Water Kefir (Tibicos) Recipe

Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter already know that I worked for a little while last month at Bob’s Kitchen, a (very good) vegetarian lunch restaurant and juice bar in the 3rd arrondissement.

The team had been hired to provide the food during a film festival that was held at Beaubourg, so they needed a few more hands on deck, and I seized this opportunity to gain a little pro cooking experience, to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how such a restaurant works, and (perk of perks) to have lunch there every day for the duration of my employ.

I was extraordinarily happy with the experience, which left me with a new callus on my right index finger from chopping so many vegetables, a bunch of new friends, and a newly acquired dexterity at tying a scarf turban-style on my hair so none would fall into the signature “veggie stew.”

Also: water kefir grains.

I was already familiar with milk kefir, a fermented milk beverage that is greatly popular in Central and Eastern Europe, and which I adore.

However, I had yet to be introduced to water kefir (also known as tibi or tibicos, and kéfir de fruits in French), a water-based fermented drink that is lightly effervescent, sweet and sour, and particularly refreshing.

The team at Bob’s Kitchen made regular batches of it to offer on the drinks menu, and this gave me a chance to taste (and fall under the spell of) it.

The key ingredient in the making of water kefir is a small quantity of water kefir grains, sometimes called Japanese water crystals. These bouncy and translucent pebbles are home to a culture of yeasts and friendly bacteria that thrive and multiply in sugared water: these symbiotic microorganisms essentially “digest” the sugar in the water, producing alcohol*, lactic acid and carbon dioxide, which results in a probiotic (and therefore health-promoting), delicious drink.

Marc, the co-founder of Bob’s Kitchen, offered to give me some of the grains to make my own kefir, and I could not have accepted with more enthusiasm. I figure one cannot have too many microorganisms proliferating in one’s kitchen, as long as they’re the friendly kind.

I follow the general instructions my coworker Anna gave me, but in researching other “recipes” online, I’ve noticed the method, and the proportions of grains to water to sugar vary to some extent from one source to the next, so the overall process is fairly forgiving.

But the idea is always this: you combine the kefir grains with sugar, filtered water, an organic lemon (or some other citrus, for acidity), dried fruits (for sugar and flavor; these must also be organic), and possibly spices, and let this mixture ferment at room temperature for a day or two before filtering, bottling, and starting over with a new batch.

It really is very simple and low-commitment, and you can experiment with different kinds of citrus and dried fruits (though lemon and fig are traditional), as well as spices, or try adding fresh fruit and herbs to the mix, too. I hear fresh cherries or strawberries give the kefir a rosy hue.

We have been drinking a glass every day at breakfast, and occasionally another one later in the day, especially when I get home on my bike and the uphill ride has made me thirsty, but I’m seeing the distinct possibility of using it in cocktails.

Unlike a natural starter for bread, it’s not possible to create your own kefir grains from scratch at home, so you have to obtain them from someone else. Traditionally, you would get them from a friend or relative or neighbor who would give them to you for free, but nowadays you can order them online in exchange for a small fee to cover shipping and handling (which is only fair). You can also check your local classifieds, or ask around — at your local health food store, for instance — as someone may know someone who can provide them.

Water Kefir

* The resulting drink is therefore very faintly alcoholic, usually less than 1% by volume. Many sources indicate that it is fine for children or pregnant women to drink in moderation, but naturally you should decide for yourself.

