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Let’s Get Fizzy With It! Your Water Kefir Flavor Guide


Water Kefir Flavor Guide | www.deliciousobsessions.com Follow Me on Pinterest

 

Who loves water kefir?

I DO! I enjoy a glass of water kefir with dinner almost every night. It’s my delicious, fizzy little evening treat, plus it throws all those beneficial bacteria and yeasts into my gut to help my digestion and overall health. What’s not to love?

If you’re new to water kefir and don’t know how to make it, I recommend you read this “How to Make Water Kefir” post. This post will teach you the nitty gritty and get you started on your kefir brewin’ journey.

I have been asked by countless readers to share different flavor ideas for water kefir. The awesome thing about water kefir is that you can really flavor it however you want. It is very forgiving and you can be as creative as you’d like. Everything from fruit, to juice, to herbs, to flowers. The sky is the limit for creativity!

How to Make Water Kefir - Probiotic, fermented beverage Follow Me on Pinterest

Cherry Limeade Water Kefir

Before we get started, here are a few notes:

  • For all of these recipes, proportions are what I use for my 1 liter flip-top bottles (like the ones in the picture at the top of this post). If you’re using smaller or larger bottles, you can adjust the proportions. So, for each of the recipes below, you would use 1 quart of brewed water kefir.
  • There really is no science to water kefir. It’s rather forgiving and very customizable.
  • Always leave some head space. As you can see from the title image, I leave a few inches in my 1 liter bottles. So, I probably use about 3 cups of water kefir per 1 liter bottle.
  • You’ll notice that I use lemon or lime juice in almost every recipe. For some reason, lemon or lime juice has just become customary in all of my water kefir flavors. Not sure why. You can eliminate it if you’d like.
  • You can use fresh fruit or fruit juice, whichever you have on hand. If you use fruit, make sure it’s chopped up or puréed, so the flavors release.
  • For any of these, you can create a mineral-rich stinging nettle water kefir for an added nutritional boost. Brew your nettle tea, add sugar, cool, add your water kefir grains, ferment as usual. Flavor however you like. For full instructions on how to do this, please read this post: Ferment The Nettle Harvest.
  • I am sharing some of my family’s favorite flavors in the guide below, but I encourage you to try whatever combination you think sounds good! I am constantly experimenting! :)
How to Make Water Kefir - Probiotic, fermented beverage Follow Me on Pinterest

Cranberry Lemonade and Peach Lemonade Water Kefir

 

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What is your favorite water kefir flavor? Leave a comment below!

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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food nut, coconut everything enthusiast, avid reader and researcher, blossoming yogi, and animal lover. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

Discussion

57 comments

  1. Yum!!! We love water kefir! Thanks for the great recipes. Pinning this now.

    reply 

    Danielle
    Posted 02/18/13

  2. Wow, that’s a lot of really delicious sounding water kefir recipes! After brewing my own kombucha for awhile, I recently started brewing water kefir, and I think I like it even better! It took awhile for me to get the sugar combo down and to start brewing up some good water kefir, but it still takes about 5 days to get to the level of tartness/fizz that I like! I do a secondary ferment for a day, then refrigerate, and I don’t add anything to resulting brew, I thoroughly enjoy it as is. One of these days I’m going to have to try one of these lovely sounding recipes though!

    reply 

    Beth
    Posted 02/19/13

    • Water kefir is so adaptable. You can do just about anything with it. I usually just end up combining different things that I have on hand. Sometimes it’s a win, sometimes not. I have had a number of batches that we just downright gross! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 02/19/13

  3. do you blend your fruit with the kefir after? I bet that would taste better?

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    J
    Posted 02/24/13

    • I personally recommend pureeing (or finely chopping) your fruit before adding it to the second ferment. I prefer it pureed, though some people don’t and like to just strain off the fruit when it’s done. I discuss that in the notes section of this post. You certainly could blend your fruit with the kefir when it was done, but if you’re going to do that, you might as well just puree it at the start! Hope that helps — happy fermenting! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 02/24/13

      • So if you puree the fruit, do you just put it in your blender? do you strain it? My first attempt with whole fruit failed miserably :(

        reply 

        Jessica
        Posted 09/07/13

        • Hi Jessica – I usually use my food processor to make the puree. You can also use your blender. I don’t strain my water kefir, but you certainly can if you prefer. Happy fermenting!

