Happy May! The skies are clearing and the sun is beginning to shine. Hot summer days spent by the water are just around the corner, and that means the weather is calling for kombucha and water kefir drinks cravings to be quenched.
But wait a second - here at motherlove we’re curious, have you tried water kefir yet? Have you been wanting to learn more about water kefir? Or are you simply just wondering, what is the difference between water kefir and kombucha?
If your answer is yes to any of these q’s, then this is the blog post for you. Cause what better way to kick off the season than to bring in a new probiotic-packed, refreshing beverage into your routine?
WHAT IS WATER KEFIR?
If you don’t know what the heck water kefir even is, don’t sweat it. Water kefir is by no means as popular as its cousin Kombucha, but that sure doesn’t mean it’s not deserving of the very same spotlight.
Before we break down water kefir vs kombucha, let’s first talk about how water kefir stands alone.
WHAT IS WATER KEFIR MADE OF?
Water Kefir is made from sweetened water and bacteria colonies that mimic the same appearance as grains. These ‘grains’ are most commonly referred to as ‘kefir grains’.
These bacterial balls are transparent and filled with naturally occurring c02. The fun part? The consistent c02 allows the kefir grains to float in a way that makes them look like they are dancing! They boogie on down in the fermentation vessel while hard at work.
Take a look! Here is a video of water kefir grains putting on a show.
IS WATER KEFIR PROBIOTIC?
Water kefir is a super light beverage and ultra-refreshing in taste. Although the texture is airy and effervescent (bubbly), it packs a real hard punch when it comes to probiotic bacteria and all of the health benefits that come along with that.
Water kefir probiotics allow the beverage to act as an ideal digestive aid, offering you a boost of strong gut health through every serving.
It’s perfect for drinking through the summer heat, leaving you feeling good during busy days. Water kefir is only slightly sweet and its modest fizz makes for a superb refreshment.
Some other water kefir benefits include overall increased immunity and fatigue relief.
IS WATER KEFIR CAFFEINATED?
Water kefir is a fermented beverage that offers up a fresh, fizzy taste but it is not caffeinated.
This is one of the main qualities that separate it from its good pal, kombucha.
If you still want to obtain the benefits that kombucha offers without consuming any caffeine, then water kefir is the ultimate go-to.
Also if soda is your thing and you’re seeking out a low-sugar, bubbly alternative, we think water kefir is a pretty great choice.
IS WATER KEFIR VEGAN?
The answer is yes. Water kefir is 100% vegan, unlike the traditional milk kefir. This is why water kefir is excellent for people who are seeking out a beneficial source of probiotics while keeping it completely dairy-free.Research states that water kefir provides more probiotic value than yogurt or curd.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WATER KEFIR AND KOMBUCHA?
Okay, now let’s break down water kefir vs kombucha, so you can have a clear idea of what they have in common and what sets them apart.
- Kombucha is made from a mixture of tea, sugar, SCOBY, and starter liquid. Water kefir is made out of water, sugar, and kefir grains.
- Both beverages are fizzy in texture, but kombucha consists of a more tart kind of sweetness while water kefir’s sweetness is significantly lighter.
- Kombucha is caffeinated while water kefir is not.
- Kombucha contains more digestive enzymes than water kefir while water kefir offers up more probiotics. However, both are great options for digestion.
The thing is that you don’t have to choose one over the other if that isn’t your preference. Both beverages are full of health benefits that will contribute to an overall happier gut in your life.
It’s also important to keep in mind that our guts thrive on a diverse population of probiotics, so the more variety in the ferments you indulge in, the better.
Cheers to that!
Our water kefir flavours include ginger lemongrass, blood orange, mojito, and pina colada. We also have a mixed case! Shop our water kefir here.
WATER KEFIR RECIPE
Now that you know what water kefir is all about, let’s dive into how to make the stuff yourself!
Creating at-home water kefir is perfect as a solo hobby or for a family time activity. It’s a lovely way to teach the kids about probiotics and health benefits.
WHAT YOU NEED
1 quart (4 cups) of water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water kefir grains
fine mesh strainer
HOW TO MAKE THE WATER KEFIR
- bring 1 cup of water to a boil
- add the sugar
- dissolve in the hot water
- add the 3 remaining cups of cold water
- put the cooled sugar water and kefir grains in the jar
- cover with a breathable cotton cloth and secure with an elastic band - ferment
Place the jar in a warm spot and ferment for 24-48 hours. Separate the kefir grains from the finished water kefir with a strainer and put the kefir grains in a new batch of sugar water. Drink as is or do a second ferment for enhanced flavour and fizzy finish.
Pour your finished water kefir into airtight containers. Add fruit, fruit juice, flavoured teas, herbs, or any other desired ingredients. This is where you get to decide!
Leave on the counter for 1-2 days at room temperature. Discard any fruit and store the flavoured water kefir in the fridge.
TIPS AND TRICKS
- Use filtered water and feed your kefir grains with the correct ratio of sugar and water provided to keep them happy and healthy. Don't use artificial sweeteners, stevia,or raw honey.
- Be careful when adding other fruits and juices in along with the kefir grains, as they can damage the grains.
- Warmer temperatures will ferment faster. Over time your water kefir grains will multiply.
- Stick to glass when fermenting and storing your water kefir. Always clean your equipment thoroughly. Stay away from plastic or anything that can leach chemicals and antibacterial soaps when cleaning.
- Water kefir should be fermented to a pH of between 3.0 and 4.3.
- Doing a second ferment creates carbonation. Use caution when opening and occasionally 'burp' the bottles to release excess pressure.
- Water kefir has a very low alcohol content (<0.5%), however the longer you ferment the higher the alcohol content will be due to the amount of sugar present. Use discretion when fermenting for longer than recommended.
- Give your grains a couple of weeks to acclimate to a new environment and sugar source.
- Wait to experiment with different sugars and dried fruits until your grains have become accustomed to your environment and/or you have extra grains.
- If adding dried fruit make sure it is not sulphured to protect the grains.