Frequently asked questions

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Currently, we only do online business. But you are more than welcome to visit our partner store. Click here to see their locations.

Kefir vs Yogurt: What’s the Difference?

Kefir and yogurt are both fermented dairy products with similar tastes and textures, but they differ in their production methods, bacterial strains, and nutritional profiles.

Kefir is made by fermenting milk with kefir grains, which are a combination of bacteria and yeasts that form a symbiotic colony. Kefir grains can be used to ferment various types of milk, including cow, goat, and sheep milk, as well as non-dairy alternatives such as soymilk. The fermentation process takes around 24 hours and takes place at room temperature. Kefir has a thinner consistency than yogurt, with a slightly tangy, effervescent flavor. It also contains a wider variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts than yogurt, making it a good choice for gut health. 

Yogurt, on the other hand, is made by fermenting milk with specific strains of lactic acid bacteria, usually Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. The milk is heated and cooled to specific temperatures during the fermentation process, which can take anywhere from 8-24 hours depending on the type of yogurt. Yogurt has a thicker consistency than kefir, with a tangy flavor that can range from mild to tart. It contains fewer bacterial strains than kefir, but still provides beneficial probiotics for gut health. 

In terms of nutritional profiles, both kefir and yogurt are good sources of protein, calcium, and other nutrients. However, kefir may have some additional health benefits due to its wider variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. Kefir may also be easier to digest than yogurt for some people, as it contains enzymes that aid in digestion.     

My grains are a bit yellowish, is that mold?
Beige or light yellow kefir is normal. This is because kefir contains yeast that yogurt does not have, so it has a little yellow color.
Can I warm up kefir?
High temperatures will kill probiotics. It is recommended to let it warm up at room temperature before drinking, and it can be left for up to 2 hours. Or use the method of heating breast milk, leave hot water in big cup, place a small cup containing kefir milk in it and slowly warm it up for 5 minutes.
Can I place an order to the outer islands in Taiwan?

Yes, you can. Just proceed to check out and type your address, then you will see the shipping fee.

Can I place an order to a different country?

Unfortunately no. At this moment, we don’t ship our products to other countries.

When I will receive my package?

On the checkout page, you will be able to choose your preferred shipping date and time slot.

Basically, if you place the order before 12pm, the package will be sent out on the same day. Black cat generally delivers the next day (except Sunday). Express delivery (Pickupp) will deliver to you on the same day (Taipei City only)

If your profucts are out of stock or it is a pre order product, generally it will be delayed in 1 day or 2. We will email you about the delay.

How do I do 7-11 refrigerated pickup ?

Normal 7-11 only do room-temperature pickup. So if you want refrigerated delivery service, please choose balck cat cold delivery. They can transfer the package to 7-11’s fridge then you can pick it up later.

You still need to put an address on the checkout page. Becasue that’s the requirement from black cat system. You can leave which 7-11 branch you prefer in the order note on checkout page. So we can put an extra note in the system. 

Please note, you will need to talk to driver still when they deliver it to your address. When U receive the call please tell them that you need them to transfer the package to 7-11. Driver will send you a text message for confirmation. Please click accept

However, if anyone at that address you gave us choose to receive the package, like doorman or friend or family. Black cat won’t even call you for this 7-11 pickup option. So please please make sure you have informed these people upfront.

We won’t be able to help you much once the package is out. So please keep your phone nearby on the expected delivery day. 

I’ve already placed my order and chosen direct bank transfer. But I still can’t see your bank account details?

After you placed the order with direct bank transfer, system will automatically send you an email with our bank details. Please check your email inbox.

If you have any more issues please contact us on line official.

Can I do cash on delivery?

Yes, you can do it with black cat, convince store and local pickup at our store. Unfortunately, express delivery (pickupp) in Taipei city doesn’t provide cash on delivery service. 

Why am I still being charged for delivery fee while I order more than $499 (Taipei city) or $899 (other cities)?

Please check if your total amount is over $499/$899 after any coupons. Most people have this issue because after they use the $100 coupon, the whole amount is under $499/$899.

If you still have issues, please feel free to contact us through line official. 

Can I make kefir with yogurt maker?