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 09/08/13

  4. Some creative recipes. I have been using 1/2 raw grape juice in 1 liter kefir in my second ferment because I can readily get it. Do you find using 1 tbl of carrot juice and 1 tbl of oj really makes it flavorful? Doesn’t seem like enough juice.

    Jessica, how do you clean your flip-top bottles? I have to use a bottle brush to scrub my Fido jars. I haven’t seen a scrubber that would fit inside the narrow neck of a flip-top.

    Thx.

    reply 

    Gopika
    Posted 02/25/13

    • Hi Gopika – I find that these proportions suit my taste best, but you could always add more or less, depending on what you want! :) Regarding cleaning, I rinse my bottles out immediately, and then I will use 1 drop of non-toxic dish soap and a bottle cleaning brush to scrub them really good. Then, I either sanitize by boiling them in water, or washing them out with white vinegar. Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 02/25/13

  5. I brew my nettles with thyme and oregano…do you think they would kill off mt grains if I used that for first ferment?

    reply 

    Diane
    Posted 03/13/13

  6. These are some great ideas! I tried using fresh mint leaves in my second ferment along with lemon, the leaves turned brown and unpleasant tasting. How did you use the mint?

    reply 

    krystal
    Posted 03/25/13

    • Hi Krystal – I use the fresh leaves and strain them out before drinking. I haven’t had any problems with the taste, though I try not to use too many. Or, maybe my taste buds are not as sensitive as yours … that is very possible too! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 03/25/13

  7. hi, is it possible to add a link so that we can print out these suggestions????
    Thanks!
    Kato

    reply 

    Kato
    Posted 03/27/13

    • Hi Kato – I will work on that this weekend! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 03/30/13

  8. Hi Jessica. I’m getting back into making water kefir and I’m reading all about airtight vs mason jars. Very interesting. I’m thinking of getting some fido jars or picklit jars. For the second ferment, I still use mason jars but I’m curious about using the flip top jars. It just seems that the neck is so narrow that it would be hard to put fruit in there, and to get the fruit out. Also, I’ll be putting bags of herbs in some of them. Do you find that it’s hard to get that stuff in and out of the jars? Do these jars make a big difference? Thanks!

    reply 

    Cregan
    Posted 04/01/13

    • Hi Cregan – Thanks for stopping by. I prefer to puree or very finely chop the fruit when I am using it. Honestly, pureed is my favorite. I like really fizzy water kefir and the flip-top bottles have been the only thing that has allowed me to get that. I never had good experiences with Mason jars. I have not had any problems getting the fruit out of the bottles, though I don’t use really big pieces either. To get the most benefit out of your herbs, it’s best to steep the herbs first in water, add the sugar, cool to room temp, add the WK grains, and then ferment the herb tea. One of my friends is an herbalist and she said just putting dried herbs in a second ferment of water kefir is not going to do much. Most herbs need to be steeped first to unlock the medicinal properties. Here is a tutorial on how to do that with nettles: http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2012/04/52-weeks-of-bad-a-bacteria-week-17-ferment-the-nettle-harvest/. Does that help? :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 04/02/13

  9. Hi there! I very recently began making kefir soda – I received my grains in the mail, “activated” them and am on my second batch. My question is this – while the kefir is fermenting, is it supposed to smell like spoiled milk? My batches have been smelling very sour and even after I bottle it with juice, it still smells sour and I haven’t been able to get any carbonation (in spite of the fact that I’m bottling the kefir soda in tight flip cap bottles). Any ideas what’s going wrong? Maybe my kefir grains aren’t all the way active yet? Thanks so much, I love your site and all the work you put into this post is very helpful!!

    reply 

    Julia
    Posted 04/17/13

    • Hi Julia – I’ve never had that smell with my water kefir. Since they are somewhat new, I’d keep fermenting with them. Sometimes the grains, especially dehydrated grains, take a little while to get up and running when they are “brought back to life”. Once they get fully acclimated, they should start producing a better kefir. The water kefir should smell a tad sweet and kind of yeasty. Hope that helps and thanks for the kind words! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 04/17/13

