Water kefir ‘grains’, also known as tibicos, are a live culture consisting of clusters of beneficial bacteria and yeast living in a symbiotic relationship. The bacteria and yeast interact with sugars to create fermented water that is light in flavour, naturally effervescent and full of probiotics.
Water kefir grains are not cereal grains like wheat or barley and they grow in sugar and water, not in soil. These grains can be used over and over and during the fermentation process, some grains will multiply quickly, increasing your capacity to make more water kefir.
At Happy Gut, we sell live grains, collected fresh out of our master growing culture. We ensure they are truly alive and healthy to give the very best results. We also sell dehydrated grains.
It is not completely clear where or when water kefir grains originated, but speculation points towards Mexico. According to some research, the tibicos culture forms on the pads of the Opuntia cactus as hard granules that can be reconstituted in a sugar-water solution as propagating tibicos. There is documentation from the late 1800s of water kefir grains being used in fermented drink made from the sweetened juice of the prickly pear cactus in Mexico.
There are, however, stories that place their origin, or at least their use, in Tibet, the Caucasus Mountains, and the southern peninsula of the Ukraine. Pinpointing a place of origin is made even more difficult because water kefir cultures can be found throughout the world and no two cultures are exactly the same. Lack of recorded history also makes it difficult to place an origin date, but it seems likely these grains have been used for many centuries.