Water kefir is much easier to make than kombucha and I personally think it has the edge when it comes to taste. Its essentially a sour blank canvas waiting for whatever flavour you choose to pair with it. It’s also much easier to make than Kombucha and doesn’t carry any of the risks.
Biologically it’s very similar to milk kefir, it’s a group of microorganisms living in a gel matrix. The only difference is that they are more suited to breaking down sucrose/fructose rather than the lactose that is found in milk. People have switched the cultures around and had some limited success; I wouldn’t recommend it though as it can kill off your culture.
How to make Water Kefir
• Either buy a culture online or ask a friend for some (it multiplies pretty fast)
• Add about one tablespoon of culture to one pint of sugar water.
• Leave for 24 hours in a warm place
• Strain the liquid into a swing top bottle a few inches away from the top
• Top the liquid up with juice
• Close the lid and leave for 48 hours to carbonate
• Avoid letting the culture touch any metal (strainers and spoons) as apparently it can be damaging
• Avoid using honey. Honey has anti-microbial properties and people believe that it can damage the kefir grains. I’ve experimented with it a couple of times and haven’t noticed a difference.
• Experiment with different juices. My sister bought a juicer so I’ve tried all manner of different combinations, plum adds a fantastic colour!