Kombucha vs Kefir: Difference and Comparison

Both kefir and kombucha are fermented beverages that have been linked to a variety of health benefits. When it comes to probiotics, kefir and kombucha are the way to go.

Both contain billions of live microorganisms that aid in the battle against pathogenic bacteria. But that’s about the only thing they have in common.

Even though both drinks are fermented foods, they differ in terms of manufacture, nutrition, flavor, and texture.

Key Takeaways

  1. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage, while kefir is a fermented milk drink.
  2. Kombucha is made using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), whereas kefir is produced using kefir grains, a mix of bacteria and yeast.
  3. Kombucha has a tangy, slightly sweet flavor, while kefir has a sour, yogurt-like taste and creamy texture.

Kombucha vs Kefir

The difference between Kombucha and Kefir is that Kombucha is a drink made after fermenting tea. The flavor of the tea resembles the sweetness and tartness altogether. On the other hand, Kefir is a drink that is prepared through fermented milk which is the main ingredient. And it tastes both milky and a bit tangy while consumed. 

Kombucha vs Kefir

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Kombucha is a refreshing, fizzy, and sour beverage. It’s produced with room-temperature fermented tea. A kombucha SCOBY is required to brew kombucha (mother).

This mother floats in fermented tea, shaped like a beige gelatinous film. A colony of microorganisms feeds on the sweet tea in the mother and this liquid.

It takes roughly 5 to 10 days for the yeast and bacteria in the SCOBY to ferment the tea into kombucha.

Kefir is a drink that is prepared with the help of fermented milk that is prepared through culturing it and fermenting it.

The process of fermentation for the drink lasts up to 24 hours to 48 hours while it is cultured through the help of live kefir grain culture. Despite this milk kefir drink, many other flavored kefir drinks can be prepared with fruits and other ingredients. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonKombuchaKefir
Definition It is a type of drink that tastes sour and sweet and is prepared by yeast and bacteriaA drink made of fermented milk but the taste of it is sour
Major Ingredient TeaMilk
Fermentation Up to 7-8 daysUp to 24 to 48 hours
Culture By SCOBYBy live kefir grain culture
FlavorTart and sweetMilky and tangy
Lactic acidMinimal quantityRich source
CalciumLess quantityMore quantity

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea with a sweet and sour taste created with bacteria and yeast. In actuality, this is a fermented beverage.

Kombucha’s origins can be traced back to China. From China, it migrated to Japan and Russia. Across the early twentieth century, kombucha gained popularity in Europe.

Kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened tea with a mixture of beneficial bacteria and yeast (SCOBY – “symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast”).

The mixture is then left to rest for 7 to 21 days. This fermentation process is comparable to how yogurt is made from milk or kimchi is made from cabbage.

Kombucha has a sour flavor that reminds me of a sour sparkling apple cider. Because kombucha is made using tea, it is a high-caffeine beverage.

Kombucha has numerous health benefits, including detoxification, digestion aid, and energy increase. Kombucha is a digestive aid that is high in B vitamins and probiotic bacteria.


What is Kefir?

Kefir is a sour milk drink made from fermented milk. It’s a yogurt-like beverage with a buttermilk flavor.

Kefir is made by combining milk (from cows, goats, sheep, or camels) with a live culture of kefir grains, which is a symbiotic culture of yeasts and bacteria.

After allowing the milk to ferment for 24–48 hours, the kefir grains are removed by straining it through a sieve. Fruits and sweeteners can be added to the kefir before it is consumed.

Kefir has a wide variety of microorganisms and can help with digestion. It also aids in the enhancement of your immune system. Kefir also contains a lot of lactic acid bacteria.

There is also water kefir, which is a form of kefir. It contains fermented coconut water, which is a non-dairy drink. Water kefir has a sweeter and more refreshing flavor than milk kefir.


Main Differences Between Kombucha and Kefir

  1. Kombucha, in general, can be defined as the type of drink that has a flavor of sour and sweet and is prepared with the help of yeast and bacteria, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, Kefir is defined as the drink made up of fermented milk and has a flavor of sourness.
  2. The major ingredient required to prepare Kombucha is tea, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the major ingredient for preparing Kefir is fermented milk.
  3. The procedure of fermentation to prepare the drink Kombucha lasts up to 7 to 8 days in general, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the procedure to ferment the milk used to prepare Kefir lasts up to 24 hours to 48 hours is 1 to 2 days.
  4. The culture used to prepare Kombucha is the special ingredient that is SCOBY (mixture or symbiotic preparation of the yeast and bacteria), whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the culture used to prepare Kefir is the live kefir grain culture.
  5. The flavor of the Kombucha drink is a bit more sweetness with tartness, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the flavor of the Kefir drink is more like milkiness with a sweet flavor of tanginess.
  6. As Kombucha drink is made with the help of tea thus, it contains a certain amount of caffeine in it, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, kefir drink does not contain any amount of caffeine in it.
  7. In Kombucha drink, the amount of lactic acid is very minimal, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the Kefir drink contains and is a rich source of lactic acid.
  8. The amount of calcium present in the Kombucha drink is less, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the amount of calcium present in the Kefir is much more because of the fermented milk preparation.
Difference Between Kombucha and Kefir


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12010-008-8361-6
  2. https://journals.bcit.ca/index.php/ehj/article/view/21
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40064-015-0872-3
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10068-015-0015-1

Last Updated : 24 July, 2023

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