Water Kefir: The Ultimate Guide with Instructions and FAQ


Warning, during this COVID era, we must protect our probiotics from bleach, antibacterial products, and disinfectants. Read more about how we do this HERE.

Water kefir is an all-natural way to improve your gut health. If you have a healthy gut, you’ll have better health overall. This page teaches you everything you need to get started growing and enjoying water kefir for yourself.

Few people today have heard about probiotics and kefir, and many have big misconceptions about what it is and why it’s good for us. Let’s answer some of the biggest questions you might ask about water kefir.

What is Water Kefir?

Simply put, water kefir is a culture, a living growth of beneficial bacteria and yeast. This culture is usually referred to as "grains". Drinking the fermented drink those grains produce can go a long way to promoting better gut health--which, in turn, can lead to more energy, a stronger immune system, and better overall health.

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Where Can You Buy Water Kefir?

You can buy many kinds of probiotics at your local grocery or health food store, including kombucha, water kefir, and milk kefir, but that doesn’t mean those products are the best things for you. Because of government regulations, foods have to be pasteurized before they are sold in stores. That means that the majority of the beneficial bacteria have been killed off before you can even drink the product!

When you grow your own water kefir, on the other hand, you aren’t buying a food that has been pasteurized. We at Poseymom, for example, don’t sell any food products. We sell live probiotic products that you can grow yourself. In that way, you can benefit from every single strain of bacteria and yeast, giving your digestive and immune systems a super boost.

When you buy probiotic products from us, you’re getting live, healthy kefir cultures that are ready for you to start growing on your own. Growing your own kefir might sound intimidating. That’s why we give you all the instructions you need. Just keep reading to see them!

What You’ll Get in the Mail

If you buy a package of water kefir from us here at Poseymom, either from this site, or from our insanely popular Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon stores, what can you expect to get in the mail?

You’ll receive about 1/4 cup (or about 2.2 ounces) of living, active water kefir grains. They’ll be double bagged, heat sealed, and shipped in a small, plain, white box. (Sometimes, we ship in a different box, if you order multiple packages at once. It’s best to open and start growing your kefir right away. You can put the double-bagged grains in the fridge for up to 7 days for guaranteed freshness. Keep in mind, however, that the earlier you get started growing your kefir, the better.

How to Grow Your Water Kefir

Once you open your water kefir grains, how do you start growing them into a delicious probiotic beverage? Here are our time-tested instructions!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of sugar. You can use any kind of sugar, although we suggest brown sugar because of the natural mineral content.

Added mineral supply: Your choice of ONE of the following options: (Only use one of these at a time. It’s best to rotate your mineral supply every few batches, for healthier grains over time.)

A tablespoon of molasses

A pinch of sea salt

A pinch of baking soda

One cleaned eggshell

One squirt of trace minerals

A couple of raisins

One quart of spring or boiled-and-cooled-tap water. Caution we have found problems with some city water that hurts the kefir. You can give it a try and see how your is. We have found that a good RO water works well. Our first choice would be a spring water.

One 1-quart jar

One rubber band

A coffee filter, or something similar, such as a cheese cloth or sturdy paper towel
One fine mesh strainer (NOT metal). This needs to be a fine strainer, not a colander used for noodles.

Wooden or plastic stirring spoon. (Not metal.)

Poseymom Water Kefir Growing Instructions

Time needed: 2 days.

You can use the following instructions to grow both your first batch of water kefir, as well as any subsequent batches. Simply repeat the process! Or course, you can let us know if you have any questions at all.

Prepare Your Water

In a pot, heat the water slightly and mix in your sugar and mineral supply of choice (from list above). Stir to melt and mix in the sugar completely, and then let the water completely cool before the next step. (Don’t add the kefir grains to hot water!)

Prepare Your Jar

Next, empty the entire contents of the kefir package (all the grains, and any juices in the bags) into your empty quart jar. Then, fill the jar up to about the 3/4 mark with your water-sugar-mineral mixture. Stir gently with your non-metal spoon. (Remember, exposing water kefir to metal can damage the culture.)

Cover and Put Away

Cover the jar with your coffee filter (or cloth or paper towel) and use the rubber band to seal it. Put the jar in a warm place (like 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit) that gets light but not direct sunlight. If the jar is in a cool place, the kefir will still grow, but much more slowly. (Example location: You can place your kefir jar in a north-facing window, so the grains will get plenty of light and warmth, but no direct sunlight. DIRECT SUNLIGHT IS VERY BAD!)

