The Bubbly Tale Of Water Kefir (太阳菇菌 – 水克非尔)- by Joyful

Water Kefir Grains, also known as Sugar Kefir Grains, Tibicos, Tibi, Japanese Water Crystals, Ginger Beer Plant or California Bees, are a culture of bacteria and yeast held in a polysaccharide matrix created by the bacteria. The microbes present in Water Kefir Grains exist in a symbiotic relationship thus maintaining an incredibly stable culture. The friendly microbes feed off the sugar in the sugar water solution, producing lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide gas which carbonates the drink.
Water Kefir Grains facilitate the fermentation of sugar water or juice to create a carbonated lacto-fermented beverage. Extremely easy to brew, water kefir grains can be used as a starter to create a new batch of water kefir every 36-48 hours cycle.

Water kefir is a fantastic non-dairy alternative to milk kefir and can be flavored after brewing to make a variety of delicious sodas. If you are serious about replacing those sweet carbonated soft drinks which cost you your health and money, you are surely going to love the water kefir.
What’s the benefits of Water Kefir?


The probiotic benefits of water kefir are similar to those of milk kefir even though they share different strains of bacteria and yeast. Typically, water kefir grains have a mix of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus and Leuconostoc bacteria with yeasts from Saccharomyces, Candida, Kloeckera and possibly others.

Depending on the fruits or juices you use, the water kefir grains may pick up other beneficial yeast and bacteria which may pre-exist in the fruits. So, no two cultures shares  the same strains of microbes at any one time.

The only slight setback is, water kefir lacks the nutrients and goodness of milk which is found abundantly in the milk kefir.

Water Kefir is extremely cheap to prepare and you will save a lot from buying canned soda and most of all, probiotic supplements which will cost you heaps of money.

Basic Preparation of Water Kefir

The basic preparation method requires you to add Water Kefir Grains to a sugary solution and allow to brew 36 to 48 hours. A typical recipe might be:

  • ½ cup of Water Kefir Grains (3 soup spoons)
  • ¼ cup of brown sugar (from cane sugar)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) of un-chlorinated water
  • 1-2 dried fig, halved
  • ½ lemon (discard seeds)


  • Dissolve the sugar in the water
  • Add the lemon (cut into 2 thick slices) and the figs.
  • Drop in the Water Kefir Grains and cover the jar. If the lid is tightly closed, you will get a carbonated and fizzy drink. If covered with cloth, it will be less fizzy.
  • Set the jar aside to ferment at room temperature for 36 to 48 hours, away from direct sunlight and heat
  • When ready, strain out the Water Kefir Grains
  • Discard the figs or dried fruits
  • Squeeze the juice of the lemon slices into the strained water kefir
  • Store the strained water kefir in a narrow neck glass bottle with lid on and keep chilled in the fridge for 24hrs to get extra fizz
  • Give the grains a quick rinse before making the next new batch

Utensils you need

  • 2 litre glass jar with lid
  • Nylon strainer
  • Plastic or porcelain spoon
  • funnel
  • Narrow neck bottle with lid for storing the strained water kefir

Alternative Flavors

  • Dried Fruit alternatives : raisins, dried apricot, dates, cranberries, dried apples, dried pineapples, dried papaya, candied ginger etc
  • Fresh Fruits/Plants alternatives : lemon, pineapple, apples, oranges, grapefruits, berries, grape, passion fruits, lime, ginger, lemon grass, mint leaves, kaffir lime leaves etc
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Young coconut water, make an ideal isotonic drink

Note: you may add dried fruits when brewing water kefir but for fresh fruits and juices, add in during the secondary fermentation stage ie. after you strain the water kefir, add in fresh fruits or juices to the strained water kefir (without grains) and close the lid tight for another 24 hrs at room temperature.

When ready, strain out the fresh fruit pieces or blend the fruit pieces together with the water kefir for a nice textured and fizzy water kefir drink.


You need the Water Kefir Grains (WKG) to brew Water Kefir. WKG is different from Milk Kefir Grains.


If you would like to DIY Water Kefir, please write to us at with your name and address.

We are based in Kuala Lumpur and would be happy to send you the water kefir grains if you are anywhere from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia or Philippines.

Shipping and handling charges applies. The amount collected will be channeled to fund charitable projects.


Some external reference:

The Bubbly Tale Of Water Kefir (太阳菇菌 – 水克非尔)- by Joyful”的一个响应

  1. congras joyFUL …
    finally it is out ar …
    hope the traffic here is as good if not better than the milk kefir …
    and ppl getting healthier with all these probiotic … be it enzyme … milk or water kefir … cheers …

  2. hi, Joyful,

    Your great success in DIY Water Kefir is a big gift to me, as I had told you b4,
    I am not really like milk products, I shall continue to brew Kefir milk but alternatively would like to brew the Water Kefir.

    Thanks for your ” 大无私的心肠及好学精神 ” 你的成功就是我们的光荣. yummy……….

  3. Hi June,

    Thank you for your generous word of encouragement. In fact, not only you, many Malaysians or rather Asians could not get use to dairy products. I see the needs here and that motivates me to go into water kefir so that I can share with you all.

    Well, my effort is worth the while. My family and I love water kefir. We seldom take canned sodas except during Chinese New Year (don’t ask me why, I do not know, maybe it’s just a lame excuse or a silly tradition) even then, we only drink a bit lah. So, water kefir comes as a treat to my children.

    I have experimented a lot of flavors and ways of brewing water kefir so much so that I find it hard to pen down a recipe except the basic one. All those recipes I tried work and work so nicely even though there were lots of variables in each one of them.

    Anyway, June, I have received your email and I will make arrangement for you to get the water kefir grains soonest.

  4. Hi Thomas,

    Thank you for allowing me a platform to share this gem I found, kefir, both water and milk kefir. Your support behind the scene is greatly appreciated. Your graciousness and kindness is commendable and admirable.

    All of us here owe you a big thank you.

