Japanese water kefir
After reading about kombucha, some coworkers got a wild hair and made Japanese water kefir, which is supposed to be another one of those slightly-fermented-wonder-beverages.
Is anybody here familiar with this phenomenon? Made your own? Feel healthier? Gotten ill from it?
Are there any kefir-making experts here?
I don't know the answer to your questin, but I have recently joined several of the Yahoo groups dedicated to Kefir. There are a number of them, some in languages other than English but those that are in English contain a wealth of information about the subject from experienced (and new) users. Some are more oriented to milk kefir grains and others have more water kefir-makers. Here's a link that will show you the list of groups and you can pick from there. Some require that you join the group in order to read the posts, others allow you to read but require that you join in order to post.
Have fun with your water kefir!
I was making it for a while but the crystals stopped growing so I gave it up. I tried every tried-and-true trick in the book to get them to grow/multiply but they gave up the ghost. My situation is far from unique but on the other hand, there are many who've been keeping their crystals going non-stop for a long time.
Since then, I've had a lot more luck brewing my own kombucha--much easier and more of the sugar gets consumed by the yeast in the fermenting process than was the case with the crystals. I don't know if I'm any healthier but I like it and it certainly hasn't made me ill. :)