Water Kefir (Tibicos) Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Makes a little under 1 liter (1 quart) kefir

Water Kefir (Tibicos) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons kefir grains (a.k.a. Japanese water crystals)
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 organic lemon, cut into quarters (or half of an orange; either way, you can also use just the peel after squeezing the fruit for another purpose)
  • 1 organic dried fig (or a prune, or a dried date)
  • 1 slice organic dried apple (or a strip of dried mango, banana, pineapple, or other dried fruit, unsulfured and with no preservatives)
  • a couple of pods cardamom or a slice of fresh ginger or a stick of cinnamon (optional)
  • Equipment:
  • a 1-liter (1-quart) glass jar with a wide mouth
  • cheesecloth or thin cloth
  • a rubber band
  • a fine-mesh sieve (in a non-reactive material such as plastic or stainless steel)
  • a 1-liter (1-quart) bowl with a pouring spout
  • a 1-liter (1-quart) glass bottle with an airtight cap

Instructions

  1. In the glass jar, place the kefir grains, the sugar, the lemon quarters, the fig, the dried apple slice and the spices. Pour filtered water* to fill the jar, leaving a 1-cm (1/2") margin at the top. Cover the mouth of the jar with a four-layer piece of cheesecloth or, failing that, a piece of very thin cloth. (The idea is to let the air in but keep the bugs out.)
  2. Place the glass jar somewhere cool (but not in the fridge) and leave to ferment for 24 to 48 hours, until the water takes on the color of lemonade. To check whether it is ready, taste a little of it: if you can still taste the sugar, it is not done fermenting.
  3. Pour the entire contents of the jar through the sieve into the bowl.
  4. Rinse the jar and return the solids to the jar. Add a fresh 3 tablespoons sugar and top up with filtered water to start a new batch if desired**. Every 2 or 3 batches, discard the lemon, fig and apple***, and rinse the kefir grains in fresh water before starting again with new fruit.
  5. Pour the filtered kefir into the glass bottle (use a funnel if you're worried about spilling), close, and place in the fridge. The bottle should not be filled all the way to the top, as carbon dioxide will build up inside, and needs room to expand. Give it an overnight rest; it will be nice and fizzy in the morning. Drink within the next two or three days, and don't forget to "burp" the bottle once or twice a day to release the pressure.

Notes

* Chlorinated water may kill the kefir grains, so don't use straight-up tap water. If you don't have a water filtering jug, you can use water that you've boiled and cooled.

** If you won't be making kefir again for a little while, place the kefir grains in a small jar with two teaspoons sugar, top up with water, and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. I have read that kefir grains can also be dehydrated or frozen for longer storage, but I haven't tested either method myself.

*** You are welcome to eat the fig and the apple, though they won't taste particularly good, as all their flavor and sugar will have been "eaten" in the fermentation. But it's still fiber, I guess.

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  • http://senseofhome.blogspot.com Sense of Home

    This sounds like the drink I buy called Synergy. It is very good, and healthy, but gets expensive. If I can order kefir grains over the Internet I will be giving this a try. Thanks for your recipe and description of the process.

    -Brenda

  • http://breadandmilkandblackberries.blogspot.com/ Ruth

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this before. Sounds really intriguing. I will have to find someone who can pass on some grains before I die of curiosity!!

  • http://www.abundantlifewithkids.blogspot.com alittlebitograce

    This article is timely as I was just given some water kefir on the weekend. I knew nothing about it until it was given to me. Thanks for the additional information. :)

  • http://g0lubka.blogspot.com/ Golubka

    Wow, this is so interesting! I make regular kefir all the time. It’s a very popular drink in Russia, where I am from. But I’ve never heard of water kefir! It sounds very intriguing, and I like the idea of the grains digesting the sugar. Will have to try this, thanks for sharing.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m glad this appeals to you, Golubka !

  • http://www.cleacuisine.fr Clea

    I just love your pictures!
    (And I love kefir too)

  • http://yoursmartkitchen.com kitchentinker

    Very informative post. You have every details of the process and the recipe will help a lot. I want to try this health drink not only for me but for the whole family. This is the first time that I came to know about water kefir. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://smartpalate.blogspot.com Nancy

    I’ve been wondering about water kefir for a while – thanks for this enlightening post! It sounds so refreshing. Now I just need to track down some of those grains.

