Water Kefir & Kombucha

Podcast #8: Kefir water and Kombucha

Kefir water and Kombucha- what are they and what is the difference between them. Some of you may have heard of Kombucha and maybe you have even tried it but do you know why it is good for you and how easy it is to make? Kefir water is a little less know but similar.

What are they?

Kombucha and Kefir water are both fermented beverages.

Kombucha is made with a scoby(symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), held together by polysaccharides. It looks like a mushroom but is not fungus. Kombucha is known to contain a variety of yeast and bacteria.

Kefir water is made of “grains” which are a colony of bacteria and yeast. They look like small translucent grains. The term “grains” is only used to describe their appearance. Kefir grains contain no actual grains such as wheat, rye. Etc. They also contain a variety of bacteria and yeast.

Preparation and time frame:

Kombucha is prepared by adding starter tea and a kombucha culture (your scoby) to sweet tea (black, green, oolong, etc). This Is then fermented for 5 to 30 days depending on the flavor you desire.

Water kefir is prepared by adding water kefir grains to sugar water (we add a little molasses and baking soda for added minerals). This is then fermented for 24-48 hours.

Do you flavor them?

Kombucha is tangy, kind of sweet and effervescent. The flavor varies greatly depending on how long you allow it to ferment and the tea that you use. The fermenting or culture time really determines whether the kombucha tea has a very mild taste or a strong vinegar-like taste. Kombucha can be flavored or you can drink it plain as well.

Water kefir can be sweet and the longer we let it ferment or culture the less sugary it is. It is recommended that you flavor water kefir because the taste of plain water kefir isn’t as pleasing.

Which is better?

Kombucha can aid in our digestion It also adds to our beneficial bacteria in our gut and it contains some acids and enzymes to aid in breaking down food.

Water kefir is more so a probiotic drink. It contains acids and enzymes to aid in digestion though not quite as strong as those in kombucha. Water kefir does, however, have a greater number of bacteria strains than kombucha.

Both drinks are very beneficial in aiding our natural body systems and both are great for hydration. Depending on what flavor you like and the health benefits you are looking for, consuming one or both is a matter of individual preference.

 

Kombucha Water kefir
Brew time 5-30 days 24-48 hours
Brews in Sweetened tea (black, green oolong) Sugar water(juice or coconut water can be used)
Batch size Quantity not limited by size of scoby Limited to size depending on the amount of grains(usually about a gallon)
Flavor Tart, slightly vinegary. Gets stronger as it brews Sweet. Should be flavored with fruit juice or extracts
Carbonation Effervescent Slightly bubbly(very bubbly after 2nd fermentation)
Drink it plain? Yes, but flavor is good too! Not recommended
Contains Probiotic & yeast Probiotic & yeast
Culture growth The mother scoby always produces a baby which can be given away. Grains will multiply- sometimes slower and other times very quickly.
Health Benefits Detoxifier & digestive support. General health & probiotic supplement.

 

Instructions for making Kefir Water

  1. Pour 1/4 cup sugar into the jar.
  2. Add 1/2 cup hot water.
  3. Swirl to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Add 3 cups room temperature or cool water.
  5. Check the temperature of the liquid to make sure it’s room temperature ( 68°-85°F.)
  6. Add the water kefir grains
  7. Cover the jar and place in a warm spot, 68°-85°F, to culture for 24-48 hours.
  8. After culturing is complete, prepare a new batch of sugar water, (steps 1-4 above).
  9. Separate kefir grains from the finished water kefir.
  10. Place kefir grains in the new batch of sugar water.
  11. The finished water kefir is now ready to consume, or flavor.

 

Making Larger Batches

To make larger batches, use up to 2 cups grains and use 1 cup cane sugar per gallon of water.

The best method for removing water kefir grains from finished water kefir is to use a plastic mesh strainer. Simply set the strainer on top of a clean jar and pour the entire batch of finished water kefir through the strainer into the jar, catching the grains. Transfer the grains immediately to the new batch of sugar water.

Kombucha Ingredients & Ratios:

One-Quart Batch:

  • 1½ teaspoon loose tea OR2 tea bags
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups water
  • ½ cup starter tea or vinegar

Half-Gallon Batch:

  • 1 tablespoon loose tea OR4 tea bags
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1 cup starter tea or vinegar

Gallon Batch:

  • 2 tablespoons loose tea OR8 tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 13-14 cups water
  • 2 cups starter tea or vinegar

Instructions for Making Kombucha Tea

 

  1. Combine hot water and sugar in a glass jar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The water should be hot enough to steep the tea but does not have to be boiling.   
  2. Place the tea or tea bags in the sugar water to steep.
  1. Cool the mixture to 68-85ºF. The tea may be left in the liquid as it cools or removed after the first 10-15 minutes. The longer the tea is left in the liquid, the stronger the tea will be.
  2. Remove the tea bags or completely strain the loose tea leaves from the liquid.
  3. Add starter tea from a previous batch to the liquid. If you do not have starter tea, distilled white vinegar may be substituted.
  4. Add an active kombucha SCOBY.
  5. Cover the jar with a tight-weave towel or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
  6. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed at 68-85°F, out of direct sunlight, for 7-30 days, or to taste. The longer the kombucha ferments, the less sweet and more vinegary it will taste.
  7. Pour kombucha off the top of the jar for consuming. Retain the SCOBY and enough liquid from the bottom of the jar to use as starter tea for the next batch.
  8. The finished kombucha can be flavored and bottled, if desired, or enjoyed plain.

Ask on your local crunchy mom’s Facebook group or check out www.culturedhealthforlife.com to purchase kefir or kombucha supplies.

Have you tried either? Which drink are you ready to try? What is your favorite flavor?

As always be grateful & have faith!

God Bless!

 

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