I found Kombucha in my kefir

Keeping cultures feels so old-school chic. It makes me feel like it would make my Gramma proud. I thought I would show off my good feelings about it and get over my fears about how it all works.

I was inspired by my visit to the NuMe S.A foods kefir factory and couldn’t wait to set my fermenting talents free back home. When I got back home to start my existing grains again, I found something peculiar. I had left a jar of leftover kefir on a shelf in my kitchen which my family didn’t think to drink or throw out and it had a kombucha scoby in it! I added it to my compost bed and forgot about it completely.

A SCOBY is a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. It’s the rubbery grains in kefir or disk in kombucha.

I cleared a corner of my outdoor kitchen, put my kombucha, my kefir and my sprouts all together on a naturally lit yet shaded shelf. I washed jars and kept them ready for the second ferment and posted a pic for my Instagram! By now you might be able to pick up that I am new to this by this misguided enthusiasm.

Naturally, those in the know let me know this was a cultural faux pas; that I should keep my kombucha and kefir in separate rooms altogether. My facepalm was like a new age reflex and I went to comment on my post that this was a mistake! It turned out that there was a reply soon after from a follower confirming that the same thing happened to them! Who knew?

These conversations about ferments are surprisingly exciting I’m finding out. Looking into how far I should keep what ferments apart from each other revealed some basic guiding principles, namely:

Keep your ferments about one and half meters apart minimum– keep your kombucha in the kitchen and your kefir in the living room is a good strategy.

You can keep like with like – different sour doughs can stay in the same space, kefir and kombucha as far apart as possible and cheeses can be together but nowhere near your dough. Pickles and vegetable ferments like sauerkraut or root veggies can stay together too.

This is because there is a gas cloud around each ferment that is the result of the magic of the bacteria doing their work and when these gases mix, they mix up their return-to vessels from where they originated. The other option might be miniscule ferments in tiny jars for smaller clouds and a proportionately smaller social distance?

Happy fermenting with some much needed social distancing between your lively little cultures!

Find more discussion on how probiotics help you to remedy the effects of digestion issues, fight depression and anxiety or prevent cho\ronic diseases at NUMEsa.co.za

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Written by Viv Brown

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