  • http://simmerdownfood.com noëlle {simmer down!}

    This sounds very similar in flavor to kombucha (fermented tea to which fruit juice can be added)- the “Synergy” drink mentioned by Sense of Home above is a commercial name brand for kombucha. For anyone interested, kombucha can be made pretty easily at home without mail-ordering anything- if you have access to a commercial bottle, you can grow a starter (or SCOBY) from that. My friend has a how-to website, http://www.totalkombucha.com. I love the idea of adding spices to the mix, I may try that with my next kombucha batch!

    • Erik

      I got mine from this site.
      Super easy and they ship for free .

  • http://thedelightblog.wordpress.com/ Cassandra Potier Watkins

    You should start passing out the kefir grains in Paris, I will be your first client!
    I have been so happy to finally find Kombucha in Paris, but I have never found kefir. I am going to go bug the guys at Bob’s next week now that I know that they have some:)
    There is a great blog about traditional eating, the writer could probably ferment my old socks. Here is a link to her site for kefir, and so much more fermenting, probiotic, traditional food preparation tips

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the laugh — naturally fermented sock water will soon be all the rage, I’m sure.

      About Bob’s kefir, by a strange stroke of (bad) luck, the big jar they used for it broke just the day after Marc gave me the kefir grains, so they are not making it anymore at this time, but should soon pick it up again. I’m sure bugging them will speed up the process. :)

  • http://www.dinnersanddreams.net Nisrine M

    This is very cool. I didn’t know kefir could be made without milk or coconut milk. This is great for people with allergies.

  • http://www.seedlingdesign.net Anna

    I have had milk kefir, but not water. I agree that one can’t have too many microorganisms in the kitchen. Is it the same kefir for water and other liquids like milk?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Apparently it’s not the same culture of bacteria and yeasts that’s used for milk kefir: they don’t look the same either: these grains look like cooked tapioca, while milk kefir grains look like milk curds, or finely chopped cauliflower. But I’ve read that you can “convert” water kefir grains to ferment milk. It doesn’t work the other way around, though. If you look it up online, you’ll find more details.

  • http://www.culturezest.org/home/users/detail/?UserHexID=ABF14D61-B0B3-4A97-B343-7A57EC58D038 Grace

    This looks so fascinating! I’ve heard of kefir, but not water kefir before…I wish I knew somebody with some grains! It seems like a pretty simple process, and I’d love to give it a try. I have a feeling it’d get pretty expensive to order some online, and unfortunately that’s just not in my budget. So hopefully I can somehow stumble across someone with some grains!

  • Liz Thomas

    This sounds absolutely fascinating, I’ve never heard of it.

    I have a big problem with soft drinks — when I don’t want to drink alcohol it is really difficult to find something that is interesting in taste. I really don’t like any canned soft drinks — coke, sprite, etc., — so usually end up on Perrier, but really there’s only so much water a person can handle and it gets pretty boring. This sounds just the ticket.

    Great idea for drinks for anyone who is driving too — the 1% probably gives it just that tiny little kick without the big booze content.

    Now, off I go to see if I can find a source for the water kefir grains. Seeing as they are also called Japanese Water Crystals it makes me think that they might be available in China too.

    Thanks again, a really interesting read.

    Cheers!
    Liz

  • Liz Thomas

    Hurrah!!!!!

    You can get them from Amazon USA. Didn’t take me more than a few mintues to find it. Just Googled Japanese Water Crystals and there it was!

    Checked Amazon UK (which I normally use) but they didn’t have it.

    I’m delighted and will be placing an order soon.

    How I love your blog Clothilde! You really do open new doors.

    Cheers!
    Liz

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Happy to hear it, Liz, let me know how it turns out!

  • http://www.makanaibio.com flo makanai

    Haha, j’étais sûre qu’un jour ou l’autre tu tomberais sous le charme!