Wait

Leave the jar there for 48 hours. You may want to gently stir after 24 hours (with a non-metal spoon, but this isn’t required.

Strain Out the Grains

After 48 hours, strain your kefir grains out. Use a non-metal colander, pouring the kefir water into a new container, but catching the grains to use again later. The key here is to separate the grains and the juice, but you want to keep both. Nothing goes down a drain.

Enjoy Your Water Kefir (and Repeat!)

You can now enjoy your water kefir beverage, exactly as it is. Many enjoy the taste more after it has been chilled in the fridge for a few hours, though. Read bellow to learn more about second fermentation.

Furthermore, you can also start a new batch immediately, using the grains you strained out. Simply go back to Step 1 and repeat the process! If you take good care of your grains, they should make you an endless number of batches, and they’ll even multiply over time!

After your first few batches you will notice that your kefir grains grow rapidly (considering you take good care of them). You can do four things with the extra grains:

-Eat them! They are very nutritious, packed with many beneficial probiotic bacteria. You can add them to your smoothies if you wish. • Short-term storage – you can store water kefir grains in sugary water in the refrigerator for up to a week. The cold temperature will slow down their growth. Just make sure to rinse and change their water on weekly basis.

• Long-term storage – you can put the extra grains in a glass jar and freeze them. They can last for about 6 months or longer. Keep in mind that it may take a few batches to revive them after they’ve been frozen. They should be fine after that. Or they can be dehydrated (my choice)

• Share them! As you accumulate more water kefir grains, just share the joy of making water kefir with family and friends. Give them your extra grains and teach them how to make their own natural “soda” at home.

Coconut Water Kefir

Ingredients:

1 quart Coconut Water

Water Kefir Grains

Optional Flavoring: 1/2 cup Fresh Fruit (mixtures of berries, lemon, etc. work best)

Place the Water Kefir Grains in the coconut water. Cover the jar loosely and allow the Kefir Grains to culture the coconut water for 24-48 hours. Once the culturing process is complete, remove the Kefir Grains.

To add fruit flavoring, puree together the Coconut Water Kefir and the fruit.

Note: Ideally Water Kefir Grains should be cultured in sugar water (1/4 c. Sugar and 1 quart water) for 24-48 hours in between batches of making Coconut Water Kefir. The sugar water will feed and refresh the Kefir Grains keeping them healthy long term.

Important Note:

We send live water kefir grains in the mail with a bit of sugary juice to keep them active. However, in some cases, the grains may go into a sort of hibernation cycle during the shipping process. So you first batch or two may not perform as well as you’d expect. It may take a few batches for the grains to reactivate and completely ferment the water. You’ll know the grains are not completely active if the water, after 48 hours, is still sugary sweet, syrupy, and not fermented. Just change the water and start a new batch, pouring the unfermented water down the drain.

Flavored Water Kefir Recipes

Creamy Ginger Spice

After 24 hours of fermentation with just ginger and sugar, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add ½ Tb. vanilla extract and 1 cinnamon stick per quart. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. Tighten the lid for more fizz! Serve cold with whip cream on top. Or add some scoops of caramel vanilla ice cream for a delicious float!

Lime Pineapple

After 24 hours of fermentation with a slice of lime (instead of lemon), strain the kefir, take the liquid and add a half cup pineapple chunks per quart, squeeze in the lime juice and discard the lime slice. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge.

Raspberry Mango

After 24 hours of fermentation, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add ¼ cup mango (or similar tropical fruit juice) per quart. Add in ½ cup raspberries. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. Tighten the lid for more fizz!

Strawberry Lemon

After 24 hours of fermentation, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add 1/2 cup purred strawberries and squeeze out the juice from the lemon into it. Add a couple whole strawberries if desired as well. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. If this is too tart, add in some sugar or honey at the end to taste.

Cola Cherry

After 24 hours of fermentation of just sugar and grains, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add ¼ cup cherry juice per quart. Add a couple whole cherries if desired as well. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. Mix in sugar to taste if desired.

What is Water Kefir Second Fermentation?

Each time you follow the above instructions, you are producing what we call a first fermentation. Your kefir grains should be able to make hundreds of batches, hundreds of first ferments. But you can also make what’s called a second fermentation with each batch. This is like an extra layer of fermentation on your kefir beverage.

This is how you make a water kefir second ferment: Take the water kefir after Step 5 above, after you’ve already strained out the kefir grains, and seal that water in a glass bottle or jar. Leave the sealed beverage on your counter or in the fridge for a few days. As you do, the water kefir will continue to ferment. This is because of the culture that is still active in the beverage.

Fermentation makes carbon dioxide as a natural byproduct. During the first fermenation, you cover the kefir with a coffee filter or cheese cloth, so that extra gas just escapes. Now, with the beverage sealed, the water will become carbonated, like a beer or fizzy soda. Many love that fizzy texture.

(Note: Be careful when opening the second fermentation. It will have a tendency to fizz and explode everywhere, like a shaken can of soda. Untwist the lid slowly, and maybe cover it with a towel as you do. Some say that the beverage sprays less when chilled in the fridge before opening, so you could try that, as well!)

The second fermentation is also the best time to add flavor to your kefir. You can add fruit, herbs or spices, juice, or just more sugar. Whatever you add will change the flavor of the beverage and give the culture something new to eat during the process.

Flavored Water Kefir Recipes

Creamy Ginger Spice

After 24 hours of fermentation with just ginger and sugar, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add ½ Tb. vanilla extract and 1 cinnamon stick per quart. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. Tighten the lid for more fizz! Serve cold with whip cream on top. Or add some scoops of caramel vanilla ice cream for a delicious float!

Lime Pineapple

After 24 hours of fermentation with a slice of lime (instead of lemon), strain the kefir, take the liquid and add a half cup pineapple chunks per quart, squeeze in the lime juice and discard the lime slice. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge.

Raspberry Mango

After 24 hours of fermentation, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add ¼ cup mango (or similar tropical fruit juice) per quart. Add in ½ cup raspberries. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. Tighten the lid for more fizz!

Here is a Warning: From : Tina Davis

Hi… Important message: with your instructions for the raspberry mango FLAVORING for the water kefir, you stated, “Tighten the lid if you want more fizz.” That’s what we did yesterday. This morning the KEFIR water bottle EXPLODED, shooting glass everywhere! We’re grateful no one was in the kitchen.. please modify those instructions.

thanks Tina…. remember it will build up. so tighten at your discretion

Strawberry Lemon

After 24 hours of fermentation, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add 1/2 cup purred strawberries and squeeze out the juice from the lemon into it. Add a couple whole strawberries if desired as well. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. If this is too tart, add in some sugar or honey at the end to taste.

Cola Cherry

After 24 hours of fermentation of just sugar and grains, strain the kefir, take the liquid and add ¼ cup cherry juice per quart. Add a couple whole cherries if desired as well. Let sit for another 24 hours on the counter, or 24-48 in the fridge. Mix in sugar to taste if desired.

Water Kefir Top FAQs

Why Isn’t My Water Kefir Fermenting?

If you follow the instructions for your first batch and your kefir doesn’t seem to be fermenting at all, it’s easy to assume the grains are dead, but that is almost never the case. Usually, during shipping, the grains go into a hybernation cycle. Simply follow the instructions again, making a second and third batch, to wake the grains up.

Why Is My Water Kefir so Sweet?

Many people taste their water kefir after 48 hours and think it is too sweet. Does that mean the grains are dead or defective? No. Keep in mind that water kefir is always a little sweeter than kombucha tea or milk kefir. Try putting the kefir through a second fermentation to make it more tart. (Do not leave the grains in for longer than 48 hours. Better to change the water regularly to keep the culture healthy.)

Why isn’t my Water Kefir fizzzy?

Many people hear that water kefir is supposed to be fizzy, so they think that, when it isn’t, something went wrong. What people often don’t know is that the kefir beverage will only get that fizzy, carbonated texture after it has gone through a second fermentation. Simply follow the steps above to get that carbonation so many people rave about.

Why do my grains stop growing after a few months of great growth?

They need to rest! I would recommend that every 5-6 weeks let your grains rest in strong sugar water in sealed container in fridge for at least a week. Then when you take them out run them through several cycles to get them activated. This will help keep them healthy.

Suggestion: as your grains grow, let some rest while you grow other then you can switch them out every few weeks…