Kombucha vs Water Kefir: Differences And Similarities

When you’re looking to improve your gut health, you may consider adding Kombucha or water kefir to your diet. Both of these fermented drinks are excellent sources of probiotics, and they have a lot of similarities. But there are also some critical differences between them.

This blog post will explore the similarities and differences between kombucha vs water kefir to help you decide which drink is right for you.

What is Kombucha?

kombucha jar

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has been around for centuries and is said to have many benefits. It is made by fermenting sweetened tea with a culture of bacteria and yeast, which forms a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).

The fermentation process gives Kombucha its distinct taste and produces vitamin B12, probiotics, and antioxidants.

Kombucha Benefits

Kombucha has many potential benefits, including improved digestion, increased energy, better skin health, and enhanced joint function.

Kombucha is also a good source of antioxidants and polyphenols (compounds linked to lower risks of heart disease and cancer).

What is Water Kefir?

water kefir jar

Water kefir is a drink made from fermenting water with kefir grains. Kefir grains are a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, and the fermentation process produces a range of beneficial probiotics, enzymes, and vitamins.

Water Kefir Grains Benefits

Some of the key benefits of this drink include:

  • Increased intake of probiotics, enzymes, and vitamins
  • Supports digestive health
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Aids in detoxification
  • Improves skin health

Water kefir is a simple and delicious way to incorporate more probiotics into your diet. It is an excellent option if you’re looking for a probiotic-rich drink that’s easy to make at home!

Also read: Milk Kefir vs Water Kefir | Key Differences & Potential Benefits

History of Kombucha

The drink originated in Northeast China or Manchuria and was consumed by the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi over 2000 years ago. It later spread to Russia, Japan, and Germany, becoming popular among the people. Today, Kombucha is available in most countries around the world.

History of Water Kefir

Water Kefir (also known as tibicos, Japanese Water Crystals, or Sugar Crystals) is a fermented drink that has been around for centuries. It is made by adding kefir grains to water, sugar, and fruit juice.

The exact origins of this drink are unknown, but it is thought to have originated in Asia or Europe. It became popular in Japan in the early 1900s and was introduced to the United States in the late 1940s.

Water kefir is becoming increasingly popular worldwide as people learn about its health benefits and delicious taste.

Kombucha vs Water Kefir: Main Differences

Kombucha vs Water Kefir Differences

While water kefir and Kombucha are fermented Probiotic drinks, there are a few key differences between the two.

For starters, Kombucha is made by fermenting black tea, while water kefir is made by fermenting sugar water with a kefir grain. This means that it contains no caffeine, while Kombucha does.

Another difference between the two drinks is their shelf life; Kombucha can last for several weeks (or even months) when stored properly, while water kefir only lasts for a few days.

This is because the live bacteria in water kefir continue to consume carbohydrates (in this case, sugar), which causes the drink to go flat over time.

Finally, Kombucha is slightly more acidic than water kefir, which gives it a tangier flavor. On the other hand, water kefir is slightly sweet with an effervescent (carbonated) taste.

Water Kefir vs Kombucha: Similarities

There are many similarities between Kombucha and water kefir. Still, some of the most important ones are that they are a probiotic beverage that supports gut health and are both easy to make at home.

Another similarity is that they both contain a wide variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, which help to populate the gut with healthy microflora and support digestion. And finally, they both have a slightly sweet and sour taste, making them refreshing alternatives to soda or juice.

Ingredients of Kombucha

Kombucha is fermented with black tea, green tea, or a combination of both. Sugar and vinegar are also used in the fermentation process.

Many flavours are found in Kombucha, but all varieties typically contain organic acids, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, and caffeine. Some people believe that Kombucha has detoxifying and energizing effects, but there is not much scientific evidence to support these claims.

Kombucha tea is made by adding a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to sweetened tea. The SCOBY consumes the sugars in the tea and produces lactic acid, carbon dioxide, ethanol alcohol, and acetic acid. These acids give Kombucha its characteristic sour taste.

Ingredients of Water Kefir

Water Kefir comprises water, sugar, kefir grains, and other flavors or ingredients. The sugar is necessary for the yeast and bacteria in the kefir grains to feed on and create the carbonation and probiotics in the drink.