  5. Hi 凡夫俗子,

    What else can I say apart from a big thank you for your constant support both in words and actions. Many people here benefited from your untiring act of kindness. You bridged the gap between joyful and many grains recipients. Where I could not reach them, you stood in to deliver the grains to them. Thank you !!

    I am sure you will be an asset here to share your experiences in water kefir just like you have shared in diy enzyme and milk kefir brewing. Looking forward to hear you revealing your water kefir secret recipes, hahaha…..

  6. Joyful,
    You are welcome. I will put up the Chinese version of water kefir after I have tried out your recipe.
    I have put up a DIY Kefir Recipes Index page for easy searching, feel free to expand your kefir recipes in the future.

  7. haha … joyful …

    told u many times liao … i aint that tall le … every HIGH HAT u put on me will make me shorter … unless u r short of a dwarf … trying to make me the 7th one to keep u, the snow white happy … hahaha …

    i m a novice in water kefir … but the kaffir lime + lemon grass is one of my 最爱 :
    brew the water kefir just like wat u have described for 36 – 48 hours …
    strain the water kefir …
    only then add in a kaffir lime n a stick of lemon grass … n brew it for another 24 hours …
    strain n discard the ingredients …
    of course … i usually cut the keffir lime into halves … n the lemon grass in lenght of an inch of so …
    i too squeeze the kaffir lime into the strained water kefir …

  8. Thanks Thomas.

    I will make the necessary arrangement for you to get the water kefir grains for sure.
    It will be great to have the Chinese version as we have lots of Chinese readers here.

    I noticed that index page a couple of days ago, it’s very clear and helpful, thanks.

  9. Hi Joyful,

    Finally your water kefir’s article pusblished, been waiting and waiting .. Being a poor lactose intolerence soul for years, really would like to try out the water kefir….

    Will send you email soonest.

    I do really grateful of your advices and helps in kefir, always…

  10. Hi SC,

    Yes, FINALLY !!

    A couple of reasons, first, anything that I am not convinced myself and not tested and not sure, I won’t introduce. Do you know that before I advised anyone to brew kefir with raw milk, I did a “before and after” blood test on my lipid level after a few months of raw milk kefir? Rather than just doing research.

    Secondly, I was busy at work lately and my article suffered mild constipation, couldn’t come out polished…. ahahaha… shame shame.

  11. Oh I forgot to say this, this 凡夫俗子 hor, the 7th dwarf, is my 1st water kefir grains recipient, so he is actually the dwarf guinea pig in my water kefir project for months.

    Since he is the “bo-kia-si” type of dwarf so I also acted “chin-ka-si”, used him to experiment, hahaha. So anything wrong le, blame him…heh heh heh.

  12. Hi Joyful,

    Congrats to another step forward.

    I am ready to try brew this water kefir.
    Please clarify :
    if one has poor stomach, it’s better not to carbonate the drink too much ?
    if one has cough, it’s better not to fridge the drink after harvest, just store inside the cupboard ?
    does it have the same effect that if one brew too long, one will prone to get constipation, or vice versa ?
    if one is not making the kefir, one should put the grains inside a glass bottle, and add ?? to keep them fresh in the fridge ?

    Of course, I need to thank Thomas for pioneering this blog then generous enough to let it expand into more topics so we all benefit.
    Of course, I won’t forget the fans who nourish us with their experience and ideas.

  13. Well said Jen, for those encouraging words.

    Here’s the Q&As:

    Q1: if one has poor stomach, it’s better not to carbonate the drink too much ?
    Ans: I am not very sure about this, I think it depends on individual but you can try in small amount and see the reaction of the stomach. I don’t have strong stomach but I am fine with fizzy water kefir.
    If you feel uneasy about carbonation then drink it after straining and avoid secondary fermentation. When you brew, cover with cloth at all time instead of lid.

    Q2: if one has cough, it’s better not to fridge the drink after harvest, just store inside the cupboard ?
    Ans: Yes, inside the cupboard or just on counter top. Try to driink it within a day or two or else it will turn very fizzy and tart.
    Remember not to close the lid too tight or try to release the gas from time to time to avoid explosion. I am serious.

    Q3: does it have the same effect that if one brew too long, one will prone to get constipation, or vice versa ?
    Ans: No, not for water kefir. Try to not brew it past 72hrs as that will give you a very tart/sour drink and acidic condition will impede the growth of the water grains in the long run.

    Q4: if one is not making the kefir, one should put the grains inside a glass bottle, and add ?? to keep them fresh in the fridge ?
    Ans: Just keep the dry strained grains in a container, cover with lid and store in the fridge.
    Bear in mind that keeping them too long (weeks) in the fridge will make them weak.
    So it is good to brew them more regularly.

    My views on storing these live micro-organism in the fridge has never been compromised (they hate the cold) but I try to be sympathetic with busy urban folks (not that I am a jobless rural auntie living in the Fantasy Island) I think this way of taking a break from brewing is acceptable, though not the best.

  14. Haha Thomas,

    Majority of the readers here if I dare say, were from the era of Fantasy Island, Zorro, Bionic Woman, Six Million Dollar Man, Empat Sekawan etc. So, I have to identify with them by sending a wave of nostalgia for the good old days.

    I am perfectly secure to reveal that Joyful is no longer 姑娘十八一朵花 (a lass), so I don’t have to relate to them with the analogy of 2012…. heh heh heh…..

    So Thomas, you are quite sharp in your response to Fantasy Island huh, ahem, same era leh… ahahahaha…….

  15. Ahahaha Thomas,

    I DID NOT say a word that those Fantasy Island, Zorro, Bionic Woman, Six Million Dollar Man thingy were movies. How on earth you know that they are “MOVIES”, huh??? Unless, ahem, you had……em,emmm…..

    I may be old but not senile, not yet, heh heh….

    ps: kefir drinker are normally smarter and sharper than you think…. heh heh.

    pps: though it’s late now, I die die also must comment on your post. The rest of the Qs, I can wait till tomorrow, but this one, I must reply, MUST !!! Hahaha… good night

  16. Hello everybody, how are you guys/gals doing?

    Thomas, you must be the very young generation or not like to watch TV programme. Those are the popolar one lar…

    BTW, Joyful, thank you ! It’s really a great gift to share among my family and friends especially during this season. And I think brewing water kefir is much better for ” 都市忙人”, or shall i say 懒人like me, haha.

