Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Kombucha and Water Kefir?

Kombucha and water kefir are made with different cultures. Both cultures are symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast. Kombucha is made with tea and sugar, whereas water kefir can be made with a variety of ingredients. The most common are water and sugar and coconut water but it is also possible to ferment coconut milk, nut milk, rice milk and soya milk with the water kefir culture. Both beverages are great for hydration. Depending on your needs, consuming one or both is a matter of individual taste.

What are the strange-looking strands that form in Kombucha?

These brown stringy particles are harmless yeasts. They are a natural by-product of the fermentation process. You can strain them out of the kombucha if you prefer.

My Kombucha is developing a jelly-like mass on top. Is this normal?

The jelly-like mass is the beginning of a new baby kombucha culture. Even after the main kombucha culture is removed, the kombucha remains full of living yeast and bacteria which continue to ferment slowly on their own. As a result, idle kombucha will eventually form a new baby culture.

Is there any danger of the glass container exploding under the pressure of carbonation?

While it is possible for bottles to explode, it is more common for lids to fly off, particularly when being opened. We recommend keeping your whole hand over the lid of the container as you open it.

Does Kombucha contain alcohol?

Yes, as with all cultured and fermented foods, a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol is typically present in the finished product.  Although the amount contained in kombucha will vary from batch to batch, the amount should be quite small.  We took our kombucha to the laboratory for testing to ensure that the alcohol levels were well below the threshold at which they would quality as liquor. 

What is the difference between Water Kefir and Milk Kefir?

Water and milk kefir are made with different cultures.  Both cultures are symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeasts.  The milk kefir culture has greater microbial diversity.

Does water Kefir contain alcohol?

As with all cultured and fermented foods, a small amount of naturally occurring alcohol is typically present in the finished product. Although the amount will vary from batch to batch, but for the typical brewing period, the amount should be quite low.

How long do fermented vegetables (Sauerkraut, Kimchi etc.) last once opened?

Fermentation is a food preservation method.  Ideally, fermented vegetables should be consumed within 7-14 days of opening but can last much longer if you observe the following: Never eat out of the jar.  Use a clean (preferably sterile) utensil to remove your serving from the jar.

Every now and again use a clean tablespoon to press down the fermented vegetables.  The liquid tends to drop to the bottom and the surface can become dry and even discoloured. 

By pressing down, the shredded vegetables become submerged in the vegetable juices.  Reducing oxygen exposure reduces the chance of mould forming.

Sometimes my fermented vegetables hiss and bubble when I open the jar. Are they safe to consume?

The hissing and bubbling is a sign that the ferment is live.  It happens mostly during spring and early summer when the bacteria are particularly active.  Open the jar carefully and press down with a clean tablespoon to release the fermentation gases. 

Will freezing my fermented vegetables harm them?

Fermented vegetables can be stored in the freezer. They may soften upon thawing, but will still be full of flavour and beneficial bacteria.

Will cooking damage my Ferments?

Heating ferments foods to cooking temperatures will damage the beneficial bacteria.

What does it mean when a white film forms on top of Beet Kvass and other ferments? Must it be discarded?

The white film on top of kvass is Kahm yeast.  It is harmless but can be skimmed off using a cheesecloth if desired.

How much should I eat/drink?

Always start slowly, especially if you know that your gut is sensitive.  Ideally, work together with a medical practitioner. 


Fermented vegetables

I recommend no more than a teaspoon of fermented vegetables to start with.  You can build it up from there to 3 – 6 servings per day. 

Kombucha/water kefir

These are not cool drinks.  They are medicine.  I would recommend no more than a tot 2-3 times per day.  It is far more beneficial to consume small quantities frequently than to ‘down’ a whole bottle once a week.

Beet kvass

Beet kvass is a potent liver detox.  Again, I recommend starting with no more than a tot per day and then building up to a maximum of 2-3 tots.

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