Water Kefir FAQ

Frequently asked Questions about Water Kefir

What is Water Kefir?

Water Kefir, also known by many as Tibiscos, Japanese Water Crystals or Snow Lotus etc., is a dairy-free probiotic drink made by fermenting sweetened solutions with water kefir cultures. The resultant brew is a bubbly and refreshing health drink containing a plethora of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and organic acids plus beneficial gut-healing bacteria. It is also a great, healthier alternative to soda!

What is the History of Water Kefir?

It is not completely clear when or how water kefir grains came about though it seems probable that water kefir grains have been used for many centuries. There are some papers from the late 1800s documenting the water kefir grains being used to ferment the sweetened juice of the prickly pear cactus in Mexico.

Some papers also point to Tibet, the Caucasus Mountains and the southern peninsular of the Ukraine.

What are the health benefits?

Water Kefir contains beneficial living organisms which contributes to gut health. It makes a great alternative to sugar-laden soda drinks typically available on retail shelves.

Scientific studies support beneficial claims that water kefir increases antimicrobial activity, reduces cholesterol levels, reduces atherosclerosis by regenerating cell walls, reduces blood pressure, reduces inflammatory problems, promotes better liver function by removing toxins, aids digestion, alkalizes our body’s internal pH levels and increases our energy levels.

What happens if my Water Kefir is left alone for a long time?

Over time, as the fermentation process continues, the cultures which are still present in the drink continue to feed on the existing sugar, turning the drink more and more sour. It is still consumable but if you find it not palatable, you may use it as a non-toxic cleaner, face mask or even use sparingly on your plants as a fertilizer!

Does Water Kefir contain alcohol?

As a result of the acetic fermentation process, unflavoured water kefir does contain trace amounts of alcohol which generally measure anywhere between 0.03 – 1% (similar to an overripe fruit).

What are some other names that Water Kefir goes by?

Most commonly known as Water Kefir or Tibicos, there are a lot of other names it goes by: tibisugar kefir grainsJapanese water crystals and California bees, and in older literature as bébées, African bees, Australian bees, ginger bees, vinegar bees, bees, Japanese beer seeds, beer seeds, beer plant, ale nuts, Jack's Magic Beans, and balm of Gilead.

Scientific Resources:

  1. Pidoux, M. (1989). The microbial flora of sugary kefir grain (the gingerbeer plant): Biosynthesis of the grain from Lactobacillus hilgardii producing a polysaccharide gel. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology,5(2), 223-223.
  2. Waldherr, F. (2010). Identification and characterization of a glucan-producing enzyme from Lactobacillus hilgardii TMW 1.828 involved in granule formation of water kefir. Food Microbiology,27(5), 672–678-672–678.
  3. Lutz, M. (1899). Recherches biologiques sur la constitution du Tibi.Bulletin De La Societe Mycologique De France,15, 68-72.M


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