Tibicos (or Water Kefir)

Words and photo by Emily Akins



This is our new favorite drink. There are lots of names for it; most people call it Water Kefir, but we call it Tibicos. And the cutest thing ever is Julia asking for “teebeecosh!” It’s a probiotic beverage made with kefir grains. Which sounds so weird when I explain it. So I’ve started just saying that it’s like home made soda but it’s good for you instead of bad for you.
It’s good for you the way that yogurt or milk kefir are good for you – because of the good bacteria that grows. You start out with kefir grains (not real “grains” – they actually look like giant salt crystals). You feed them sugar (and a few other things). They grow and grow during the first ferment; then you flavor the tibicos in the second ferment, after you’ve removed the grains. And in just a matter of days you have some lovely and delicious “soda” (so to speak).
Our favorite flavors are peach or apricot (flavored with tea), lemon juice, or ginger. (Oh and we made a black currant one once that tasted just like a Clearly Canadian!)
See below for the “recipe” we received from our friend who got us started in the world of water kefir. We have (miraculously!) kept our grains going for a couple of months now and while we did have to slow down production, we have kept a steady cycle going. And when we’ve gone on tibicos hiatus in order to leave town, I have missed it so much.
Julia likes it pretty well, too. Clara is still deciding. But I’m glad to have some probiotics to give them to balance out the antibiotics we had to give them a few weeks ago. Gotta keep that balance.
We will have extra grains up for grabs periodically. Happy to spread the Tibicos gospel and the grains!


Water Kefir


  • Water Kefir
  • Basic ratio:
  • 1 Tbsp grains
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. First Ferment:
  2. In a jar, add sugar (ideally sucanat/rapidura/turbinado; organic raw cane sugar works), some raisins (about 10), a splash of lemon juice, a tiny pinch of baking soda, and water. Stir to somewhat dissolve sugar. Add grains. Can be left covered lightly with a cloth or a lid. Let sit in room temperature - not in sun - for 48 hours or until brew no longer tastes like sugar water. You're aiming for the sweet spot between sugar water and vinegar. you can drink the water kefir now or do a second ferment to add flavor and carbonation.
  3. Second Ferment:
  4. Strain out grains and raisins. Discard raisins (or eat them!). Set aside grains. Pour water kefir into bottle with swing-lock top or mason jar with metal lid. Add flavoring. Close bottle/jar, let sit for 48 hours. "Burp" to safely let out a bit of carbonation once or twice a day. Grains can be used again to start a first ferment, as above.
  5. After 48 hours, serve over ice or refrigerated and enjoy!

For more info: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/water-kefir-frequently-asked-questions-faq


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