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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 07 2011

Homemade Coconut Milk Kefir

By Worker Bee
120 Comments

We love the tangy and fresh flavor of kefir, a fermented beverage often described as drinkable yogurt. However, those of you who aren’t as fond of kefir might say that describing it as “tangy” is a little too kind.  What, you wonder, is there possibly to like about what is essentially a glass of thick, sour milk?

Loads of healthy gut flora, for one. Probiotics have numerous health benefits and eating fermented foods like kefir is a great way to make sure you’re getting enough. But we’re not here to tell you that you should plug your nose and chug kefir just because it’s good for you. We’re here to tell you that after you try homemade coconut milk kefir, you’re going to chug it because it tastes really good. Unlike kefir made from cows’ milk, coconut milk kefir doesn’t have a strong fermented, sour flavor. It is pleasantly tangy, but the naturally sweet taste of coconut dominates. The texture is smooth and rich and slightly thinner than yogurt. Both the flavor and texture of homemade kefir is superior to any store-bought coconut milk kefir we’ve tried.

Making coconut milk kefir requires an initial investment in kefir grains, but you only have to buy them once. The “grains” are live active cultures consisting of yeast and bacteria and are called grains only because of their appearance (you can also buy powdered starter culture, but it contains fewer bacteria strains and over time is more costly). The kefir grains can be bought online, or you can get some from a friend who already has a batch going. The process of making kefir is detailed below, but it is essentially this: Re-hydrate kefir grains in cows’ milk for 5-7 days at room temperature, mix hydrated grains with a can of coconut milk and let sit at room temperature for 12-36 hours. That’s it! Your coconut milk is now a probiotic beverage. You can drink homemade coconut milk kefir straight, use it as a base for smoothies or ice cream, use it in place of buttermilk in recipes, pour it into your coffee or over berries for dessert.

And one last thing…the correct pronunciation is keh-FEAR, not KEY-fur. However you say, though, it’s a healthy addition to your Primal eating plan. Now, even those among you who are averse to dairy or to the strong flavor of traditional kefir don’t have an excuse – give coconut milk kefir a try!

Coconut Milk Kefir

Ingredients:


  • 1 tablespoon of kefir grains
  • 1 can of coconut milk (or 1-2 cups of refrigerated coconut milk)

Instructions:

If the kefir grains are dehydrated (as they are from most online sources) you must first re-hydrate them in cows’ milk. Combine the grains with 1 cup of cows’ milk and set out at room temperature in a loosely covered glass container. For 5-7 days, strain the grains out each day and then place them in a fresh cup of milk. When the batches of milk take on a slight fermented smell and thicken, your grains are ready.

Combine the grains with coconut milk in a glass container. Cover with a cloth secured with a rubber band and let sit in a warm place (68-85 degrees) for 12-24 hours. Once the coconut milk has thickened and has a slightly sour flavor, it has turned into kefir. Remove the grains, refrigerate and enjoy!

Place the grains in new milk at room temperature to start a new batch of kefir (made from either coconut milk, or cow or goat milk) or store the grains in a cup of cows’ milk in the refrigerator. The grains can be used indefinitely to make kefir, however, if you store the grains in the fridge instead of continuously making kefir, it may take a few batches to get them going again.

Helpful Tips

  • If your first batch of coconut milk kefir doesn’t get as thick or tangy as you’d like, don’t despair. It can sometimes take a few batches to acclimate the kefir grains to coconut milk.
  • Don’t store the grains in coconut milk between batches. Store them in cows’ milk.
  • Never use a metal container to make kefir or a metal spoon to stir it – this disrupts the process and the kefir won’t thicken. Use glass containers (canning jars work well) and wood or plastic spoons.
  • If your kefir doesn’t thicken with 24 hours, it might be that the temperature in your house isn’t warm enough.
  • If your kefir hasn’t thickened at all within 48 hours, throw out the milk and start again by putting the grains in a fresh batch of milk.
  • Kefir should have a fermented aroma and can sometimes have a slight effervescence, but it shouldn’t smell foul or unpleasant.

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120 thoughts on “Homemade Coconut Milk Kefir”

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  1. Mmm I love sour things!

    I guess this would be off limits for people super sensitive to dairy, since the grains are stored in cows milk?

    Could you use another variety of culture that is dairy free like a kombucha mushroom or something?

    1. I am wondering this same exact thing. I am lactose intolerant as I found out with certainty recently. I can do butter and whey and a little raw cheese but thats about it.

