As a side note, I really appreciate all of the information that you provide through your website!

    • You can use mason jars for the 2nd ferments but the jars won’t generate nearly as much carbonation as a swing top bottle would because mason jars aren’t airtight. By this same reasoning poking holes in the top would kinda defeat the whole purpose because you want your water kefir to be as airtight as possible in the 2nd ferment (that way it builds up gas which=fizz).

      A swing top bottle is not your only option though! Just go to your local grocery store and buy a juice that comes in a glass bottle and use that. I actually prefer to use KeVita bottles for my 2nd ferment over one of those swing top bottles because then I can put fruit and ginger in the bottle easily. You can go to KeVita’s website to see where it’s sold in your area (FYI KeVita is the overpriced commercialized version of water kefir; it’s usually about $3 a bottle but that’s cheap if you’re reusing it). I actually looked it up once and apparently lots of people reuse KeVita’s bottles for their water kefir. KeVita is really fizzy so their glass bottles aren’t gonna explode on you provided you use common sense.

  109. Hello – apologies if you’ve answered this somewhere but I’ve recently started drinking Kefir water and am concerned by my sugar intake. I understand that the scobi have to have sugar to eat, live and grow, however when I drink the kefir water it tastes very sweet and I am concerned that I am introducing a lot of sugar into my system. Is this correct or are the grains breaking down the sugar so what I’m ingesting is actually ok / healthy? I don’t drink soft drink or juice so that sugar isn’t really part of my usual diet and I’m subject to yeast infections.

    Many thanks 🙂

    • I think it depends on how long you let it ferment: the longer it ferments the less sugar will be present, since the grains will eat it all up, but it will taste “stronger”. Maybe you are just not used to any sugar, and so it tastes sweeter than it really is? I would say maybe that the proof is in whether you develop sugar-related issues. Obviously it would be better to avoid that entirely, but it would be confirmation.

  110. How do you add minerals to the water with egg shells? I have had RO for a while and have just now found out that it needs to have minerals added back into it. Thanks!

  111. Yay! Since my home would be too cool for cultivating kefir during the winter, I dehydrated my grains.
    Didn’t use a dehydrator; after draining them as well as possible, I laid them out on some clean parchment paper, put that on a few layers of bath towel, and put it all on a heating pad set to lowest temp. I took another piece of parchment paper and put it over the top and carefully folded the edges to seal it.
    Checked it often and it took several days for it to turn into this minuscule layer of “pollen”- like grains. Then I wrapped them up in an envelope of clean parchment paper and put it in a small canning jar with a little bag of DE (diatomaceous earth) for residual moisture absorption.

    Ok. The Yay! is because it worked! I have rehydrated the grains and am now “back in business”. Can’t wait to emit my first home-brewed kefir burb of the summer!

    Thanks, Wellness Mama, thanks to you for getting me started toward wellness in the first place!

  112. How long can you keep the finished water for? Do you need to keep it refrigerated?

  113. Do you worry about consuming water kefir while pregnant because of the alcohol content? Is serving it to kids similarly dangerous for the negative effects alcohol has on the nervous system, memory, vision, liver, etc.? I really want to use water kefir to improve my gut health, but I plan to become pregnant. My two-year old son also has digestive problems and I would love for this to help him. But I plan to not use it to avoid the risk of alcohol’s effects and will try to find a non-alcoholic source for probiotics. Are you or readers familiar with any research or experience on water kefir’s alcohol content and its effect on pregnant women or young children? Do you recommend any safer form of probiotics?

    • The alcohol content is so minimal that I’m not worried about it. Also, in most cultures outside of the U.S. children and pregnant women consume small amounts of alcohol, without any negative side effects. It was only after the temperance movement in this country that the practice was deemed “unsafe”.

  114. Just wondering at what age would you suggest introducing water kefir to kids?

  115. Is it possible to leave out the sugar in this recipe? Or cut it right down to a bare minimum?

    Also, can I substitute the water for coconut water?

    • The sugar is needed for the ferment to work, but almost all of it is removed during the fermentation process. The finished product is not very sweet. You can try this coconut water kefir version, which would be a little lower in sugar.

      • I start with unsweetened coconut water (cardboard container in the refrigerated groceries) and just add sugar like I’m making water kefir. Turns out great!

  116. Every time I make kefir I have 3X the amount of grains that I started with. What do I do with all these extra grains? They multiply faster than rabbits!

    • me too! I have some hibernating in the fridge, dried, dehydrated, frozen, given away and now don’t know what to do with them.
      Currently 2/3 cup turns into 5/3 cups in one fermentation!

    • I need some grains, and would like to know how water kefir tastes. I tried to make some but I did not like and I am not sure I did it right. so I would like to try some from someone who already has experience.

  117. ok, I’m going to do this. I went to the suggested link to order the water keifer grains, its says 2 tablespoons worth in 4oz of liquid. is this all I need? how much will this produce? my goal is to have about a cup worth a day. thanks! 🙂

  118. Hi Katie

    I would like to try making this, can you please tell me where you get your Rapadura sugar?

  119. Hi! Just wondering.. Can you reuse kefir grains? Or do you have to get a new batch each time?
    Also.. Can I use cheesecloth to strain, rather than a mesh strainer?

  120. Hello, first I was wondering how much juice you put in before the second fermentation? I got grains a few weeks ago, but I think I was letting them sit too long, then I went on vacation and stuck them in the fridge for a week with a lot of sugar water. I’m hoping that if I keep going my grains will gain in strength and start giving me some fizz. Right now, I’m using it in green smoothies and it works well for that.