    Would very like to try brewing water kefir, will send mail to you. So, be prepare i will kacau you again lo Joyful !

  17. Hi Thomas & Joyful,

    Age is not a matter, never bother which era you are lah, the most important
    thing is young in heart & healthy.

    Right ??????

  18. Hi 叶,

    I am not scared of you kacau-ing me, haha.

    Water kefir is a lot more flexible and each individual can do it to their own liking. Easy to brew, easy to strain, easy to drink, maybe I should give it a new name — “Easy Kefir”…. hahaha.

    Your “waterbaby” is on the way…. watch out !!

  19. Right lah June,

    You are right again.

    Thomas and I were merely pulling each others’ legs at the last few posts. Some people are simply good at joking without laughing.

    We are all at the young generation as we never fail to keep developing our mental health.
    Age can never hold us down unless we allow it, right or not June?

  20. Hi Joyful,

    This water kefir is flexible and simple to make, and we can drink anytime we want. I like it.

    I tried dried red dates, “gay chi”, etc. I think very soon I will use “dong sum”, “dried lotus seed”, water chestnut …..

    Can we use cheap sugar like white sugar since it is only to brew the good bacteria ?
    Can we add warm water to let the kefir grow faster since they like warm temperature?

    Thank you for introducing this kind of kefir to us !

  21. morning, Joyful,

    I brewed my water Kefir on Saturday 11.30 am,last night b4 go to bed, it is very nice fizzy smell, it suppose to harvest today, (48 hrs), but I am at work till 6.00pm, shall harvest @ around 7.00pm, any problem?

    Pls advice, thanks

  22. wow … jen …
    so fast sound like pro liao …
    u sure have beaten me this 大师兄 liao … great on u, mate …

    no doubt u can use watever form of sugar … but refined white sugar is garbage food …
    we shld be a bit more loving and caring … so plse feed them with brown sugar, organic or otherwise … they will reciprocate ur kindness in exchange for good health …

    they need warm temperature to grow … but it is not a good idea to add in warm water … be a bit patient la … why r u in such a hurry ??? lol …

  23. Hi Jen,

    I am so glad you like it. Yes the waterbaby is never fussy, easy going little fella. Did she perform any dance in your glass jar? hehehe…

    If you want to venture into herbs and other stuff like what you have sugeested, always brew a basic water kefir with just sugar and water and grains, then only add those ingredients during the secondary fermentation.

    I avoided white sugar even though it’s only for the bacteria. The process of making it white is the problem, so you may still find those unwanted substances in your brew.
    Pian tang or brown sugar is not that expensive. Try to use sugar made out of sugar cane juice (as raw as possible), the water grains loves it.

    The climate in Malaysia is warm enough. The use of warm water is not necessary, you may risk killing the water kefir grains if you are not careful.

  24. Hey June,

    Started liao huh, finally.

    No problem lah, 10pm also no problem.

    Do a taste test each time before you harvest to establish the level of sweetness you like. Of course for me, I will brew until it’s not sweet and after secondary fermentation, it became not sweet at all with the fragrance of fruits and fizzzzzzzzzzzz……….

  25. Hi Joyful,

    How can I make it not so alcoholic taste, I had a slight drunk feeling ?
    In fact the 1st brew did not taste good but as I treat it as health drink so I don’t care.

    I will try to brew those Chinese soup ingredients in the 2nd brew, but you think we need longer time as they are so hard.

    I am still a little confused; will the good bacteria eat up the precious good sugar in the Chinese soup ingredients such as “dong sum” so that there is no more left.
    If all nutitions remain, then this is a good news as I don’t need to cook soup for 3-4 hrs and I can get complete nutrition from raw !

    Hi 凡夫俗子大师兄,

    You are right, I am often occupied because I am too fuzzy (not fizzy) in caring the preparation of meals; e.g. I wash leaves pc by pc, so everyday I stand in the kitchen for most of my time. If I can put all these soup ingredients raw in the water kefir, I will be thrilled !

  26. Hi Jen,

    Fermentation involving sugar will result in alcohol. Same like DIY Enzyme, we can’t totally remove the alcohol. We can only try to reduce the level as much as possible.

    You may reduce the sugar, but you risk under-nourishing the water kefir grains.
    You may reduce the hours of fermentation, but you may get a higher level of sugar.
    So, the choice is yours to balance the above.

    Actually, I do not expect your first brew to be nice tasting. The water grains need time to adjust after being inactive for many days (you did not start brewing immediately upon receiving the grains).

    Another factor is, the recipe I shared above is for a basic brew. The good taste comes from secondary fermentation with fruits or juices. Dried fruits will give you a milder taste. So, red dates and goji might have given you a less flavorful taste.

    I am not very good in Chinese herbs so I am not sure whether this way of brewing the dried herbs can give you the complete nutrients. I would imagine that you probably need to boil the dreid herbs first, cool the liquid, then add into the strained water kefir for secondary fermentation.

    You may refer to Dom’s site, he has a section on ginseng water kefir.

  27. hi Joyful,

    wish u a Merry Christmas, very .v…very wonderful, my 2nd batch of water kefir,
    is so successful, everyone enjoyed the taste of Bubbly water kefir, can I brew
    2 litres of kefir drink with the kefir grains I received from you. umh..umh…last
    word to express is wonder…….ful…….
    Thanks Joyful for all the works that you had done.

  28. Hi June the Wonderful,

    Thank you for your well wishes. We are going to celebrate Christmas this year away from home, for the first time in so many years. I am smiling from eye to eye while reading your encouraging post.

    Good lah good lah, you continue the good works with your waterbaby, and enjoy this healthy fizzy kefir drinks and CUT all the terrible canned soft drinks.

    ps: Eh, don’t be a slave driver lah, 1L is hard enough for the waterbaby already, don’t push them too hard lah, hahaha….a..a..n..n…d, please honey, don’t shrink the kids, OK!!!