  10. Hi! I’m now fermenting my kefir with airlock tops for 1st ferment, then moving it to 1L and 1/2L ex-cap bottles for 2nd ferment. After about 24 hours in the bottles, it gets a lot of pressure, and I have to open them very slowly. So it seems really fizzy at first, but then the fizz goes away really fast and it’s not fizzy once I put them in the fridge and want to enjoy a fizzy drink. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep the fizz? Do I need more sugar in second ferment? Or 2nd ferment longer? Should I “burp” it or would that make it lose fizz?

    thanks!
    Cregan

    reply 

    Cregan
    Posted 05/09/13

    • Hi Cregan – Great questions! I never open my bottles until I’m ready to drink them. So, I let the second ferment go for 1-3 days (depending on my house temp) and then move them to the fridge w/o opening them. I haven’t noticed mine going flat, as long as I drink the opened bottle within a day or two. I think water kefir can some times be finicky, b/c I’ve had batches that were completely flat after the second ferment and then other batches that spray the ceiling when I open it and I lose all of it! You could try adding a couple pinches of sugar to your second ferment and see if that improves it. Also, you could add a pinch of sugar to the bottle that you’ve opened and see if that helps re-create some fizz. I’ve never done that, but it could help. Play with the amount of sugar used and the duration of the 2nd ferment. I find that water kefir varies a lot from house to house, so what works for me might not work for you. Keep me posted and let me know what you discover. :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/10/13

  11. Hello, can anyone tell me if water kefir expires or goes bad after a period of time?
    Thank you.

    reply 

    Carmen Verrico
    Posted 05/13/13

    • Hi Carmen – I emailed you earlier about this, but in case you didn’t get it, here is my response:

      No, it won’t spoil, though the longer it sits, the more alcohol that builds up, so keep that in mind. I have had some batches that I forgot about in the back of my fridge and when I opened them up, they were like wine. They still tasted good, but definitely had a punch, and if you were avoiding alcohol, then I wouldn’t advise drinking them. They continue to ferment for as long as they sit, so they’ll just get more and more alcoholic the longer they go.

      I’d recommend drinking within in a week or two after brewing to ensure the least amount of alcohol, but that also will vary from batch to batch.

      Hope that helps!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 05/14/13

  12. Hi Wonderful site, very informative and great recipes. I have a question about the recipes with fresh fruit. When do you remove the fruit? Some sites say fresh fruit should only be kept in 2nd ferment for 24 hours. But if you open lid to remove fruit won’t that hurt the “fizziness” of the fermetation? I did not see this as a problem with dried fruit. Thanks

    reply 

    Joyce
    Posted 08/07/13

    • Hi Joyce – I never remove the fruit (fresh or dried) in my kefir ferments. To do so in the middle of the process would definitely not be good for the ferment. I actually eat the fruit on occasion, but most of the time, I just strain it off when I go to drink the kefir. Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 08/08/13

  13. Hi!!
    Love the article! Can’t wait to try some of these yummy recipes!! I am new to kefir soda making. My kefir seems to be brewing well during the first fermentation. And it builds carbonation well in the second fermentation. However, after a day in the flip top bottle, my soda grows this slimy-looking stuff at the top. Is this normal? I’ve tried rinsing the grains to make sure there is no strange “bad” bacteria growing in there. Also making sure to sanitize my jars and bottles. But it keeps coming back. I’m a little scared to drink it. What are you thoughts?

    reply 

    Katrina
    Posted 08/09/13

    • Hi Katrina – I am not 100% sure what you’re seeing, but I have had my kefir grow what almost looks like a tiny kombucha scoby on the top. I’m not sure why it does this, but I’ve never had any issues drinking it. I was actually told recently that water kefir grains should never be rinsed, because you lose a lot of the beneficial yeasts/bacteria when you rinse them off. This was new info for me, since I had been taught to rise them years ago. But, I stopped rinsing mine and everything had been fine. The biggest tip with any sort of ferment is to just go by your nose. If it smells “off” at all, then don’t drink/eat it. I have had a couple batches of water kefir that have gone bad over the years and it’s a very distinct smell — you can’t miss it! Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 08/10/13

  14. Hey Jessica – thanks so much for this information and your site. Such an inspiration!
    My girlfriend and I have been fermenting everything we can get our hands on for the last couple of months and absolutely love it. We sometimes worry a bit that people will think we’re crazy, but it doesn’t last long!
    There’s something truly magic about just letting nature do its work, and rediscovering what our ancestors knew.

