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Dehydrated or live grains?

Are you wanting to purchase water kefir grains? Not sure of whether to choose live or dehydrated grains?

The live grains are a great option if you are ready to start brewing as soon as you receive them.

The dehydrated grains have proven great success in our trials here at Happy Gut, fermenting just as well as the live grain alternative. They are shelf stable option with no extra steps, perfect if you don’t know when you will be able to start brewing or if you want to be able to gift them.

If you are worried about travel time or the elements impacting your grains the dehydrated grains are the best option.

Why isn’t my water kefir fizzy after day 2?

Your water kefir grains need to acclimatize to your specific water. It may take about 3 full rounds of making the water kefir for your grains to get used to the minerals in your local water. Don’t give up. There is nothing wrong with drinking the water kefir if it is flat after the first ferment. You still get the probiotic health benefits. It won’t help the fizz factor if you leave the day 1 ferment for a day or 2 longer. The only thing that will happen if you leave it longer is that your water kefir will be less sweet. The best way to know if your fermentation is working is to taste the mixture when you make it and then taste the mixture after 24 hours. If it is less sweet, then it is working. Many people assume that something is wrong with their grains. Grains don’t go no good. They will change color based on the color of sugar that you are using. If the grains plump up after 24 hours, it is an indicator that they are being fed by the sugar and fermenting. Remember that having a warm temperature is always key for fermentation to work at it’s best.

What are water kefir grains?

Water kefir grains consist of healthy bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The term “kefir grains” describes the look of the culture only. Water kefir grains contain no actual “grains” such as wheat, rye, etc. They are gluten free.

What does water kefir taste like?

The taste of finished water kefir varies greatly, depending on the sugar used and the culturing time. Water kefir can be fairly sweet but mild taste. It may have a flat taste unless a second ferment is done with flavouring.

How long do water kefir grains last?

If the Happy Gut Method is used and the grains are cared for properly, water kefir grains have an unlimited lifespan, being able to be used repeatedly to make water kefir.

What kind of water should I use?

Spring or well water  is best for the health of your water kefir grains. We recommend not using any water that has had the minerals removed. (Distilled, RO filters, etc). Water kefir grains need minerals in order to grow and ferment.

How long does it take to make water kefir?

It generally takes 48-72 hours to make the finished product of water kefir. The exact time will vary depending on environmental factors, the most important of which is temperature.

Can I add flavoring to water kefir in the first ferment?

We do not recommend adding fruit or other flavoring to the water kefir with the grains during the first ferment. Some fruits and other flavouring may be damaging to the water kefir grains. Flavors can be added to the second ferment.

How do I wash the jar and bottle between batches of water kefir?

Use a bottle brush or a clean dish rag to wipe down your growing jar and bottle but refrain from using soap. You can try using baking soda and vinegar. Let the jar and bottle soak in warm water and vinegar, add baking soda and use a bottle brush or clean dish rag to scrub off any stubborn residue.

I have extra grains. What should I do with them?

  1. Take part in our water kefir grain buy back program. Once you have 5 cups or more of excess water kefir grains, contact us! We buy them back and use them as gardening seeds to further grow at our facility. If this interests you, send us an email hello@happygutpro.com for more information.
  2. Share them with a friend! Water kefir grains have been passed down from person to person for centuries. Buy your friend a Happy Gut water kefir kit, share your grains and teach them how they can #smileontheinside.
  3. Add them to smoothies. They are totally edible and will super boost your gut bacteria and immune system.

My water kefir tastes great, but it’s not very fizzy. What can I do to make it more carbonated?

Try these second fermentation steps to get your water kefir more carbonated:

Increase the sugar content in your second fermentation, adding high sugar fruits/juices like apple or orange!

Allow the second fermentation to go longer. Do note, you will want to ‘burp’ the bottle every 12 hours to keep it from exploding. Simply open the bottle slowly to release the CO2 and recap.

Ensure you are keeping your ferments consistently warm enough, between 20 – 30 C (70 – 80 F. Don’t place the second ferment in the refrigerator until it has reached the carbonation level you enjoy.

Lastly, realize that your brew may never reach the highly carbonated levels of store-bought soda because they add artificial CO2 during bottling.

10 ways to keep water kefir ferments warm

We are located in Canada, so we’re experts at fermenting in cold temperatures! Here are some of our top tips for keeping your ferment warm:

1. Place the ferments right up against your salt lamp. It warms with good heat and energy.2. Keep the brewing jar on top of your fridge.3. Put the brewing jar near your wood stove, where it’s comfortably warm and not too hot.4. Wrap mini Christmas lights around the jar – ones that give off warmth.5. Put them in your furnace room and set a reminder on your phone.6. Place them on a seed growing mat7. Put them in the cupboard above the fridge – typically quite warm8. Place the jar into your yogurt maker9.Place them on a cookie sheet into the oven with the light on. Leave a sticky note on the oven so you don’t turn it on with the brew inside.10. Wrap the brewing jar in a towel and keep away from drafts.

How do I store my water kefir once it is ready?

We recommend putting your water kefir into the fridge when it has reached your desired flavour and carbonation level.

If you leave it on the counter in the swivel top bottle, it will continue to ferment and have less sugar content. If you choose to leave it on the counter be sure to ‘burp’ it at least every day to ensure it does not explode.

Can I drink the water kefir first ferment?

Yes, you can drink it or use the first ferment as a smoothie base.

The first ferment has all the probiotics and vitamins present, so you will still get all the benefits.

Please note that this step does not carbonate.

I have little black bits in my first day jar of water kefir. What are they?