      I don’t buy milk and never will. So, if there is an alternative I would love to know. I don’t think I will be buying cows milk just to make coconut milk kefir. I will just have to find someone who already has some grains going!

      Nonetheless, this is a great guide and I am sure hundreds of people will take advantage of it. Thanks Mark!

      1. You don’t have to store the grains in cow’s milk between batches. Once in a while you might want to put them in cow’s milk just to reinvigorate the grains but that is only once in a while. They do quite well in coconut milk, most especially the canned variety because the grains like the fat content of the canned milk. The refrigerated coconut milk is not quite as good but it will work. Good luck. I have read that many people with lactose intolerance can drink regular kefir with no problems. You might want to try it since you can do butter and whey and raw cheese.Good luck.

        1. I’ve been making kefir for years (raw milk) and just recently decided to make my own coconut milk (using finely shredded coconut) and try the coconut kefir as well (not as a replacement, but as a backup). From what I’ve read, it’s important not to ferment in coconut milk for more than a week, possibly two without returning them “home” to raw milk. They need the lactose to survive (any mammalian milk). After they “recharge,” they may then again be used with coconut milk. Kefir grains are hardy and prolific, but they can also be quite sensitive.

          To your health…

      2. The kefir eats the lactose in the milk so you can feel free to make dairy kefir.
        Cheers
        Mark O’C

      3. I am a holistic health practitioner and also dairy intolerant (beyond lactose). Cow kefir is not an option for me or most of my clients. But have no problem with even the first batch of coconut milk kefir made from grains rehydrated in cow milk. I have them store grains in cow milk when need a break from kefir (travelling) and then return them right to coconut milk on return and drink that first batch. It just never has been a problem for me or the many clients with whom I’ve used kefir to restore digestive balance and health. Hope this helps, Marie

        1. Hi Marie, I have an allergy to all dairy. I get a severe burning from my throat down to my bowels and sinusitis. So no cow milk. Do you rinse the kefir after it has been in cow milk? Thank you, Kathy

    2. I’ve been making coconut kefir (from canned Thai Kitchen coconut milk) for a couple months now, and I actually just put my grains in a jar (without rinsing them off) and pop them in the fridge like that. No moo (or baa) milk added.

      Other family members have been making kefir with our raw goat’s milk for a few years now and do think the grains stay more ‘active’ if you store them in milk.

      I’ve also read kefir grains cannot be sustained on coconut milk, however I’ve had no problems with it. In fact it just seems like they’ve been working better and better as time has gone on.

      I think it would certainly be worth experimenting with it!

      1. Thanks for your response Kalee! I will have to try this right away. I just now need to find me a source of kefir grains!

        1. I have some kefir “grains” but they arent grains, they are rehydrated. Not sure how I could get them to you……I am in Virginia

        2. If you are looking for really healthy live Kefir grains, I have purchased the Kefir grains, the water grains and Kombucha from the Kefir Lady in Ohio. You can Google her. I have had my Kefir Milk grains for almost three years. They started making Kefir right away. She sends them and then lets you know when they are on their way and then you send cash. She makes them in goat milk but I use regular store bought milk. I am going to try the coconut milk now.

    3. Hey Peggy,

      Check out water kefir grains! They’re made with water and sugar instead of milk. It’s cheaper too. 🙂

      Hope that helps!

    4. You can also purchase water kefir grains. They are different than the milk kefir grains. But water kefir can be made with several different recipes giving it many different flavors. You just have to make sure you use distilled water. It almost reminds me of ginger ale. My only problem was when I tired of making water kefir I managed to let my grains die. I actually felt guilty for their demise.

    5. You can get water kefir. But i heard that the lactos is changed through this process. my friends little girl reacts terribly to milk but is fine with Kefir and her other daughter had fantastic candida healing results from drinking it with her smoothies.

    6. Hi, you might want to research this but from what I have read the process of fermenting the grains helps the kefir become tolerable to people with lactose intolerance. Also, you can make many batches of coconut kefir from the grains so it is possible that little to no milk will be in the kefir you make from the coconut milk. You actually put the grains in the cows milk every once in a while to reinvigorate them. You don’t have to do this between every batch.

    7. The ‘other type’ of kefir grains is ‘Water Kefir’, for those who do not do dairy, like myself. Water Kefir is just as good ‘to me better’ then the blend of Milk Kefire and they make a WONDERFUL COCONUT MILK KEFIR!! 🙂

    8. There are a couple of ways to make kefir dairy free for people who are allergic.

      One is to take the milk kefir grains, rinse them and then never use them in any dairy. This works for only a couple of months because the grains eventually die not having access to their food source.

