Water Kefir Grains are a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Although they’re called “grains,” Water Kefir grains look more like gelatinous blobs though they contain no actual grains or gluten. These bacteria feed on sugar and produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide, yielding a fermented carbonated beverage. The alcohol content is usually very minimal, less than 1 %. If you don't want to consume dairy products, then water kefir is an excellent non-dairy fermented food source you can enjoy every day. Why not visit our shop to Buy Water Kefir Grains.
Water Kefir is typically composed of Lactobacillus casei/paracasei, Lactobacillus harbinensis, Lactobacillus hilgardii, Bifidobacterium psychraerophilum/crudilactis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Dekkera bruxellensis. It typically contains less bacteria than Milk Kefir but offers a dairy-free alternative feremnted drink that can also be consumed daily. It's simple to make, and as long as you look after the culture, it will produce Water Kefir indefinitely.
Once you receive your Water Kefir Grains from us, it's important to get them fermenting as soon as possible. If your unable to do that right away ensure you activate them before the use by date stated on the packaging. Your order will contain 20-40g of Water Kefir Grains. This is enough to make a 500ml-1 litre of Water Kefir. Don't worry though; the culture grows very fast so your be making much more in no time at all.
You need something to brew your Water Kefir in. We recommend using something glass. Glass is much easier to clean and keep sterile. Plastic tends to degrade over time and is prone to scratches which can harbour unwanted bacteria. Plastic also carries a risk of chemical contamination from the materials contained inside of it such as BPA. A glass Kilner style jam jar is perfect to use.
You also need a plastic strainer and a plastic stirring spoon. We do not recommend using metal, Water Kefir is quite acidic and can react to coming into contact with metal.
We also recommend you buy a water filter to remove the chlorine from your tap water. You can use bottled water, but this tends to get expensive. You can also use coconut water in place of standard water.
You also need something to cover your jar with. We recommend paper kitchen towels as they are easy to discard and replace. You can also use a muslin cloth or similar if you wish. Rubber bands also come in handy to secure the cover to the jar.
You can also remove the rubber seal from the lid of any swing top jar (such as the Kilner jars supplied in our kits). With the seal removed you can close the lid while still allowing airflow during fermentation.
You also need some bottles to store your Water Kefir in. Again we recommend using glass bottles. We find swing/flip lid style bottles suitable for fermentation work best with Water Kefir. If you are worried about explosions and glass, you can use plastic bottles. Plastic tends to degrade quickly. It also carries a risk breaking down into the mixture due to the acidness of Water Kefir. Make sure you use BPA free plastic.
It is important when using glass bottles to check and burp (release some of the gas build up) daily to minimise the risk of explosions.
It is useful to get a plastic funnel to help pour the liquid into the bottles.
Glass/plastic measuring Jug
It is also useful to have something to decant your strained mixture into. Glass or plastic measuring jugs are perfect.
You only need 2 ingredients to make Water Kefir, Water / Coconut Water and sugar. However, to improve the flavour, you also want to experiment with adding fresh fruits to your Water Kefir after the initial fermentation. If you use coconut water to make Water Kefir, it comes with its flavours and sweetness already and usually does not require any additional fermentation with fruit.
When using water, it must not be chlorinated. This is very important as chlorine will damage and possibly kill your Water Kefir culture.
It is best to use cane sugar and brown sugar. Cane sugar is easy broken down by the culture, but unrefined sugar contains the minerals and vitamins the Water Kefir Grains thrive on. Using a mixture of sugars will greatly help the speed at which your culture grows. We only use organic raw cane sugar (organic golden granulated works just as well) and organic dark brown sugar with our Water Kefir. However, you do not have to use organic sugar if you do not want too.
Using too much brown sugar can over mineralise your grains over time. When this happens, grains will start to swell and then break apart forming a mush like layer. This is unhealthy for your grains. We recommend a ratio of 80% cane sugar and 20% brown sugar. If you run into problems. Reduce or remove the brown sugar being used. Some people prefer to feed water kefir with only cane sugar. Others add brown sugar for a short number of brew cycles once a month. As Water Kefir is a living product, no one can predict how your grains will behave. In time you will learn what works best for your culture.
IMPORTANT: Even though coconut water contains naturally occurring sugars, you will still need to add additional sugar when making coconut water kefir. Coconut water alone does not contain enough sugar for water kefir to successfully ferment. Please add the same amounts of sugar as instructed below.
You need to activate your Water Kefir Grains; this is to revive them from the shipping process. Add 250ml of non-chlorinated water/coconut water to your jar per 20g of Water Kefir Grains. Add one tablespoon of sugar (15g) per 20g of Water Kefir Grains and stir, so the sugar begins to dissolve. Place your grains in a jar with and cover it. Leave them for 48 hours at room temperature. Strain out the Water Kefir Grains and discard the sugar water. Your grains are now activated.
Pour 500ml of non-chlorinated water/coconut water per 20g of Water Kefir Grains into your jar. Add one tablespoon of sugar (15g) per 20g of Water Kefir Grains and stir, so the sugar begins to dissolve. You can use warm water/coconut water if you wish, however, we have never found any real need for this. Never use boiling/hot water. This will harm the Water Kefir Grains. Always allow any water to cool back down to room temperature (21 Celsius) if needed before continuing.
Add your Water Kefir Grains to the mixture. Cover the jar and leave it at room temperature (21 Celsius) out of direct sunlight for 48 hours.
Never leave any fermenting product in direct sunlight. This can lead to unwanted bacteria and pathogens forming.
Strain the Water Kefir Grains out of the mixture using your plastic strainer, decanting the liquid into your measuring jug. Place the Water Kefir Grains back into your fermentation jar and repeat this process to make another batch of Water Kefir.
You grains will grow quite quickly. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 tablespoon of sugar per 20g of Water Kefir. With a maximum of 40g of Water Kefir per litre. To much sugar or too many Water Kefir grains can lead to over fermentation and more alcohol content. Please be aware that if you are using coconut water, this will contain its natural sugars. This means coconut water kefir will always be sweeter than standard water kefir.
This ratio is a guideline, not an exact science. Trial and error can be a big part of the fermentation process.
People ask how often they need to clean their fermentation jar. We tend to use a clean jar each time ourselves here at Freshly Fermented to keep our kefir making process as hygienic as we can. However, many of our customers tend to clean their fermentation jars on a weekly basis.
It is now time to flavour your strained Water Kefir. People using coconut water usually find that a second fermentation is not needed, it usually tastes great after the first fermentation (skip to the bottling stage in this case). At this point, your Water Kefir should still taste sweet. This is expected and does not mean your fermentation has failed. It is important for some sugar to remain for the carbonation process to work.
Pour the liquid into another fermentation jar that you can seal. It is important to be able to seal the jar to stop the risk of contamination and to allow for carbonation to take place.
Add a handful of chopped fruit to your strained Water Kefir mixture. We find things like strawberries, raspberries and blueberries work very well with Water Kefir but experiment with different fruits to find what you like best. Herbal tea bags also work very, Once the fruit/tea has been added, seal the jar and leave it to ferment for another 24 hours.
Strain the fruit / remove the tea bags from the flavoured Water Kefir mixture, and then using your plastic funnel, pour the liquid into your glass bottles and then seal them by closing the swing top caps. Leave the bottles for 48-72 hours until carbonated. Check the bottles each day to minimise gas build up and possible explosions.
For fizzy Water Kefir, it is important to use something fully airtight in the second fermentation process. If you are not getting much fizz, this usually means air is escaping from your container. It could also mean that the bacteria have already used all the sugar in your mixture. A small amount of sugar needs to be present to allow gases to be produced by the fermentation process. Usually, if you're adding fruit, this will contain the additional sugar required anyway.
The Water Kefir is now ready to drink. Place your bottles in the fridge to cool. Be very careful when opening the bottles. Water Kefir produces a fairly fizzy beverage.
In order to be cost-effective, we break down and compress our Water Kefir Grains for the shipping process. It will take several weeks of fermenting for your grains to grow larger like those seen in our pictures. Do not worry though, this in no way affects the Water Kefir fermentation process.
Water Kefir Grains are very hardy. It's unlikely they would have died during the shipping process. If you are experiencing problems, please do get in touch with us. Don't worry, were always more than happy to resend more Water Kefir Grains if required.
If you’re planning on going on holiday, you’re probably concerned about leaving your Water Kefir Grains unattended. Don’t worry though. Place them in a fresh batch of water and sugar and pop the jar into the fridge. They will keep like this for 2-3 weeks.
We offer free shipping on all UK orders. We also offer international postage options.
Our cultures are Organic Certified by The Organic Food Federation.
We guarantee all our products to work, or we will replace them free of charge.
Where stated, many of our products are vegan friendly.