  29. Hi Joyful,
    Thank you for sharing this tiny little amazing babies with us.
    Enjoy watching them float up n down and the bubbles “blooping”.

    Question : the longer hour we brew on the 2nd fermantation, will taste less sweet and more fizzy?

  30. oh my, haven’t visited for some time n a new baby is born! Congrats Joyful! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this!!

    I bet this will benefit my mom who doesn’t take milk.

    Ohh and 凡夫俗子, i need to arrange n get d grains from u! =) Have to mafan u again~

  31. Cute little fellas huh, 叶.

    That is correct, the longer you let it go on the secondary fermentation, the bacteria will consume all the sugar. The microbial activities also increase and hence more lactic acid (sour), more alcohol and more CO2 being produced, therefore it gets more fizzzzzzzzzzzy….

    It usually takes 24 hrs in 2nd fermentation.

  32. hi 叶
    joyful is off for her xmas vacation …so i dont think u will c her online for the next few days la …
    u r right that the longer u brew in the 2nd fermentation, the more sour n fizzy ur water kefir going to be …
    it is becos the good bacterias r feeding on the sugar … n producing more gas … so u will get a less-sugar carbonated drink …

  33. 凡夫俗子 & Joyful,

    Thanks for the advise.

    Basically the theory is the same in fermantation, right?
    While straining milk kefir, gotto cut little holes in the nylon strainer, but for water kefir, i tell you, no matter how i strain also they can pass thru and to the sink they go, hahaha. Hope they’ll grow faster . . .

  34. hi 叶 …
    don use nylon strainer for ur milk kefir … it takes too much trouble n time to strain the milk kefir using nylon strainer …
    i prefer to use a small plastic colandar for the purpose … it is neater n much quicker …
    cutting holes in the nylon strainer is a waste of money la … cos once cut … the holes will get bigger by day …
    wishing u a very happy 2010 … tata …

  35. hi 凡夫俗子 & Joyful,

    May I know the unchlorinated water is boiled or unboiled cold water, I am using
    boiled cold water and noticed that the baby grains grow very slow, they are very

  36. Hi June,

    To me non-chlorinated water is filtered water and I don’t boil my filtered water. Some may boil the tap water to get rid of chlorine and some may aerate the tap water, I am not sure whether these methods are effective to eliminate chlorine.

    凡夫俗子 will probably tell you that his friend is using boiled tap water and her grains grow well.

    We have tried a recipe using 2 cups of young coconut water and 2 cups of filtered water with 100g organic cane sugar. The grains love it and grew fat fat….. very fat !!

  37. In the past, I received requests for water kefir grains or sugar kefir grains from time to time through


    I have to decline some of the requests outside Malaysia due to certain constraints. However, starting from this year, I managed to have a breakthrough in solving those issues.

    I am pleased to announce that I am now able to ship out live water kefir grains / sugar kefir grains / tibicos to countries in South East Asia for eg. Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia of course.

  38. Hi Joyful,

    May i know children can take water kefir or not, bcos of its alcoholic taste, also another
    question, adults suffered from flu can take kefir milk and kefir water? of course leave at counter top from fridge for sometimes

  39. Hi June,

    As I have mentioned before, fermentation involving sugar will result in alcohol. Same like DIY Enzyme, we can’t totally remove the alcohol. We can only try to reduce the level as much as possible.

    You may reduce the sugar, but you may risk under-nourishing the water kefir grains.
    You may reduce the hours of fermentation, but you may get a higher level of sugar.
    So, the choice is yours to balance the above. Do experiments with these few factors to get your desired end results.

    A friend of mine who is in medical profession does the above adjustment for his very young children.

    When one is down with flu, this is precisely the time he/she needs to step up the consumption of kefir for its probiotic benefits, strengthening one’s immune system. Adding enzyme to it will further enhance its efficacy.

  40. hi, Joyful,

    May i know how long can we keep the water kefir? I was coughing and away
    for two weeks, so want to know can i still consume the water kefir ( two weeks
    brewing liao)

  41. Hi Joyful,
    I recently just learned about this DIY Water Kefir from friend. But, may you tell me more or which website i can search for what kind of illness people are not fit to consume this. I lack of this knowledge and do not dare any how to recommend people to try.


  42. Hi Donald Duck,

    One of the websites I would strongly encourage you to read is Dom’s site. I have included a link up there under “external reference”. You may google for “the ill effects of water kefir” and see if you can find any credible sites which reveal that. So far, I am not aware of such websites.

    Both water kefir and milk kefir are a good source of probiotic. Probiotic helps to boost our immune system effectively. So, people like the organ transplant patients should check with their doctors before they take kefir because they are on immunosuppressant and a raise in immunity may cause problem.

    Kefir may contain some level of alcohol depending on how you brew them. So, people who are allergic to alcohol need to be careful when they take kefir.

    I must qualify that I am not in medical profession and thus what I shared were purely based on what I read and what I have experienced. You ought to encourage those with medical conditions to consult their doctors.

    Another thing, I would not recommend to anyone if I myself have not tried it or have the experience in it. So, in order for you to recommend to others, you must try it on yourself first.

    ps: if any of your friends who may be interested to know more about kefir, and they have situations that are confidential, they may email me direct.

  43. Lately, I have been hearing that some kefir brewers are using Water Kefir Grains to brew Milk Kefir. Instead of using water and sugar to feed the water grains, they use fresh milk.

    When I knew about this, it sent a chill to my spine.

    All of them have the same experience ie. the fermentation seemed to occur but after a few brews, the grains became less and less and disappeared eventually.

    Now, we need to understand that when we are using milk to culture micro-organism, both good and bad can be present in the milk. If we have the Real Kefir Milk Grains which are active, healthy and alive, they will suppress and crowd out the bad bacteria during the fermentation and good bacteria will multiply to give us the benefit of Probiotic.

