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Water Kefir Soda

Soda.  Pop.  Soda pop.  “Coke”.  It’s known by many names across the country.  In my house we call it crap I no longer buy because my husband has a severe and expensive addiction.  It’s disgusting how addicted he is to the bubbly stuff.  I rarely bought it because he would guzzle it and just crave it.
That all changed for good when I decided to start making my own.  I read a post on some blog (forgive me for not remembering the name) about making water kefir soda.  I was intrigued.  Then I did a bit of research and found that I liked what I saw.
Water kefir is make with kefir “grains” (it isn’t really a grain and does not contain gluten) which are chock-full of probiotics and good bacteria for a happy and calm tummy.  And it can be used to make a soda with the same, if not more benefits than yogurt.  I thought to myself, “hmmm…this could fit in to my house”.
I ordered a water kefir starter kit from Cultures for Health.  Their customer service rocked, and the low price shipping was super fast.  I also ordered 1 of their flip top bottles, but later found bottles twice the size at half the price at a local brewing supply store.
When the grains arrived, I rehydrated them according to instructions.  After a few days, I got to work making some soda!
Mix 1/4 cup of organic evaporated cane juice (Costco!) in with a few cups of water.  I microwave it for 90 seconds to let the sugar dissolve. You’ll want 1/4 cup of sugar per quart of water.  Add the dissolved sugar water to a glass jar – canning jars seems to work great.  My cool cousin Kori gave me a few half-quart Mason jars that she found at Goodwill.  I like these because I can make enough for 2 big bottles of soda at one time.  Once you’ve added the sugar water to the jar, fill the rest of the jar with cold water.  Once the water in the jar is room temperature, cover with a towel and rubberband.  Let sit on your counter for 24-48 hours.
Grains at the bottom
Once it’s had a chance to “brew”, strain the grains out using a plastic mesh strainer (included in the starter kit).
Pour about 1-1.5 cups of your favorite juice in a flip-top style bottle.  Pour in the liquid that the kefir grains have been sitting in.
Leave the flip-top style bottles on the counter top for 24-48 hours.  The longer it sits, the fizzier it gets.  After 24-48 hours, open and enjoy!
My family thinks that water kefir soda is SUPER good.
A few tips that I’ve gathered over the last 2 months:
1) some people recommend you use sugar alternatives (date palm sugar, Rapadura or Succant) in the first step of the process.  Or if you don’t have those sweeteners (or can’t afford them!), they recommend using organic sugar with a splash of molasses.  Let me tell you what happens when you do that.  You take a big drink of that soda, and think “why did someone put donkey piss in my glass”?  Do yourself a favor, and just stick with plain old organic evaporated cane juice.  The kefir grains will “eat” most of the sugar during the process, so 1/4 cup isn’t going to kill you.
2) Purple juices seem to work the best for us.  We prefer grape or pomegranate/blueberry (Trader Joes) to any other flavor I’ve made.  Cherry soda?  Barf.  Homemade cream soda?  Tasted like Sasqwatches nutsack sweat.  Anything other than the purple flavoring has led us to just ignore the soda and not drink it.  I’m not making this stuff just to waste it.
3) Don’t let your grains sit in the sugar bath for more than 48 hours.  Don’t let the soda sit in the bottle for longer than 7 days.  A few reasons for that:
        a)  It can get pretty explosive.  Ask my sister-in-law, my back, my hair, and my kitchen ceiling how I know that…(I’ve learned to open the bottles outside).
        b)  It can get a little boozy.  For someone who doesn’t drink, the batch that got forgotten about in the fridge for a week knocked me on my ass.  But I may or may not have continued to drink a small glass at bedtime for another few days after getting the best night of sleep in years…but I digress.

4) Get creative and enjoy!  Remember, there is just a little bit of sugar in this, and the cultures “eat” most of it.  It’s not bad for you, and in-fact can aid your digestive health.  I’m a bit of a juice nazi with Jack, but I’ll let him have some of this in a sippy cup.

5) I’m a busy working momma and was hesitant to add ONE MORE thing to my routine.  But all in all, this takes about 5-10 minutes every 2 days.

Cost – the starter kit cost me $25 including shipping.  As long as you follow the directions, the grains last indefinitely.  At that point, you’re only paying for 1-1.5 cups of juice per batch, and 1/4 or 1/2 cup of organic sugar.  I also paied $2.50 each for 5 large flip top style bottles at the local brewing supply store.  It makes it a very cost effective alternative to soda pop.

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43 comments on “Water Kefir Soda”

  1. I just bought more lifer grains and I can’t wait to get back to drinking this!
    I LOVE the new website. So much.

  2. It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people for this
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    about! Thanks

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  4. So, I finally did it, I have my grains in their sugar bath. The first 2 batches have tasted the same coming out as going in, so I have decided to just do a few more batches and dump them (I don’t need to be drinking sugar water). I have a canning jar sealer so I think i might just try that when I am ready to try the soda version, but I wonder if maybe sucking the air out will cause it to not fizz?

    Can’t wait to see how the next few weeks go with it!

    • Oh yeah, the first few batches were gross!

      Are you doing a second ferment with juice?

    • Not yet. Organic juice is to expensive to waste on iffy kefir water. I think I can tell a difference in the color with my latest batch, so I might give that one a try. I need to get some fancy bottles though so we can shoot for the fizzy.

    • We use Newman’s Own grape juice from Costco. It’s not organic, but from a company that I respect. We get 2 huge jugs for about $7.

    • No Costco :0(
      Hubby and I tried some last night with a bit of lemon juice and it was great! Both hubby and kiddo LOVE lemonade, so I think this might end up being a big hit here.

      I think I may have to try to make some “soda: tomorrow.

      Thanks for the tips and help!

  5. I used peach juice (canned Kerns from Costco) but I may have used more than a cup. Hmmm.

  6. I used a flip bottle and the darn thing exploded after only a day and a half. Literally exploded, there were shards of glass everywhere and soda dripping from the ceiling. That was my second batch (first one went down the drain) and I’ve just bottled my third batch. I closed the lid but didn’t snap down the metal closure. Hopefully it will still get super carbonated, but I’m afraid to seal it up again!

    • I have had 3 bottles explode on me in 2 ish years. Each time, the same factors were in play, so in my case, it was always my fault.

      1) I used apple juice
      2) The house was warmer than usual
      3) I used way too much juice in the bottle. 1 cup max!
      4) I left it in the bottle for more than 3 days

      Were any of those factors in play with yours?

  7. I loved the idea of Kefir Soda and ordered my starter kit right away. I have made several batches and the first ones did not have much fizz. I am now getting fizz but it seems to smell a bit – which is didn’t in the beginning. I have a few questions:

    1. Is it normal for the grains to take on an odor?

    2. Do you sterilize your bottles, strainer, etc?

    I have been washing everything in the dishwasher but my husband doesn’t think that is enough and I should sterilize everything each time.

    • Mine took about 10(ish) batches before I got the fizz you see above.

      1) Yep, mine have a scent too. I can’t describe it, but almost a yeasty smell?
      2) I’m horrible, and just kind of rinse the things. Every other batch, I give them a scrub, but I don’t sweat it too much.

  8. Hi, Sarah! I was wondering if kefir grains can be stored, or if you have to keep making a batch of water kefir every two days? Thanks!

    • They can. You can put them in the fridge for as long as needed, but you should continue to “feed” the grains with a bit of sugar every day days.

      Keep in mind that once you bring them out of the fridge, it will take about a week or so to “perk” the grains back up. The first few batches will be pretty flat which is fine, but we love the bubbles in our house!