Kombucha Tea, Water Kefir and Milk Kefir

Kombucha culture fermenting in a jar
Image via Wikipedia

I should be the healthiest person in the world since my kitchen is loaded with all the life-saving fungal creations listed in my title.

Today was the day I remade batches of all my kefir and kombucha starters.  I’m exhausted.  I brewed three gallons of tea, made a batch of milk kefir and finally, after 4 months of sitting on my kitchen counter, I attempted to revive my water kefir grains.

All of this is probably too much for one post, since I am too tired to write anyway.  So I’ll tell you a bit about the water kefir grains.

First thing is, they look like the clear stuff inside of disposable baby diapers.  I’m sure they are not the same though.  Positive.

They are a type of culture that reproduces itself while feeding on sugars in water.  So, to make it, you take a clean quart jar, add a cup of white sugar, and fill it about 3/4 of the way full with water.  Not chlorinated water.  You can then add dried fruits or raisins or lemons if you wish for flavoring.  Then you add your kefir grains…about a tablespoon is all you need.

I had about 1/2 cup of them, plus a water kefir scoby floating on the top!  That is my experiment, to see if the water kefir scoby will reproduce it’self like the kombucha scobies do.

So, I’ve got three quarts of water kefir grains going.  I won’t know for about three days if they survived their vinegarization on my kitchen counter over the winter.

I realize that without some background on cultured/fermented drinks, many of you may have no idea what I’m talking about. Please visit Dom’s kefir site for better information than I can give. Dom’s About Kefir in-site

Well, milk kefir, water kefir, and kombucha tea have all been around for thousands of years.  Shepherds would put the milk kefir grains into their pouches of milk to prevent spoilage and increase nutritional content.  They are said to prevent cancers.  Kombucha tea has a list a mile long of ailments it is supposed to cure or prevent. The picture in this post is one of kombucha tea in the making.  The big floaty thing you see inside the jar is the scoby.  I decided I like smaller scobies, so I’ve been using 1/2 gallon jars to make my tea.  The smaller scobies ship easier in the mail and look neater too.  The scoby will be exactly the size of the jar’s diameter at the top of the liquid in the jar.  So, if you wanted a really tiny scoby, you could make the tea in a pill bottle.  If you wanted a bigger scoby, you could fill up your bathtub and see what you get!  (Just don’t ask me to help you lift that thing out of there!)

My theory is that if people go to the trouble to make and then drink a fermented product, they will probably think twice about every other thing they put in their mouth, make a bigger effort at exercise, quit smoking, drinking, partying, etc. , thereby effecting a cure or at least an improvement in their condition.

That’s just my theory, for whatever it’s worth.

I’ve been making milk kefir for about 2 years and I don’t have any diseases yet that I know of.  So maybe it works.  A few months ago I decided that I’d leave nothing to chance, and got myself some water kefir and a kombucha scoby, just in case the milk kefir by itself wasn’t going to cut it.

Keeping up with cultures is a lot of work.  I give a lot of the milk kefir grains away to folks on the dairy goat forum, and also to anyone who gets milk from me.  I’m just about out.  They do reproduce, but I’m not the best kefir gardner in the world, so mine are a bit slow.  They are a high maintainance creation that requires a lot of milk in which to reproduce itself.  I make kefir for the goat kids and they love it.  I make about a gallon of it every other day.

The water kefir is a little less labor intensive, but the kombucha is positively self maintaining and soooo easy to do.  It takes a week to culture a gallon of kombucha tea, which is a long time compared to the kefir, but if you forget about it, say, go on vacation or something, you can rest assured that your kombucha tea will be good as new when you finally get around to putting it in the fridge and making a new batch.

You can also make it and let it set for 6 months or so for a gallon of good-for-you vinegar.

I’m excited about the water kefir vinegar I made.  I tasted it and it made me feel tingly.  It might be alcoholic at this point.  I decided to wait a while before I had any more, just to make sure I didn’t create a batch of poison.  I’m just a little leary of things that have set out on my counter for months and months!

Besides being up to my neck in fermentation this morning, I also got my new farm banner designed and it shipped out today!  It is not the final deal…since I’m still searching for a logo, but it’s better than what I had, which was nothing, and people coming into the market should be able to see my booth from across the room!

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4 thoughts on “Kombucha Tea, Water Kefir and Milk Kefir

Add yours

  1. I’ve just completed my first batch of Kombucha ever and feel so proud of myself and excited for the upcoming loads of kombucha drinking days ahead! 🙂 As for Kefir, well! That sounds exciting – I actually was thinking about making yogurt a few days ago. Kefir sounds even better. Wonderful article!


  2. Would like to purchase one of your cultures.My son has been undergoing chemo for 33 mos now for inoperable brain tumor and began drinking synergy kombucha tea 2 weeks before his last round.His blood counts tend to be on the low side.His absolute neutraphils had been 1100 and in one week they jumped to 1900,something that has never happened in the almost 3 years of treatment thus far.I bought every bottle I could find as soon as Whole Foods pulled them but only have about 14 left.I am located in Va. Beach.Thank you,Gail


  3. Hiya’s can any one tell me how I can sterilize my glass jars for brewing kombucha. They are just jars I have gathered up. One is an old cookie jar. They have come from a recycling depot. How do you guys do yours?

    aroha nui


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