Is Kefir or Kombucha your favourite elixer?

Most of us are familiar with the word elixir, but the word is sometimes also spelled elixer – We will use the terms interchangeably here.

We have all seen the term “ancient elixir” used to describe both kombucha and kefir, and it’s obvious as to why these delicious fermented drinks are given such a name. But what are the similarities between the different fermented beverages?

While there are a huge variety of fermented beverages that have been consumed all over the world, throughout history, from Kanji in Northern India, to all forms of fermented milk (depending on the milk available), to the increasingly popular kombucha and kefir.

How are Kombucha and
Water Kefir similar?

The kombucha SCOBY and Kefir “Grains” are both similar in that they are living things – they are colonies of bacteria and yeast. These little workers consume the sugar used to create these fermented beverages and provide us with lots of good bacteria (known as probiotics), but how do they differ?

How are these health elixers different?

While both of these ancient elixers are prepared by adding some form of carbohydrate (ie, sugar) to the “starter culture”, kombucha also requires tea to “consume”. Kombucha requires certain vitamins and minerals that the tea provides, to survive and thrive. The Kombucha colony is a “single mass” that is held together by polysaccharides. In my opinion, the colony looks something like a combination of a jelly fish and a mushroom (which is why the culture is also referred to as a mushroom - although it is not a fungus). Water kefir grains are also a colony of bacteria and yeast, although they don’t “join together” in a single mass, but form small, translucent, jelly-like structures (up to around 1cm across), known as “kefir grains”. Kefir grains contain no actual grains such as wheat, rye, etc. 

Which elixir will provide me with the most benefits?

Kombucha is said to have a greater effect in aiding digestion, which is probably due to it containing more beneficial bacteria, acids and enzymes than Water Kefir.
Kombucha tea can however contain caffeine, depending on the type of tea used.
While Water Kefir does contain enzymes and acids, it is a much “lighter” beverage than Kombucha – not only in terms of the flavour, but also in the intensity of the concentration of probiotics. Some people may however prefer to consume Milk Kefir as it contains a greater number of bacteria strains than those found in Kombucha or Water Kefir. 

In Summary...

As both of these fermented beverages provide not only unique flavours, but varied probiotics that assist in all kinds of bodily systems, I can’t choose between the two, and I am going to continue drinking both of these ancient elixers on a daily basis.

What do you think? Do you prefer Kombucha or Water Kefir, or are you just like me and love them both just as much as each other?