    For those of you who would like to buy water kefir, beware of some of those that are sold : if they consist of powder + a yeast capsule (I’ve seen and tried that one, recently, because I’d like to give fruit kefir to a friend but do not have enough crystals left for the moment), keep your money for you, they won’t give you the delicate drink the crystals give you.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the warning, Flo. I’ve tried that kind of pharmacy-bought ferment for milk kefir, and although it works well for a few weeks, it eventually weakens and you have to buy it again. It’s also not “the real thing”. :)

  • http://localnourishment.com Peggy

    If you make the water kefir with just sugared water (without fruit or other additions), you can do a second ferment by adding a cup of fruit juice to a quart of kefir water after the grains are removed. After a few hours, you’ll have a bubbly concoction that is still more sweet than tangy and perfect for breaking soda addiction!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s great to know, thank you!

  • http://Elislunch.wordpress.com Annette

    Been making water kefir weekly for about a year now. My son (6) loves it he calls it kefir soda, the bubblier the better. In my experience using coconut sugar makes the most fizz. I was just about to start another batch and had never thought of putting spices other than fresh ginger in it, today I will try cardamom. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Danielle

      Clotilde, thanks for another fun and informative post. Will you please let us know if you experiment with the second-fermentation technique using fruit juice in the bottle? I use a similar method in brewing my kombucha. I’m excited about adding some spices to enhance my ginger “house kombucha.”I think that black pepper might be fun!

    • Diane

      Annette, I love your idea of using coconut sugar as I haven’t owned sugar in years and hated to buy some to make kefir water. Just to be clear, you’ve successfully used just coconut sugar (with the other ingredients like lemon, date, etc.) and no “regular” sugar, true? Thanks Annette!

  • Liz Thomas

    Hi, quick question.

    Does it have to be a GLASS bottle? Could I use a plastic water bottle?

    Our water quality here is good (French company no less!) and I drink it after boiling and it is fine, I like it. I keep it in the fridge in plastic bottles.

    I think I would be happy to use it, but does boiling really drive off all the chlorine?

    Just wondering. If it has to be glass that’s a good excuse to drink another two bottles of wine! They’re 750 each so one wouldn’t be big enough! Screw tops OK?

    Thanks
    Liz

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m pretty sure you could use a plastic bottle, but I’m weary of using plastic containers in general, and reusing plastic water bottles is not great: the plastic is not meant to sustain prolonged use, and particles may migrate into your edibles/drinkables.

    • Vy

      Kefir is slightly acidic, so it may leach the plastic.

      • Liz Thomas

        Thanks for your replies — looks like I’m off to the shops for a couple of bottles of wine!

        Got a big kilner jar for the first stage though.

        Thanks
        Liz

  • Kristi

    Where can one find the live grains??!! I desperately looked already here in Paris and came up with an empty search =(. I lived on water kefir and dairy kefir in California, and would die to have the water again! But much prefer to get live grains than dried ones which require reconstitution.. does Bob’s have them????

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Bob’s Kitchen doesn’t currently have them (see my response to Cassandra above) but you can check local classifieds on leboncoin.fr, a few people are offering them. Good luck!

    • Randy

      Hey there Kristi,
      Just now came across your post about not being able to locate some water kefir grains. I’m in So Cal. If you still need some water grains, just let me know!
      Blessings,
      Randy

  • Jessica

    Hi,

    I Love your blog! Thank you for the awesome recipes. I have been making water kefir for exactly 1 month today! We all love it. Does your batch partially carbonate while it is fermenting?

    Jessica

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Yes it does! And then it gets fizzier as it rests in the bottle.

  • http://howdoyoucookquinoa.com/1043/quinoa-contest/ Tammi Kibler @ How Do You Cook Quinoa?

    This is very interesting. I had never heard of water kefir before. This definitely sounds like something my kids would enjoy drinking and it seems easy enough to make.

  • http://www.darkchocolatedreamers.com/ Elise @ Dark Chocolate Health Benefits

    Great blog, love the name. :) I’ve never heard of this “water kefir” thing before, but man was it interesting to read about! I’m a fan of sweet + sour tastes when they work together to create a really awesome taste in your mouth, so I think I’d actually really like this.

