To try to increase the probiotics in our family diet we are trying to make water kefir. We also do homemade sauerkraut and we also just tried kimchi. I had heard of milk kefir before but not water kefir. We have done kombucha tea before which seems very similar. The water kefir ferments much faster than kombucha. I found many helpful youtube videos and decided to make a ginger /lemon /lime kefir for the summertime.
There is a photo of the water kefir "grains" which are a mixture of beneficial yeast and bacteria. If anyone has had any experience let us know in the comments. Depending on how long the kefir ferments which I have found to be less than 24 hours at room temperature, it is sweeter or less sweet. You can also add some fruit juice and add it to a "grolsh" type bottle for a secondary fermentation so it has some "fizz" or carbonation. When you do this it has a healthy soda type feel to it. We prefer it this way versus the flat version. Again, almost identical to kombucha.
I also did a batch with coconut water which is supposed to be even healthier due to the mineral content and makeup of the coconut water. It has a different taste than the plain water kefir. A bit thicker mouthfeel overall I would say. I will try to continually update as we go.
Here is a picture of the second fermentation (add another teaspoon of sugar into a "grolsh" style bottle and let it sit for another day) to add a little carbonation and fizz (I like to call it healthy soda)- then put it into the fridge to get it cold and refreshing.
8/19/15 UPDATE: After doing a couple of test runs the best so far has been (according to my wife)- 1/2 cup organic cane sugar in 1 qt (large Mason Jar) water, add juice of 1 lime, juice of 1/2 lemon, 3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger, and obviously water kefir grains.
Let it sit for 24 hours in the mason jar with the lid on and then strain into "grolsh" style bottles (you will get approximately 2 and 1/2 bottles) with about 1/2 inch of pomegranate juice in the bottom. Save the Kefir grains for your next batch (put them in the fridge cover with some sugar water). You do not need to add anymore sugar, the pomegranate juice take the place of the sugar in the second fermentation.
Let it sit overnight and then put it in the fridge. Very carbonated and good flavor when opened and cold.
TIP: put a towel over the top and open over your sink just in case the fermentation went a little "too well". You don't want to paint your ceiling pink. Seen it happen many times and it makes a mess. Good luck.
6/15/16 Update - if you visit the bennerchiropractic2015 instagram page you will see a video of an over-fermented water kefir. I forgot about it in the back of the refrigerator and lets just say after I opened the bottle the carbonation was a bit "vigorous." If you suspect you may have gotten a bit too much fermentation go outside to open your bottle so you don't make too much of a mess in your house.