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Water Kefir and Kombucha – Who’s The Winner?

Leeza Zurwick


Who is the winner between Water Kefir and Kombucha? Read to find out! We will dive into whether these two functional beverages used to promote healthy bacterial gut cultures, taste the same? Are equally potent? Have the same application and use? And are they in fact the same or different? Finally, should you avoid these drinks?

We’ve stacked these two bubbling bevvies against each other to find out which elixir is the ultimate gut health refreshment.


The health benefits associated with a healthy microbiome have people making moves. A microbiome is a person’s individual collection of bacteria.

As a culture, we are seeing a large movement back to fermented foods and beverages. Why? To gain access to the health benefits that functional beverages and foods offer. Benefits benefits that our ancestors were aware of and used for centuries.

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is fermented sweetened tea. It’s made by adding starter tea, a kombucha culture (known as SCOBY), and sweet tea together. You ferment kombucha for about 30 days prior to it being ready. The natural flavour resembles something a little tangier than apple cider vinegar. However, flavours can vary depending on culturing time and tea used. Fermenting kombucha promotes healthy bacterial cultures, and is drunk by those looking to promote their gut health.

What is Water Kefir?

Water kefir is comparable to coconut water because it’s a naturally carbohydrate containing, non-dairy liquid, hydrating. You prepare water kefir by adding the grains to sugar water. The fermentation process is between 24 and 48 hours. Fruit juice, herbs or coconut water is added during the second 24 hours of the ferment for flavour. Similar to kombucha, water kefir grains also contain a variety of bacteria and yeasts. The flavour can be fairly sweet, depending on the amount of sugar that is used for culturing.

Why is bacteria good for you?

Our Gastro-Intestinal (GI) tract is everything from the mouth to the anus (including your organs). It is the pathway that takes food and fluid through your body. The body extracts nutrients and energy and the rest is expelled as waste. Our GI tract is one big ecosystem full of bacteria.

“By having good bacteria in your body, bad bacteria don’t get a chance to grow and cause disease.” Functional beverages like water kefir and kombucha can help cultivate and promote good bacteria in your microbiome.

Both kombucha and water kefir fall under the category of functional beverages to enjoy for gut health. They also offer a healthier alternative to those looking for a sweet beverage to help them kick a soda habit.

The Differences Between Water Kefir and Kombucha

It really depends on what you’re looking for as both of these tasty elixirs contain healthy microbes.

Kombucha contains acids and enzymes that make it the more prominent option when it comes to digestive aid. Water kefir contains a greater number of bacteria (probiotic) strains meaning it is a better option if you are looking for a probiotic supplement. Another difference is that kombucha will sometimes contain caffeine, whereas kefir water is typically caffeine-free.

Both kombucha and water kefir are beneficial in aiding:

  • The natural systems of your body
  • Promoting healthy bacteria; and
  • Providing hydration

Depending on what you’re looking to achieve – digestive aid or probiotic supplement, grabbing one or both is a matter of personal preference.

Can Everyone Drink Them?

Though these drinks are considered health drinks, there are circumstances in which kombucha and kefir water might not be a healthy choice:

  • Those with candida (yeast overgrowth), especially during flare ups, should not drink them as they may make the conditions worse;
  • Kombucha and kefir water are also not recommended for pregnant women and immunocompromised people because they aren’t pasteurized.

Like so many others comparisons, the answer isn’t explicit. It depends on what you are looking for.

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