      Another way is to use water kefir grains. You can keep them viable by switching them out to sugar/water every couple of batches.

      A third way is to use already fermented water kefir. Add some water kefir to your coconut milk and let it sit until it is fermented.

    1. I get mine here: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/?a_aid=4d7680a3e7bfd
      They also carry water kefir grains and kombucha starters, among other things.
      One thing I’ve actually been meaning to try is making this with homemade coconut milk. Anyone have any experience with that?
      @ Peggy- from what I understand, the cultures are specific to their type of fermentation. I know that it is possible to switch milk kefir grains over for water kefir, but I’ve never heard of anyone having luck doing the opposite. I have some extra of both on hand right now though, so I might try it and let you know…

    2. If you do not have a friend that can give you some, I got my original
      Organic Water Kefir grains from Amazon, and it was a descent price around $10 for 1/4-1/2 cup. Within a week I had 4 cups of grains, they were VERY prolific!!

    1. I’d say yoou could.. It’s not gonna be kefir obiously, but a yogurt, which you is also great stuff. The only difference really is that kefir is drinkable and also conttains some alcohol in it (and that’s where the sharpness of taste coming from!!)

    2. Yogurt has about 2 types of half dead culture (otherwise the top would explode off), while Water Kefir has around 60 types of bacteria and yeast, also they are about 100 billion probiotics per tablespoon, can you imagine how much probiotics you get if you drink a glass? This is amazing stuff!

  2. Would this be a good non-dairy replacement for greek yoghurt or buttermilk when it comes to marinades?

    1. I’ve used coconut milk kefir in place of buttermilk before with ok results. I think to up the “tang”, simply add a small amount of vinegar to the coconut milk if you’d like.

    2. Only if you use the Water Kefir grains, the Milk Kefir grains have milk in them

  3. We love milk kefir- but I thought you were supposed to use ‘water kefir’ grains in coconut milk, rather than the dairy kefir grains? Also, I had previously always added honey to feed the grains since coconut milk is low carb, but I’m going to have to try without that addition.

    1. Did you have to convert your water kefir grains for coconut milk? If so, how did you do it, and can you use them continually or do you rest them in between? Also, did you have any problem with the honey? I’ve heard that it can kill the active bacteria because it is naturally antibacterial.

      1. I’m pretty sure honey is only antibacterial when it is undiluted–as far as I’m aware the antimicrobial action is from the extremely high concentration of sugars with very low water content, which upsets the osmotic balance of the microbial cells. So once it’s diluted into water or other liquids it becomes a sugary bacterial fuel source like any other.

        Otherwise it would be difficult to brew mead!

      2. Water kefir grains and milk kefir grains are two different types of grains. Milk kefir grains do work in coconut milk, they like a high fat medium, so whole milk or coconut milk works well.

        Water kefir grains work in water, juices, or in coconut water. They do require the addition of a either sugar or honey. Honey does work… I use it all the time and actually prefer it to cane sugar.

        Milk kefir sours and is great to use in baking, as it helps nut flour products to rise and get fluffy.

        Water kefir is a favorite of my kids. It is bubbly like soda. I usually remove the grains and do a second ferment with a little apple or grape juice.

        HTH,
        Melissa

        1. Perfect, I didn’t know you could use both in coconut milk~ I’m going to try putting half my milk kefir grains in coconut milk and see how it goes. My kids are currently off dairy, and I’d like to add this to their smoothie.

      3. I was just using them once a week or so (we don’t use a ton of kefir- only in smoothies usually) and always adding honey. It wasn’t a real scientific process. I know my milk kefir grains didn’t really start multiplying until I put them in new milk every 24 hours, I did this last summer when we were doing dairy. I haven’t done much with the water kefir/coconut milk yet.

    2. My understanding was milk kefir grains for coconut milk and water kefir grains for coconut water/young coconut juice. That said, I just stick with plain water kefir anyhow for the sake of simplicity. 🙂

    3. I’ve never heard of using milk kefir in coconut milk either, I personally use Water Kefir grains in coconut milk.

      1. I would love to hear more about water kefir in coconut milk please. I have water kefir grains and coconut milk and am ready to go …. just need exact instructions – I keep hearing different versions. Urgent please.

