Water Kefir


This summer it's all about drinking your medicine. I've been brewing water kefir for about 9 months now and it hasn't gotten old. Water kefir is refreshing, bubbly, and really good for you. I began by infusing berries to make a sweet berry flavor but when I began to infuse herbs, that's when the real fun started. Not only do you get the benefits of all the good guys coming into your system but you get the healing properties of unique herbs as well.  

Our bodies function at their ultimate when they are in balance. In order to ward off sickness, minimize allergies, have healthy digestion, energy, clear skin, and maintain a healthy weight, our bodies need to have a healthy gut system that houses both good and bad bacteria. When we consume weak foods with zero to little nutritional value, we can easily tip the scale to bad bacteria outweighing the good bacteria. But by nourishing ourselves daily with probiotic foods and beverages, it’s fairly easy to prevent the bad guys from taking over.

Many people have heard of or have tried kombucha — a fermented tea — but there is hardly any talk of its counterpart, water kefir. Water kefir grains make up various strains of good bacteria and yeast, and together have a very symbiotic relationship. Unlike the grains that we’re used to populating our diet (like wheat, rice and barley), water kefir grains aren’t grains at all. Instead, they are cultures that look a lot like translucent-to-cloudy gelatinous candies, and pack a pretty remarkable punch.


Each of these cultures embodies billions of probiotic strains, valuable enzymes, pre-digested nutrients, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals (especially Vitamin C). Best of all, water kefir is more accessible than you may think, and lends itself to creating a myriad of unique infusions using herbs, fruit, and spices. Read on for a few of my favorite takes on the gut-friendly drink.


Step 1. Activate the kefir grains by using sugar water. Typically, you want to start out by adding ¼ cup of Demerara sugar to 1 quart of water, and immersing the grains for 48 hours. Demerara sugar is partially refined, thus holding some mineral integrity. Allow the sugar to dissolve in hot water, and let it cool before adding it to the grains.

Step 2. Place the kefir grains into the sugar water. Cover it with muslin cloth and use a rubber band to secure it down. This will help keep dust or fruit flies from coming in. Allow the mixture to sit for 24-48 hours on your countertop. For a cooler spot, aim for 48 hours. If the temperature in your home tends to be warmer, the fermentation will speed up, so check it closer to 24 hours.

Step 3. Strain the grains with a nylon mesh strainer before drinking.

Step 4. From here you can explore different ways to flavor your kefir. Try adding fruit and blending it for a seasonal fruit drink, or infusing kefir with herbal teas, coconut water or fresh lemon juice for a probiotic lemonade. Be creative and have fun with it.

Step 5. You can reuse the kefir grains by refreshing them in sugar water and continuing the process.


Ginger, Turmeric, Fennel & Lemon Water Kefir
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp. freshly grated turmeric
1 tbsp. fennel seed
1 tbsp. fresh lemon zest
1. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the fennel seeds (they have strong volatile essential oils that become released when crushed).
2. Strain the water kefir grains from the finished water kefir, and add the liquid to a quart sized jar, followed by the ginger, turmeric, fennel and lemon zest.
3. Use a plastic lid to cover the infusion and let it sit for up to 48 hours.
4. Strain the ingredients using a nylon mesh strainer, and pour the water kefir into a glass to drink.

Water Kefir Lemonade
6 tbsp. of lemon juice
1 quart water kefir
Fresh mint leaves (optional)
1. Add the lemon juice to the finished water kefir and stir to combine.
2. Muddle a few fresh mint leaves in for a refreshing coolness.
3. Drink now or refrigerate.
Tip: If you’d like to add a slight carbonation to your drink, use a funnel to pour the water kefir into airtight bottles. Leave them out at room temperature for another 48-72 hours before refrigerating. Though be sure to use caution when opening, as the contents may be under pressure from the natural fermentation.

Homemade Kombucha

Let’s talk booch. Working with ferments is definitely daunting but once you get the rhythm of it, you start to understand how it works.  Do you have a fresh scoby or a dehydrated one? That will change one of the steps, as in if you have a dehydrated one you’ll how to resuscitate it with a store bought kombucha, which is fine and no big deal.

