Video/Recipe: Coconut Water Kefir

Video/Recipe: Coconut Water Kefir post image

History and folklore credit coconut water with remarkable healing powers. Coconut water is harvested from young green coconuts (different than the liquid in mature brown coconuts). This fluid is a powerhouse of nutrition.

Young Green Coconut Water is a Superfood

Young green coconut water contains a complex blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, antioxidants, enzymes, and other phytonutrients. The electrolyte content and pH is so similar to human plasma (and it is sterile) it is compatible with the human body, so much so, doctors have used coconut water successfully as an intravenous fluid in times of emergency (WWII).

Incredible as that sounds, I would much rather culture it for its powerful gut healing properties as a non-dairy kefir beverage.

Donna Gates may be credited for originating the idea of fermenting the young green coconut water into kefir. If you would like to use the actual young green coconuts and retrieve the water from them, her website has instructions on how to do that.

I found it way to labor intensive too locate the young green coconuts, open them with a cleaver and remove the water. It was frustrating to find several of the coconuts in each case were rotten. Additionally, in order to import them, a lot of fungicides are used.

Coconut Water in Tetrapaks

Instead, I turned to prepackaged young green coconut water that comes in a tetrapak that is packaged in the Phillipines so that the fungicides are not needed. The plain coconut water that is unflavored works really well.

The water is full of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium and other trace minerals and is very popular as a sports drink. It certainly beats drinking Gatorade or the other commercial sports drinks  with all their flavorings and additives.

When kefired, the water has the added value of probiotics and enzymes. When taken with a meal, it aids in the digestion of the food. Taken in between meals, it adds probiotics to the gut.

In traditional cultures, the plain water was used for digestive upset. Clearly, as a kefir, it becomes an even greater healing food for the intestines.


Coconut Water Kefir


Two 11.2 ounce tetrapaks of plain coconut water

Water kefir grains or kefir culture starter powder (where to buy kefir grains or starter packs)


  • Pour the coconut water into a glass quart jar
  • With a plastic spoon drop one heaping tablespoon of the water grains into the water
  • Seal with a lid or cover with a cloth rubberbanded around the lip of the jar
  • Keep at room temperature for 36 – 48 hours or longer until it no longer tastes sweet
  • Refrigerate when ready


  • As with all probiotic foods and drinks, start to consume slowly and in small amounts so that your body gets used to this powerful culture
  • Taste the water before you kefir it so you know how sweet it tastes
  • Taste the water each day so you get to know how it is fermenting and when you like the taste
  • You can also kefir coconut water with milk kefir grains that have been rinsed thoroughly
  • If you use milk grains, be sure to put the grains back into milk after use in the water
  • When using water kefir grains, put them back into sugar water in order to recharge them in between each new kefir

Heal the Gut

Microbiome barriers protect us from misfiring of the immune system. When there is barrier dysbiosis – leaky gut, leaky brain and leaky skin can develop. There are also microbial barriers in the lungs. The health of all these microbial barriers must be taken into consideration.

Treg cells dampen the hyper-immune response and are critical cells that help balance the immune response. The immune system can be healed back into balance.

Find out how to heal your gut and feel great in my e-book Heal Your Microbiome Optimize Your Health.

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Leave a Comment

  • Melanie January 10, 2012, 4:50 pm

    I love everything about this post! It’s incredible to think of all the benefits of coconut water and then to make it a probiotic drink on top of that…wow! Talk about a superfood 🙂 Thanks for the easy recipe!

  • T January 12, 2012, 11:21 am

    Love this… and my sister will too.
    she drinks coconut water like it is going out of style and we both love kefir.
    thank you for posting this…I will be forwarding it to my sister, too!

  • Miz Helen January 13, 2012, 11:57 am

    Hi Jill,
    This is a great Video and a great recipe. Thank you so much for sharing with our 1st Anniversary Party at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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  • Jen January 14, 2012, 3:20 pm

    I need to try this . . . Does it have the effervescent taste of kefir water? Is it tangy?

    • Jill January 14, 2012, 5:22 pm

      Hi Jen,
      It does get a little bubbly — not too much. That’s why I like it — not too bubbly. It will get a tangy edge to it when it is just right. If left too long it gets like vinegar.