    reply 

    Dan Chambers
    Posted 08/19/13

    • Hi Dan – Welcome! Always great to meet new fermenters and thanks for your kind words! People think I’m nuts too, but typically if I can convince them to take a bite, I can convert them! ;) I have found that you really can ferment just about anything! Have fun and explore flavors! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 08/19/13

  15. Hello Jessica, I’m new to kefir making, my first batch is brewing right now…. do you leave the kefir grains in during the second ferment after you add your juice/fruit or do you remove them and then add your flavors?
    Thank you

    reply 

    yvette
    Posted 08/21/13

  16. Hey Jessica.

    Thank you for all the recipes! I made my 2nd batch of water kefir yesterday. I didn’t like the taste of the 1st batch so I added some ginger and lime juice for the 2nd batch. It came out very fizzy already but I still didn’t like the taste. So inspired by your recipe ideas, I used a flip-top bottle to do my second ferment with some beet and water melon juice. I left it over-night. And this morning it exploded!! My kitchen was like a murder crime scene!

    Any idea what I did wrong?

    reply 

    Carrie
    Posted 08/21/13

    • Hi Carrie – Sorry to hear about the explosion! That is one of the risks of fermenting! I have had my fair share of bottles explode. I would say that most likely your bottle was too full. I find that during the summer, the second ferment goes a lot faster and builds up a lot more pressure than during the colder months. I typically only fill my bottles half full during the summer for that very reason. The watermelon juice and beet juice are both going to be high in sugars, which will make the 2nd fermentation go that much faster. Hope that helps!! P.S. I always put a thick towel over my bottle when I get ready to pop the top, just in case! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 08/22/13

  17. Thank you Jessica!

    reply 

    Carrie
    Posted 08/22/13

  18. Do the strawberries HAVE to be fresh? With all of the other berries you say fresh or frozen, but not the strawberries. Is there any particular reason why?

    reply 

    Sarah
    Posted 10/10/13

    • Hi Sarah – That was just an oversight on my part. They can be fresh or frozen. I’ve updated the post to reflect that. :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 10/10/13

  19. Thanks! Actually, I have two other questions… One, if there are black specs in the kefir grains- is that ok? Also, is it always sweet? I let is ferment for three days and it is still pretty sweet, but I was thinking that might just be the flavor?

    reply 

    Sarah
    Posted 10/17/13

    • Hi Sarah – Sorry for the delayed response. For some reason, I did not see your comment until now. I am not sure about the black specs. That would make me a bit nervous, as I have seen black specs and it has been mold. Depending on how long you ferment it, the flavor should be mildly sweet, but not super sweet. I ferment mine for 2-3 days and it’s not very sweet at all. I am wondering if you grains have perhaps died? That would explain the black specs and the fact that the finished kefir is still on the sweet side. Are you on Facebook? If so, there is a great group that I recommend and it is run by some fermenting experts. It’s great for learning and troubleshooting: https://www.facebook.com/groups/394264567301079/

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 10/24/13

  20. Very helpful site…so glad I found it! My friend just graciously gave me some water kefir grains and I can’t wait to start. For the second ferment, if I simply want to flavor the water and not necessarily make it fizzy, can I add my fruit and flavorings and leave the cap off? The kefir grains have already done their job and the result is already nice and healthy, so I don’t see why not. I’m just not sure what it would taste like, or if it would even work. Thanks

    reply 

    Christine
    Posted 10/27/13

    • Hi Christine – Welcome to the fun world of water kefir! :) If you don’t want it to get very fizzy, I would recommend flavoring it however you want and then just sticking it straight in the fridge. Once refrigerated, it will slow down the fermentation process so it shouldn’t build up as much carbonation. It still may get a little fizzy. I do not recommend leaving it open to the air, as oxygen exposure will destroy the beneficial probiotics that you’re trying to cultivate. Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 10/27/13

      • Easy enough. Thanks!!

        reply 

        Christine
        Posted 10/29/13

        • Sure thing! :)

