Trader Joe’s KEFIR



What is KEFIR? Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink basically kind of like a “drinkable yogurt”. It’s It’s all the rage in the natural health community and social media. Kefir is extremely high in probiotics. So it is considered very beneficial for general health, digestion and especially for one’s Gut Health, a huge new topic of interest in the medical research community. Kefir originates from the mountainous regions that divide Asia and Europe. Like yogurt. kefir is made by fermenting milk however it is unique and different from yogurt. Kefir is a more powerful probiotic than yogurt as it has way more varieties of bacteria. Look at the label listing the active bacteria cultures, you’ll notice there are a lot more kinds of bacteria (“contains 12 active live cultures“) than are typically in a yogurt which usually has 3-5 kinds of bacteria. Now I recognized the first three L.  (Lactobacillus) bacteria listed on the label but I don’t recognize many of the others off the top of my head. The bottle says it contains 12 active (live) bacteria cultures. Therefore there are more kinds of bacteria in kefir than in yogurt, more diverse probiotics going into your gut. Kefir is also supposed to be better tolerated by those who are lactose intolerant. I’m not lactose intolerant so I can’t say.


I wanted to try Kefir for a while so bought the bottle of Mango flavor I saw at TJs to try. Review? Taste-wise I found the Whole Milk KEFIR to be really good and quite tasty. This Mango version’s been sweetened (with natural cane sugar) as I understand that plain kefir is quite sour on its own. However I found the mango is not too sweet, you still get that tangy sourness. They also carry a Strawberry* flavor kefir which I would buy next time as I would like to try that flavor also. (UPDATE: I tried the Strawberry and it was also good). I haven’t tried the Plain yet. If you didn’t grow up drinking plain Kefir, I am told it might take you some getting used to as being quite tart?

The Mango whole milk kefir drink was pretty thick, almost a smoothie (update: it’s not as thick as it used to be). In fact one can use this in Smoothies. It’s terrific for making them:

BASIC KEFIR SMOOTHIE RECIPE: In a blender, try 1 cup Kefir, 1 cup of ice, one banana (could even be frozen), a 1/2 cup of some fresh or frozen berries, a tablespoon of chia seeds and/or flax seeds and a maybe a drizzle of honey. Make 2 1/2 cups plus.

I’ve been using the kefir also pouring some over my morning bowl of oatmeal or cereal. Or over some fruit. Its seriously yummy. Even kids might like the Mango and Strawberry versions. So kefir is both super healthy and super tasty. A 32 oz bottle sells for about $3. If you like yogurt, this is something well worth trying. There is also a Plain Kefir (unsweetened) if you are inclined to try it “au natural” (very tart I hear). TJ’s even sells one made from Goat’s Milk (!) The Mango one is rich as it’s made with whole milk.

UPDATE: I now tried the Strawberry* Kefir and realized it says LOW FAT and the MANGO version says  WHOLE MILK. Whole milk is 4% and the low fat milk is 1-2%. So go for the strawberry kefir if you want lower fat/calories.

I would not drink Kefir as a full glass. I take a small glass of a few ounces. A little will go a long way, so only drink maybe a 1/4 cup at first of it “pure” till your body gets used to all that extra probiotic healthy bacteria, lest it work its magic too well… If you know what I mean !

Nutrition (per 1 cup):  180 Cal. and  4.5 g of sat. fat for MANGO Whole Milk Kefir. VS 160 Cal. and 1.5 g sat. fat for STRAWBERRY Low Fat Kefir which interestingly also seems to have 1 more gram of Protein per cup serving? Plain Kefir=100 cals (1 cup) So if you want to save some calories get the STRAWBERRY Low Fat Kefir or PLAIN Low Fat Kefir (though the Mango was very tasty!) Honestly, I can’t see anyone drinking it a whole cup at a time straight though of any variety straight, this is a small glass thing, or mix with some ice and a dash of water….

Has anyone tried Plain Kefir version? Is it really tart? Let us know in the comments. And if you are so inclined try out the Goat Milk Kefir and please report in the Comments section as well. I am curious about that one, too.

(update fall 2019: many, many bottles later. The whole milk mango kefir is def. not as thick as when I first reviewed it. Other readers have also stated the same thing, it’s not as thick as it was originally. They have def. changed it so it is thinner compared to when it first was introduced. I have found product changes at TJ’s again and again on some products. I wonder do they get feedback and make changes based on the customer feedback? My gut feeling (ha!) tells me people may have complained the kefi was too thick. Is KEFIR worth buying? Definitely! Try it. Your personal biome may thank you (but again, go slow at first lest it work its magic too well!!)

Mango Kefir

Strawberrry Kefir

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Steven Christenson
    Jul 23, 2019 @ 13:17:06

    Mango here. Does anybody know why the last two times (month) I picked up my supply it has been so thin it is practically like drinking a glass of milk? Seems a cheat.



    • promacnyc
      Jul 23, 2019 @ 15:03:06

      Ditto, prefer the Mango flavor the best. Mine, usually is too thick and I sometimes thin it with a little water or milk! I’ve found, shake shake shake hard for 30 seconds to be answer to get it off the bottom and sides!



    • promacnyc
      Aug 01, 2019 @ 15:03:26

      I just got a bottle and agree now it was def. thinner than the last bottle I bought. (update: many bottles later. Its def. not as thick as when I first bought it. They’ve changed it for sure. Too bad!)



    • promacnyc
      Nov 25, 2019 @ 15:00:47

      (update: many bottles later. Its def. not as thick as when I first bought it. They’ve changed it for sure. Too bad!)
      Update: it seems to have gotten a bit thicker of late…. (winter 2019)



  2. yabs
    Aug 06, 2020 @ 00:35:47

    I’ve been drinking kefir since I was a little kid – I’m now 40 – so I love the stuff! Lifeway is the main brand I grew up on, but in the last few years discovered TJ’s. I enjoy them both. Your comment re: can’t imagine anyone drinking a full cup… well, I’d like to introduce myself! lol! I definitely drink kefir by the cupfuls and bottle-fuls 🙂 A bottle of kefir in my household can easily be gone in a day. I think it’s delicious!



  3. girl
    Mar 12, 2021 @ 15:39:13

    This comment is terribly late, but during the summer months, cows consume more water which causes their milk to be thinner, and therefore the Keifer from the milk to be much thinner as well! Also fun fact, Lifeway is the supplier of the Trader Joe’s Keifer!



  4. rteplow
    Mar 22, 2021 @ 14:37:11

    Another late comment: just discovered your blog and love it!

    I always have TJ’s mango and plain in my fridge. I have the plain kefir with fruit (usually berries) and nuts many mornings as week. I started out with greek yogurt instead of kefir, but found I wanted some sweetener with it; somehow I don’t need it with kefir, even if it’s unsweetened.



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  8. Jean Clemens
    Oct 25, 2021 @ 11:38:19

    I love the plain kefir and drink it by the cup. Made it from scratch but to keep it healthy, you have to produce about 4 cups a day. Too much for me. Love the plain with granola/fruit. Doubt we get same benefit from he store bought version.



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