  4. Keh-FEAR keh-FEAR keh-FEAR…..Now THAT is gonna take some getting used to!

  5. Any idea of how many grams carbs in a cup of this stuff? I love kefir but I’m going super low-carb right now to try and lose my last 10 pounds of torso fat, so if coconut kefir is a lower-carb alternative I’d love to make or buy some.

    1. Certainly less than a glass of milk because the grains feed off the lactose in the milk.

      Also, after fermenting the kefir you can ripen it (at room temp) to further decrease the lactose (and increase the vitamins – particularly folic acid) 🙂

  6. I’ve been keeping kefir for years – love it in milk and grape juice. The “sour milk” tastes great to me – I even use it to make a psuedo-cheese dip. Currently my wife and I make our kefir with fresh goat’s milk, right from the backyard. Mmm! I probably have enough grains to share/sell/trade a few – there’s an e-mail link on my website if anyone wants to send me a note.

    I haven’t tried coconut milk but I’d love to. Not in the warm sub-tropics anymore… used to be coconuts were plentiful and free. I’ll have to grab some next visit and Keh-FEAR-ize them. Can’t believe I’ve been saying it wrong!!!

    1. Vidad,

      I am interested in buying some kefir grains. Please let me know what the price is and how much I would get.

      Thanks,
      Olga

    2. Hi, I am interested in some of your kefir grains. Do you still have them?

      Thank you very much.

  7. I put some white sugar in it. It helps the kefir grain and i don’t need to buy regular milk.

  8. YES! i knew i pronounced it properly..Key-fer just sounds weird 😛

  9. I’m not lactose intolerant, but my recent two month experiment with kefir didn’t go well. I made it with organic 2% milk, drank 2-3 cups per day, and it gave me indigestion for the whole two months. I know it was the kefir, because it was the only change made to my diet in that time. 24 hours after going off it, my indigestion resolved and hasn’t returned. I’ve always heard that kefir is easier to digest than milk, so the fact that I have an issue with kefir, but not milk, is odd. Maybe I’ll be able to get away with coconut milk kefir. Or maybe I’ll just have to keep to fermented veggies. Anybody else have trouble with kefir but not dairy?

    1. Well after you’ve strained the kefir and it’s fresh and ready to drink, there will still be lactose in there.

      If you then put it back in the jar (sealed lid) and leave it for another day, at room temperature, the bacteria continue to feed off of the remaining lactose. The result – a fizzy ripened sour stronger kefir with less lactose and MORE nutrients.

      1. Reduced fat or skim milk has nonfat milk powder added back in. This means that lactose is even more concentrated. Better switch to whole milk–for all kinds of reasons.

  10. We eat dairy-free, two members of our family don’t tolerate casein, the protein in milk.

    Would love to hear about dairy-free methods to consume more probiotics (other than saurkraut/other veggies).

    1. Many people with problems with milk can tolerate raw milk. It is the pasturization and homoganization that destroys the enzymes that make it hard to digest

    2. I too am allergic to the milk protein. Unfortunately it is present even in raw milk. So I too would like to know if there is a dairy free version of this kefir recipe.

    3. There are tons of ways to get probiotics from foods that are dairy free. Besides making kraut and veggies – you can make Beet Kvass, Kombucha, Water Kefir Drinks like fermented lemonade, mayo and ketchup – I teach folks how to make all of these things and more –
      also Kefir (both dairy and water) are lactofermented which means they should be made in an anaerobic environent – I use the Pickl-it Jars and resell them as well – this is the only safe way to ferment – no mold and no undesirable yeast – lactofermentation by definition means “NO AIR” not a little but NONE – and this difference is important for the Lactic Acid bacteria to thrive and to keep the bad bacteria (that makes you sick) out.

      1. I’m confused. Every recipe I saw says to use a cloth, coffee filter, or paper towel to cover the jar, not a solid lid

  11. Er…the dreaded metal spoon.

    I’ve been making kefir for over a year now using a metal spoon to fish the grains out without any loss of ‘thickening.’ I even went so far as to leave the metal spoon in the kefir soup overnight just to see if this fabled ‘rule’ was true or not. Alas, it’s not.

    IMHO, if you want a really thick batch, and all things being equal, keep the thing warm. Don’t ‘cook’ it like you would yoghurt, but don’t sit it next to the a/c either.

    1. Well, I’m glad about the metal spoon! I was planning to use a stainless steel sieve to filter put the grains. Now I will.

