What is a kefir grain?
A kefir grain is a unique living constellation of beneficial yeasts and bacteria, which grows and reproduces over time. Kefir grains cannot be manufactured - they only come from other kefir grains.
How is kefir different than yogurt?
Kefir is a live culture product similar to drinking yogurt, but a lot more powerful. Whereas yogurt has transient bacteria that are all killed off by the digestive process, kefir contains non-transient bacteria that survive the digestive process to have long-lasting effect inside your gut. Head over to the what is kefir page for a more detailed explanation
How is kefir different to a probiotic pill?
The probiotics contained in pills are dehydrated and dormant, decreasing in efficacy over time as the bacterial strains die off. Pills also generally only contain one or two strains of beneficial bacteria. By contrast, kefir contains multiple strains of beneficial yeasts and bacteria, that are living and thriving in their own environment, and increasing over time. If you are drinking kefir, you may discontinue any other probiotic supplements - you won't need them!
How is your kefir made on the farm?
We make our kefir in the traditional Russian style, taught to us by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, using our own real goats milk and live kefir grains. The kefir is feremented at room temperature in stainless steel vats, until the pH is below 4.5, and is then strained and bottled by hand.
What does it taste like?
It tastes nasty! Kefir is not a milkshake - it is tart and fizzy. Dr. Natasha suggested that we keep our kefir pure and free of any flavouring or sweeteners, so that's what we've done. You can blend it up with fruit and stevia to make it more palatable if you choose. But hardcore kefir crew members drink it straight!
Have you done any testing on your kefir?
We have our kefir microbiology tested regularly.
We are proud to be the only university-tested kefir in the UK!
Our co-director Shann Jones co-authored a scientific paper published in Frontiers in Microbiology Magazine, alongside Prof Jamie Newbold, head of the Institute of Biological, Rural and Environmental Science at Aberystwyth University. Chuckling Goat kefir was used in this experiment, which found that our kefir did increase fermentation in the gut in both hindgut (horse) and foregut (humans and dogs) digestive models.
Read the whole article here.
We are proud to have signed a memorandum of understanding with Aberystwyth University. Prof Jamie Newbold, Head of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences has done extensive testing on our kefir.
Is all kefir the same?
No, definitely not! All kefir is not created equal. Since kefir grains are living organisms, they have a unique bio-profile. As our kefir grains are nurtured in goats milk, they are very different than kefir that has been grown in pasteurized cow's milk. We cannot speak for the efficacy of any kefir other than our own.
Do you sell your grains?
Sorry, no! Our grains are proprietary and licensed, and don't leave the farm.
What strains of live beneficial bacteria are in your kefir?
Prof Jamie Newbold has identified the following strains of beneficial yeasts and bacteria in our kefir:
Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens strain ATCC 43761
Lactobacillus kefiri gene for 16S rRNA, partial sequence, strain: NRIC 0586
Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis strain Lor-MGB-YQ-2(1)
Leuconostoc garlicum strain B/C-2
Leuconostoc lactis gene for 16S rRNA, partial sequence, strain: ZU 9
Ascomycota Saccharomycetes Saccharomycetales Saccharomycetaceae Saccharomyces exiguus
Ascomycota Saccharomycetes Saccharomycetales Saccharomycetaceae Kluyveromyces lactis
Ascomycota Pezizomycetes Pezizales Ascobolaceae Saccobolus
Ascomycota Saccharomycetes Saccharomycetales Saccharomycetaceae Pichia fermentans (T)
Where did kefir come from?
In 1974, the Russian government became aware of a population of people in the Black Caucausus Mountains that were extremely healthy, and living to an extremely old age. These people were in possession of a strange little living organism which they dropped into goats milk, and used to ferment the milk at room temperature. These grains lived in a goatskin bag by the entrance to the cottage, and the villagers would drop milk into the bag, and kick it every time they came in or out, to mix it, in a continuous fermentation process.
Then they would strain out some of the resulting fermented drinking yogurt and drink it, leaving the living grains in the bag, and adding more milk on top to carry on the fermentation process.
No one knows where the first kefir grain came from – we still don’t know.
What we do know is that these people were super healty, and lived a very long time.
The Russian government sent a Russian woman called Irina into the mountains to try to get some of the grains out. She failed in her mission, as the Prince of the region refused her. He was, however, very taken with her charms. And when she left, he sent a group of horsemen after her to kidnap her, and bring her back to marry him.
The Russian government was eventually forced to send an armed party in after Irina, to rescue her. It was later decided to award her ten pounds of the mysterious grains, at a tribunal. This is how kefir grains came to be in Russia – and in 1974 the Russian government dedicated a plaque to Irina, for services rendered to the Russian people. Kefir is now a billion euro business in Russia and Eastern Europe, and has now made its way to the UK.