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Home > Healthy Living > Fermenting water kefir

Fermenting water kefir

Water kefir is made with water, sugar and kefir grains. The process needed to make kefir is fermentation. Due to fermentation, kefir is lightly carbonated, acidic and contains a very low alcohol percentage.

Main ingredients for the kefir are kefir grains and water. Similar to milk kefir, the grains are a live culture needed for fermentation. They are translucent and crystal-like in appearance. With every fermentation the grains are growing. Sooner or later you have an abundance of grains that you can share with others.

Kefir grains
Crystal-like kefir grains are used to prepare water kefir.

Kefir contains bacteria strains

Kefir grains and kefir contain combination of bacteria and yeasts. In comparison to milk kefir, kefir with water contains less bacteria strains than milk kefir. Nevertheless, it’s still rich in beneficial bacteria and considered a great probiotic drink.

A list of bacteria found in kefir grains and kefir listed below is informational. Since we do not test every batch of kefir and grains, they can differ in composition. This list is sourced from Sequence-based analysis of the microbial composition of kefir from multiple sources published in FEMS Microbiology Letters.

Lactic acid bacteria Acetic acid bacteria Fungals Yeasts
Species Lactobacillus
L. hilgardii
L. nagelii
L. hordeispecies Leuconostoc
Species Acetobacter

Sp. Gluconacetobacter.

species Bifidobacteriaceae

phylum Ascomycota



species Dekkera
D. anomala
D. bruxellensis

Species Saccharomyces
S. cerevisiaespecies Hanseniaspora
H. valbyensis
H. vineaespecies Zygosaccharomyces
Z. lentusspecies Meyerozyma

How to make water kefir?


  • 30 g active water kefir grains (many people share them, or you can get dehydrated kefir grains here)
  • 0,6 l water (non-chlorinated)
  • 40 g quality sugar
  • fruit to taste

First of all put kefir grains into the glass jar. Add water and sugar then stir. When ingredients dissolve, you can add fruit to the glass. Leave the lid slightly open to allow airflow. Traditionally, people use figs or lemons to ferment kefir. You can also add other dry or fresh fruits. After 1-2 days when kefir is ready you can squeeze fresh juice into the kefir to add some taste.

water kefir
It’s possible to prepare kefir with juice instead of water. In this case you don’t have to add sugar separately, since juice already has it. You can also use coconut water to ferment kefir.

Kefir is a refreshing beverage and can be consumed as it is or used as an ingredient in probiotic cocktails. So, experiment with ingredients and tastes!

Get Kefir grains here.

Get Kefir fermenter here:

kefir fermenter



    • Hi Sylvie!
      Thanks for noticing, I have added missing info in the text. It’s for 0,6 l water approximately.

  1. My water kefir has been tasting of vinegar for the last couple of batches. Can I do anything to change that or should I start again?

    • Hi Laust Juul, thanks for posting your experience here. Maybe someone will share how they solved this.
      The “vinegar” smell can happen sometimes in the summer, when it’s hotter. It probably has something to do with faster fermentation. Usually the grains get more slimy also. It also depends what you use to make water kefir, which fruit you add. Not washing the jar between batches can be a factor too. You could try the revival (dehydrated water kefir grains) process and see if anything changes.
      Hope this helps.
      Regards, Urška from Kefirko team

  2. Could i use coconut sugar. I am about to make my first batch of milk kefir, i had no idea i could use water. I realize i need a different grain. My Daughter will not dtink the milk Kefir but perhsps i can get her to drink the water. She is an adult.

    • Hi Carol, thanks for leaving the comment.
      You can prepare water kefir with coconut sugar too, but note, the coconut sugar is very rich in minerals and that can over time harm the grains too.
      You can make water kefir with white suggar, maybe a part of it can be brown, unrefined. Note, the sugar is used during the process of fermentation, so its actually for the grains, not for you.
      Find more on water kefir here:
      Regards, Kefirko team

  3. Dear Kefirko Team.
    Thank you for this very helpful article. I was wondering regarding the claims that are being made with regards to the benefits of Kefir, do you have any proof of these claims. Secondly, I understand that we do not test every batch, would it then be advisable to state this on a label and rather say … this batch MAY contain the following strands. Would this be safer?

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