So you’ll need some stuff:

- a really clean gallon size glass jar

- 1 gallon of brewed tea, this can be green, black, a mixture of the both or herbal tea PLUS 1 cup of organic sugar. Ratio:1:1.

- the scoby and ½ cup of store-bought kombucha. This help to activate it faster with its live cultures.

-  a coffee filter or a thin t-shirt and a rubber band

Here’s what you’ll do:

1. First you’ll make the sweet tea in a large pot with about 9 to 10 small tea bags per gallon of pure filtered water. Adding 1 cup of regular organic sugar.

2. Once it’s done brewing, let it sit until its room temperature.  If you are impatient, add some ice cubes but don’t add your scoby or it’ll die. L

3. Once the tea is super chill, pour it into the gallon jar, leaving a couple of inches from the top. Next, add a ½ cup of the store bought kombucha (it doesn’t have to be store bought, but since this is your first time, you probably don’t have a batch from you previous one. Next batch, you can use a half cup from this one.)

4. Next, you’ll place the scoby into the jar. Make sure your hands are clean! Keep the scoby in the jar and don’t touch it or stick anything that doesn’t belong in there.

5. Using a coffee filter or a clean t-shirt, cover the jar and rubber band it to ward off the flies and dust.

6. Fermentation works best at 70-75 degrees, so try putting it in a warmish spot. I like to either put mine in a room with sunlight but not directly in the ray of it or on the counter next to the fridge.

7. Depending on weather, (when it’s cold it takes longer to ferment, and warmer less days) let it sit for about 7 days before taking a swig of it to taste for tart and sweetness. You can use a straw and sip from under the scoby to check that.  We have had different rounds of making it where some ferments took longer, some were mild, some tasted a little vinegary. I think the longer you let it sit the more vinegary it will taste. It is nice to pay close attention to it just to note changes. If you want to make it fizzy, you will want to add fruit juice to it, which I haven’t done yet and don’t know the exact steps but can get them to you if you’d like.

8. You can start to make a second ferment by doing the process again putting a tight lid on it until you want to drink it.

We recycle bottles and bottle top them for freshness. You can also use those bottles with the sling back tops, using a fennel to get the kombucha in there, or one of those tea jars with the pour over spout, although I get freaked out about bacteria from the spout.

I hope this helps you. Seems like a lot I know, but it gets easier and its cheaper and cool to understand how these bacteria live and grow.


TEPACHE // This my friends, is a traditional Aztec Mexican fermented pineapple drink. Some call it Mexican beer, a friend of Pulque, the fermented maguey drink. Tepache is made with just purified water and organic sugar. I’m leaving it to sit for a few days before I drink this refreshing brew that is full of those friendly bacteria that I’m so fond of.

What you'll need:

·       A fresh whole organic pineapple

·       1 cup of brown sugar

·       Filtered water

·       A half-gallon jar

What to do:

·       Don't wash the pineapple. You can give it a rinse but the yeast that lives on the pineapple is what makes this drink happen.

·       Cut the rind and hold on to it. Keep the bottom as well.

·       Eat the meat or save if for another dish. Eating pineapple reduces stress, eases digestion, prevents cancer, strengthens bones, and helps treat the common cold. 

·       Add 1 cup of brown sugar to the jar. Boil 1 cup of water and add it to the jar so that the sugar dissolves. Let it cool down.

·       Once the sugar has cooled down, place the rinds the jar, and then fill the rest of the jar with filtered water leaving an inch from the opening.

·       Cover with a handkerchief, old t-shirt or cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band.

·       Leave it out of sunlight for a couple days and start to check for bubbles. This is when you can begin to taste it.

·       At this point, you can strain it at any time but you can also wait a couple more days if you want it fizzy.


                                                        At this point add some chili and lime for extra punch!

                                          Don’t like it? Leave it for a week and you get pineapple vinegar!

                                                                  Happy Fermenting & Viva la Raza!