  • http://vegetalion.blogspot.com Sarah P

    I really want to try making water kefir sometime! For people looking for grains, there are several sellers on Etsy who offer it quite inexpensively.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the tip, Sarah!

  • Nicole

    I heard about water kefir a month ago when someone offered me about 1/3 of a cup of grains to try. Now I have about 8 cups of grains and I drink it every day. It’s great stuff and its popularity seems to be exploding!

  • Melissa

    So, this is Kombucha? It MUST be. Making one’s own kombucha is quite the rage in Austin, and I have been trying to like it, but must admit that when it goes a bit, well, stringy… I can’t do it. Finally I took to straining it. I wonder if that completely negates the good properties? Anyone?

    • Nicole
    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Yes, they’re definitely two different things — thanks for providing a link, Nicole! And I don’t have experience with kombucha so I can’t offer advice, unfortunately.

  • http://www.theteachercooks.com The Teacher Cooks

    Loved this post! This is all new to me and it was quite interesting to read.

  • http://cabarcenoblog.blogspot.com/ Cabarceno

    I take kefir everyday… its very good to me, but i´ve never ear about that, thanks

  • Gill

    I have just looked on UK Ebay and there are quite a few sellers of both milk and water kefir grains. If I cannot find any water kefir grains in SA I will try to get some when I am in France this summer.My mother used to make “drinking yogurt” when I was a child and living in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. My favourite one was mixed with guava puree. Looking at the illustration of the culture, that was milk kefir

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I imagine how good it must have been with guava purée!

  • http://www.tobiaskocht.com tobias kocht!

    I never knew this existed. Thanks for sharing I will have a look out for this.

  • nikki

    I heard that once you make a batch (i got some coconut water kefir at the store), you can make your own… anyone heard that? can I make my own crystals?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Every time you make a batch, the water kefir crystals multiply a bit, so after a while you have enough to give away to someone else.

  • http://www.culturezest.org/home/users/detail?UserHexID=73427218-9BE9-4919-8842-F2D519B90147 Morgan

    I may try this at some point, but I haven’t had particularly good luck with fermenting my own drinks. I tried to make Rejuvelac once it it did not go well. My boyfriend says it “tasted like death.”

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Ouch. That can’t be good. :)

  • http://www.thegoodsoup.com the good soup

    The ‘getting’ of the kefir grains comes with some responsibility, I’ve heard. If you can find someone willing to give you some as a gift, you must treat them like a beloved pet- feed them well, keep them warm, and never abandon them. Getting them on ebay or etsy sort of takes the romance out of the fermentation…

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Of course: ideally, everyone would have a neighbor or friend or relative who could give them some grains for free, in exchange for a smile and a lot of gratitude. The reality is most people don’t, so it’s nice that there are some twenty-first-century sources to turn to. But I trust those same people who buy it off the internet will then distribute it around them in a more “romantic” fashion.

    • Debby

      If it’s any consolation to losing the magic, I’ve heard (read) that the ones you buy don’t always do as well as the ones you inherit…. if it’s any consolation.

  • http://bakerymanis.wordpress.com andrea devon

    This makes me want to make some kefir as soon as possible! I’ve read other articles about it but this makes it seems both delicious and healthful- something to enjoy and not just drink for the probiotics. thanks for sharing. aloha from maui, andrea

  • miss schnapp

    In the U.S., in the Chicago area, at least, you can find KeVita in Whole Foods grocers. It tastes much better than Kombucha or Synergy, in my opinion (less acidic). It comes in about a half dozen flavors and Living Greens is my favorite.

  • http://enchantedfig.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    Brilliant. I have very recently been banned from dairy, and I so loved the yogurt and kefir. This is my next step!

  • http://bewitchingkitchen.com SallyBR

    gosh, I have two sourdough starters, and now you tempted me with this! :-)

    very interesting drink and overall concept, I might get some in the Summer and see how it goes.