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 10/30/13

  21. very helpful indeed,i have been making kefir for a couple of months i have been having great success with using orange juice and using ginger lemon but this last batch i only did one bottle of the grape juice and the others ginger and lemon they both fizzed my daughter brought over a grape juice and thought it would be good i let it ferment for 2 and checked it no fizz i added some sugar third day and this is at the end of that and still no fizz wonder if i should add more sugar and check tomorrow night? what are your tried and true good carbonation flavors oh apricot nectar is delish as is mango nectar lots of fizz

    reply 

    colleen
    Posted 01/30/14

    • Hi Colleen – That is strange that the grape juice did not produce a lot of fizz. Grape juice is very high in sugar, so it should have worked nicely. You could try letting it go a little longer and see. I have noticed that sometimes the amount of carbonation varies from batch to batch. I have a water kefir flavor guide here with a lot of ideas: http://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2013/02/lets-get-fizzy-with-it-your-water-kefir-flavor-guide/. I find that I seem to get the most fizz when I use fresh or frozen fruit. I also get a lot more fizz when the weather is warmer than I do during the fall and winter.

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 01/30/14

  22. I have made a few batches of water kefir with great success, and I love it! But my last two batches have spoiled, rather than fermented during the second fermentation. (It seems fine until after I add my juice.) Any ideas what might be wrong? Thanks! I’m excited to try your flavors!

    reply 

    Ivy
    Posted 03/27/14

    • Hi Ivy – That is strange. I am not sure why it would be doing that. Have you used the same kind of juice each time? If so, perhaps try making another batch, but use a different juice. Maybe the juice you had was contaminated with something. That is the only thing I can think, as juices are so high sugar that they usually make the grains VERY happy! Hope that helps a tiny bit!

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 03/27/14

  23. Hi! Love your combinations; we’ve been having fun with our flavours too. Ginger syrup is always popular. Another standby (especially when I haven’t prepped anything else) is real maple syrup. And, most exciting, I recently harvested about 10-12 wintergreen leaves, chopped them up and made a simple syrup with them and part of a vanilla bean to make a root beer! I don’t have anymore wintergreen, so we’ll have to get some more for the garden. It was yummy!

    reply 

    Carabeth
    Posted 04/29/14

    • Carabeth – oooh! Those recipe combos sound intriguing! I am going to have to try those soon. Thanks for sharing! :)

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 04/30/14

  24. I did an experimental spiced batch and the kids and I loved it so much that we make a separate jar of it every time now. We put the spices right in with the grains during brewing, but that will leave you with grains that have the spices stuck in them, so you might want to keep them separate from your normal grains. To make it, we add about 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon, clove, allspice, and nutmeg (basically the same spices used to make mulled cider).

    reply 

    Eric
    Posted 05/16/14

    • Hi Eric – Thanks for stopping by! It is not recommended to use your flavors (herbs, spices, fruit, juice, etc.) during the first ferment. Doing so can harm the long-term health of the grains. Only add those items to your second ferment. Glad everyone enjoyed! :)

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 05/18/14

  25. Hi :)

    I have been making kefir water for awhile but I seem to have varying results with the second ferment. I have one batch that I just made that when I opened it, it smelled a little like alcohol and even burned my nose. After a minute it smelled normal. I decided to taste it because I couldn’t imagine that it had gone bad. I had only left it out for 24 hours. Well….it tastes great! But I am worried about the initial smell…what do you think?

    reply 

    Sandi
    Posted 05/23/14

    • Hi Sandi – I have not experienced that issue (burning the nose) with such a short ferment, but I have had batches that I have forgotten about for a long time and it ends up tasting like wine. Any ferment will develop alcohol if left too long. I have always been told that when it comes to ferments, you go by your nose and taste buds. If it tastes OK, it’s probably fine. I would try doing a shorter second ferment, maybe 12 hours, and see how that works. The warmer your house is, the faster it will ferment. Hope that helps!

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 05/23/14

  26. I’m waiting for my WK grains to come by mail and reading up so I can begin my new culturing adventure. Do you find that, for the 2F, you need to replace the fresh fruit daily? I heard that on the Cultures for Health website, but I haven’t read that elsewhere. Thanks for the great recipe ideas!

    reply 

    Misty
    Posted 06/09/14

    • Hi Misty – There is no need to replace the fruit during the second ferment. That would actually defeat the whole purpose, because you would have to open the bottle, strain it out, and re-bottle it. This would allow oxygen and potential cross-contamination into the brew. Water kefir is such a fast ferment that you really should not need to let it go more than 24-36 hours for the second ferment before moving to the fridge. More than that and you will start developing alcohol. I let one batch go for a couple weeks (I forgot about it) and it was wine. WOW did that have a kick!

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 06/11/14

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