Editor's Note: You'll want to add this beverage to your repertoire for summer! With this recipe for Pomegranate Kombucha, you can add some zing to just about any meal. Just keep in mind this beverage takes about a week to ferment.
Pomegranates soared to popularity because of their high amount of antioxidants. The taste can range from sweet to sour depending on the variety of pomegranate and its ripeness, but as a general rule, if you like the taste of grenadine syrup, you probably like pomegranate. You can push this infusion to the sweeter side by adding more juice or make it more sour by using less.
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Type of DishBeverage
- 14 cups purified water
- 16 to 20 tea bags or
- 8 tablespoons (35 grams) loose-leaf black tea
- 1 cup evaporated cane sugar
- 2 cups starter tea
- 1 SCOBY
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
Heat 6 cups of the water in a stainless steel saucepan to 212°F over medium heat. Remove from the heat, add the tea, stir well, and cover. Steep for 4 minutes, stirring once after 2 minutes. Remove the tea bags or pour the tea through a colander or fine-mesh strainer into a second pot. Compost the tea.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining 8 cups of water to cool the tea to about room temperature (72°F or cooler). Add 2 cups of the starter tea and stir. Pour into a 1-gallon jar.
With rinsed hands, carefully lay the SCOBY on the surface of the tea. Cover the opening of the jar with a clean cotton cloth and hold it in place with a rubber band. Place the jar in a warm spot (72°F to 78°F) out of direct sunlight and leave undisturbed to ferment for 7 days.
Taste your kombucha using a straw. Does it taste too sweet? Let it go a few more days before tasting again. Is it sufficiently tart, and you love it? Time for the next step. Carefully remove the SCOBY with rinsed hands and place it on a clean porcelain or glass plate or bowl bathed in kombucha. This will be your culture for the next batch.
If immediately proceeding with another batch, reserve about 2 cups of the finished kombucha for the starter tea of your next brew. Add the pomegranate juice to the fermented kombucha tea. Stir gently. Using a funnel and a spouted measuring cup (for easy pouring), fill your bottles with the flavored kombucha, leaving about 1 inch of air space in the neck of the bottle. As you pour, you may want to use a fine-mesh strainer to filter out yeast strands. Cap tightly. Your kombucha is ready to drink, but if you prefer a more carbonated beverage, proceed to the next step.
To begin the optional secondary fermentation process, simply store the capped bottles in a warm dry place (72°F to 78°F is best) for 48 hours. Be aware that the sugars present will add fuel to the fermentation action in the bottle, which will increase the pressure inside the bottles. After 48 hours, chill one of the bottles for at least 6 hours. Crack it open and pour it into a glass. If it effervesces, you’ve done it! If you want more carbonation, let it go for a few more days and test again with another chilled bottle. When you’re pleased with the carbonation, refrigerate all the bottles to end the fermentation.
Starter tea is previously brewed kombucha or store-bought raw kombucha with no flavorings or infusions (essentially as close as possible to a traditional plain kombucha). It is added to freshly brewed sweetened tea to lower the pH and introduce a plethora of beneficial yeasts and bacteria to help kick-start the fermentation process.
2014 Stephen Lee & Ken Koopman