Tibicos (or water kefir) is an all-natural probiotic drink that’s super easy to make at home. It’s a probiotic-rich beverage that’s delicious and beneficial for your gut health! It’s also easy to make, ferments quickly, and makes a great replacement for sugary carbonated drinks like sodas.
We’ll show you how to make tibicos, talk about some variations, and teach you how to activate the water kefir grains so you can use them over and over again!
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Tibicos Probiotic Drink Ingredients
Making tibicos is simple, and all you need is water, sugar, and kefir grains. We typically use white sugar; it’s readily available and makes for a great drink. However, different sweeteners will give you different results.
Refined white sugar will produce a sweet and simple tibicos drink that allows the other flavors to shine. It’s a great choice if you plan to flavor your tibicos with flower petals or fruit juice.
Raw sugar will produce a slightly less sweet tibicos with a more mild flavor.
Brown sugar makes for a more intense, sweet drink. It adds warm caramel notes and complements fruit flavors like apple very well.
You want to avoid using molasses, honey, coconut palm sugar, or maple sugar—they’re more difficult for the kefir grains to metabolize and can result in the tibicos getting “stuck” in the fermentation process. While they might work for a couple of batches, these sweeteners will weaken the culture.
And sugar substitutes like aspartame or stevia simply won’t work at all. The calorie-free sweeteners won’t feed the microbes, meaning that the cultures won’t metabolize.
Beyond the basic tibicos recipe below, you can add a variety of flavorings to make the drink uniquely yours. You can add berries, lemon juice, fruit juices, mint, or whatever sounds good!
Where to Get Water Kefir Grains
While you can buy water kefir grains on sites like Amazon, we recommend going through a supplier that specializes in selling live cultures, like Cultures for Health. There are two reasons why:
- If you order water kefir grains from a wholesale marketplace, you never know for sure what you’re going to get.
- If you buy quality water kefir grains, it’s a one-time purchase—healthy water kefir grains will last forever.
How to Make a Tibicos Beverage
First, once you activate your water kefir grains, you’ll want to keep them away from containers made of metal, ceramic, and plastic. Glass is the best option; it’s easy to clean and won’t interfere with the grains as they’re culturing.
We talked about the ingredients, now let’s talk about the equipment you’ll need (don’t worry; you don’t need anything crazy!):
- A quart-size glass jar
- A fine mesh strainer
- A rubber band
If this is your first time making tibicos, you’ll need to activate your water kefir grains. You’ll want to rehydrate them about four days before making your first batch.
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Here’s how to rehydrate your water kefir grains:
- Heat up four cups of water and dissolve ¼ cup of cane sugar into it.
- Pour the mixture into your glass jar and cool it to about room temperature.
- Add the dehydrated water kefir grains.
- Cover the jar with cheesecloth or another breathable fabric and secure it with a rubber band.
- Let it sit for four days until the grains are yellow and slightly translucent.
- Strain the now activated water kefir grains with a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, and they’re ready for you to use!
To make the tibicos drink, we’ll combine ½ cup of hot water with ¼ cup of sugar in a quart-size glass jar. Once you completely dissolve the sugar, you’ll add three cups of room temp water and a tablespoon of water kefir grains. However, if this is your first batch, you’ll want to add all of your newly activated kefir grains to the mixture.
Cover the jar with cheesecloth and seal it with a rubber band like you did when activating the grains. Keep it covered at room temperature for 12-48 hours. After two days, the kefir’s probiotic benefits begin to decline, so don’t let it sit too long. Then you’ll want to strain the water kefir grains, seal the glass jar, and store your tibicos in the fridge.
But don’t throw your grains away!
What to Do With Your Leftover Water Kefir Grains
You have two options:
- Use your water kefir grains again immediately to make another batch of tibicos.
- Rest them.
- If you don’t want to make another batch of tibicos, you’ll need to rest your grains until you want to make more.
To rest them for up to three weeks:
- Add your water kefir grains to a quart of sugar water.
- Seal it with a plastic lid.
- Store it in the fridge (up to three weeks).
- To use them again, all you need to do is strain the water, and you’re ready to go!
To rest them for up to six months:
- Rinse your grains using filtered water.
- Spread them on unbleached parchment paper.
- Let them dry for a few days at room temperature.
- Store the dried kefir grains in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge (up to six months).
- To use them again, follow the method you used to activate them the first time.
Homemade Tibicos Recipe
- ¼ cup of sugar
- ½ cup of hot water
- Three cups of room temperature water
- One tablespoon of rehydrated water kefir grains
- Add ¼ cup of sugar and ½ cup of hot water to a bowl or jar.
- Stir it until the sugar dissolves.
- Add three cups of room temperature water and the rehydrated water kefir grains.
- Cover the bowl or jar with a breathable fabric, like a cheesecloth or a cloth napkin.
- Leave the mixture in a warm area for 12-48 hours.
- Strain the kefir grains (don’t throw them away!) and bottle and store your tibicos drink in the fridge.
Optional Second Fermentation
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If you want to add an extra fizzy, fruity twist to your tibicos drink, you can add a ½ cup of fruit juice after the first fermentation and seal it in a swing-top bottle or mason jar. Let it sit out for another 12-24 hours (opening the lid to release pressure after the first 12 hours) before storing it in the fridge. Be careful opening it, though; it will be extra carbonated!
Don’t feel like brewing your own probiotic drinks? Get all of the benefits in a premade shot with our healthy (and delicious) probiotic shots!