I recently visited a friend who home-brews kombucha, but uses honey instead of sugar. I had always thought that honey was bad for the bacteria culture in kombucha, but they claimed that it only made their booch healthier and better tasting. It turns out that they were right!
If you're as interested in jun kombucha as I was when I first heard about it, this article should answer any questions you have. Let's start with the basics and work our way to a fantastic jun kombucha recipe that you can easily make at home.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is a probiotic drink made from fermented tea that has become quite popular in recent years due to its great taste and many health benefits such as improved digestion and gut health, detoxification, and immune system strengthening.
What is Jun Kombucha?
Classic kombucha is made from black, white, green, or oolong tea, and sugar. Jun kombucha or jun tea is a spinoff of classic booch that is made from green tea and honey.
Jun tea takes less time to ferment than classic kombucha and is called the “champagne of kombucha” due to its much lighter, less sour taste, and extra carbonation.
Jun kombucha also typically has a higher alcohol content than classic kombucha because of the types of sugars in honey. This higher alcohol content is probably a big reason why you don’t see jun kombucha in stores often, since if companies can't keep it their drinks below 0.5% alcohol they can't market and sell them as non-alcoholic beverages.
What is a Jun SCOBY
Jun kombucha is made using a special SCOBY that has been trained to ferment honey rather than sugar. If you were to attempt to make jun kombucha with the same SCOBY you use to make classic booch, the regular SCOBY would not be accustomed to the sugars in honey and would be unable to ferment the kombucha properly.
How to Make a Jun SCOBY
To train your SCOBY to become a jun SCOBY, you’ll need to slowly introduce it to honey over time.
To do this you should increase the amount of honey in your regular kombucha by about 20% each brew. So the first brew will be 80% sugar and 20% honey. The next will be 60% sugar and 40% honey. By the 5th brew you should be making 100% honey jun tea with your new jun SCOBY!
Where to Buy a Jun SCOBY
While making your own jun SCOBY is possible, it’s going to take about 2 months to do. So if you want to brew jun kombucha anytime soon, you’ll probably have to buy your jun SCOBY.
The jun SCOBY I use to make my jun kombucha is the Fermentaholics Jun Kombucha Starter Culture. It’s USDA certified organic and comes with mature starter liquid that will give your first brew the kickstart it needs. Plus it comes with free Prime one day shipping so you can get brewing right away. You can check the price of Fermentaholics Jun SCOBY on Amazon here.
Health Benefits of Jun Tea
Jun Kombucha provides all the probiotic health benefits of classic kombucha, such as:
And also provides the benefits of honey, which is actually healthier than sugar. According to Healthline.com:
High quality honey has tons of antioxidants that may reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes and some cancers. It also promotes low blood pressure and eye health.
Honey does increase blood sugar levels, but not as much as refined sugar.
Your body has both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol in it. Studies have found that honey reduces the amount of bad LDL cholesterol in your body, and raises the amount of good HDL cholesterol.
Elevated triglyceride levels in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Multiple studies have found that regular honey consumption, especially when it’s used as a substitute for sugar, leads to lower triglyceride levels.
Where to get Jun Kombucha
Not many brands make jun kombucha, so it's pretty hard to find in stores
Most supermarkets won’t have jun kombucha in their booch selection, and there's almost no chance of finding it at a gas station. So if you are looking for jun booch, a health focused store like Whole Foods is probably your best bet.
Make it Yourself
If you can't find any jun kombucha at the store, or you really enjoy it and want to be able to drink a lot for cheap, you can easily make jun kombucha yourself!
Home-brewing jun is a little different than classic booch. But even if you have never made kombucha before it’s super easy to do and I’ll walk you through the entire process.
Before I get into the recipe, it’s important for those who have never made kombucha before to get an understanding of the overall process by which kombucha is made.
How Jun Kombucha is Made
All booch begins as sweet tea. What turns this sweet tea into the sweet and sour, probiotic filled jun kombucha is a culture of bacteria. This culture of bacteria, known as a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), eats the honey and caffeine from the honey tea and produces alcohol, acids, and carbon dioxide.
Once its eaten enough honey to make the kombucha bitter tasting, the SCOBY is removed and the 1st fermentation is complete.
At this point the kombucha can be drunk, but it's not carbonated yet. The carbonation r is added in a second fermentation. During this stage, the kombucha is sealed in glass fermenting bottles.