  • Alea Milham January 17, 2012, 12:07 am

    This is facinating! I have never made kefir, but I like the idea of making it with cocnut water. Thanks for sharing your recipe with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  • Linda January 17, 2012, 7:51 pm

    I haven’t made kefir since going dairy free, though I have bought coconut milk kefir. I’ve never heard of green coconut water. I’ll look into that. Thanks for sharing!

  • Raquel January 30, 2012, 8:56 am

    Hi there, I have a question about coconut and water kefir. Is is suppose to taste like beer/wine? I dont like either! I leave it on my counter for about 30 hours and that is what it tastes like. Is there suppose to be any sweet taste left?

    • Raquel January 30, 2012, 8:58 am

      Oh and one more thing – are you suppose to rinse the grains after each use?

      • Jill January 30, 2012, 9:37 am

        Hi Rachel,
        It sounds like it might be going too fast and yeast is growing too much, or you are leaving it too long. Check it after 24 hours. It should not have an alcoholic taste. Is it very warm in your house? With the water kefir it can still have a slightly sweet taste. If left too long it gets like vinegar. Milk kefir will get very tart. Hope this helps!

        • Raquel January 30, 2012, 11:04 am

          Its about 70 in the kitchen where I keep it. Maybe I’m putting in too many kefir grains? I use about half a cup in a 1 qt jar not filled to the top.

          • Jill January 30, 2012, 11:49 am

            Yep. It’s usually a heaping tablespoon.

  • Raquel February 2, 2012, 11:18 am

    Hi Jill, how much sugar do you put in for the water kefir if using 1 quart?

    • Jill February 2, 2012, 11:49 am

      Hi Raquel,
      Coconut water kefir does not need any additional sugar — it is already sweet. Plain water kefir needs 1/4 cup organic cane sugar or succanet.

  • felicia February 5, 2012, 6:20 pm

    where do you get your coconut water in tetrapaks? are they bpa free? what brand is it? we’re starting the gaps diet in a week and would love to get all my supplies ready! thank you for posting this! 🙂

    • Jill February 5, 2012, 7:05 pm

      Hi Felicia,
      I use the Zico tetra paks (they are cardboard — no BPA) that say ONLY coconnut water in the ingredient label. Some have flavorings and some of the “natural” are made from concentrate. Do not use those — only the “Natural” coconut water that is the only ingredient on the label.

  • felicia February 5, 2012, 11:44 pm

    thanks jill! i’ll be using rapadura…can you describe what it should taste like?

  • felicia February 5, 2012, 11:46 pm

    oops…i just re-read your recipe. no sugar is needed??? just water kefir grains and coconut water? after fermenting should the grains double in size/quantity?

    • Jill February 6, 2012, 7:18 am

      Hi Felicia,
      No sugar needed in the coconut water. TASTE IT FIRST so you know how sweet it is and after a day taste again and you will learn how far you can go with it before it becomes like vinegar.

  • felicia February 8, 2012, 1:07 am

    hi again! your instructions says 1 heaping teaspoon but your response to someone above says 1 heaping TB. which is it and are you using the same spoon measurement as you would use for baking? thanks!

    • Jill February 8, 2012, 10:04 am

      One heaping tablespoon

  • jay February 14, 2012, 10:19 am

    i only recently started making kefir water (not using coconut water though) and i find that after 2-3 days it is still WAY too sweet for me. any advice? i had one person tell me to shorten the fermentation time – your thoughts? many thanks.

    • Jill February 14, 2012, 12:15 pm

      Hi Jay,
      I put my water kefir in my basement where it is warmer and ferment for 4 days. Sometimes that is too long and it is like vinegar — but usually that is OK. You can also try to use more grains in the ferment. Let me know how it goes!

  • Briana February 28, 2012, 11:41 pm

    Hi Jill,

    Thanks for the great post! I just made my first batch of coconut water kefir and really enjoy it. I am on the GAPS diet and have been looking for a non-dairy kefir. This is it! I do have a question though…how do you store the grains in between batches? I am single and cannot consume the kefir fast enough to keep making more. Right now the grains are sitting in a jar with coconut water. Should I be keeping them in sugared water instead? I don’t even have sugar in my house so that is why I used coconut water. Do you know how long they last between batches? Thanks again!