  12. I have three cans of coconut milk in my cupboard and have been wondering what to do with them for the last two weeks. This is perfect timing.

    As regards bacterial flora, is anyone experienced with making sauerkraut? I have heard mixed reviews and I don’t want to invest my time only to turn out disappointed in the result.

    1. Sauerkraut is really easy, and practically foolproof. Just shred the cabbage, salt it, and pack it down. If the juices don’t completely cover the cabbage after a couple of days, add some water. Make sure the cabbage stays submerged, and eat it when you think it tastes good. I store gallons of the stuff in a huge crock every winter. It lasts for months. It isn’t really a big investment in time either. The only think that takes any time really is shredding the cabbage.

    2. I enjoy making sauerkraut and kimchee with a Harsch fermenting crock. I tried fermenting vegetables after reading Nourishing Traditions, but I found the jar method inefficient and error prone. I tried it the old-fashioned way, but really didn’t like skimming mold and shooing vinegar flies. The Harsch crocks are great. The lids are ingenious water locks, so there’s no fear of overpressure incidents, leaking, contamination, etc. They’re a bit pricey because they’re imported from Germany, but they make fermenting veggies really easy and quick. I got mine from Germany 15 years ago, but you can find them all over the Web–Amazon, etc. Best advice I can give regarding sauerkraut–which is awesome when you make it yourself–is to mind time and temperature. Good ‘kraut takes about 2 months, and it gets better with time. Consistent temps are vital. I used to make kraut in the kitchen, but there’s too much temperature variability there–especially if you like to open the windows on cool days. If your kitchen is warm when you set it up, and then suddenly cools, it can create a negative pressure in the crock which might suck in some of the lid water and break the water lock, as well as contaminate your veggies with lid water. Kimchee is OK in a warm kitchen, but kraut like cooler temps found in basements or back rooms–about 70F or a bit lower. If you get a Harsch fermenting crock, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Good luck.

  13. So, my main problem with this is sourcing the coconut milk. I don’t think the cooking from the canning process is that big a deal in this case, even if it might not be ideal, but the bpa that lines the cans certainly is. Were I making kefir, I would be drinking it virtually every day. While a little bpa every now and again is not cause for concern, daily exposure certainly is. Since I don’t live in the tropics, I can’t get coconut cheap/free enough to be able to drain it fresh. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi! I just bought 12 cans of coconut milk on line certified organic, brand name Native Forest NO BPA here. $1.98 a can and free shipping great deal! I do most my shopping for certains things on line much cheaper. Good Luck

  14. Buy fresh coconut’s and make your own 🙂 Then you don’t have to worry about BPA. Check out Azurestandard.com and see if they deliver in your area, they have wonderful fresh coconuts for only 1.55

  15. Excellent article, as usual. I’m curious as to what a recommended serving size would be, especially for someone who’s in dire need of supplementation like this, and more importantly – can you ‘overdo’ it by drinking too much, too often?

    Thanks!

  16. “For 5-7 days, strain the grains out each day and then place them in a fresh cup of milk.”

    Wow, that’s nearly a half gallon of cow’s milk. What do/can you do with it after it has soaked the grains for 1 day? With raw milk at $8/gallon, this 1-2 cups of coconut kefir can get very expensive!

  17. does anyone know if you can make coconut milk kefir with donna gates kefir starter packets? i just bought a box and would rather use them up before purchasing the kefir grains. thanks for any advice and tips!

  18. I’ve been using Kefir for 6 months now, makes great banana/strawberry smoothees. This is our breakfast every morning. It has been helping my husband’s acid reflux problem; not to say that it will help everyone’s, but it has helped him.

    But I was wondering if Kefir would grow in the coconut milk drink that you find in your grocer store next to the milk. Won’t name any brands, but there is the soy, almond and coconut milk found there.

    Also, how would you preserve the grains if you are not going to use them for a few weeks. I believe one comment said to put them in the fridge in cow’s milk; will keep up to a couple weeks. Is there anyway to dry the grains?

    Thanks for anyone’s experience in this area.

  19. Just enjoyed my first batch of coconut kefir this morning. Delish!

    I ordered my from Cultures For Health. It only took about 4 days to rehydrate them to the point of readiness.

    The only problem was straining it out. The strainer I bout from CFH has really fine holes, and the coconut milk kefir is pretty thick. Can’t wait until tomorrow’s batch is ready…

  20. Just bought some grains from CFH… first time for me as I’ve just started going Primal. Super nervous-excited to try something new!

