Heard of kefir, but don’t like dairy? Like the health benefits of kombucha, but not the caffeine? Or maybe you’re just a bit curious? Whatever your experience and understanding of fermented drinks, here’s a quick breakdown of Water Kefir, how it’s made, its benefits and where to find it.
What is Water Kefir?
Water Kefir is a light, sparkling probiotic drink. It’s caffeine-free, dairy free and vegan, and made using a reusable starter culture in the form of water kefir grains.
The word kefir (pronounced ker-feer), is derived from the Turkish word ‘keif’, describing a state of feeling good!
What does Water Kefir taste like?
Because Water Kefir is made with water and/or fruit juices, it has a light, refreshing taste similar to a dilute cordial or squash. The fermentation process creates bubbles and a slightly tangy taste: the longer the mixture is brewed, the tangier the taste.
We brew our water kefir for 2 days, so it’s still sweet, and add fruity flavours like strawberry and rhubarb, or summery citrus notes like lemon, yuzu and mint, along with a little natural sweetener.
It’s a great option for an afternoon pick-me-up, an evening tipple, or a light refreshment on a warm day.
How is Water Kefir made?
Our water kefir is made using water kefir grains, a symbiotic matrix of bacteria and yeasts that form clear crystals. These are added to filtered water, lemon juice and golden cane sugar and left to ferment for two days.
The fermentation process breaks down the sugars into organic acids and carbon dioxide, which makes the drink lightly sparkling. By the end of the fermentation process all of the sugar has been consumed by the bacteria and yeasts, resulting in a sugar free drink.
We then add apple cider vinegar, natural flavours and a little natural sweetener, before finally adding millions of live cultures (Lactic Acid Bacillus) – that’s 100 million in every 330ml bottle!
Is Water Kefir vegan?
Yes! The starter culture for water kefir is non-dairy kefir grains, and the drink itself is made using filtered water and naturally vegan flavours, meaning the product is 100% dairy free and vegan.
Does Water Kefir contain alcohol?
Like all fermented drinks, Water Kefir contains a very tiny amount of alcohol as a natural by-product of the fermentation process. However, the amount is so small that our drinks are categorised as non-alcoholic. For context, they contain less alcohol than a ripe piece of fruit – so if you can eat a banana, you can drink a Water Kefir!
Is Water Kefir good for you?
Yes! The main health benefits of drinking Water Kefir come from the bacteria contained within the drink. It’s known that having a large number, and diverse range, of probiotic bacteria in your gut and microbiome can benefit your overall health.
The bacteria present in each bottle of Water Kefir will be dependent on the grains used. However, even when using the same starter culture, every batch of Water Kefir will be different, as it is a natural, living product and so will contain different levels and types of bacteria as it ferments. That’s why we also add millions of Lactic Acid Bacillus to our Water Kefir drinks.
What’s more, we all have a unique microbiome so the same drink may have different effects on different people!
How much Water Kefir should you drink?
A bottle of Water Kefir a day is just the right amount for most people. However, as it’s a fermented drink, your body may need a bit of time to adjust to all of the live cultures, so some people may initially experience some gas, bloating, or change in bowel habits when they first try it. If you’re new to fermented foods, we recommend introducing them gradually into your diet.
Is Water Kefir good for IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, known as IBS, is a condition that affects the digestive system, and can cause symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
Our Water Kefir has added probiotic bacteria Bacillus Coagulans which studies have shown alters intestinal bacterial flora to help support relief from bloating or digestive discomfort. This strain of bacteria has been found to successfully treat conditions such as IBS.
However, symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) vary from one person to another so it is always best to speak to your GP or health professional first: what helps alleviate symptoms for one person may be a trigger for someone else, which is especially true of fermented food and drinks.
Is Water Kefir good for diabetics?
All No.1 Living Water Kefir drinks are sugar free, meaning they’re suitable for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
However, Water Kefir is brewed using sugar, which is a vital part of the fermentation process. The amount of sugar in each batch of Water Kefir varies by brand, and is dependent on how it’s made.
At No.1 Living, we wait until all the sugar has been used up in fermentation before we bottle it for you, leaving a product that’s sugar free.
Is Water Kefir safe during pregnancy?
Many fermented foods are unpasteurised, meaning they may contain naturally occurring bacteria that can be unsafe for pregnant women. However, our Kefir Water has been pasteurised, meaning that it is safe to drink during pregnancy.
What’s the difference between kefir yogurt and Water Kefir?
Both milk kefir and water kefir are fermented, caffeine-free probiotic drinks made using a reusable starter culture. However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end!
See a brief summary of the differences in the table below.
No. The grains are propagated in dairy milk, so even if used in non-dairy mylks, animal products will have been used in the process.
Yes! 100% dairy free and suitable for vegans.
Milk kefir grains, which are white and creamy, similar to cottage cheese
Water kefir grains, typically yellow or clear crystals
How it’s made
Using milk (typically cow’s, but can be from other animals e.g. goat) or nut-based milk substitutes
Made with water and/or fruit juices
Slightly tart or sour milky taste, like runny yogurt
Sweeter than milk kefir, and gets tangier depending on the length of fermentation
Typically similar to runny yogurt
Like lightly carbonated (sparkling) water
Where can I buy Water Kefir?
Fancy trying it out for yourself? Great! You can choose from two fruity flavours in our online store: Strawberry with Rhubarb, and Lemon with Yuzu & Mint.