  • Jill February 29, 2012, 7:44 pm

    Hi Briana,
    Funny you should ask — I am having trouble keeping my water grains healthy. After they ferment the coconut water do take them out and put them in sugar water. They need to recuperate because the coconut water seems to deplete them. What you should do is make sure you have extra grains before you start using them in the coconut water and rotate them grains.

    I didn’t do that and now my grains are very depleted and I need to resuscitate them… or buy new ones. 🙁

  • Candice April 21, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Hi, great video.
    I have watched a few videos now on making water kefir and the same question keeps coming up for me at the end. Once you mix the water with the grains, do you put a lid on the jar while you ferment it on the counter? Or do you put a light cloth or a coffee filter? Your video is a bit confusing with this because you finish the instructions and there is no lid on the jar, then it cuts to when you have both jars – and they have lids on them. I’m just never sure when and if the lid goes on while fermenting. (Obviously you put one on when it’s in the fridge).
    Thank you!

    • Jill April 21, 2012, 2:45 pm

      I always put a lid on while fermenting. Others use cloth.

  • Aida August 29, 2012, 3:50 am

    Hi Jill.

    Great video – thanks!

    I made a batch of water kefir and it taste like beer (not very pleasant). I drank some of it for health benefits, but don’t know weather or not that was a good idea. Especially if it has a high alcohol content as well?

    Having raging candida I am scared of fermenting the water to short of a time period and then drinking pure sugar-water. How do I know, that all of the sugar has been fermented?

    Best Wishes,

  • Jill August 29, 2012, 6:30 am

    Hi Aida,
    Sounds like there may be yeast in the kefir — or you left it to brew too long. There is a fine line and it is different in every house due to temperature and other factors. How long did you leave it out?

    I would not drink it if I had candida problems.

  • Aida August 29, 2012, 11:33 am

    Hi Jill.

    Thank you for your great answer. I’ll toss the batch!

    I left it out for 2 days. How can I make sure, that it is done fermenting and I am not drinking pure sugar-water?

    The grains diffidently smelled as yeast! But what does that mean? Is that a problem – aren’t they suppose to smell like yeast? Should I rinse them thoroughly before dumping them in the sugar-water?

    I just got them and this was the first batch.

    Best Wishes,

    • Jill August 29, 2012, 12:18 pm

      Hi Aida,
      Just taste it before you ferment and taste it after a day. The coconut water does not have that much sugar.

  • Rachel B January 15, 2013, 8:43 pm

    I’m getting my first WKG this week. When you say to store the grains not used with some sugar, how much sugar to how many grains? Should it be refrigerated or can it be left on the counter and should it be dark or is sun okay for storing the leftover grains?

  • sara snedeker February 3, 2013, 7:29 pm

    Can you also use probiotic capsules? Is there a big difference between the kefir grains?

    • Jill February 3, 2013, 8:38 pm

      Kefir grains are very different than bacteria in a probiotic capsule. You cannot make kefir with probiotic powder.

  • Dona Morrison March 5, 2013, 3:32 pm


    After viewing your video a million times ok, 3 times, I’m convinced that I’m more than ready to make my own ‘unsweetened’ coconut water. I clicked on the link to purchase the kefir water culture and then read the ingredients…is it possible to make kefir water without sugar except what occurs naturally in the coconut water? Or is it science mumbo jumbo (for lack of a grown up word:) that you need the sugar to get the action going?? I’m trying to get away from adding additional sugars to my breakfast, (how I would be using the kefir).

    Thanks for your time in explaining & sharing, kefir 101~~Dona

    • Jill March 5, 2013, 4:36 pm

      The cultures need the sugar to survive — but most sugar is used up during the fermentation period. Taste the kefir and let it ferment until it is no longer sweet tasting. but beware — there is a fine line between no sugar and tasting like vinegar so taste it often until you get the feel for it.

  • Leif May 2, 2013, 10:38 pm

    The complete proteins included in kefir are digested better compared with yogurt and are used more easily in the
    body. Right after this process, you may now take pleasure in your milk kefir drink.

    How to Make Kefir – The production of kefir grains
    requires the addition of live kefir in milk.

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