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What are Kefir Grains?

what are water kefir grains

What is Water Kefir?

brewing water kefir

Water Kefir, kephir, or keefir (/kəˈfir/ kə-feer), is a type of fermented beverage that contains different kinds of bacteria and strains of yeast that are considered as probiotics. It is quick and easy to prepare and delicious and beneficial to the gut. It could be slightly alcoholic, depending on how it was prepared. But many people and even children can enjoy drinking it.

water kefir grains
Photo credit: Eat Be Live

Water kefir is a good source of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, organic acids, folic acid, some B Vitamins and Vitamin K. It is also known as tibicos, tibi, bebees, sugar kefir, Australian bees, beer seeds, California bees, balm of Gilead and ale nuts.

Trivia: Kefir was derived from the Turkish word “keyif” meaning feeling good.

What are kefir grains?

water kefir philippines
Water Kefir Grains

Kefir grains are like the SCOBY of Kombucha tea. But it is completely different from Kombucha because of the different bacteria and yeasts that it contain. Kefir grains grow when the bacteria and yeast come together and morph into one or two species because of environmental conditions. These grains are then used in fermenting sugared-water to make a fizzy and healthy drink. Kefir grains are called grains because of its size. They are tiny bits. They are translucent and look like gelatin.

What are kefir grains composed of?

There are a lot of strains of bacteria and yeast that are present in kefir grains. This happens because of the nature of bacteria – they morph into other species to survive.

water kefir philippines

Here are the list of Bacteria and Yeasts found in water kefir:

a. fabarum
a. orientalis

b. subtilis
b. graveolus


l. acidophilus
l. alactosus
l.casei ss
l.casei ss. pseudoplantarum
l. casei ss. rhamnosus
l. casei ss. tolerans
l. coryneformis ss. torquens
l. fructosus
l. hilgardii
l. homohiochi
l. hordei
l. nagelii
l. plantarum
l. pseudoplantarum
l. reuterietc
l. yamanashiensis

l. mesenteroides
l. citreum

Pediococcus damnosus

s. agalactiae
s. bovis
s. cremoris
s. diacetylactis
s. faecalis
s. lactis
s. mutans
s. pneumonia
s. pyogenes
s. salivarius
s. sanguinis
s. suis
s. viridans


c. lambica
c. lamica
c. gueretana
c. valida

Hansenula valbyensis

Kloeckera apiculata

Lachancea fermentati

s. bayanus
s. boulardii
s. cerevisiae
s. florentinus
s. pretoriensis
s. uvarum

Torulopsis insconspicna

Zygotorulaspora florentina

water kefir
Photo Credit: Nutrition Principles

Is Water Kefir the same as Kombucha?

Definitely no. Kombucha has different strains of yeast and bacteria. Therefore, the nutrients that you will get from water kefir is not the same as what you can get from Kombucha. The ingredients used are also different.

2 thoughts on “What are Kefir Grains?

  1. Hi, just wou like to know what does a kefir grain look like. My mom bought online and it arrived just today. It looks like milk and I am confused because what I see online are like crystals and popcorn shaped. We received something that looks like milk and with a consistency of yougurt. Obviously it has no shape like a popcorn. Your immediate response is really appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi Rhea Mae, it looks like that in the pictures in this article. You prob got milk kefir. These are water kefir in the pictures

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