Kefir can be made with grains or culture, but sometimes the difference between the two gets a tad confusing! They both produce delicious kefir but are two quite different things. Below we’ve given a brief overview of the two and some details to help you choose which method is right for you.

Kefir Culture

If you have a Mad Millie Kefir Kit, then you have used Kefir Culture. This is the small packet of culture that you sprinkle into your milk, juice or coconut water before giving it a good shake (with the lid on of course!). Inside this packet is a mixture of freeze-dried bacterial strains and yeast that are ready and waiting to be woken up. Once you’ve given the cultures the right conditions to grow, they will proliferate, change the composition of the liquid through fermentation and give you kefir.

Some positives and negatives of kefir culture, in no particular order:

- Used to make kefir whenever you want, just add the packet.

- Each sachet of microorganisms can be re-cultured twice from your original batch of kefir.

- Can only be re-cultured twice, then you need a fresh packet.

- Minimal maintenance required.

- Easy to use, it’s a fine powder that is just poured into your kefir base.

- Can be used with milk, coconut water, fruit juice, and coconut milk.

Kefir Grains

If you’re after more of an involved experience when making kefir, grains are the way to go. The bunches of bacteria and yeast look like little cauliflower florets and need to be kept alive and well. Like a kombucha scoby, kefir grains require maintenance and will become stronger the more often they are used.

A few different points on kefir grains:

- Grains are specific to the base product you use e.g. milk grains for milk kefir, water grains for water kefir.

- Grains have a huge range of bacteria and yeasts present which will change depending on where you source them.

- As they are living, your grains need to be fed/maintained regularly.

- Kefir grains can be used endlessly.

- It can be tricky to tell if grains are alive or dormant, to figure it out some trial and error with making kefir will be required. Watch out for rancid milk!

With positives and negatives for both culture and grains, the choice is up to you. If you have time and the inclination, then definitely give grains a go for a more traditional kefir ferment. If you prefer a more convenient method that can be used for all types of kefir, then culture is the best option. Either way, you’ll be enjoying your own homemade kefir in no time and all the good gut health that comes with fermented foods!