You have the option of making water kefir quite fizzy and the flavor possibilities are endless. This makes it a good drink for those who are trying to quit soda. Additionally, water kefir is easy and cheap to make, all you need are water kefir grains. I recommend Cultures for Health for grains; they are affordable and with proper care can be used forever.
These are water kefir grains. They are gelatinous in texture. Unlike milk kefir grains, they do not clump. They often multiply very quickly, sometimes doubling with each batch of kefir, but don't dispair if yours don't often or at all.
½ c. water kefir grains½ c. sugar
filtered water to fill half-gallon jar
The sugar you choose matters. It's best to use a mineral-rich sugar such as coconut sugar or sucanat. The grains need those minerals to survive. You can use regular white sugar, but you need to add an eggshell or mineral drops to feed the grains or else they will die. You cannot use honey because it will kill the grains.
Bring a couple of cups of water to a boil and stir in the sugar. Let it boil for a few more minutes until the sugar dissolves. Then, let the water cool. I pour it in a cup and stick it in the refrigerator to speed things up.
Put the water kefir grains in a half-gallon jar (I've taken to Fido jars recently for fermenting, but mason jars are fine, too). Pour the sugar water in, then add more filtered water to fill. Leave a couple of inches or so of space so it can ferment properly. Put the lid on and let it ferment for 2 to 4 days at room temperature. Most recipes you will see say 2 days; at this point the kefir will still be slightly sweet. I like to ferment mine for 3 days so it just starts to turn tart but not too much.
Here is mine at 3 days; if you look closely you can see bubbles at the top. Don't worry if yours doesn't bubble. They usually bubble more during the second ferment.
You may also notice that the kefir is lighter at this time because the grains have eaten most of the sugar.
When the water kefir has fermented for the time you desire, strain out the grains. The grains can be used immediately for your next batch. The water kefir is ready to drink as is, or you can add flavor during a second ferment, which I will talk about next week.
Printable: Water Kefir, 1st Ferment