Saturday, January 9, 2010

Water Kefir Grain

After reading about the benefits of Kefir from other blogs, I decided to try them for myself.
I chose Water Kefir / Sugary Kefir instead of Milk Kefir because I'm not drinking milk at the moment.

I ordered from the Kefir Lady because it was the cheapest that I could find.
For US$10, I get 8 grams (less than a tablespoon) of dehydrated Water Kefir Grain sent by mail, along with 3 sheets of paper containing :
- 1 page instruction to re-activate the sugary/water kefir grains
- 1 page of oil-pulling method taken from
- 1 page of product list and price list

Long story short, the grains didn't grow and they kept on disintegrating and I had less and less grain and it smelled bad/off so I threw them out after batch # 19.
So they're not really "guaranteed to grow"
I thought they can live on just sugar and water, but they need quite a lot of supplements.
not all at once, but here are some of the stuff : sodium bicarbonate, coral calcium or eggshells, unsulphured raisins, unsulphured dried cherries, rapadura, etc etc
of course there are those who say that they only feed their water kefir grains sugar and water and they grow just fine, but then again, I don't know.

I made around 19 batch of 2 days duration each.
I tried
sugar + water (bottled spring water)
sugar + water + sodium bicarb + raisins + ginger slice + eggshell
sugar + water + sodium bicarb + raisins
and other combinations using the above ingredients.

Sometimes the water kefir grains would plump up a bit and I thought they'd grow but the next day it stays the same or sometime they'd shrink.
I kept the temperature below 85F/30C and it never gets cold here
Marilyn said "They didn't like your water for some reason or their environment or your sugar. There could be many reasons. They don't always prosper in every home even though everyone may use the same recipe. Water has a different energy wherever you go."
yup... I kinda figured out if it wasn't the water, it was the sugar, or it was the environment, it could be any of those things, I know that.

I didn't drink the first few batches because I didn't know whether or not I should drink the first ones.
Marilyn said "try it". I didn't dare because Kefir is new to me and at that point I didn't dare drinking a foreign liquid ;p
I drank the water kefir once only, I think at batch # 5, it was good, it tasted like a mild soda.
but it just wouldn't grow and as I made another batch and another batch, they started to smell bad, it's not the fermented smell, it just smelled off, like it's gone bad, so I didn't dare drink it.
Marilyn (Kefir Lady) said that it was probably contaminated.
But I just didn't know where I went wrong, I mean, I washed the jar thoroughly every 2 days, I didn't stick my finger to taste the kefir, although I was tempted ;p

Here's a photo of the grains, probably on batch #15
You see how the grains are tiny.

There're less and less grains below.

I felt like I've wasted 10 bucks and time and effort to get the Kefir to grow.
I read in a forum that the same grain might act differently in different houses, meaning in house A they'd grow really well and in house B they just wouldn't grow.
some also suspect the grains might become damaged when sent via post/mail because they got radiated in the process.

I don't know where I went wrong, maybe I did something I'm not supposed to by accident that I'm not aware of, maybe the Kefir grains just didn't like the water/sugar/environment. I'm just lost.
I'll probably try again next time and I might buy them from Dom
His grains are more expensive, US$35 and I don't know how many grams of dehydrated water kefir grain is included in that price.
But his website is the most complete and thorough ones I could find.
Even Marilyn (Kefir Lady) referred to Dom's website for more kefir instructions.

So... If you'd like to know more about Kefir,
go and read it at Dom's website (milk kefir and water kefir)
another one on water kefir

or read the forums here :
Kefir Lady's forum

Dom's Kefir forum

actually, I first found out about Kefir from reading this 2 blogs and the blog owners also sells Kefir grains, check them out :)

As for me,
I can't say anything about the benefits of Kefir because well... they die on me ;p
so I can't recommend it to anyone.
but anyhow.... a lot of people are saying that Kefir is good, so.....I'm just posting my brief experience with Kefir and I'm not promoting their products, I'm just linking to resources that might be useful for you.


loves2spin said...