NO!!! Kefir needs to stay in room temperature. Grains will be damaged over 35 °C. So please keep your grains away from yogurt maker, oven and steamer.

I forgot my kefir culturing more than 36 hours. What should I do? Are grains dead?

The grains are most likely fine if this has happened one time. The biggest danger with leaving the kefir grains in the same milk for more than 48 hours is that they may begin to starve, which can damage the kefir grains. Separate the grains and put them into fresh milk right away. As long as the finished, separated, kefir smells and tastes okay, it can be consumed.

I think I have mold on my kefir. What do I do?

While it is uncommon to find mold developing on a batch of kefir, it may occasionally happen. Mold may appear as green, orange, red, or black spots on the surface of the kefir or pink discoloration of the milk. Kefir grains that turn pink, orange, red, green, or black may be contaminated.

If mold does develop, immediately toss the entire batch, including the kefir grains. Do not try to salvage a moldy batch, even if you do not see mold on the kefir grains themselves. Doing so may be dangerous to your health. Obtain a new set of kefir grains, clean the jar thoroughly, and try again another day.

Can I eat Kefir grains?

You can eat milk kefir grains since they are just composed of bacteria, yeast, and proteins. Not only will they make for a delicious gelatinous snack but will also give your gut a probiotic boost. My advice would be to not wash your milk kefir grains before eating them. This removes a valuable coating of microorganisms from the grains’ surface and just strips them of nutrients and probiotic effects.

What is Milk Kefir?

Milk Kefir (pronounced keh-FEER) is a wonderfully delicious slightly carbonated fermented milk drink similar to yogurt that originated roughly 2000 years ago in the Caucasus Mountains. It is one of the oldest milk ferments in existence. The word Kefir is derived from the Turkish word “Keif” describing a state of ‘feeling good’. It is milk fermented at room temperatures with kefir grains generally overnight for about 24 hours. It has many wonderful health benefits and is also generally tolerated well by the lactose intolerant.

What does Milk Kefir taste like?

It has a tart effervescent yogurty flavor. Some refer to it as the champagne of milk. This is not something you have to ‘tolerate’, it is actually very delicious and most days we prefer it over our homemade yogurt! It’s also very good blended with honey, fruit or other flavorings.

How are Kefir Grains different to powder starter (such as Royal Kefir) or store-bought kefir?

Genuine kefir is different than the pricey kefir you can buy in the stores. Manufactured kefir is a simulated drink, mimicking the flavor of genuine kefir. It is not produced by the traditional method. It is produced instead by a variety of bacteria and yeast (that they purchase individually) and combine. These are typically freeze-dried powder forms of bacteria and yeast, and like the Royal Kefir products, are not reproducible. Traditional Kefir Grains are a formed symbiotic mass colony of various bacteria and yeast that are living and will thrive and grow on their own in the milk, sometimes out-living its owner!

What is the advantage of taking Kefir instead of a probiotic supplement?

Fermented milk products such as kefir are considered functional foods because they offer enzymes, pre-digested nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, calories/energy and billions of probiotics. Probiotic pill supplements contain just one or a select variety of bacteria, and usually that’s it. It’s always better to eat something in its whole form when possible, because each part makes the other more digestible. This is why they are now adding fiber back into cereals and fruit juices, and citric acid into calcium – you often need all the parts to assimilate nutrients correctly.

Why is Kefir good for your health?

It is loaded with valuable enzymes, and easily digestible complete proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Milk kefir is also generally suitable for lactose intolerant. Kefir also supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Some foods like yogurt can help, but they are not as potent and do not contain the beneficial yeasts (just bacteria). Within your body, there are already billions of bacteria and yeast. Your internal microflora support proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has thus long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be antimutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. Folic acid (and B vitamins) increases as the length of the ferment increases. Some people let the strained kefir sit on the counter or the fridge another day to increase the folic acid and B vitamin content before drinking. Kefir may also help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. As with most things we’ve personally found, food and health is too difficult to reduce to facts and statistics. While kefir is not a magic bullet for health (what is) we believe kefir has a myriad of possible health benefits, and those will be individual for everyone. Some feel it helps them digest better, others get colds and flus less often, some get more energy, and some people feel nothing much in particular, but enjoy the taste and value of it over store-bought yogurt or kefir.

Why is kefir generally tolerated by the lactose intolerant?

The bacteria and yeast produce the enzyme lactase in order to consume the lactose (milk sugar) for their own food supply. Because of this, much of the lactose in the milk is converted to simpler forms of sugar (glucose and galactose). These digestible forms of sugar, along with the extra lactase enzymes which act as a catalyst for digestion, make for an easily digestible food! ‘Ripening’ kefir can even further reduce the lactose, if desired.

Actually, we have developed soybean kefir and water kefir for lactose intolerance people. Both of these products don’t contain lactose but still have tons of probotics and nutritions of milk kefir. How great is that!

Is Kefir a good option for those with Candida?

Many people experiencing Candida issues have reported that Kefir has been beneficial for them. Kefir is a balanced symbiotic relationship of both bacteria and yeast, which is also what we strive to achieve within our bodies for optimum health. Kefir grains and kefir itself does not contain Candida Albicans and has no reason to aggravate the symptoms of Candida. Some sources say that the kefir yeast can even help to decrease the candida yeast. But as with all things, the best advice we can give is to listen to your own body’s response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time).

What milks or other liquids can you ferment with kefir grains?

It’s possible to ferment all forms of mammalian milk (mare, goat, sheep, cow, buffalo, camel etc). Some people with cancer have even experimented fermenting human milk as a medicinal therapy. You can also try to ferment other non-milk mediums such as coconut milk, coconut water (also called juice), soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk. You can also convert them to be used in making water kefir with sugar and water or juice and water. In this case you will have to convert the grains gradually and keep some on back-up in case they fail to thrive. Kefir can also be made from milk powder, or UHT (ultra-pastuerized) milk, though they are not the best options for continued grain health.

Does Kefir contain alcohol?

Yes it contains about 0.08% after 24 hours of fermentation.

There are lots of food in our life also have alcohol in them.
Such as ripe banana (0.05%)
American-style burger rolls (0.03%-1.2%).

According to United states CDC, a drink must have less than 0.5% alcohol to be classified as “non-alcoholic”. Kefir is considered as non-alcoholic so it’s open to public to purchase easily in supermarket.

Professor Lin from Taiwan University claimed the alcohol content of kefir is negligible and perfectly safe for pregant women and toddlers to consume.

If you are still a bit concered, only drink fresh kefir. Kefir that is stored and ripened for a few of days will continue to increase in alcohol.

Consult your doctor, if you have further questions.

What other uses does milk kefir have?

Kefir and its grains are valuable for far more than just a beverage! It can be used to fertilize and nurture house plants, flowers, your lawn, or your garden. The bacteria and acidic nature can be very beneficial for plants. Did you know its essential to have bacteria in your dirt to convert nitrogen to an edible source for your plants? Kefir can also easily be made into cream cheese or other forms of cheese (such as making ricotta). Kefir serves as a great starter for breads and pizzas! Use it in place of a sourdough starter or yeast packet. Excess whey both in the past and present is also commonly incorporated into chicken feed to boost the nutrients (and not waste the whey) and pigs enjoy it as well (and so do many cats and dogs!). Whey can also be used in your hair as a clarifying conditioner (as can kefir). Whey, believe it or not, makes one of the best shaving lotions we have ever tried. It also serves as a nice ingredient in lip balms and lotions. Kefir can be used in place of yogurt, cream cheese or sour cream in many recipes. It can also be made into delicious popsicles. Whey can also be used in place of vinegar (often with a more beneficial affect) in many cases such as to soak grains, soften rice, add to soups and stocks (to help extract the nutrients from the bones) or use in place of some of the salt in making fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut. Kefir whey also keeps far longer than the normal unfermented whey seperated from milk.

What should Kefir Grains look like?

Kefir grains typically look a lot like little cauliflower florets. Up close, their pattern is somewhat like coral, or a brain. They can also look like smooth, flat shreds of ribbons during the warmer months (or when crowded in a jar). They can also look like small pebbles which can sometimes indicate overcrowding or over-fermenting. Their color usually ranges from creamy off-white to white. Some grains that are grown in grass-fed milk may have a more yellow or orange tint due to the beta-carotene they absorb from grass. They are soft, bouncy and squishy, like a tiny squeeze toy.