    I like the fact that the alcohol level is very low.

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    I’m really intrigued now. I’m off to the hunt for crystals in Germany – I’m confident I can find them, the Wikipedia page in German over them is pretty detailed.

    I have one question: you mention the citrus is needed for acidity, but in the recipe you say you can use just the peel of a squeezed lemon. Do you need the acid component? Is the peel acid enough? Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You know, I’m not entirely sure if the citrus is needed for actual acidity (as in low pH) or just the flavor of it, in which case the peel would be sufficient. The science behind this isn’t very well documented (or at least I haven’t found anything thorough) so my practice is a bit empirical: all I know is it works well for me this way. :)

  • http://www.storyofakitchen.com Story

    Very, very interesting, Clotilde! I wonder if this is the basis for making “non-alcoholic” wine. It was the only way I got through my wine craving while pregnant. Thanks for sharing.

  • sillygirl

    This is somewhat similar to sima – a scandinavian drink made with yeast, water, lemons, sugar, a few raisens and time. (Just goggle it for a recipe) Love it so will try to find some grains too!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’ll look it up for sure, thanks!

  • http://blog.afoodlyaffair.com Hannah @ A Foodly Affair

    Thanks so much for this timely post, Clotilde! I have just started looking into kefir & can’t wait to try my very own…as soon as I can get hold of some grains.

    H :)

  • Agnes

    I am totally with you on the “one can’t have too many friendly microorganisms in the kitchen” :-) I have been making my own milk kefir for more than a year now and can’t imagine my morning smoothie (or pancakes or soda bread og cold beet soup etc.) without it now… It is soo good for you. And recently I began making my own red wine vinegar too – it tastes amazing. Next project will be choucroute in the fall… Happy fermentation ;-)

  • signalpine

    My water kefir is definitely alcoholic, and I wish it weren’t. I’ve been guzzling it on these hot summer days, and I think I need to cut way back. I’ve read that if you don’t seal the jar to make it airtigh the water won’t become carbonated or alcoholic. Do you have any insight into this?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I believe not sealing the jar makes it less carbonated, but I don’t think it has an effect on the alcohol content.

  • Trevor

    My wife is an avid reader of your great blog and we got water kefir just last week because of your post here… it is a fantastic drink and joins our other ferments (5 sourdough cultures).

    How much is ok to drink daily and how much is considered too much? It is so tempting to drink heaps of it as it is so great a taste!

    Cheers from oz
    Trevor

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It’s hard to say how much one should drink as it depends on very many things, but we drink one to two glasses a day.

  • Paul

    Can I just use my milk kefir grains to make water kefir?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Check my response to Anna above!

  • M. Hopson

    Wow awesome! I’ve always liked making my own yogurt and the regular kefir, but this water kefir is something else! kinda looks like kombucha, but I’ve always preferred kefir beacuse it tastes better. I love probiotics because it really helped me when I was sick and were taking strong antibiotics. although I take supplements which I get here (has some nice facts about probiotic strains btw), I want to have my probiotics and at the same time eat/drink something delicious and healthy :P This water kefir would really be a nice alternative to my yogurt and kefir :D thanks for the recipe! :)

  • Shanthi

    We were introduced to both kinds of kefir by our son when we were in the US this year. We loved it. We are back in S.India & I am still making both daily as the family finishes each batch fully. I have been giving away the grains with a smile & hope more people benefit from it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      How wonderful, Shanthi, perhaps you’ll be launching a new trend in India? :)

    • Priya

      I am very much interested in trying out a batch of kefir.

      I am trying to reach out to Shanti from S.India. I am looking for water kefir grains/starters. Would you be able to help? I live in Bangalore, India.

      • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

        I have emailed Shanthi at the address she left with her comment to give her your contact info and see if she can help. Hope the two of you can work something out!

        • vinay

          Hi Clotilde,

          I have been trying to find some kefir (milk or water) in Bangalore in vain.

