how to brew water kefir

Ingredients & tools

  • Water Kefir Grains
  • Sugar
  • Lemons
  • Dates / Raisins / Figs
  • Water (non-chlorinated)
  • One glass jar: Quart to Half Gallon size
  • One plastic or wood stirring utensil
  • One towel or paper coffee filter to use as a covering for the jar
  • fine mesh strainer (plastic or stainless steel) for removing the kefir grains from the finished kefir
  • Optional: Baking Soda
  • Optional: Concentrace Trace Mineral Drops

First Ferment

  1. Boil a small pot of water. I usually measure just it in my mason jar. You want just enough to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Put 1/4 C. of sugar/per quart (so ½ if you’re using the half gallon size) in the bottom of one of your canning jars.
  3. Add enough boiled water to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Add enough cool water to fill the jar below the neck or ”at the shoulders”.
  6. Before adding your grains, make sure it’s at least room temp (clean hands!).  You don’t want to damage your grain with water that’s too warm.
  7. If adding baking soda, do it here (roughly 1/8 tsp) and stir. *
  8. If adding Trace Mineral Drops, do it here (1 drop)  and stir.
  9. Put 1/4 C. of grains /per quart into the sugar water. (I started adding 3/4 cup to my half gallons and the grains have been happier)
  10. Slice up lemon in rings (thick slices) (if they’re small 1 1/2 per quart). If your lemons are organic, wash and slice, if your lemons are not organic, cut off the yellow rind leaving behind some pith. (The pesticides they use for conventional lemons could harm the grains)
  11. Add the dried fruit
    • If using dates, I usually add 1-2 per quart
    • If using rasins, I usually add about 6 per quart
    • If using figs, I usually add 1-2 per quart
    • Lately, I’ve been adding 2 dates and 1 small fig. The grains have been really happy with this
  12. Place your ‘cover’ (paper towel, coffee filter, clean cloth) over the top and secure with a rubber-band.

EDIT: I recently started doing this minimally and it’s SO much easier!

  • 1/4 cup sugar (per quart)
  • 1 teaspoon unsulfured molasses (per quart)
  • 1/4 cup grains (per quart)
  • a lid instead of a coffee filter

Second Ferment (24-48 hours after the first ferment, but no longer than 48 hours)

  1. Start a first ferment jar to switch the grains into
  2. Skim the fruit and from the first ferment out of the jar (I compost mine)
  3. Strain the grains from the sugar-water and set aside for the first ferment
  4. Pour the strained sugar-water into your new jars
  5. Add your flavor. The possibilities are endless.
    • tea bags (make sure there aren’t any staples)
    • fresh, dried, frozen fruit
    • ginger
    • vanilla bean or extract
    • juice

* Some people add baking soda every time, others suggest it’s best to this only once in a while. There seems to be some disagreement as to the purpose of using baking soda. I’ve read articles claiming it’s to balance the pH levels of the water, others say it’s for the mineral boost. Some people add trace minerals to the water. Apparently some even add ginger slices or even ginger juice. 

Here’s what Culture’s for Health has to say

Should I add things like ginger juice, eggshell and baking soda to my kefir grains to keep them healthy?

A number of kefir makers like to add things like ginger juice, eggshell and baking soda to their kefir grains.  Strictly speaking, if you are using a quality water and sugar source, additives should not be necessary (for example, we grow large quantities of kefir grains using nothing but sugar and water).  Ultimately we do not recommend additives as there is a danger in using too much (which is very easy to do) which can result in problems including slimy kefir grains.


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  3. Van August 1, 2013 11:45 am

    Hey Love….where are your instructions/directions for the water kefir?

    • dawnselene August 1, 2013 9:29 pm

      They’re comin’. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

      I was just thinking about you yesterday and missing you…


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