Delicious and Beneficial: Water Kefir Soda-Making 101

| 6/12/2013 3:41:00 PM

Tags: soda-making, fermented foods, Sarah C.,

My family goes through a 1-liter bottle of water kefir soda every night at dinner. We look forward to havingWater kefir is a healthy soda replacement and snap to prepare. a delicious and bubbly treat on a daily basis. My four-year-old calls it “sparkly juice,” and loves judging the quality based on how much it makes his nose tickle.

What exactly is water kefir soda? Well, I describe it as pop that makes you forgo buying cans from the store, all while making your tummy happy. The experts call it a “probiotic beverage made with kefir grains that consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship.”

The grains involved are not actual grains that contain gluten, but rather something that looks like rock candy. When added to a sugar water solution, the grains “consume” the majority of the sugar, and produce an effect that is similar to carbonation. The liquid that remains contains less sugar than it started with, and it is a great base for being creative with flavors.

When you first get your grains, they’ll be dehydrated for transport. Follow the directions that come with them, and don’t expect any bubbling action for 3-5 batches. Basically, the first few weeks will just be used to get the grains back to a plump stage. Once they’re ready to get to work, you get to channel your inner non-alcoholic bartender and get mixing!

How to Make Water Kefir SodaWhen making water kefir at home, use the sugar you are most comfortable cooking with.

  1. Add ½ cup of hot water to a 1-quart canning jar. Add ¼ cup of sugar, and stir to combine. Fillthe jar with the coldest water you can muster. Everyone has a different type of sugar they use in making kefir soda. I use evaporated cane juice, while others prefer sucanat, white sugar, or rapadura. My vote is to use something you already have and are comfortable working with. Sadly, honey is not safe for the grains as it can render them sterile.
  2. Put a plastic mesh strainer over a plastic bowl, and dump the grains and kefir water through the strainer. I know plastic isn’t the greatest for cooking, but anything metal is not safe for the grains, as it can “burn” them.
  3. Once the water has cooled in your jar, carefully add the grains in, and cap with a lid.Stir the sugar solution for your homemade kefir soda until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Add 1 cup of 100% juice to a flip-top bottle (I’ve found them at thrift stores, and a local brewing supply store), and pour the kefir water from the bowl in to the flip-top bottle.  Tighten the lid, and store in a place on the counter that doesn’t get a lot of drafts.
  5. Let the flip-top bottle and canning jar (containing the grains) sit for 24 to 48 hours, and pretty soonyou’ll have a lovely and carbonated drink to share with your whole family. Every 1 to 2 days, you’ll repeat the whole process again (use Steps 1-4).

Tips & Tricks For Making Kefir at Home

  • Our family has decided that our favorite “sodas” have all been flavored with a purple-based juice like 100% grape, blackberry, etc. We’ve tried other flavors here and there, but in the end, we alwaysPour the sweetened water kefir soda solution into your flip-top bottles and allow the solution to ferment. come back to something “purple”.
  • For a change of pace, consider putting three chunks of fresh ginger in the bottle. It tastes like a really spicy and delicious ginger ale.
  • 2 cups of limeade with a bunch of fresh mint makes a fantastic mojito soda.
  • Try not to let the grains sit in the water for more than 48 hours without making a new batch of soda. If you’re not up for it, or need to put the grains on “vacation mode,” add a bit more sugar, and stick the jar in the fridge. It will likely take a few batches after that to get them back up to bubbly mode, but it is better than having your grains go bad.
  • When the weather is warmer, the soda can get bubblier faster. In my own ignorance, I’ve let bottles sit at room temperature for too long, and I’ve had two bottles burst on me. Call it user-error, but it has happened. When opening the bottles for consumption, place your palm on the lid, and open the flip top slowly and carefully.

6/23/2014 12:35:06 PM

I can't believe I'm the only person confused by these instructions. What am I missing? This seems to be the instructions you would follow if you already had some grains fermenting. How do you actually get started? I hate to appear dumb, as I'm not, but I just seem to be missing something here.

6/23/2014 9:16:11 AM

Has anyone used Agave as a sugar substitute? Just curious to know if this would work.

6/24/2013 10:40:53 PM

@Jane.flynn, the cap one first ferment is tight, but not air-tight.  I can see the bubbles in the mason jar, but the real "carbonation" happens when I mix in the juice in the flip top style bottles.

6/24/2013 10:39:32 PM

@Jasa, I'm not sure if they could be used for milk kefir, but the place I purchased mine (Cultures for Health) does sell separate milk grains online. 

6/24/2013 10:38:27 PM

Kiltedquilter, I purchased mind through Cultures for Health.

6/24/2013 5:55:24 PM

Can you save some of the kefir grains from one batch to start the next like you can with milk based kefir?  If so, I would appreciate the directions. Also, is there a place in the US to buy the water kefir grains?



6/24/2013 4:16:11 PM

Edit.  She is referring to 'water kefir grains'.  You can order off of Amazon or click on the word 'experts' that links you through.  Appreciate her sharing w/o trying to sell something.  If everybody already knows about these disregard, I just had never heard of it.

6/24/2013 3:59:38 PM

Nice you can create carbonation type effect w/o having to buy that soda maker advertised a lot, plus a lot healthier.  Where do you buy the stuff?

6/24/2013 1:54:38 PM

Nice article, thanks!

I love my water kefir so much I started a small online business selling the dehydrated grains worldwide!

I'm interested that you cap the bottle the water kefir grains grow in. Is that tightly capped or loosely capped?

I always cap the bottles I store the water kefir and juice soda in, otherwise it doesn't get a good fizz, but I leave the jar with the grains only loosely covered to keep out dust and bugs, while allowing the grains to "breathe".

Jane @

6/24/2013 10:22:19 AM

Where is the best place to buy the kefir grains?

6/13/2013 8:54:19 PM

I am so excited to try this that I am ordering kefir grains tonight. I am especially excited to make some with the fresh ginger flavoring, as I love ginger ale!Thank you for the clear instructions!

6/13/2013 8:45:06 PM

I am so excited to try this that I am ordering kefir grains tonight. I am especially excited to make some with the fresh ginger flavoring, as I love ginger ale!Thank you for the clear instructions!

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