How do you know if the grains are ‘healthy’?

Kefir grains are very resilient and will strive to maintain their health at all times. As long as your grains are converting milk to kefir that is not ‘off’ they are just fine. They may get stressed and change shape or smell a bit (more yeasty or more stringy looking), but they will bounce right back given the right conditions. They range from creamy white to a dark ivory and coiled brain-patterned balls to bumpy ribbons or even small pebbles. Even when they are not growing they can still produce healthy drinkable kefir (such as in soy or almond milk), though it’s best to give them optimal conditions so they can grow.

What if my grains are not multiplying at all?

Sometimes grains for one reason or another are stubborn and will simply not grow. They will usually still properly ferment milk into kefir though, and is not something to be concerned about. If they are floating, not soft, and not producing kefir, they are not viable any longer. Browse through the grains 101 section here to see if there may be some factor involved that you can improve to help encourage growth. Check your temperature, your milk type (they really love full-fat milks), and make sure there are no harsh residues of soap or any antibacterial agents on any of your jars or other kefir supplies. In some cases, grains that have too thick of a dried crust or have been subjected to freezer burn or extreme heat may not revitalize. Also In this case they will most likely be floating and not as spongy and moist in texture. It is best at this point to start anew.

How can you encourage kefir grains to grow more quickly?

Many factors are involved in creating an optimal environment for kefir grains. Keeping within their preferred temperature is essential to the speed of grain growth. Providing them with proper nutrients is also vital (they seem to love whole raw milk the most). Making sure they remain on the smaller side, and that they are not encrusted or dry helps them to have as much access to milk as possible, so they can propagate more quickly. Adding a little whole cream can sometimes give them a boost as well. Lastly, making sure they are constantly given a fresh supply of milk ensures they are not sitting too long between feedings (and slowing their metabolism).

How fast do kefir grains grow?

Milk kefir grains do grow and you will soon have much more than you started with. They typically grow about 5% during the winter or under cooler conditions and 10% to 25% during summer or under optimal warm conditions. It is also interesting that smaller grains will reproduce much more rapidly than larger grains (this is because there is a greater surface area that can grab nutrients from the milk).

Should I give my Kefir Grains a rest once in awhile?

It’s always helpful for everything under the sun to have a break once in awhile. A couple times a year is quite sufficient, they will keep going regardless of getting a rest or not, but it seems they do appreciate a vacation once in awhile.

What if a grain drops onto the counter or floor?

Immediately rinse it under cool or cold clean water with clean hands and gently rub it to make sure all dust and debris are rinsed away. It will usually be just fine to join back in with the other grains and ferment as usual. If you are uneasy about adding it back in to your ferment, just rinse it and eat or toss to your pets or your garden!

Do you have to wash or rinse your grains?

Some people like to do this, but it was never done traditionally and is not necessary or recommended at all. By nature, they are a symbiotic mass of microflora that has self-inoculating properties, protecting itself from foreign bacteria or yeast. The lactic and acetic acids it excretes also protects it from becoming contaminated. Many have observed that when they stopped rinsing their grains, they grew better and produced better kefir. Sometimes they can get fat deposit (crusty, orange colored areas) that may indicate they need a gentle scrub and rinse though. Also, if the grains have come into contact with something undesirable, then you may want to give them a good rinse. Make sure it is clean, non-chlorinated water. Simply run them under flowing water or swish them around in a bowl of clean water, and pat dry.

Can you cut/blend/tear kefir grains?

Yes. In fact this will help your kefir to ferment better when your grains have gotten to large. Keep in mind this can sometimes result in the grains growing back in a more ribbon-shaped fashion. This is just a response to the slight stress of the breakage. They will eventually resume their more coiled, round shape though, and is nothing to worry over!

Do you have to be gentle with Kefir Grains?

