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Fermenting Do’s and Do Not’s for Your Water Kefir Grains

dry water kefir grains in a bowl next to a glass of fermented water kefir

Although not extensive, here’s a Do’s and Don’ts list to get you started when working with Water Kefir Grains!


  • DO use water free of chlorine, fluoride, chloramine, and other harmful additives.
  • If using well or spring water, DON’T use rapadura, turbinado, Sucanat or add extra minerals. This causes over-mineralization, and your grains likely will become mushy, fall apart, or disappear.
  • DO use a cane sugar such as: rapadura, turbinado, Sucanat, white sugar, or evaporated cane juice crystals. This is exactly what your grains crave.
  • DON’T use honey, palm sugar, stevia, agave, artificial sweeteners, maple syrup, sorghum syrup, coconut sugar, beet sugar, corn based sweeteners, powdered sugars, and invert sugars. These are nutritiously deficient.
  • If you want a sweeter kefir, DO use white cane sugar or evaporated cane juice crystals.
  • If you want a heartier, more molasses-y tasting kefir, DO use rapadura, Sucanat, turbinado, or muscovado sugar.
  • If using a low mineral water and a low mineral sugar, DO add ONE of these: pinch baking soda, pinch sea salt, ½ tsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses for each quart of water, 1 egg shell (if no allergies), mineral drops (according to label).


  • DO make sure the room temperature is between 68-85ºF the entire culturing time. Grains can be damaged and even die when temps are outside this range. If it’s too cold, grains will starve from the inactivity; too warm and the grains die from being too hot.
  • DO ferment 24-48 hours, but DON’T do 72 hours unless the temperature is on the lower end. DON’T do 72 hour ferments very often, as your grains may culture all the sugar up before you realize it, and when left without food they will be unhappy (and can be damaged).
  • DO ferment at least 4-5 feet away from other culturing projects, or bad bacteria (house plants, compost, garbage, soiled laundry, fur babies). Even if a cabinet door separates your cultures, bacteria will STILL travel and possibly cross-contaminate. DON’T culture near or in rooms with chemical products in use (i.e. laundry room).
  • DON’T use dishes or utensils that could possibly have soap residue.
  • DON’T use anti-bacterial soap to clean your dishes or utensils that will be used with the Water Kefir Grains.


  • DO stick to a ratio of 3-4 Tablespoons of grains for each 1 to 2 quarts of sugar water. If you have only 2 Tablespoons of grains, DO culture only 1 quart water + 1/4 cup sugar.

Treatment of the Grains:

  • DON’T store grains in the fridge unless absolutely necessary. Storage can harm the grains. We recommend a max of about two weeks, and even so, expect the grains to take a few rounds of culturing to snap back.
  • DON’T rinse your grains unless absolutely necessary, i.e. they have not been performing well, they appear to be covered with something and it’s a last ditch effort
  • When drying your WKG for storage, DO this: In a glass casserole dish, lay some parchment or waxed paper down. Use a rubber spatula to spread the grains in a single layer. Without the fabric touching the grains, place a kitchen towel, butter muslin or cheesecloth over the casserole dish. We want the grains to dry out at room temperature without getting gross flies or other crud on them. Once they are dry (should be just a few days), store them in a container in cool spot or the fridge.

Questions? Ask and we can add it to the article for others to learn! Contact us, and Get Fermented!