That's too bad about your water kefir! I've never tried that, but I have been brewing milk kefir for about a year and a half now with great success. I bought my original grains off of eBay and in fact I have even sold some of my extras there as they increase enthusiastically! You say you do not drink milk currently, but not why. I am blessed to have milk goats and so have my own raw milk to use, but that is not necessary and I have even read that you can make kefir from nut milks and things like that. I would encourage you to try it again and this time, try the milk kind! The health benefits and wonderful convenience of the kefir is worth it. Check out my blog where I have 6 "chapters" about kefir, if you would like: said...

Hi :)
I'm not currently drinking milk because I was a vegan for 8 months before and I just don't have access to a good quality milk to make me wanna start taking up milk again :) The ones available are powdered milk (fortified-formula) and the 'fresh' pasteurized milk from supermarkets.

I was thinking to try up the water/sugar kefir first but it didn't quite work out.... oh well.
I'll try again later on and I'll check out your blog :)

loves2spin said...

oops... it is I for got the 60, which was my age until today. :D Good luck to you! I hope you can find some good quality milk. I know it is hard to do in many areas. I kept goats for 15 years and then not for the next 14, but some stubborn digestive trouble got me back into it, and then I found the kefir. You might want to look at this link: They have listings for people that sell raw milk.

RawVeganRunner said...

I have had success with both milk and water grains. Never heard of dehydrated water grains, though. Just so you know, I(and many others) have had success with water grains without any fancy supplements. I put my grains in water with some sugar, and a piece of ginger and that was it. I'd switch to new water every few days, and never did a thng different and went on like that for months with no issue. Perhaps join a yahoo kefir group and get some live grains. I have also rinsed some of my milk grains and simply put them in juice instead. You get a slightly fermented wine cooler-ish drink. Yum! Kefir really is not that complicated and does not need pages of 'rules' :) I hope you try again, as it is alot of fun and it really is easy!!! :) said...

Hi RawVeganRunner, I couldn't find live grains around here, so they have to be shipped from abroad in the dehydrated form, I don't know if it affected the quality of the grains, but the seller said it'd grow just the same. I first tried grains+water+sugar and the grains didn't grow so I started adding more stuff because I read that the kefir needs calcium, dried fruits, etc, but I just couldn't get them to grow.
Thanx for the encouragement :) I'll try again soon.

Debra said...

I wonder if the "off smell" had to do with the egg shell? I just got my grains and with the first batch or 2 did not use and eggshell. On this last batch I did and the water kefir ended up smelling like a bad egg. I pitched it. I used a raw egg shell, thoroughly rinsed, but I did read somewhere to use a cooked one. Does anyone know - does that make a difference? said...

Hi Debra,
I used cooked egg shell, (boiled it first before putting it in)
so dunno what went wrong....

naturallyfit5 said...

I ordered my water Kefir grains from ebay seller yemoos and I got about 4 Tbsp. and they came live ready to go. I've only been making it a week and I now am up to 14 TBSP. they are growing like crazy. I would just suggest getting the grains from someone else. I wouldn't get dehydrated grains again. My water kefir is so awesome I'm so happy with the person I got them from. said...

Hi naturallyfit5,

I got the dehydrated water kefir grains because I ordered them from overseas and the live ones available in my country is only the milk kefir grains.
I don't think the live water kefir grains will survive if they send it overseas.

oh well :)

Kaz said...

I just ordered water kefir, milk kefir and Kombucha from Dominic. I followed his recipe and though I only put them in last night they are already bubbling. Have you tried Ebay? sometimes someone in the same country as you may have placed some on Ebay.
did you use raw sugar? I know I asked Dominic about this and he said they do not like white sugar or brown sugar to use raw. also he recommends putting a small amount of black strap molasses in and a dried fig as well as a slice of lemon. I have not tried the dried kefir before so do not know how they go but Dominic has done extensive research...he seems to be happy to answer any questions. said...

Hi Kaz,

thanx for your info :)
I haven't tried making water kefir lately, coz life's been super hectic, in a good way tho :)

will post when I do start on another water kefir journey :D

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