There are several popular fermented beverages, among them probably the best known is the kombucha. This drink is basically a fermented tea. The most common type of kombucha is made with black tea, but it can also be made with green tea. However, there is another probiotic drink that is much softer in flavor and brings many more benefits to our body. Of course, we are talking about water kefir. It is also fermented and for some even more delicious. The only thing it doesn’t have is the fame that kombucha currently holds.
In this article, we are going to talk about the differences between water kefir and kombucha in order to determine which one is better.
Let’s start with kombucha first.
Differences and Similarities Between Water Kefir and Kombucha
- Kombucha is nothing more than a drink fermented with tea (black or green) and sugar. This drink has a fermentation time of approximately 7 to 12 days (much longer than water kefir).
- To ferment this sweetened tea-based beverage and transform it into kombucha, you will need a Scoby (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). The Scoby is a set of bacteria and yeasts that live together and they will produce kombucha when they feed on the sugar tea.
- Its composition is mainly yeast and bacteria. Kombucha, like kefir, can be fermented twice. The first is the basic one that everyone usually does. The second is to add the flavor of their preference and in this fermentation the kombucha usually becomes fizzy. If the period of fermentation of kombucha is longer, the flavor changes and tends to be slightly stronger, similar to the taste of vinegar.
- Kombucha, unlike water Kefir, contains caffeine because it is made of tea (black/green tea). The caffeine does not disappear during the fermentation process. For that reason, it is much more harmful than water kefir.
- Kombucha in the same way as water kefir also contains a portion of sugar. With a longer fermentation time, more sugar will be consumed. This means that the amount of sugar consumed will be smaller, but still, there are still traces of sugar in the final product.
- It has a tonic action for digestion since, being a bit acidic, it can help activate gastric juices and digestive fire. Action similar to that of vinegar.
- Water kefir only needs water, sugar and other dehydrated fruits to ferment.
- Water kefir provides many more benefits. Besides being a much healthier drink you can make different recipes with it.
- The fermentation process of the water kefir is much faster than the fermentation process of the kombucha. The fermentation time is approximately 24 to 48 hours.
- In order to make water kefir, you are going to need water kefir grains but it is important to know that the grains of water kefir are not the same as the milk kefir grains. Each contains agents for different fermentations. Grains of water kefir are spongy and translucent spheres that are composed of a large number of bacteria and yeast that also feed themselves with sugar.
- Water kefir has a microbial profile composed mainly of bacteria. This means it has more bacteria than yeasts.
- Like kombucha, in the second fermentation of water kefir, you can add the flavor of your preference.
- Water kefir contains large amounts of enzymes and important sugars that are easy to digest. In addition to containing acids that benefit us, it also provides us with a number of vitamins as well as minerals that are essential for the body.
- Water kefir helps regulate the function of the digestive system by populating the internal ecosystem with good bacteria.
Which of These Two Fermented Beverages Is Better, Water Kefir or Kombucha?
Both water kefir and kombucha are probiotic drinks. They contain bacteria and other beneficial microorganisms good for our intestine. Although people tend to believe that they are the same, they really are not. The fermentation process is very different, the properties that each of them offers, and the fermentation period are different.
In addition, kombucha also contains caffeine. The type of bacteria is different as well. Water kefir is dominated by bacteria that basically eat sugar, while kombucha contains more yeasts than bacteria.
Each drink is adapted to the person in terms of their taste, the objective you want to achieve, their needs and health status because each drink has its own benefits. Some of these health benefits are:
- If you have a problem or intestinal disease, or candidiasis it is not recommended to consume kombucha because the kombucha contains many yeasts. Even some samples of kombucha have discovered candida residues. In this case, it is recommended to drink water kefir.
- If you want a fermented drink to share with your whole family including children, the healthiest and most recommendable drink is water kefir.
- It is advisable to drink water kefir if you suffer from digestive problems and problems related to intestinal flora,
- If you have problems with cholesterol and blood pressure, water kefir will help reduce these problems.
- If you want a drink with probiotic properties and that has a mild and much more pleasant taste, the ideal drink for you is probably the water kefir but the taste is a subjective thing.
- Water kefir in its components does not contain caffeine at all. For that reason, it is much healthier and is better for children and for people who are very sensitive or who are not tolerant of caffeine.
- Kombucha helps colonize the intestines with a large amount of yeast and a small number of bacteria. It helps to detoxify the liver. So if you need a digestive tonic to help you activate your digestive system, the most recommended drink is kombucha.
- If you love strong flavors or you like the taste of vinegar the ideal drink for you is the kombucha.
What Is the Difference in Taste?
The taste difference is huge, even though both start with a base of sweetened liquid (kombucha with a sweetened tea, while water kefir with sweetened water). However, the water kefir after its fermentation process stays sweet. It is slightly sweet and this is due to the only remaining sugar residue left over from the fermentation process. This drink must be flavored and flavored, since the taste of the water kefir obtained from fermenting is only water with sugar.
On the contrary, the kombucha has a slightly spicy flavor, it is slightly sweet and gives a fizzy sensation. The flavor varies depending on the time of fermentation and the type of tea that has been used. It can vary from a mild flavor to a strong vinegar-like flavor. Once fermented it can be flavored with juice or fruit to improve or change its flavor in case it does not seem pleasant.
Water kefir tastes more pleasant and tolerable, since for many the taste of kombucha is often unpleasant, even if they add the juice of some fruit.
Water kefir or kombucha, is there a clear winner? Well, overall water kefir has more health benefits and usually, the taste of it is adaptable to more people than the kombucha. Still, it really depends on what you are looking to get out of your fermented drink. I would suggest that you try both and then decide which one is the best for you!