Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Kombucha, sodas, water kefir, rejuvelac, kvass, and more...

Moderators: Christopher Weeks, Tim Hall

Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby jpt120 on Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:34 pm

Hi,

I have been fermenting for a couple of years now and just had a mind blowing revelation, kombucha is not a mushroom, but rather a colony of bacteria and yeasts!

Anyway, I am really confused now. I am extremely familiar with kefir, which consists of bacteria and yeast. Now I realize that kombucha is also bacteria and yeasts, so can anyone explain to me what the differences are between the two? Internet research hasnt really answered the question too thoroughly.

Also, any thoughts on why kombucha has been marketed successfully but water kefir has not?

Thanks!
jpt120
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby Tim Hall on Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:34 am

I don't know any of this for sure, but I suspect the specific cultures found in kombucha and kefir are fairly distinct, even if they vary among themselves from one mother to the next. For example a kefir culture produces that slimy kefirin, whereas kombucha doesn't. Also I suspect kombucha may have some acetobacter in the mix, because it's tanginess (to my taste) leans a little more to the acetic-acid side, whereas kefir has that clean lactic-acid tang. And of course the 'mothers' they form look quite a bit different which indicates a different sort of symbiosis going on (incidentally kombucha mothers look a little more like vinegar mothers to me).

Why is kombucha more marketable than water kefir? Kombucha sounds cooler(?) People associate kefir with something milky, not watery(?) Just ideas.

Also keep in mind that commercial kefir is generally NOT made with a genuine kefir mother. It's just a mix of individually cultured microorganisms, which means it's made more like yogurt compared to what you may be used to.
Tim Hall
Long-Lost Keeper of the Keys
 
Posts: 1013
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:18 pm
Location: N32.75 W97.34

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby jpt120 on Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:28 am

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the info. I am wondering, which do you think is better for you in general? I am leaning towards kefir. My kombucha research is really unclear; 1. while it mentions the yeast strain content, I cant find any info on bacterial strains 2. it appears inconclusive whether there is any significant concentration of vit B or C.

Anyway, according to my research which may or may not be accurate, it appears that kefir has more conclusive health benefits.

Do you have any thoughts? Actually, I think my question is, whether kefir and kombucha have different health benefits or do they pretty much do achieve the same thing pretty much?

Thanks again!
jpt120
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:48 pm

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby Fubar on Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:16 pm

The bacterial component of a kombucha culture usually consists of several species, but will almost always contain Gluconacetobacter xylinus, which ferments the alcohols produced by the yeast(s) into acetic acid. This increases the acidity while limiting the alcoholic content of kombucha. G. xylinum is responsible for most or all of the physical structure of a kombucha mother, and has been shown to produce microbial cellulose. This is likely due to artificial selection by brewers over time, selecting for firmer and more robust cultures.
Fubar
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:52 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ (fall-winter) / Olympia, WA (spring-summer)

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby asharpknife on Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:40 pm

I'm really interested in this subject myself. I've been brewing Kombucha for nearly two years and started on Kefir about a year ago, tried the milky kind (in non dairy milk), but I didn't stick with it and now brew Water Kefir.
I've been thinking about what strains of pro-biotics are in both drinks, and if I should be worried about the amount of sugar in them. After plenty of experimentation, I now make both beverages on the sweet side, so I'm definitely consuming some sugar from them, which I'm not that happy about. But, I don't feel any ill effects, and I do seem to resist catching the random ailments that strike my housemates, so I'm hanging on to the idea that these fun fermenty beverages are doing me some good. Anyway, I haven't shed any light, but just wanted to register my interest. :)
Google group for fermentation fetishists.
http://groups.google.com/group/fermfriends/

Blog by me.
http://fermfriends.wordpress.com/
asharpknife
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:44 am

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby Tim Hall on Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:00 pm

Fubar wrote:kombucha culture...will almost always contain Gluconacetobacter xylinus, which ferments the alcohols produced by the yeast(s) into acetic acid...G. xylinum is responsible for most or all of the physical structure of a kombucha mother...


Well that confirms my suspicion.

asharpknife wrote:I've been thinking about what strains of pro-biotics are in both drinks...


I don't have any idea how accurate the info is, but I seem to recall Dom's kefir site had a list of something like 3 dozen different bugs identified in one particular kefir mother. Might see if you can find it here somewhere: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html
Tim Hall
Long-Lost Keeper of the Keys
 
Posts: 1013
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:18 pm
Location: N32.75 W97.34

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby asharpknife on Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:07 pm

Aha, yes! Should have thought of Dom's site, that man has soooo much information on there. Thanks.
Google group for fermentation fetishists.
http://groups.google.com/group/fermfriends/

Blog by me.
http://fermfriends.wordpress.com/
asharpknife
 
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:44 am

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby nourishthespirit on Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:21 am

Does anyone make coconut kefir water? And does anyone have any cultures and recipes to share? Thank you
nourishthespirit
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:11 am

Re: Kefir v. Kombucha? What is the difference?

Postby Fubar on Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:59 pm

nourishthespirit, you might get more replies if you post this as a new thread. It is a bit off-topic for this thread.
Fubar
 
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:52 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ (fall-winter) / Olympia, WA (spring-summer)


Return to Tonic Beverage Ferments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests