Which is Better – Water Kefir or Milk Kefir?

People often ask me about water kefir and milk kefir and which type of kefir I think is more beneficial. Water kefir is a non-dairy kefir that is gaining in popularity. Many people start with this method of making kefir because it’s so easy and fun and they want a non-dairy option. It’s made with fruit juice, vegetable juice, coconut water, an extract, or even just sugar and water. A culture is then added and the mixture is fermented. As is the case with dairy kefir, the good bacteria eat the sugars out of the juice and create probiotics, plus they unlock additional vitamins and minerals. These are a great replacement for store-bought sodas. In addition to the probiotics, the kefir in the soda eats much of the sugar, so you don’t have to deal with the adverse effects of sugar that soda often promotes. There are no chemicals or artificial ingredients in kefir soda. And as a bonus to those of us who crave bubblicious beverages, the kefir creates naturally-occurring carbonation.

Which Is Better?

Water kefir finished

Which One Has More Probiotics?

While I stand by water kefir as a great replacement for store-bought soda, I’ve learned a few things from my own experience. You can decide for yourself what’s right for you. I really like water kefir, but I love milk kefir. There are only 10-15 strains of good bacteria and good yeasts in water kefir versus 50 in basic homemade milk kefir made with live grains or with Easy Kefir. Check out the charts below to see the good bacteria and yeast in water kefir and milk kefir. I drink milk kefir every day and water kefir I drink more in the summertime, holidays, and special occasions. I always have lacto-fermented beverages in my fridge, be it kombucha or kefir sodas. It really depends on what I'm in the mood for, but milk kefir I do have every day.

Find The One That Suits You

I feel that milk kefir (either non-dairy kefir or dairy kefir) has helped me more than water kefir, but many people have claimed water kefir helped them greatly by repopulating their gut with good flora and made them feel great. I really want you to get probiotics into your body in anyway you can. Eat and drink cultured foods and find the one that most appeals to you and let your own body show you the way. I am seeing more and more stores serving water kefir and this thrills me. Probiotic lacto-fermented beverages are a much-needed change from the last 50 years of high fructose beverages that harm our bodies and cause addictions and cravings. The good news is that water kefir tastes great and is bubbly too!

Bacteria And Yeasts In Water Kefir Crystals

Species Lactobacillus

  • L. brevis
  • L. casei
  • L. hilgardii
  • L. hordei
  • L. nagelii

Species Leuconostoc

  • L. citreum
  • L. mesenteroides

Species Acetobacter

  • A. fabarum
  • A. orientalis

Species Streptococcus

  • S. lactis


  • Hanseniaospora valbyensis
  • Lachancea fermentati
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Zygotorulaspora florentina
water kefir crystals in jar

Bacteria And Yeasts In Milk Kefir Grains

Species Lactobacillus

  • L. acidophilus
  • L. brevis
  • L. casei subsp. casei
  • L. casei subsp. rhamnosus
  • L. paracasei subsp. paracasei
  • Lb. fermentum
  • Lb. cellobiosus
  • Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
  • Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
  • Lb. fructivorans
  • Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
  • L. hilgardii
  • Lb. helveticus
  • L. kefiri
  • Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
  • Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
  • Lb. parakefiri
  • Lb. plantarum

Species Streptococcus

  • St. thermophilus
  • St. paracitrovorus

Species Lactococcus

  • Lc. lactis subsp. lactis
  • Lc. lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis
  • Lc. lactis subsp. cremoris

Species Enterococcus

  • Lc. Ent. durans

Species Leuconostoc

  • Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
  • Leuc. mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
  • Leuc. dextranicum


  • Dekkera anomala / Brettanomyces anomalus
  • Kluyveromyces marxianus / Candida kefyr
  • Pichia fermentans / C. firmetaria
  • Yarrowia lipolytica / C. lipolytica
  • Debaryomyces hansenii / C. famata
  • Deb. [Schwanniomyces] occidentalis
  • Issatchenkia orientalis / C. krusei
  • Galactomyces geotrichum / Geotrichum candidum
  • C. friedrichii
  • C. rancens
  • C. tenuis
  • C. humilis
  • C. inconspicua
  • C. maris
  • Cryptococcus humicolus
  • Kluyveromyces lactis var. lactis
  • Kluyv. bulgaricus
  • Kluyv. lodderae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Sacc. subsp. torulopsis holmii
  • Sacc. pastorianus
  • Sacc. humaticus
  • Sacc. unisporus
  • Sacc. exiguus
  • Sacc. turicensis sp. nov
  • Torulaspora delbrueckii
  • Zygosaccharomyces rouxii


  • Acetobacter aceti
  • Acetobacter rasens

Recipes To Make Kefir

How to Make Milk Kefir

Recipe to Make Milk Kefir

How to Make Water Kefir

Recipe for Water Kefir.

How to Make Non Dairy Milk Kefir

Recipe to Make Non Dairy Milk Kefir.

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