Water Kefir (or more correctly, ‘Tibicos‘) – is a higher source of lactobacteria than Kombucha so Water Kefir has even more power to make a fizzy pop that rivals supermarket brands. Even better, it comes without the huge sugar content, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives you get from the store.
|Like kombucha, the culture is a SCOBY, but this one grows as grains/crystals/tibi – pretty to look at, and kinda smells like bread yeasts. These guys are higher in lactobacteria and therefore make for a more potent probiotic than Kombucha; and due to the high content they make a healthy brew not within in weeks, but days, so the brewer has to be quick!
They feed on sugar water, but also like extra minerals, and individual brewers end up with concoctions that can contain any or many of the following: sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, molasses, coconut water, fruit juice, dried fruits, fresh fruits, citrus, crushed rinsed egg shells, baking soda, mineral salts.
The flavour and effervescence of the brew after the first day or two can be a bit lacking, but a second ferment with fruit or fruit juices in sealed bottles at room temperature for a further day will turn this into a delicious soda pop. Again, the tibi eat the sugar, and even in the second ferment where the grains are not present, the process continues thanks to the probiotic content, so you are still left with a soda pop that is not overly sweet like the store-bought
poisons sodas. However the sugar conversion process is not as effective as it is in kombucha, and for those concerned with sugar in their diets (eg. diabetic/pre-diabetic/paleo/GAPS/weight watchers/nutritarians of all descriptions), you may want to check your brews with a hydrometer for sugar levels, or let the second ferment brew longer (this increases the alcohol level though!), or brew every second batch with nothing but coconut water (coconut water kefir), and just consider the sugary batch the one that nourishes the grains and the coconut water batch as the one that nourishes you!