    However, if you do not use the real live grains or the right type of grains (for example, using water grains to ferment milk) then, how are you going to ensure that the good bacteria will flourish to overcome the bad ones? You may run into a situation where the bad bacteria may dominate over the good ones, giving rise to contamination.

    My encouragement to all brewers or interested individual would be, to secure the right type of live grains from reliable sources with the right type of advice.

    To sum up, water grains for water kefir and milk grains for milk kefir.

  44. Hi Joyful,

    Thanks for your reply.
    I will visit Dom’s site sooner or later. Coz, I have friends(about 60yrs old) with 尿酸、痔疮、便秘problem, need to know these people are ok to try not.
    Sure i will try it first on myself. I will soon get the water kefir grains from my friend. By the way, as i will be in my experiment stage, how shall i control the brewing process as i will not be giving away the grains to anyone yet. Throw?

  45. hi Donald Duck,

    As I said before, kefir is basically an excellent source for Probiotic. Probiotic helps the health of one’s guts and with healthy guts, one may eliminate constipation and later leads to the relief of one’s piles condition. So by such deduction, yes, kefir does help.

    Some individual with high uric acid is sensitive to alcohol so take water kefir with moderation.

    I do not quite understand your question on controlling the brewing process. There are many ways to brew water kefir. If you obtain the grains from your friend, do as he/she does. It is always good to follow the brewing methods from the same lineage after all the grains are used to the way they were fed at their previous owner’s hand.

  46. Joyful,

    Recently, my WKG acting very strange, like dead, no buble , no fermentation, I tried boiled water, filtered water, same thing happen, any idea what went wrong?

  47. Oui Ah Pek,

    Interesting question but I am afraid I have to throw you more Qs.

    What type of sugar did you use? And what is the amount of sugar you are using?
    How many days for each brew and how about the recent brew?
    Did you expose the jar to heat or direct sunlight?
    Did you store the grains in the fridge? And for how many days?
    How was the taste after 48hrs?
    Was there any grains floating at all?
    Has the grains changed in color and texture from the color when you first received them?
    Try to eat one grains, does it taste sweet or does it bite your tongue?

    There are many factors causing the death of the water grains but they don’t die that easily. They may stop growing completely but they won’t die unless you neglect them badly.

    At the meantime, continue the 48hrs brew. No fridge please.

    ps: I was enjoying the cool weather in Australia for a week and just got back last night. That explains the delay in replying you. Hope your grains are still in your fermenting jar…hehe.

  48. joyful,

    I use organic sugar, have been doing for 5-6 times before. Amount of sugar is 3 tablespoon WKG vs. 1.5table spoon sugar with 500-600ml water.May have exposed to sunlight in the morning the last round when I put it on kitchen top (not in fridge). I normally ferment for around 1.5 day. Sucessful for the past 5-6 times but lately the water taste sweet only no bubble no more fizzy taste, water looks very “dead”. The grain use to float & sink & float & sink but now some float remain float, most sink remain sink, can only see a little bit bubble. No change in color, it still taste sweet when I ate it just now.

  49. Hi Ah Pek,

    Organic sugar is fine. The amount of sugar you used was on the low side. Ideally, you should have doubled the amount of sugar even the water you used was only half a liter. You were doing the basic brew (without the fig or any other dried fruits) so you need to allow a bit more sugar.

    1.5 days of fermentation time is fine also. If the grains tasted sweet and did not bite your tongue, I think they are still alive but probably some micro-organism within the grains might have been killed by the sunlight. Make sure you place the jar away from sunlight and heat.

    Continue to brew without taking a break. Let it go for 2 to 2.5 days if it still tastes sweet. Once it turns sour, strain. You need to repeat a few more brews according to my instruction and I believe you will see the colony restored soon.

    Keep me posted on the progress, Ah Pek 🙂

  50. I purposely put less water to increase the sugar concentration. Actually, I have been doing these step 3-4 time to “rescue” the grains before commenting here, each time for around 2 days , drain & start all over again, I shld drain tonite after brewing for 2 days but this morning the water still looks “dead” (whitish color) taste sweet like no fermentation.

  51. hi, Joyful,

    I am brewing my water kefir pretty good, taste nice and its growing perfectly,

    I would like to seek for your advice, bcos i shall be going for a long holiday say
    3 weeks, so what shall i do to maintain the baby grains healthy? Both milk and
    sugar kefir grains.


  52. hi Joyful,

    6 tblspoon cane sugar for brewing water kefir, ( 1 litre water), may i know
    whether is harmful to our health? (this i question for my friend)

  53. Hi June,

    I have replied your email in details regarding the storage methods.

    When you have healthy water kefir grains to brew the water kefir, you will realize that the ready kefir tastes less sweet. The sugar is food for the good bacteria, not for us. The sugar will be broken down and converted to lactic acid, ethanol and CO2.

    If you are concerned, brew until it doesn’t taste sweet at all.

  54. Hi June,

    I forgot to mention to you that you may also visit Dom’s site. He has a section on the sugar issues in water kefir and he seems to suggest that water kefir is quite suitable for the diabetic patients.

    Click the link above which says “external reference” and read the section on “SUGAR-REDUCTION of ready-to-drink water kefir “.

  55. Hi Joyful,

    I’ve been reading both milk and sugar kefir grains brewing with much interest. I’m from Kuching, Sarawak. I would like to get both milk n sugar kefir grains from you or anyone in Kuching to brew for my family. Pls let me know what type of arrangement to get the grains? BTW, I’ve some queries below:

    (1) Store the strained water kefir in a narrow neck glass bottle with lid on and keep chilled in the fridge for 24hrs to get extra fizz
    – How long can i keep the strained water kefir in the fridge?

    (2) Give the grains a quick rinse before making the next new batch
    – If i extra grains after making water/milk kefir – how to store the grains? And how long can I keep these grains?