Over the course of a few days, the kombucha develops carbonation and flavor. It’s then refrigerated and ready to be drunk by people like you and me!
Jun Kombucha Recipe (1 Gallon)
Now that you know how jun kombucha is made, you're ready to start brewing. The recipe below will walk you through everything you need to do to make an awesome jun kombucha.
If you don’t have some of the equipment or ingredients yet, you can just click on the underlined item to view my favorite one on amazon.
You can also check out my article The 5 Things you Need to Start Brewing Kombucha to learn more about each ingredient and piece of equipment.
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to get brewing!
1 Gallon of Water 2 Tablespoons of Loose Leef Green Tea
1 Cup of Sugar 1 Cup of Starter Tea
1. Brew Honey Tea
The very first thing you need to do to make jun kombucha is brew green tea. Once the tea has brewed, add honey to it to make the sweet tea base.
If you’re making a gallon of kombucha, you're going to use 8 tea bags or 2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea, and 1 cup of honey.
If you want to make 2 gallons of kombucha, just multiply the amount of honey and tea by two.
If you’re using an irregularly shaped container, or don’t want to brew your kombucha to the gallon, you can use the numbers below.
To make 1 cup of jun kombucha you need:
0.0625 Cups of Honey
0.5 Tea Bags or 0.375 Teaspoons of Loose Leaf Tea
0.125 Cups of Starter Tea
Just multiply these numbers by the # of cups of kombucha you want to make and you'll have the right amount of each ingredient.
Although a cup of honey per gallon of kombucha seems like a lot, remember that the sugar in the honey is food for our SCOBY. In the end, most of this sugar will be eaten and converted into acids and gases, and the finished kombucha will only have 2-6g of sugar per 8 ounces.
If you’re making 1 gallon of jun kombucha, you don’t need to brew an entire gallon of tea. Just brew a few cups and add water after to reach the gallon.
2. Add SCOBY and Starter Tea
Next we are going to add the honey tea to our brewing vessel and fill up whatever space remains with water. You can use cold water to help the tea cool down faster. Once it has cooled down to room temperature, add in the SCOBY and starter tea.
Starter tea is 1 cup of kombucha from a previous brew which will kick off the acidity of a new brew. If this is your first time brewing kombucha and you bought your SCOBY online, it will come packaged in starter tea.
It’s important to wait until the honey tea has cooled down to room temp to add the SCOBY because liquid that’s too hot or too cold can shock it.
3. 1st Fermentation
After the honey tea, SCOBY, starter tea, and water have all been combined in the brewing vessel, cover the top of the container with cloth or an old tea shirt and secure it with a rubber band. This will keep fruit flies and other bugs out.
Do not seal the jar with a lid or anything airtight, since we need oxygenated air to be able to flow in and out of the container to keep the SCOBY alive and functioning.
Wait 7-10 days for the SCOBY to ferment the sugar and nutrients in the tea into alcohol and healthy acids. Remember that the longer the brew ferments, the more sugar will be eaten and the more bitter it will taste.
Taste test the brew every day with the goal of reaching that perfect sweet spot between sweet and sour. Once it has reached a bitter enough taste for your liking, the first fermentation is complete.
4. Optional: 2nd Fermentation
We technically now have jun kombucha, but if you want some extra carbonation, you can put your jun through a 2nd fermentation.
You can do this by pouring your jun into brewing bottles, which will sit at room temperature for 4-6 days.
Also save 2 cups of it for starter tea for your next brew.
You can now make some more honey tea and start a new brew of kombucha if you want. Then ideally, by the time you’re done drinking the brew your making right now, the next batch will be just finishing.
5. Refrigerate and Drink Up
After the 4-6 days have passed, refrigerate the unopened bottles of jun kombucha. The cold air in the refrigerator will slow down the fermentation process and calm the carbonation, decreasing the likelihood of an explosion when you open them.
If when you open the bottles there isn't enough carbonation, you can place them back at room temperature for a few days and they’ll resume the fermentation process and develop more carbonation.
After the bottles have been chilled, it's time to drink up! Congrats on making your very own jun kombucha!
Jun kombucha is a really interesting alternative to classic booch. With it’s added health benefits and unique taste, I definitely recommend you give the “champagne of kombucha” a try.
If you want to learn more about kombucha, how it relates to your health, and extra brewing tips, check out the rest of my website!