  21. Paleo Josh, Kefir is not dangerous at all. It is the same process that farms and food manufacturers use to culture store bought yogurt and kefir, just in smaller batches. And in fact, most manufacturers only use a starter packet, which does not contain the same number of live bacteria you get from the kefir grains themselves. Once you make it, you will see how good it is! I add a little bit of strawberries or mango to mine in a blender and get it nice and cold in the freezer for a few minutes. Really god stuff. And I can say it has really helped my gut heal and keeps me balanced.

  22. Haggus – My apt has been between 70-75 degrees, which seems to be a bit too cool to fully culture kefir in 24 hours. It takes mine about 48 hours to get that thick tangy result. I agree with finding a warmer spot – I’ve found I can speed it up by putting my kefir in the cabinet above my stove. It’s a bit warmer, especially when I use my oven or range, and it doesn’t cook it. It just ups the temperature in there a few more degrees. I find it’s the perfect spot. The last batch I made came out great and I wish I would have made more of it!! I found myself scooping the remnants off the side of glass with my fingers! LOL

  23. I’ve got fresh live Milk & Water Kefir grains for anyone in -Australia-
    Please email me gamgo (AT) optusnet (DOT)com

  24. I have been wondering what is the difference between canned coconut milk (which I try to avoid all cans) and the boxed coconut milk? Will my kefir grains only work in the canned stuff and not the boxed stuff? Thanks.

    1. I buy the boxed coconut milk, i.e., the kind that comes in 1/2 gallon cartons from the refrigerated section of the store, just like cow’s milk. I think that it is the same as the coconut milk that comes in the quart-sized aseptic boxes, at least for the same brand.

      A friend gave me some kefir “grains” (“brains” would be a better description) that he had been using in raw milk a couple of weeks ago. I have been using them in the boxed coconut milk since then. They are definitely doing *something*.

      After 24 hours … well … “tangy” is indeed being too kind. To me it DOES have a strong fermented, sour flavor — certainly the sour part. The cartoned coconut milk, which starts at only 1 gram of sugar per cup of liquid, does not have any cushion of “natural sweetness” to counteract the sourness.

      Rather than just choke it down I tried adding a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses, which means adding 4 grams of sugar back to an essentially no-sugars drink. It made the drink a lot more palatable. I also have some pomegranate molasses I intend to try out.

      1. I have now been experimenting with coconut milk kefir for a couple of months. Using unsweetened SO Delicious brand coconut milk was not doing it for me. The taste was too rank for me to envision a lifetime of consumption, and given the very low carbs – at 1 gram of sugar per cup of liquid – I was not sure how much good bacteria was actually in the resulting liquid.

        So I tried the sweetened version of SO Delicious, which is the unsweetened plus added organic cane syrup, i.e., sugar. That has worked out fine. The mix starts fermenting nicely in a day or two at my household’s winter temperature. The grains are gradually growing in size. And the unpalatability of the unsweetened version is thankfully gone. I have been adding black currant cordial to mine, but any flavoring agent would be good, sweetened or not.

        What is the carb penalty for doing this? The sweetened coconut milk starts at 7 grams of carbohydrates per cup of liquid, none of it fiber. Taking a wild guess, maybe half of the sugar converts over a couple of days. So you end up with 3-4 grams of carbs per cup of kefir. I can live with that.

        Incidentally, my understanding is that dairy kefir grains can convert into sugar processors, but that the reverse cannot happen. I got my grains from a friend who used them to make raw milk kefir. I am assuming my grains have become sugar processors since then, with their nonstop diet of coconut milk, sweetened and unsweetened.

  25. anyone know how much of the sugar is digested during kefir making. I would assume there is less sugar content after 48 vs 24 hour fermentation. also when does it level off? Obviously it is grain size/ amount of milk dependent. so say for a Tbs of grains and 1 can milk?????

    1. The longer you let it go the more sugar gets digested and the thicker it gets. With milk you eventually get a separation of the thin whey liquid from the rest.

      I notice with the coconut milk (the kind that comes in 1/2 gallon cartons) you just start getting more lumps, and then it stabilizes. There is only 1 gram of carbs per cup of liquid with the coconut milk I buy, so I am not sure what the bacteria are digesting, but man does the result taste sour!

      I plan to try making kefir with reconstituted creamed coconut, which has a lot more carbs than the milk, but most of it is fiber.