    Thanks and regards, Susan

  56. Hi Joyful and everyone reading this,

    I’m not selling or promoting this product. But would like to know opinions about the “magic bucket” /pail from Ecoparadise ie. made from high-grade plastic combined with anti-oxidant solution from Japan. It is not cheap about RM160/- However, in its website it mentioned that * The wine (the fermentation beverage) it is possible.

    Drying 500g and the water 6 liter which probably will be hit, you insert sugar 1kg, 1 day 1 time it just agitates, complete in 2 weeks.

    Do you think this bucket a good investment for making enzyme or should just stick to glass container ?

    Rgs, susan

  57. Hi Susan,

    Regarding your Qs:

    Q1: the strained kefir can be kept in the fridge for a long long time but keeping it for too long will affect the nice taste.

    Q2: extra kefir grains can be kept in the fridge.

  58. hi susan …
    i have diy enzyme for 2 years + now … and i too have heard of this “magic bucket” … as far as i m concerned … i wld prefer to stick to the old traditional way of fermentation … ie using glass / ceramic jars …
    in my opinion … human is part of nature … and we have been diverting from nature far and out … i think it is time to return to as close to nature as we possibly can …
    but … of course … if u feel more comfortable using the bucket … by all means … it is a free world … this is just my penny worth of thought …

  59. My view is, Susan, ….. keep things as simple and as cost effective as possible.

    Use what is commonly available to you in a creative manner, then you will be able to multiply simple things for noble use.

    This is my life principle.

  60. Joyful

    Thanks you for your replies…

    Re. Q2: extra kefir grains can be kept in the fridge -I still have some confusion, how you don’t mind answering them.

    Q(a) The extra kefir grains can be kept in an “air-tight” container?

    Q(b)How long can you keep the kefir grains – indefinitely?

    Q(c)How do you activate Kefir Grains kept in the fridge to make Kefir drink?

    Q(d)How do you tell the Kefir Grains cannot be revived..must be thrown away?

    I have email to you regarding getting the grains! Thanks you.

    Rgs and God Bless, Susan

  61. Hi Susan,

    I have replied your email.

    I am assuming you are talking about the water grains here, so, here’s some answers to your Qs:

    Ans (a): yes but need not be super air tight. Just with closed lid leaving some air space.

    Ans (b): no, not forever, the grains will not have eternal life in the fridge. Keeping them too long (weeks) or too often in the fridge will make them weak.

    Ans (c): bring them out from the fridge and brew as usual.

    Ans (d): when they stop performing their usual fermenting task.

    I will give you further detailed instructions when you get the grains 🙂

  62. 请问有多的WATER KIFER 种子,除了给朋友可以拿来吃吗?像MILK KIFER的种子那样。TQ

  63. Hi, may i know:-
    1) after 48hrs of brewing,why it still taste sweet?like no sign of fermentation?
    or in a stage of hibernation?
    2) the grains appear to be very slimy? i fed them well with lots of raw cane sugar in mineral water.
    3) any method to revive the grains?

  64. Hi Julie,

    I need to know your brewing process in detail. There may be many factors in different permutation which lead to the condition of your grains.

    Please email me at and if possible, do send me pictures of your grains.

  65. Hai Sifu, I am back ^^………….
    Sorry, so long never contact you all, busy busy busy and busy 🙂

    Recently, I have get some water kefir from my aunty, will try to brew it today, hope will success as my milk kefir 🙂

  66. Hi joy,

    Can i use “BRITTA pitcher” carbon filtered water for brewing the water kefir??

    I have been using mineral water and is doing very well but is costly in the long run.

    Some web page mentioned Britta filtered water do not contain the minerals that encourage the growth of the water kefir.

    Thank you.

  67. Hi Julie,

    I am not familiar with the Britta filtered water you mentioned, therefore I could not comment much.

    I guess if you are concerned over the water being lack of mineral, use jaggery sugar or dark brown sugar to add some mineral to the brew. A teaspoon of Blackstrap molasses may help too if you are using normal cane sugar. Occasional squeeze of ginger juice does promote grain growth as well.

  68. Hi Joyful,

    I had thrown away the water kefir grains, as the slimy grains are coated with whitish substance, I am afraid that it already contaminated, the fermented water kefir also not dare to drink, because I could not see the bubbling during the brewing process, the water looks stagnant as well.

    Sorry to my kefir baby. Forgot to tell you every morning, before go to bed, after back from work, the first thing I do is to look at my water and milk kefir, But….so sad to the grains.

  69. Do not be dismay June,

    Although Kefir babies are living organism, they are meant to serve you and give you good health. The well being of their master is more important.

    Not to worry, you will get your waterbaby early next week, they are busy dancing around in my jar now 😀 while I am busy running around outside.

  70. 什么时候饮用Water Kefir Drink 是最理想?

    这是雪莲酵素的资料, 不知是否正确?

  71. Hi NIM,

    Water Kefir 含有少许酒精,所以不大适合孕妇喝.
    孕妇喝 Milk Kefir 会比较好.

  72. Hi Moon,

    I have replied to all the emails I received todate but there wasn’t any email from the “Moon” …. 😀

    Perhaps you may want to re-send and mention that you are the Moon.

  73. 请问放在雪柜里的黑糖会发霉的吗?因为我看到白白的毛毛在黑糖里哦!想拿来brew water kefir.

  74. i put the brown sugar in the hot water,then i can see something float.Look like mold leh.white color….Any idea??

  75. 我的water kefir 放了那黑糖后,今天water kefir 起来很大的变化。上面一层有白白的一层白霉(我自己是那么认为),这一层霉还起了很多的泡泡。。。。

  76. Hi 心涵,

    If you have doubt, it is better not to use the brown sugar which grows mold to brew water kefir. Why take the risk of cross contamination? 因小失大?

  77. Hi 心涵

    That’s not mold, i’d experienced b4, i threw away the kefir water but later realized that it is not contaminated, if u can see bubbles and the grains floating up and down, is fine, don’t worry.

  78. 急急急!!!

    Hi, Joyful, 你好!还记得我吗?