Kefir grains are a culture of yeast and bacteria that ferment the sugar and produce carbonation and probiotics. The water can be plain or flavored with any juice or fruit. The grains can be reused repeatedly to make more batches of kefir.

How are Water Kefir and Kombucha Made?


Kombucha made

Kombucha is a fermented tea that originates from China. It is made by placing sweetened black or green tea in a jar or vat and adding a culture of yeast and bacteria (known as a SCOBY). This SCOBY feeds on the sugar in the tea, and fermentation begins a room temperature.

The kombucha culture produces acetic acid, lactic acid, and ethanol during fermentation, which gives Kombucha its characteristic sour taste. The longer fermentation takes place, the sourer the Kombucha tea will become. Kombucha can be bottled and enjoyed as-is or used in specialty cocktails.

Water Kefir

water kefir made

Water kefir grains are colonies of yeast and bacteria that work together in symbiosis. These beneficial microbes feed on sugar and produce lactic acid, alcohol, carbon dioxide, enzymes, and vitamins. The resulting beverage is full of probiotics and highly refreshing!

So, how is it made? First, you’ll need to seek out kefir grains (called tibicos).

You can find these online or sometimes at fermented foods stores. Once you’ve obtained your water kefir grains, add them to some sugar water (a ratio of about 1/4 cup sugar to 4 cups water is good) and let them do their thing a room temperature!

How do They Taste?


Kombucha has a tart and slightly sweet taste similar to unsweetened green tea with a hint of funky citrus. Some people say it tastes like sparkling apple cider vinegar.

Yeast and bacteria ferment the tea’s natural sugars to create the carbonation and slightly alcoholic (0.5-1% ABV) beverage. Kombucha can be made with different teas, fruits, and flavorings, so the taste varies depending on the brand or recipe.

While Kombucha generally has a pleasant taste, some people find it too vinegary or acidic for their liking. If you’re curious about trying Kombucha, look for brands that use juices or fruits to flavor the drink and start with a small amount to see if you enjoy it.

Water Kefir

Water Kefir (Tibicos, Water Bee, Sugar Beet Live Water) is a fermented drink made with water kefir grains and sugar. It has a light, slightly effervescent taste similar to Kombucha tea or sparkling water. To create a unique flavor combination, you can flavor it with fruit, juice, herbs, or spices. 

Some say that water kefir tastes sweet and tangy, while others find it tart and slightly sour. Ultimately, the taste of kefir will depend on the type of sugar used to make it, and the time it is fermented. 

If you’ve never had this drink before, we recommend starting with a small batch to see if you like the taste. Once you’ve gotten a feel for the flavor, you can start experimenting with different recipe ideas.

Ways to Flavor Water Kefir and Kombucha


Kombucha flavored

Kombucha is a type of fermented tea that is known for its probiotic properties. It can be enjoyed plain, or you can flavor it with various fruits, herbs, and spices. Here are some ways to flavor kombucha:

  1. Add fruit: Kombucha is delicious, with fresh or frozen fruit. Add the fruit to your Kombucha and allow it to infuse for a few days before enjoying it. Berries, mango, peach, and pineapple all work well.
  2. Spice it up: Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger all pair well with Kombucha. You can add these spices directly to the fermentation vessel or infuse them in a bag or cheesecloth.
  3. Herby: Fresh or dried herbs can also be used to flavor Kombucha. Try adding mint, basil, or lavender for a refreshing twist.
  4. Go savory: For a unique flavor, add garlic, onion, or horseradish to your Kombucha. Be sure to start with a small amount, as the flavor can be intense.
  5. Get boozy: For an adult twist on Kombucha, add vodka, rum, or tequila. Start with a small amount and increase to taste. Be sure to use high-quality alcohol, as the flavor will be evident in the finished Kombucha.

Water Kefir

Water Kefir flavored

There are many different ways to flavor kefir. Some people like to add fresh fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries.

Some love the taste of spices added to their water kefir, such as cinnamon, cardamom, or cloves. Others prefer to add dried fruit, such as apricots, figs, or raisins. And finally, some people enjoy the lightly sweet and slightly tart taste of unflavored drinks.