  26. Hello, I have been making kefir for some time now and I have some questions.
    FIrst, I have about a half a cup of kefir grains and my milk kefirs quickly so I have the problem of needing to store the grains until the next batch is done so I am buying milk (that I don’t drink) to keep the grains. How can I slow the process down? How can I keep the grains active and not use so much milk?
    Also, I did leave the grains in milk for over a month in the fridge and I have been using them again and they seem to be fine. How do you know if a grain is contaminated or dead? Can kefir grains create contaminated beverages or does the kefir kill the bad bacteria? I worry about inadvertently contaminating the grains.

  27. LOL Jojo, if your grains are healthily growing/exploding to the point of oversupply, slow the process down by simply removing some grains! Give them away (convert your family and friends) or eat the extras (they’re chewy good) or feed them to your dog — they’re good for animals. I mailed grains in a well-taped double baggie to a friend and they were just fine when they arrived. Good luck!

  28. I want to make this for both my dairy intolerant boys but have to make sure there is no Streptococus Thermophilus (strep strain) in it. They both have an autoimmune disease associated with strep, and eating fermented foods with strep in it can cause their condition to flare up.

  29. I have used kefir for years and add it to all sorts of drinks and dishes. Just a couple of things though. The first is about using metal spoon/sieves etc, unless you can guarantee the food quality of the metal i.e. fine grade stainless steel you may find that being lulled into a false sense of security about metals you may use cheap or plated implements. these will definitely send your kefire out of kilter. The other thing I do is have 2 kefir cultures on the go and ferment them so that one is always 2 days old when I use it – this way you get a good strong culture going (always use unpasturised goats milk too. the subject of lactose intolerance came up too and I have several lactose intolerant friends who don’t suffer from adverse effects with kefir as a 2day old culture has virtually used up all the lactose in the culture and turned them into rich probiotics, vitamins etc etc. Good luck all of you with this.

  30. an excellent article however i would suggest you advocat fresh coconut milk whenever possible, canned goods are known for having bpa residue among other problems.

  31. THANK YOU for making the distinction in pronunciation. I actually had kefir for the first time in Ukraine in 1999. I was there with Peace Corps and it was easy to find an delicious. I actually can’t say it any other way — keh-FEAR — it comes out with a slight Russian pronunciation as well. I just can’t help it! And, the crazy thing is — I’m saying it properly and sometimes folks don’t understand me back in the US! Oh well…

    I just made my first batch of coconut kefir b/c I suggested a client do it. I have my own grains and normally whip up a batch with my neighbor’s goat milk…. However, I thought that I needed to try the coconut version — especially if I’m suggesting others try it!

    IT IS DELICIOUS! I just made black bean brownies and I’m enjoying those together 😉

    Finally, do you notice any different in the longevity of the grains with coconut (rather than milk)? I would imagine there is no difference b/c the bacteria and yeast simply like sugars… Just wondering if you store or handle your grains any differently while using coconut milk.

  32. Hi, i’ve been following Atkins diet and I wanted to make my own coconut milk kefir, I have no problems with dairy, but i’m sensitive for carbs and I was wondering maybe you happen to know how much carbs does coconut milk kefir have? is it like regular kefir/buttermilk?

  33. Thank you for this! I know this is an old topic, but hopefully someone will be nice enough to answer a question! As a point of reference, I plan on making coconut kefir by adding the grains to the blended water and meat of fresh coconuts.

    1. It is said to store the grains in cows milk between batches. Do I need to give the grains time to rest/rejuvenate in cows milk before making a new batch or can I take them out and immediately start on a new batch?

  34. This is NOT a pleasant taste. I don’t care how nicely you sugar coat your descriptions, this stuff tastes like rancid buttermilk. I can see using it yo cook with, but NEVER to just drink. *gag*

  35. I’ve tried making coconut milk kefir with no success. I live in Bali so I have a fresh supply of coconuts to make fresh milk. I’ve found that the kefir grains get stuck in the the fat and congeals so I can’t strain the grains out without removing the coconut fat and get left with a very thin, sour liquid. The grains are good,as I make raw goats milk kefir on an ongoing basis a get good results. Any suggestions?

  36. In your instructions you say to drain the grains and put into a fresh cup of milk every day for seven days.

    For each batch of coconut milk kefir does that mean you toss 5-7 cups of cow’s milk?

