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How to Make Water Kefir

Looking to make your own Water Kefir at home? Well, we have good news – it’s easy and fun! You’ll need a few basic ingredients and supplies, most of which you probably have hanging around your kitchen. Let’s dive right in and show you step-by-step how to make your very own Water Kefir at home!

how to brew water kefir

Have you Fallen in Love with the Refreshing Taste of Water Kefir?

The good news is that brewing water kefir at home is easy. It not only saves you money, but it puts you in total control of your brew, which unlocks the unlimited flavoring world, allowing you to customize your water kefir with your favorite flavors, fruits, spices, and herbs. If you have water and sugar at your house, then you can make water kefir!
In this article, we will go over exactly what you’ll need and how to start brewing water kefir at home. Let’s learn!

What is Water Kefir?

Water Kefir is the original soda – seriously, people have been brewing this delicious carbonated concoction for hundreds of years and most likely even more. Water Kefir is a natural, light, and refreshing carbonated drink made from water, sugar, and the water kefir grains. These “grains” are not actual grains, but a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast: a SCOBY just like in Kombucha! These little guys turn your sugar water into Water Kefir packed with nutritional probiotics and amazing flavor.

Water Kefir is a fermented drink boasting similar health benefits to other fermented food and beverages. According to the Harvard Health Blog, these benefits include better gut health and improved cardiovascular health. When brewed correctly and under the right conditions, Water Kefir can be brewed indefinitely using the same starter culture, just like a kombucha or sourdough starter. Water Kefir is much easier to make than yogurt, beer, or wine and typically only takes 48 hours for a complete brew. Just add the water, sugar, and water kefir grains to your brewing jar and watch your grains dance and float while nature takes its course and brews you a beautiful drink!

While store-bought kefir is great and there are many great choices on the shelves, regularly drinking kefir at $3-$5 per bottle can add up quickly.

The good news is that you can easily make your own probiotic beverage that tastes as good as it makes you feel, for a fraction of the cost of store-bought!

water kefir lemonade

Is Brewing Water Kefir at Home Hard?

 No, not at all. Making Water Kefir is as easy as making sugar water – literally!

water kefir primary and secondary fermentation

Water Kefir Brewing Basics

Brewing water kefir starts with the primary fermentation. This typically consists of fermenting sugar and water, creating a light, refreshing drink and a perfect base to infuse with your favorite flavor, but with very little carbonation. You can use other sugar sources for your primary fermentation, like fruit juice, to infuse flavor into your fermentation from the beginning. For those who prefer little to no carbonation, you can enjoy your water kefir after the primary fermentation is finished. If you’d like to add flavor and carbonation, you can do a secondary fermentation. The primary fermentation is when you make water kefir, and the secondary fermentation is when you take the water kefir, bottle it, and add flavor plus carbonation.

  1. Primary Fermentation: The primary fermentation is the first step of the water kefir brewing process. This is where your water kefir grains, or SCOBY, transform regular sugar water into the refreshing water kefir we love. At the end of this stage, you will have water kefir, but it will be unflavored and flat.
  2. Secondary Fermentation: This is the step where you bottle your water kefir. In addition, this is where you carbonate and/or flavor your water kefir by adding sugar and flavors. This step essentially adds a bit of sugar/flavor to each airtight bottle and lets it ferment a little longer. This second fermentation allows the yeast to naturally carbonate the beverage in an airtight environment.

What do you Need to Brew Water Kefir?

To start brewing water kefir, you’ll need a few supplies:

water kefir grains with container

Supplies Needed:

  1. Water Kefir Brewing Jar: Glass or lead-free porcelain are popular options for home brewing water kefir. Choose anything non-porous and non-reactive.
  2. Water Kefir Starter Grains | SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast): The SCOBY is the group of living microbes responsible for transforming sugar water into water kefir. They reside in previously brewed water kefir as well as in the cellulose known as the “grains.”
  3. Organic Sugar: Without sugar, there wouldn’t be any fermentation taking place. The yeast eats sugar, breaking it down into carbon dioxide and alcohol, which then gets broken down by the bacteria into healthy organic acids, enzymes, and vitamins. Since you’re saving so much money making your water kefir, I recommend purchasing organic ingredients.
  4. Filtered Water: As the most abundant ingredient in water kefir, you want to make sure that the water you use is high quality. Tap water contains chlorine and chloramines that inhibit microbe growth (not good for fermentation). Most cheap, carbon water filters will remove chlorine and chloramines so those will suffice. But as a fallback, spring water is always a favorite of your water kefir grains.

5. Temperature Strip: Attach an adhesive temperature strip to the side of your brewing vessel. These temperature strips allow you to monitor the temperature of your water kefir brew, so you know if your batch is being kept at the proper temperature.

USDA Certified Organic Kombucha SCOBY
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Gallon Kombucha Jar With Muslin Cover
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water kefir sugar
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USDA Certified Organic Kombucha SCOBY
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USDA Certified Organic Kombucha SCOBY
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USDA Certified Organic Kombucha SCOBY
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How To Brew Water Kefir

5 from 2 votes

Recipe by Fermentaholics Course: How to Brew, Kefir, Kefir Recipes, Water Kefir, Water Kefir RecipesCuisine: KefirDifficulty: Easy

Quart Batch

1

Prep time

15

minutes

Primary Fermentation

2

Days

Brewing Water Kefir is a fun and simple process, and our step-by-step guide will have you sipping refreshing water kefir in no time!

Ingredients

Directions

  • In a clean, quart sized jar, add the 1/4 cup of organic cane sugar.
  • Add the three cups of filtered water to the jar and mix ingredients until sugar is almost completely dissolved in the water.
  • Add your kefir grains into the quart sized jar with water and sugar.
  • Place a breathable cover over the opening of the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Place the jar in a warm location (Ideally 76-78°f) out of direct sunlight and let it ferment.
  • After 24 hours, taste the kefir. It will likely be sweet but some fermentation has started so that you can familiarize yourself with the subtle changes over time. The fermentation time depends on the temperature and activity of the grains. The closer you are to the ideal temperature, and the more often you brew with the grains, the more active they will be. Taste and pH are the best indicators of the fermentation activity, not simply the time passed or what’s going on visually. The final pH will be around 3.5, and then you are ready to bottle and flavor if desired!
  • Strain the kefir grains from the liquid, making sure to reserve the grains for future batches. Pour the kefir into 12 or 16 fl oz bottles for easy storage. At this point, your kefir is “plain flavored” and won’t have much fizz. If that’s how you want it, you are done! If you want to add flavor and carbonation, continue to the secondary fermentation instructions.
  • When you’ve finished your primary fermentation, you can bottle and enjoy or move onto the secondary fermentation. The secondary fermentation is where you flavor and carbonate your water kefir in airtight bottles.

Notes

  • Filtered water is important. Chlorine is typically added to city water to inhibit microbe growth. We are trying to encourage microbe growth during fermentation so it’s best to remove the chlorine. Any sort of carbon filtration system will work. This includes Brita Filters and refrigerator filters, given you have been on top of changing the filter. If not, a gallon jug of spring water from the store will work as well.

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