The possibilities are endless for flavoring water kefir — so get creative and have fun with it!

You only need to remember that the flavors should be complementary; for example, you wouldn’t want to add robust and aromatic spice-like cloves to a delicate fruit like strawberries. Other than that, the sky’s the limit!

One popular way to flavor water kefir is by adding fresh fruit juice. This can be done by adding the juice of any fresh fruit you like — pour it into the water kefir and the other ingredients and let it ferment.

Some people like to add a bit of sugar or honey to their water kefir as well, which can help to boost the fermentation process and give the finished product a slightly sweeter taste.

Ways to Use


Kombucha can be enjoyed in many ways, including adding it to smoothies, using it as a marinade for meat or fish, and even using it as a hair rinse.

Kombucha is also a great addition to any diet because it is low in calories and carbohydrates but high in fiber. Kombucha contains B vitamins, antioxidants, and probiotics, which are beneficial for your health. So if you’re looking for a healthy drink that offers a variety of benefits, give Kombucha a try!

Water Kefir

There are many ways to enjoy water kefir! Some popular ways are to drink it straight, add it to smoothies, use it as a base for kombucha or ginger beer, make popsicles, and ferment fruits and vegetables.

Water kefir is a delicious and refreshing way to hydrate and get probiotics and enzymes into your system. It’s also great for detoxing and can help clear up skin problems. So next time you’re feeling thirsty, give kefir a try!

Best Brands


There are a lot of great brands of Kombucha out there, and it depends on what you’re looking for in a kombucha. Some prefer a sweeter kombucha, while others like a more tart variety. Some kombuchas are flavored with fruit or herbs, which can be delicious.

Some of our favorite brands of Kombucha include GT’s Synergy Kombucha, Health-Ade Kombucha, and Karma Kombucha. These brands make delicious kombuchas that are perfect for enjoying any time of day.

If you’re looking for an exceptional kombucha experience, we recommend checking out Kombucha Brooklyn, which makes small-batch artisanal kombuchas that are genuinely unique.

Water Kefir

PBW, KEFIREPA, RBW, and Water Kefir Institute are the four best brands of kefir. They all have great reputations and produce high-quality products. Each one has something unique to offer, so it depends on your preferences as to which one is the best for you.

PBW is probably the most well-known brand of water kefir. Their products are widely available in fermented foods marketplaces and have a good reputation for being high quality. They offer a variety of flavors, so there’s something for everyone.

KEFIREPA is another excellent choice when it comes to water kefir. They offer a wide range of flavors, so you’re sure to find one you love. They’re also very high quality, so you can rest assured that you’re getting a great product.

Which Fermented Drink is Better, Kombucha or Water Kefir?

Kombucha and water kefir are both fermented drinks, so they have similar health benefits. However, people prefer one over the other because of their taste preferences.

Kombucha is made from black tea, sugar, and a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria). The SCOBY ferments black tea and sugar to produce Kombucha. Water kefir is made from sugar, water, and kefir grains. The water kefir grains ferment the sugar to produce water kefir.

Kombucha and water kefir are excellent sources of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that improve gut health. Kombucha also contains antioxidants and vitamins, while water kefir is a good source of electrolytes.

Kombucha and water kefir are healthy drinks that offer a variety of benefits. People prefer Kombucha for its slightly sweet and tart flavor, while water kefir is often described as more refreshing and light. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.


So, what’s the verdict? Water kefir vs Kombucha!? Both have their pros and cons. But if we had to choose one, we would say that Kombucha is better because it has a more tart flavor and contains beneficial acids and enzymes.

If you want to start fermenting your drinks at home, kefir is a great place to start – it’s simple and easy to make. Remember that it doesn’t contain as many health benefits as Kombucha does. Plus, there are endless ways to flavor Kombucha, so you never get bored.

Ready to give them both a try? Head over to our recipes page for some delicious ideas!


  • Dr. Heba Yehia is a talented writer and fermented foods researcher. Heba is a master at taking complex concepts and making them fun to read. She studied Pharmacology at Alexandria University and is researching and creating compelling content for several companies.

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