  121. What if average temperature of home is 64-67 F at night and 68-69 F in day? How do I keep the water kefir warm enough? I am a total newbie but my water kefir grains arrive tomorrow and I want to be prepared.

    Thanks for any tips! 🙂

  122. How long will a second ferment keep in the fridge? Can the grains be frozen if you go on holiday or are away from them for a while? Or do I need to find a kefir sitter? 🙂

  123. Hello wellness mama! I just started making water kifer a month ago. I am 15 weeks pregnant and am wondering if it is ok to drink during pregnancy. When I drink it I feel tingling on my neck and arms as I do with wine (I only drink wine about twice a year). Even if you don’t know he answer to this could you tell me if you drank it while you were pregnant with your children? Thanks! And Merry Christmas

    • Yes, I drink it while pregnant, but check with your OB or midwife if you have concerns…

  124. Thank you for your answer!

  125. Technical Question: do you ever use a hydrometer in your process? I’m trying to get a handle on what’s happening in my homebrew kefir and I’m not sure it’s working. I’m trying to get an idea of the start and stop specific gravity of kefir. So far mine are the same, but I wonder if it’s because kefir isn’t really fermenting but just converting the sugar type so the SG stays the same…

  126. I just attempted a second fermentation (with a chunk of ginger and mixed berries) … but the glass jar exploded! Glass and kefir EVERYWHERE! (Thankfully no one was in the kitchen when it happened!). The jar had been sitting for 2.5 days. Any idea why it exploded? I’m a bit nervous to try again!

    • The bottles/jars need to be burped, opened, daily to let out excess gas so this won’t happen. Also you need to leave 2-3 inches at least for air space all along the neck of the bottle or in your case the jar.

  127. Hi wellness mama. I’m debating which to try.. Kefir or kombucha.. I’m nursing right now so not sure if one is better for that or not? Wondering , do you just mix the molasses with augar before putting it in? Also.. What do u do with the grains before making another batch? Like can you store them somewhere until next use and for how long?thanks for any help!

  128. Hi one other question!! Do you know anything about the grains through theive? They are called REAL kefir grains…?

    • Yikes! In the second fermentation you will want to ”burp” your kifer. That is, let out some of the pressure every few hours.

  129. Is there a simple way to actually test to see if either the 1st or 2nd ferment is technically “alcoholic”? I don’t want to perpetuate an existing problem nor create a potential problem in offspring… ; )

  130. Hi Everyone! I am a long time Kombucha maker at home but I just did 60ish hours on my first Water Kefir batch and I am struggling with the taste a bit. I received starter grains from someone who adds molasses and while I love the idea of the benefits, etc none of us in my family are molasses lovers and if it tastes so strong like molasses I know we wont drink it which defeats the purpose. SO! My question is…what fruits combine well to mask the molasses flavor? Is there perhaps a way to rid these grains of the strong molasses taste? Any other tips regarding this would be really helpful. Thank you so much 🙂

  131. Hi!
    Do you know how to brew water keifer in mass quantities? We are up to 5 gallons, but are looking to monetize, so exploring the methodology.


  132. At what age do you start giving this to your kids? As babies?

    • I’ve given to mine at about a year…

  133. All the instructions say don’t use coconut sugar, but my husband is allergic to cane sugar. Is there an alternative? Really hoping to find a way to make this work!

  134. Is there a different between water kefir grains and just kefir grains? Or are they the same thing?

    • There are both water kefir grains and milk kefir grains and they are different.

  135. What do you think of using liquid maple syrup as a sweetener for water kefir?

  136. It would be awesome if there were embedded links to Amazon or other online stores for the tools you use, such as strainer, stopper bottles, sugar types, etc.

  137. I’ve been referring to your blog for a little while, and I’m starting to dive deeper into DIY everything. It’s exhausting! The first time I bought water kefir grains, it was from Amazon, and they’re fine. But then I tried the ones you recommend, and they’re amazing – so much better and ferment-y. Thank you for your recommendation! I let Kombucha Kamp know that I got the rec from you. Keep on doing the good work, mama!

  138. Hello,
    My water kefir has grown a mother/placenta like growth floating on top. It seems as if she spits out new grains sometimes, but the grains seem to diminish in size and not mutiply very often. Is the mother eating the grains? Should i throw it out? Or seperate batches? I dont see very much info on water kefir mothers.

  139. Hello,
    A friend of mine gave me some water kefir grains 3 weeks ago and I fed them immediately. However, I forgot about them a few days later as they were out of site. Yesterday I gave them new food, but do you think they are dead? Also, is the water kefir any good to drink? Thank you!

  140. Hello

    My three year old has been constipated since she started solids. I introduced water kefir about four months ago to see if this will help and I can give her less laxatives. The water kefir helps but it gives her vaginal thrush. How can I introduce probiotics without it causing thrush?

  141. ive been making water kefir for a couple years, and i recently ran across your blog… i was soooo excited, i had one of my friends bring over raisins (hoping for a Dr Pepper fix) , the next day when we tried the kefir, my friend said, “it tastes like raisin water”.

  142. Is there any way of measuring the grams of carbs/sugar in the final product?

  143. I’m wondering if you’ve tried combining kefir (presumably in the second fermentation) with apple cider vinegar. I recently tried Kevita’s apple cider vinegar probiotic drinks and would like to recreate them at home (I already make my own kombucha). I’m not sure if these would need to be combined at a specific point in the process or if there are any concerns in recreating this drink at home. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!