    1. If you are not planning on using the milk kefir than yes you would toss it but if you can use it then please do!

      Cultured milk kefir can be used as a replacement for sour milk products (buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt, etc). If you really don’t want to use it you can usually feed it to pets if you have any (I have both cats and dogs that enjoy kefir).

      Happy kefiring!

  37. Should I rinse the grains when I make the transition from cow’s milk to coconut milk?Thanks

  38. I have the powdered kefir starter which is referenced in the blog as not having as many bacteria strains as the grains but it was all I could source. It also mentions it can be more costly in the end. I am wondering why it would be more costly. Am I suppose to treat it differently to the recipe in the blog?
    I have just put the contents of one sachet into a cup I cows milk to start the process (re-hydrate them) but I’m not sure I need to do this. Does anyone know?
    Thanks

    1. It is more costly because powdered kefir starter cannot be reused over and over like kefir grains.

      Milk kefir grains are a living colony of yeast and bacteria. They continue reproducing, growing and living indefinitely if properly cared for. So it is a one time purchase as long as you don’t kill them. The packets you will need to purchase more every time you run out.

      For the packaged kefir starter, you just follow the directions that came with them (usually put the contents into milk and let sit 24 hours till cultured then consume).

  39. Were do Kefir grains come from?

    My mom has something that looks like them so am wondering if it’s the samething, but she call them something else in Spanish she uses them to make cheese. She just has them refrigerated she does not store them in milk.

  40. I recently found this website with people all over the world willing to share their milk kefir grains, water kefir grains and kombucha scobys. It should help those of you looking for a local supplier. http://www.torontoadvisors.com/suppliers.

    Kathryn, powdered starter is more expensive because it can’t be re-used. You have to use a new packet for every new batch of kefir. Live grains, as long as they remain healthy, could possibly outlive us all. 🙂 I have no experience with dairy kefir grains but spent about $11 for US shipping of 2T of water kefir grains almost 2 years ago and will never have to buy them again. They’ve gone through slow growth phases at times but usually nearly double at every batch, so I’ve dried some in case of emergency, eaten lots of the excess and have plenty left to experiment with in coconut milk, now that I see it could work.

  41. I have both Water Kefir Grains and Dairy Kefir Grains. Question re Dairy Grains and Coconut Milk: Using Coconut Milk is what I want to ideally use. Does it work using homemade coconut milk, which is basically unsweetened shredded coconut and water cooked together for a period of time then strained through a nut bag, or is bought cans of coconut milk the only one that works? Thanks 🙂

  42. Has anyone used homemade coconut milk (made from hot water and shredded coconut that has been blended and strained) to make coconut kefir?

    1. Yes, homemade coconut milk works great!

      The thickness of your coconut milk kefir will depend on how much fat you have in your coconut milk. So, if your coconut milk is thin, your finished kefir will also be thin. To get thick kefir you need lots of coconut fat.

  43. If I make kefir with coconut milk constantly, do I need to put the kefir grains in cow´s milk at some time ?

  44. I bought my kefir grains off amazon.com. Question, do you need to sweeten kefir? Can you pour it over fruit like plain yogurt?

  45. Hi,
    I am wanting to make coconut kefir. I was having goats milk kefir but not getting on with it. My friends are now using the grains. the lady I bought them off said you can only use goats or cows milk with those grains. Do you think I can do as you described with the goats milk kefir grains?
    Would the only dairy be what was left on the grains when you put them in coconut? Could you rinse the grains after having them in the goats/ cows milk?
    Many thanks.
    Becky

  46. What is a serving size for coconut kefir? I am trying to heal my belly for an autoimmune disease. Thanks

  47. Hi, does anyone know how much coconut MILK (not water) kefir you need per day to reap the health benefits? I am wary of drinking too much because of its high fat content.

  48. Hi! I’m just starting out with kefir. I purchased some very healthy fresh kefir grains and gave them a couple of rounds with cows milk before transferring to coconut milk. I let them go about 14 hours in the coconut milk and I definitely over fermented it. The main question I have is about these orange spots that have showed up on some of the grains. This happened only after I switched to coconut milk. Have you heard of this? Are the grains okay to use or should I start over?

    Thanks!

  49. Thank you. I love your take on Coconut kefir and prepping the grains in milk. So helpful and so do-able too.

  50. Hi. Just got my first water kefir grains. I want to try 3 different batches: with coconut milk (is canned OK?), with coconut water (where from) and with plain water.
    I have read and watched so many different articles and videos, I could really use some advice and direction from someone experienced with these combinations. Recipes welcome.