Coconut palm sugar is pure and not refined which means that there is often little black bits from the sugar leftover.

How much water kefir should I be drinking daily?

Start out by introducing water kefir slowly. Only 1/2 cup per day and increase gradually. You will probably feel the effects of it quickly if you don’t eat or drink fermented foods on a regular basis. It depends on how sensitive you are and what your nutrition is like. The reaction is typically a loose stool. What is happening is that the bad bacteria is being flushed out of your body and new good bacteria is being repopulated. Sometimes it takes a good 2 weeks before your stool is normal again.

Once your gut is repopulated with good bacteria, you will not feel the uncomfortable symptoms anymore. You will begin to notice more energy, clearer skin and increased immunity. Go ahead and drink as much as you would like. The road to good health is paved with good gut health!

Are there any allergic reactions or side effects associated with the ingestion of water kefir?

Water kefir is a probiotic, just like commercially made yogurt, kombucha, etc.

It is best to start slowly – as it is powerful. Whenever you change the makeup of your internal ecosystem, there can be “die-off”. (If the new good bacteria are replacing some bad bacteria, Candida, etc.) Temporary symptoms of die-off include headache, general aches, nausea, diarrhea, etc., (basically flu-like symptoms) as your body tries to rid itself of toxins as quickly as possible, just like when you are ill. If your body does not contain many toxins, you may not experience this.

Start out by introducing water kefir slowly. Only 1/2 cup per day and increase gradually.

Do I have to use refined/granulated sugar?

Yes. Water kefir grains have evolved to feed on granulated white sugar and cannot properly ferment without it. Thick sugars like turbinado, sugar in the raw, and brown sugar are too difficult for the Water Kefir grains to break down and process. Also, always avoid alternative sugars like honey, stevia, etc. as the culture will struggle to thrive.

For more information on sugars and their effect on your fermentation, read our handy sugar guide.

I’m trying to reduce my sugar intake, can I use less than the recommended amount of sugar?

No! As we like to say at Happy Gut, the sugar isn’t for you, it’s for the grains. Without sugar, water kefir cannot ferment.  Sucrose is most easy to digest by the yeasts; they consume the sugar and put out CO2 (carbon dioxide, i.e. the bubbles in your water kefir) and ethanol. Then, as part of the symbiosis, the bacteria consume the ethanol and express the trace vitamins and minerals.

If you leave your ferment longer, for 48-72 hours, sugar levels in water kefir may be even lower. People with diabetes and others with low sugar tolerance have had luck with this method. However, if you add too little sugar, you are inhibiting the brew’s normal healthy development.

Fermented with sugar? Yikes! I stay away from sugar. How much sugar is left in fermented water kefir?

On average, water kefir has 3 grams of sugar, equivalent to a green apple. However, the actual amount of sugar is dependent on what you add for flavouring and how long you leave the ferments for.

The standard water kefir recipe is 1/4 cup of sugar per 4 cups water. If you leave your ferment longer, for 48-72 hours, sugar levels in water kefir may be even lower.

Is store-bought Water Kefir pasteurized? I’m concerned about the safety of home fermentation.

While we cannot guarantee the safety of your home-fermented water kefir, it is quite safe to make at home due to the very low pH level. The low pH level of water kefir makes it difficult for unfriendly organisms to survive in it. We feel that raw water kefir is best because its raw state is what makes it so healthy to drink. The living bacteria and healthy acids and enzymes that would be destroyed upon pasteurization. Very few commercial breweries pasteurize their water kefir, so your home fermentation setup is no different!

What if I am not completely satisfied with a Happy Gut product?

Water kefir may seem challenging at first as there are a lot of contributing factors. However, our customer service team is highly knowledgeable and would be happy to work one-on-one with you to ensure your success in making water kefir. Send an email to hello@happygutpro.com and explain what you are experiencing.

If after talking with our team and you are still not completely satisfied with one of our products, we will issue a refund (with one exception, being our canned drinks).

What should I do if my product arrives damaged?

If for any reason your product is damaged during shipping, send an email to hello@happygutpro.com and we will ship a replacement free of charge.

Which shipping service do you use?

Water kefir grains are shipped via Canada Post letter mail. All other products allow for you to pick shipping method at checkout.

We hand package and ship all of our products within 48 hours of receiving an order to ensure your items are as fresh as possible.

What is water kefir?

Water kefir is made from kefir grains, also known as tibicos. Water kefir grains are a symbiotic relationship between good yeast and good bacteria which form a clear jelly that when fed sugar produces a powerhouse probiotic beverage. Water kefir aids in boosting gut health, energy, and immunity.  The best part about making water kefir is that within 72 hours you have a fermented low sugar drink that is:

  • dairy-free
  • organic
  • contains 30 probiotic strains
  • concentrated with b12, b6, and b1
  • full of magnesium, folate, vitamin k, electrolytes, and enzymes

What is the difference between Kombucha and Water Kefir?

Both kombucha and water kefir are sweet-sour, slightly, bubbly drinks. They’re both full of probiotics and they’re both made by yeast and bacteria to ferment a probiotic beverage.

The SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast) is used to make kombucha. Water kefir grains are also colonies of bacteria and yeast in cellulose, but they tend to grow like grains, not in one large mass. They float in liquid rather than always rising to the top

One big difference between water kefir and kombucha is the length of time it takes to brew a batch. The SCOBY will take between 7 and 30 days to finish fermenting the liquid, or an average of about two weeks. The water kefir grains, on the other hand, only take about three days to ferment the probiotic rich beverage.

Unlike kombucha, water kefir is caffeine free. A lot of people find that water kefir has a more mild, pleasant flavour.