Why is my water kefir flat and not bubbly like soda?
Why is my water kefir thick and slimy?
Can I add less sugar?
What can I add to give my grains extra minerals?
What kind of sugar should I use?
What kind of water can I use?
What can I do with extra water kefir grains?
I left my grains for a really long time without changing their sugar and water, are they dead?
My kefir grains are floating, is that OK?
Why aren’t my kefir grains floating?
There is a bunch of stuff floating around in my finished water kefir, is it bad?
What kind of lid do I need for water kefir, tight or loose?
My grains are turning to mush/sand, what is wrong with them?
My water kefir smells really gross, what should I do with it?
What kinds of bottles should I use to make my water kefir fizzy?
My grains do not multiply, how can I make them grow?
Where can I get water kefir grains?
Typically, your water kefir will not be able to build up fizz if the bottle that you put it into is not airtight. Ideally you need to use a bottle with a tight fitting cap that won’t let air escape, like a groslch bottle. Check this page for the bottles we recommend you use.
Mason jars give varied results. Some people have had great success but many people have had little or no success.
Another key to building fizz is letting it sit for a period of time. This can be anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days depending on how warm it is where you are keeping your water kefir. The warmer, it is, the faster it ferments and the faster it builds gas. Check every 12 hours to get an idea of how much is building in your bottles.
If you are letting it sit for several days, have it in a tight bottle and are still getting little or no fizz, there may not be enough sugar to convert into gas.In this case, you should try priming the water kefir with some extra sugar. Approximately 1 teaspoon per 1-2 cups of water kefir.
Thick and slimy water kefir usually occurs because there are too many minerals.
If you are adding minerals to your ferment, cut back some and see how they do. Most water needs only one or two bonus minerals added in with the grains. Any more than that can cause an overabundance in minerals and create slimy and thick water kefir.
If you are not adding minerals to your water then you may need to change your water source. Try bottled spring or artesian water for your next batch.
If you are still having trouble, try resting your grains instead, they may need a break. Click here to see how to rest your grains.
The water kefir grains actually need the sugar to survive.
You should be adding at least as much sugar as you have grains (1 cup of grains = 1 cup of sugar). Adding any less may lead your grains to weaken.
You can add extra minerals in the form of molasses, egg shell, baking soda, high quality sea/rock salt or mineral concentrates.
Here are some general guidlines for adding minerals to your brewing water kefir (each amount of minerals is based on 2 quarts of water, so if you are using 4 quarts of water, double the amount, if you have 1 quart of water, halve the amount):
- 1 teaspoon of molasses (blackstrap has the highest concentration of minerals)
- ½ of an eggshell, rinsed, cleaned and cooked
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- small pinch of high quality sea/rock salt
- for concentrated minerals, just a drop or two is sufficient
Any sugar works, coconut, rapadura, sucanat, raw, organic, white, brown, etc.
If you think you need extra minerals for your grains, you should go with the least processed sort of sugar, they have more molasses in tact to provide an extra mineral boost for your grains.
You can use spring, filtered, or well water.
If you use filtered, reverse osmosis or distilled water, you will need to add minerals to your grains to keep them healthy.
Never use water that has Chlorine or Chloramine. Both of these are meant to kill bacteria and since your water kefir grains are made up of bacteria, this would be very harmful, if not deadly, for them.
Extra water kefir grains can be dehydrated for long term storage, eaten or given away to others. Composting them is also an option.
You can take extra grains and blend them into your soda, pop them into your mouth eat them or give them to animals, too.
The only way to tell if neglected grains are still viable is to run them through a couple of batches to see if they are still working.
It may take several batches before you notice any activity if they were left for a really long time (several months+).
Kefir grains process the sugar and create gas, sometimes this results in them floating on their little bubble creations. It is perfectly normal.
If your grains are not floating it just means they might be too heavy to catch a ride on an air bubble.
Over time, water kefir tends to get sediment and floaties in it.
This is perfectly normal and OK as long as it is not rotting fruit or mold.
For your first fermentation of water kefir with the grains, either sort of lid works.
If you have other ferments going near, like Kombucha, it is best to place a tight lid on it to prevent cross contamination.
If you are bottling, after removing the grains, to create a fizzy water kefir, a snug lid is best.
If your grains are turning to mush/sand, they may have injured them beyond repair, or, that may just be their size.
If they were shipped to you, it is a good idea to check with the shipper to see if their grains are small and sand-like. If their grains are the same, you grains are probably fine, they are just small. If theirs are big, yours may have taken damage in shipping.
Try resting them in some sugar water in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Try again for several batches and see if they begin growing again. Taste the water kefir before and after kefiring to make sure that sugar is being removed. If sugar is no longer being removed you should get some new grains.
Water kefir can take on odd smells depending on the sugar and minerals you use. Sometimes the addition of molasses or coconut sugar can cause the water kefir to take on an odd, vomit-like smell. You can still use it as long as it tastes fine but if you want to be rid of the bad smell, you might want to change the sugar you are using.
Another cause of odd smelling water kefir can that the grains need to rest. To rest your grains, rinse them in non chlorinated water and then place them in equal parts sugar to grains (example: 1 cup of grains = 1 cup of sugar), add ample water to cover them and put them in the refrigerator to rest for at least 1 week. At the end of the week, discard the resting water and begin again with their regular cycle.
Sometimes water kefir can smell bad when they do not have enough minerals too. Try adding some extra minerals (egg shell, molasses, etc) to see if that is what they need. If they become slimy, then they have too many minerals.
If you want fizzy kefir, you need bottles that can tightly seal. Check the recommended products page for our bottle suggestions.
Use caution when tightly sealing water kefir, as it builds carbonation, it can cause glass containers to explode. It is best to test the pressure at least every 12 hours until you have a good idea of how much carbonation is building. When the weather heats or cools, it can change how long it takes to build up the same amount of carbonation.
Grains can be slow to grow if they are kept in cooler weather. You can try moving them to a warmer spot in the house (no hotter than 80° Fahrenheit).
You can also try adding some extra minerals to the water. Baking soda, salt, eggshell, etc. Click here to read more about adding minerals to your water kefir.