    因为不知道它的”daddy” or “mummy” 是谁,所以,没处好询问。。。。

    奇怪,头几次做的都OK, 很好喝,记不清楚当时用的是什么糖,好像是brown sugar。可是现在,不管我用的是黄糖or 黑糖,我已做不出之前的味道,I think 应该是酵母也已给我搞到“晕头转向”了吧?

    急待你的回复, thx.

  79. 别急别急, 雪莲活命水,

    我真的不知道为何你的小朋友那么难搞. 我怎么做都没你所谓的“火酒味”.

    不久前,有人买了我的菌种. 她收到了之后告诉我, 菌种竟然发出一阵独特的香味.

    我有试过用各种各样的糖. 酿出来的味道的确有差异. 但是却没有“火酒味”, 小朋友们也没头晕晕 😉

    据我所知, 菌种有很多种类. 所以做法也会必然不相似. 我认为你还是跟回原本的做法, 别跟”风”吧.

  80. Hi, Joyful,


    我就是跟着我手上的‘雪莲酵素’的做法做的啰!只是里面指明用‘印度黄糖’(就是所谓的黑糖,对吗?),而我头几次做的没用黑糖,因为当时没买到。。。味道就OK。 等到真正用黑糖(散的)做时,出来的味道就变成有‘火酒味’liao????


  81. Hi Joyful,


    但是最近再试,出来的味道却变得只有甜味,no fizzy taste.

    I think,我试试用同样的糖连续做两次:第一次,先给它时间’warm up’, 然后继续用同样的糖再做第二次。看看这个方法,能否让它恢复正常。。。。。

    Joyful, 请问:
    1)把盖子稍微盖紧,就可让它more fizzy?

  82. Hi Joy,

    Thanks for all the information given. Jaggery sugar are sold in Mydin and Giant (for new brewers information). It is also called ‘gula merah’. My tibicos are bubbly and huge (compared to the ones I had before). The first harvest I threw away, as advised and I can’t wait to try my second brew tonight.

  83. Hi Bee,

    Thanks for sharing the jaggery info with us. You may also buy the jaggery sugar in cubes or in balls (as big as an avocado) at the Indian grocery shops in Bricksfield, Kuala Lumpur.

    After melting the jaggery sugar, you need to strain the solution to get rid of the residues, sand etc.

    I am glad you are happy with the Tibicos (water kefir grains) I sent you. Brew diligently and you will reap the health benefits from it. Wishing you well 🙂

  84. Joy,
    For me,i felt piantang cant let the baby water kefir grow fast.i brew everyday,but the grains still look very small,as small as sand.piantang also no much bubbles.
    I think brown sugar that i used before is better coz a lot of bubbles (i show you that picture).What do you think?

    But so far,the taste is great!(a little bit sweet coz i put the whole bar piantang,i think is 80gm.)

  85. Hi 心涵 ,

    Certain brown sugar I used before caused the growth of white mold on the top layer. No harm done but a bit messy.

    Pian-Tang (片糖) does taste good and produces brew that has appealing color. Why don’t you mix the two types of sugar on 50:50 ratio?

  86. 我做了30天才拿起来,味道更浓和好喝。可是我不知道喝了会不 会有反效 果呢??

    喝了这 个酵素后,身 体会血压高吗?

    有B型肝炎可 以喝吗??因 为它有酒的成 份。

  87. 我 做 的 是 跟 你 们 一 样 的 酵 素 , 因 为 我 没 有 时 间 拿 起 来 , 所 以 每 次 15-30天 才 拿 起 来 。
    你 试 一 试 ,看 一 看 它 的 效 果 , 很 好 喝 。
    我 想 问 这 种 酵 素 血 压 高 & B型 肝 炎 可 以 喝 吗 ? ? 因 为它有酒的成 份。

  88. Hi Sin,

    如过你所谓的酵素是水克非尔, 那依照我本身的经验及方法, 我只让它发酵2-3天. 发酵太久的水克非尔会变得太酸, 酒精的成份也会因此增高.

    如过你担心酒精的不良影响, 也许你可试一试 milk kefir.

  89. we brew water kefir grain for 72 hrs. we drank 30ml per day. but it causes constipation. will 48 hrs brew can get mild laxative effect? how much alcohol formed
    during 48 hrs? if we stored in the fridge for 5-6 days, will alcohol increased in the drinks? for longterm drinking will it damaged our liver?

  90. Pls advise, 1 bowl of snow lotus yeast, 200g Indian brown sugar & 500ml filtered water. Is this the correct proportion? Can Hepatise B Carrier drink this? Mom who is 80 years old, cough on and off due to weak lungs. Can she also take this? How much that we can take per day?

  91. Hi Mindy,

    I have no idea how much alcohol could be formed at any time of the brew. There are so many variables affecting any fermentation process.

    As I said before, there are many types of kefir grains with many types of brewing methods flying around, so without any prior knowledge of what grains you have and which method or ingredient you used, it is difficult for me to comment.

    The Water Kefir I brew has never caused any constipation. So far, I have never received feedbacks from my water kefir grains recipients that they have this problem.

    Just a rule of thumb, the more sugar you use, the higher alcohol content you are going to get. Fermentation still occurs in the fridge but with a slower rate. So, yes, alcohol content will increase when you store for 5-6 days.

    If you are concerned over alcohol issue, why don’t you brew Milk Kefir?

  92. Hi Lee,

    Some of your questions had been answered in the above post.

    The amount is up to your own tolerance. Some people could tolerate 1L a day but some could only handle a few spoons.

    All these fermented food we are doing here are meant to strengthen ones immune system. It is not our intention to treat any illnesses as it is the job of medical professional to do so.

    With regards to the ratio of ingredients used, please refer to the instruction from the previous owner of your grains. It is better to stick to that as the grains are used to the food they were fed before. Any changes would disturb the micro-flora of your grains.

  93. Hi Joyful,

    I have been reading this page with great interest. Thank you for giving us so much information on the goodness of kefir.