Kefir grains are pretty hardy little guys. Just like grass, it can take a good beating but it may wear down over time if exposed to excessive stress. To give you an idea, kefir grains will survive a blender, a hammer, freezing, some heat (but not cooking), and of course, drying. This does not mean they should be handled this way – care for them like you would any pet, and they will be extremely happy and productive for it!

What are the seasonal differences in Kefir (summer vs winter, etc)?

Kefir, like all living organisms, goes through intricate and subtle changes with the seasons, climate, temperatures and environment it is in. Just like you can mark the seasons with a tree budding, growing, turning colors and discarding its leaves, kefir also will constantly be in flux and going through seasonal patterns. Kefir will ferment much more quickly in the summer and warmer temperatures. It will be thinner and may be more lumpy or inconsistent as well. It may especially be inconsistent during spring and fall, or whenever there is a large disparity of temperatures (such as a cold night and hot day). Kefir will tend to be more creamy and mild in the winter and cooler temperatures (and more zesty and sour in the summer). Part of the beauty of the symbiotic nature of kefir is that each strain has a certain strength and weakness. Together, they are able to ferment at a wide range of temperatures. Keeping this in miind, you will realize that because of this, a certain temperature will allow some strains to perform much better, while others may be temporarily suppressed. This contributes to the differing tastes and textures of kefir throughout the year. Some people notice it is more cheesy in the winter (possibly due to the certain yeast and other strains being stronger), while in the summer it may be more bread-ish and light in flavor.

What is the orange or hard crust discoloration on the surface of kefir grains?

Kefir grains can sometimes get encrusted by the fat of the milk. This can happen when the milk is not changed regularly, or if you have been using your grains in cream to ferment sour cream etc. It can also be a result of drying out too much. Dried kefir grains can appear to have this because their outer layer was the most exposed during drying. Using non-homogenized milk (cream floats to the top) can also expose the grains to excess fat, especially if they are not stirred back into the milk once in awhile during the fermenting process. Once they start to grow, this will slowly disappear. In all these cases it is best to place your grains in a bowl of fresh cool water (or kefir) and gently rub them free of their crust with your fingers. You can also toss them in a blender to open them up and expose fresh, un-crusted sides (which will grow better and produce a better kefir). Resume fermenting, with regular milk changes.

Why do my Kefir Grains look like ribbons?

In response to very hot weather we have found that they can stretch out, looking like shreds of ribbons. This can also happen when there is overcrowding in the jar or not enough fat in the milk, squishing or pressing the grains (or blending them) or a combination of all 4 of these factors. Our hypothesis is that they are just adapting to a more rapidly depleted food source, and stretching themselves to look for more nutrients. This does not mean they are unhealthy, it is simply their way of adapting to reach more food. Sometimes it simply seems to be a response to warmer weather and they are slightly more ‘relaxed’, and then binding and coiling upon themselves more in the colder weather. You can try giving it more milk, a less crowded environment (take out some of the grains) or a cooler area to ferment and they will usually return to forming a more coiled shape again. When straining, try not to squish or squeeze the grains with your hands or spoon.

What causes grains to change appearance or shape?

A change in temperature, season, milk brand or %, or space/milk quantity can all affect grain appearance and shape. Pressing or squishing them (or blending them) can also change their appearance for awhile. Because of different proteins, fat amounts or minerals available in different milk %’s or brands, grains can change appearance or shape. Changing temperatures can also dramatically change the shape of kefir grains. Also, the amount of milk available will have an affect (more milk being desirable) on the grains. Grains put under ideal conditions will eventually return to their normal more rounded shape.

Should kefir grains float?

Yes, most of the time. Most kefir grains encapsulate some of the carbon dioxide gas that the yeasts give off while fermenting. Also, some grains have less density than the milk, and simply float. Some will be dense enough though (and manage to avoid capturing bubbles) that they sink. Typically if the grains are very bacteria rich or lacking yeast, they may stay at the bottom most or all of the ferment. This can happen after a transit or a rest in the fridge. If you are using dried milk powder, and all the grains are at the top, simply add some more water to increase the density which will allow the grains to relax a bit. Sometimes grains that have been subjected to severe freezer burn, high heat or their outer layer is too encrusted and hard from being dried (or old), also float (and they may not be able to be revived). In this case these grains will usually have a darker color and less soft and sponge-like texture. It is best to see if these are able to propagate new grains (though they themselves may not recover) or toss them if no growth or kefiring is achievable with them. If they reproduce new grains, then you can toss them once you have enough of the new grains (you will be able to still visibly tell which ones are the old, darker ones to be tossed).

