Kefir water vs Kombucha: What’s the difference?

Kefir water vs Kombucha: What’s the difference?

Kefir water vs Kombucha: What’s the difference?

Is water kefir kombucha? 

The short answer is no. Kombucha and kefir water are more like cousins: they belong to the same family, but they’re very different in appearance and temperament. Both fermented, probiotic-rich beverages, each has its own distinctive flavour profile and mouthfeel.

Kombucha is made using green or black tea, steeped with sugar and often flavoured with fruits or berries. This infusion is then fermented using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (scoby) to produce a slightly fizzy, faintly acetic drink. 

During the ferment, the kombucha scoby converts most of the alcohol (and some more of the sugar) into beneficial acids. As a fermented drink, kombucha contains live cultures, weighing in at roughly 100 million per 100ml. 

100 million may sound like a lot, but that’s small fry compared to kefir water. At 55 billion live cultures per 100ml, Agua de Madre is the best option for those keen on boosting their gut’s live culture count. 

While kefir water is also made with a scoby, it’s very different to the bacteria & yeast formation used to make kombucha. A kombucha scoby looks like a large, opaque, gelatinous disk, while the kefir grains we use to brew Agua de Madre are small, clear and crystalline. 

In Mexican culture, where they’re known as tibicos, kefir water grains have been used to create the fermented drink for millenia. These ancient tibicos grains are vital when brewing our delicious Agua de Madre kefir water.

While kombucha has a botanical, slightly bitter taste and smell, kefir water is more hopsy and full-bodied and effervescent. Kefir water is less bitter than kombucha, easily taking on the flavour of the fruit with which it’s brewed.

Because it’s made using tea, kombucha contains caffeine, beneficial antioxidants, enzymes and acids. Kefir water doesn’t contain caffeine, but it does have trace amounts of alcohol (<1.2% abv) as a happy by-product of the ferment. 

So which is better?
Both drinks are very healthy, but they support the body in different ways. While kombucha is rich in antioxidants, which fight free radicals, kefir water contains over 30 different strains of beneficial bacterias and yeast; these probiotics survive gastrointestinal conditions and improve gut health. 

Kefir water and kombucha both have very similar calorie counts, but if you’re trying to avoid caffeine, or aren’t a fan of kombucha’s distinctive taste, kefir water might just be your new best friend.

Convinced? If you’re looking to buy kefir in London, you can head to the Casa de Madre in Hackney to try it for yourself. If you’re further afield, worry not: on our website, we have a range of delicious flavours to choose from, including our original Ginger & Lemon and our brand-new Blood Orange Bitters.

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