    Recently I got some water kefir grains from a relative. I started with the 1st brew yesterday and waiting to strain tomorrow. I used organic raw sugar. I don’t know if I done mine correctly. I find a lot of kefir floating on top. There are some small bubbles around the sides at the top. Is this right? I will wait for tomorrow then I will taste whether sweet or sour. Can I drink this first batch? Cos I kept the grains in the fridge for about a week, and forgot to rinse them when I brewed.

    This is the first time I do this and I have some questions. May I know how much is the quantity to drink per day? Do I drink this diluted, or just straight from the bottle? How much do small children drink? Sorry for so many questions.

  94. Hi Vivien,

    By the time I read your post, I believe you must have sorted out most of your uncertainties already 😉 You need to rinse the grains each time your brew a new batch.

    The amount of consumption depends on each individual. Some could drink 1-2L a day but others could only tolerate a few spoons. Go slow when you start then build up the amount gradually. You may drink it straight from the bottle or dilute it according to your taste preference. I sometimes mix it with milk kefir, quite nice.

  95. Hi! I got a batch of tibicos grains and tried to grow it over the weekend. But i found that some of the grains are floating. So I’m just wondering if the floating grains are dead/spoilt and the ones at the bottom are alive or vice versa? Not sure if i’m doing it right. Also, distilled water or should we use boiled filtered water or bottled mineral water (which we never know if it is tap or “natural” source water)?

  96. Hi Elaine,

    Whether they float or sink, they are all alive if you do not see any yeasty coating on them and they are firm. The end result is the best judge of whether they are alive or dead. If the sugar is not digested, then the grains are dead.

    Distilled water is not ideal, mineral water is better.

  97. Hi Joyful! Thanks for your advise. Thing is i have never tasted tibicos before I made it…so am not sure what to expect. After my first batch, i found it really sweet (my sifu asked me to add 500gm sugar to 3 cups tibi, and 2 litres RO water).

    My second batch, i used 1.5l water (filtered with the Diamond filter), added 6 soup spoons of muscovado sugar, then added the lemon(1/2 not squeezed), then only the tibicos (about 10 soup spoons). I closed it tight coz wanted to try the drink with bubbles, BUT till today (already 36 hours), still none, even when I opened it this morning, no sound of escaping gasses even. I didn’t taste it. If i taste it, what should it taste like? Sweet? Sour? Like coke? Can’t figure if the grains are still ok, coz some (very few) are floating only. Feel so sad coz I may have killed them!!!

    Oh, last question, rinse the grains with what water b4 starting new batch?? THANKS VERY MUCHHH

  98. Hi Elaine,

    I have great reservation in commenting on grains that are from other sources. I know my grains well enough to give advices and comments but since your grains came from your sifu, I think it is only right that you ask your sifu and continue on with his/her methods. That way, your grains can continue with the food they are fed before.

    If you keep changing the water and sugar type and the amount and the method and…and…and…… then, you may risk killing them one day.

    The water kefir brewed from my grains and according to my methods tastes a bit like Shandy, less sweet though.

    Rinse with filtered water.

  99. Hi Joyful, Oh i didn’t know that the sugars cannot be changed!!! Oh no!!! If my little babies K-O, is it possible for me to get some from you? This morning i strained mine, and found a thin layer of something looking like a layer of oil at the top. But there were some moving up and down, and still no bubbles.

    So sad 😦 Ok will check with my “sifu” hahaha i call her that coz she teaches me so many other stuff to do!!

    Thanks a million!!!

  100. I also found a thin layer of thin membrane type on top of kefir water that i brewed.
    is is normal? I taste the final results is acidic no sugar taste. I threw away the top layer
    part of kefir grain which is a bit slimy and darker colour. will the final results be toxic?

  101. Hi Mindy,

    Sometimes, over-brewed water kefir will have a layer of gel like film. Just discard the layer. The water kefir is consumable.

  102. Hi, Joyful, just found you over internet and appreciated of your graciousness and kindness. im a newbie in kefir and enzyme stuff., and been worried for a while when i knew I need to be away for few weeks what can I do with the kefir grants? Can I just keep it in the fridge? I get no one as a baby-sit. Thanks for your help.

  103. Hi,
    Chance upon your Blog while searching for Water & Milk Kefir.
    Any kind soul from Singapore care to share with me the grain for 1st timer ?

  104. Hi Joyful, I have some simple question, hope you can help. Can my 4 yrs old boy drink the water kefir everyday? Can I actually drink the water kefir and 酵素 together ? Can both mixed? Can we keep the dried kefir grains into plastic container? Or must be grass bottle? How do we can justify the water kefir is not successful? Thanks in advance..

  105. hi Jojo,

    Water Kefir may contain alcohol depending on how you brew it. If your water kefir has a high level of alcohol, then it may not be good for your 4 years old boy especially on daily basis. To me, Milk Kefir is a better choice for him.

    You may add the enzyme (酵素) into the water kefir. It’s very good in fact.

    Dried kefir grains? Sure, you may keep them in plastic container if it is dried (dehydrated). For fresh grains, it is advisable to store them in glass container.

    When the end result is still sweet after 48hrs or when the brew gives out bad smell or when the brew turns slimy etc, then you know that something is not quite right.

  106. Thanks Joyful..I hv today drink my 1st batch of plain water kefir(without fruits)..taste like soda..nice!! I going to add in grape for my 2nd batch, hope successful lo! boy now is drinking the 酵素 everyday (I follow Thomas recipes) that ok?

  107. Jojo,

    I have expressed my view above, on giving drink that contain high alcohol to young children.

    You need to form your own opinion on that and assess whether your enzyme contains high alcohol, thereafter decide whether you should give it to your boy.

  108. could anyone advice where can I get some snow lotus in Melaka so that I can start fermenting the enzyme for my consumption?

  109. hi I just started making water kefir, and i have excess water kefir grains to give away, please email to
    i am living in Singapore.

  110. hi everybody,

    My apology for all the delayed replies as I am on a long overseas trip.
    Kindly drop me an email at for any enquiry pertaining to kefir grains.
    I will address all your queries accordingly. Thank you.

    ps: Thanks, Thomas :))


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