What are the tiny sticky threads between my kefir grains?

When you move kefir grains apart from one another you may notice some sticky thread-like strings hanging and stretching between them (think pulling a pizza slice and its dangling cheese strings). It will look like fine thread-like spider web material stretching and sticking when the grains are separated from one another. This is actually a great sign that your grains are healthy and growing. Absence of these threads is ok too – a lack of these does not mean anything bad! These threads are simply known as kefiran by the kefir community and they are a gel forming soluble polysaccharide. You may notice even more during the summer, or if you’re trying a new milk. These will often change over time and from season to season, coming and going. This polysaccharide is part of what makes kefir creamy. It is similar to the same compounds found in starch, cellulose, gum and glycogen. Bacteria, fungi and algae have all adopted an ability to produce this as a form of protection from drying out, reproducing and adhering to their food source more efficiently. This promotes viscosity in the kefir and is also soothing to the digestive system (aloe vera juice and gel contains copious amounts of polysaccharides).

Do kefir grains have a milk preference?

The short answer is yes, they prefer what milk they are used to, but they will gradually and happily adapt to new milks.

If they are produced in goat milk, their preference will be whole goat milk, if cow milk, they will prefer whole cow milk. Kefir grains do best when the full range of nutrients they require are available to them.

This includes the milk sugars, proteins and fats. Many people notice that their grains take off and thrive when given full-fat milk.

Please find picture below for more milk brands in Taiwan and what’s special about them

Do kefir grains need to be fed every day?

The short answer is yes. Kefir grains need to be strained every 24 hours (or 48 at the max) and given fresh milk. If you or your grains would like to take a break, stick them in the fridge, refreshing them weekly with new milk. This can be done for a couple weeks, then they should be brought back out to room temperature.

How long do active Kefir Grains last?

Indefinitely with good care – they are a living, consuming organism that are in a constant state of reproduction. Some may get weaker over time for one reason or another (neglected, frozen, etc), but they will nonetheless do all they can to keep marching on! They have already lived over a thousand years as it is.

What are kefir grains composed of?

The grains are a symbiotic relationship of over 30 different strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast. The bulk of the grain that you see is a combination of insoluble protein, amino acids, lipids (fats) and soluble-polysaccharides (complex sugars). Scientifically speaking, the content of a freeze dried kefir grain has shown to be composed of 4.4% fat, 12.1% ash, 45.7% Muco-polysaccharides, 34.3% total protein (consisting of 27% insoluble protein,1.6% soluble protein and 5.6% free amino acids) as well as a trace amount of unknown substances. Amorphous and crystalline iron is also found in small amounts on the surface of the grains under a microscope.

Are all kefir grains the same?

All kefir grains are alike, but they are not the same. Just as all people are humans, but none are exactly alike, kefir also varies from one to the next. Some kefir grains ferment more quickly than others, some more tangy, some more sweet, and some more fizzy. You will see that your kefir grains will be continuously morphing themselves from season to season and year to year. The balance between the bacteria and yeast will not only change the way the grains act but also look. Also how much room they have in the jar will can also change the way they look. Generally if the ferment is more bacteria rich (and slower) or when the grains have plenty of room in the jar, they will naturally grow larger. Part of the kefir process is learning to let go of the desire to keep them exactly the same (no matter what you do, they will be in a constant state of growth and change) and learning to look forward to its many surprises, just like raising a pet or child.

What size is best for Kefir Grains to be?

Kefir grains can grow to be quite large, however that does not mean that they are better. In fact, when the grains are smaller, there is more surface area involved which produces a better kefir (they also tend to grow more easily at a smaller, more manageable size as well). One of the smoothest kefirs we’ve personally tried was when we threw some of our grains in a blender to make them extremely small. Not only did they produce a thick creamy kefir, but they produced it more quickly, grew quickly, and even returned to their original size after a few weeks.

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