          Could you please help me get in touch with either of the posters in this thread above? I’m wondering if they can share some kefir grains.

  • suzie indonesia

    i love your post.. even i am not fully understand the entire words :p.. i was just given this kefir by my relatives.. and try to read any post in internet.. amazing.. this kefir a lot of benefits… i also drink it… but why in any part of world this kefir is so expensive.. while in my country not, is it different? if I look in the picture in some posts.. water kefir which i have is same as in the picture..thanks :)

  • http://gardenbre4.blogspot.com gardenbre

    I found kefir water a few weeks ago in a health food store along a side street somewhere just north east of the Louvre on my walk home to Republique metro … there were grains at the bottom of the bottle that I am trying to propagate now w sugar water using the 1:1:1 ratio mentioned on a number of youtube videos

    I also got some original Kombucha (you can make your own) using it (see youtube videos) as well.

    I’ll go bug Bob as well (guessing you have given him some in return so he’ll be able to get his batch up and running again)?

  • http://www.twopynts.com/ Kort

    Great post Clotilde. I’ve been making water kefir for some months now and there is a lot of room for variation as you noted. I’ve found that the less fruit and spice you put in the starter batch, the better. Best to add it during the secondary fermentation so that it doesn’t color your crystals. Lemon is the only thing I put in my starter jar now, though the molasses I add for the nutrients it provides colors the crystals anyway. Oh well. :)

    It is certainly a great alternative to kombucha, which I also love but find to be less forgiving when trying to brew. And making it yourself saves SO much money.

  • Tinadane

    I have been using Kefir Water for about a month with raisins. Yesterday, I had completed a batch and when I came to the bottom for the Kefir grains, there was some with black on part of it. The Kefir water tasted like lead was in it. Wonder what I might have done?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Hm. I’ve never had that happen, but if I were you I would toss the whole thing and not drink the kefir water.

  • Jun

    I was given some water kefir grains a few weeks ago, and have made a few batches.. I started out with 1/3 cup kefir grains in 7 cups water with 1/2 cup rapadura sugar and some dried fruit, as instructed by my donor friend, and I wound up with more than 1 cup of grains after 48 hours. I finally had to put the grains in hibernation because I couldn’t drink enough to keep up.. I also didn’t like the alcoholic taste, so mixed it with 1/2 fresh made apple juice, and the juice of 1/2 lemon.. it was so delicious and I didn’t taste the alcohol.

    It was also interesting to see that my donor friend made her kefir water with regular white sugar and her kefir grains didn’t multiply as much as mine with the rapadura sugar.. the kefir grains really seemed to like the rapadura.

    My question.. I used a 1/2 gallon mason jar with a plastic lid, and was curious why you used a permeable covering instead? What difference would that make to the kefir water?

    Thanks for your recipe.. looking forward to trying it!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      What an interesting note about the different sugars! Regarding the lid, I was under the impression that you had to let the kefir “breathe”, but if yours developed so well with a lid, perhaps it’s not necessary.

      • jun

        I did notice that my kefir was very fizzy with the lid, to the point that it bubbled over the top when I opened the lid. Maybe with the permeable covering, it takes out some of the carbonation, much like carbonated soda that’s been left out in a glass.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Good point — it may be less alcoholic as well.

  • Ana

    Hello, I was given some water kefir grains and I started making my kefir as instructed by my colleague. However I just tasted the water and kept it in the refrigerator. In my search to find out more about this is I read in the typical batch there is streptococcus and I’m afraid of it. Is this a benign form of this bacteria?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m afraid I can’t help answer that question, Ana, as I don’t know the exact nature of the bacteria culture that produces kefir.

  • RC

    Is it possible to produce milk Kefir using water Kefir grains? Somebody referred to it in one of the comments and made me start thinking about the possibilities! Thank you for your great site here!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      My understanding is that the grains are different and you can’t use them interchangeably.

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