Kombucha is the latest health drink craze. Celebrities like Madonna, Meg Ryan and Gwyneth Paltrow have been snapped drinking it. ‘Paleo King’ Pete Evans has it on the menu of his trendy new Brisbane restaurant, Asana. I even found a bottle in our small rural supermarket! But , the so-called ‘Çhampagne of ’s” remains relatively unknown. Like , is a , fizzy fermented beverage made using a gelatinous blob of cellulose called a  (Symbiotic, Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) that feeds on tea and a sweetener. Whereas Kombucha is made with black tea and sugar however, Jun is fed with and , which makes it lower in caffeine and more sustainable. Although Jun and Kombucha are very similar, a Jun Scoby is made of a different combination of yeasts and bacteria so you can’t just convert a Kombucha SCOBY to brew Jun.  Here are some of the main differences between the two:

Differences between Jun and Kombucha

  • Cleaner, sweeter and less bitter taste than Kombucha, with the distinct flavour of honey
  • Lighter colour SCOBY and paler beverage
  • More sediment in the brewing vessel
  • Feeds on honey and green tea rather than black tea and sugar
  • Uses less concentrated tea to brew than kombucha (1/2 ratio tea to water of Kombucha) and the tea is steeped in cooler water
  • Jun culture contains a different yeast and bacteria profile with a higher lactobacillus content
  • Brews faster (3-6 days)
  • Produces ‘daughter’ scobies more slowly
  • Generally has higher alcohol content than Kombucha around 2 % compared to 0.5%
  • Jun ferments at a lower temperature, so for people in cooler climates does not require a heater. The ideal temperature to brew Jun is 20-25°C, for  Kombucha it is 25.5-29°C.

 

Kombucha and Jun
Left: Jun, Right: Kombucha

 

I enjoy both Kombucha and Jun, but my husband much prefers the summery, sweet taste of the latter. Unfortunately, the honey works out more expensive than sugar, but once I have my own hives that will all change!

How to Make Jun with A SCOBY

 Ingredients

  • 1 Jun SCOBY*
  • 1/2 cup of Honey (I buy organic local honey in refillable containers)
  • 2 teabags Organic Green tea bags or loose green tea (I use local Nerada Green Tea)
  • 8 cups non-chlorinated Water
  • 1/2 cup Starter tea

*I have not seen Jun beverages sold commercially, so you can’t just buy a bottle and try to grow a SCOBY from that as you can with Kombucha. You can generally find them on eBay, in Facebook fermented food groups or from online retailers such as Kombucha Kamp (USA). For more information about how a SCOBY works see my post on ‘Making Kombucha with a SCOBY’

Equipment

Never use any metal equipment with ferments, choose either plastic or glass.

  • Glass jar
  • Plastic funnel
  • Measuring cups
  • Food Thermometer
  • T-shirt material or clean tea-towel*
  • Elastic headband, rubber bands or similar(to hold the material/teatowel over the jar)
  • Long handled plastic spoon
  • Air-tight bottles (If using glass flip-top bottles use strong ones that can withstand pressure to avoid explosions)

* Fruit flies love Jun and can get through cheesecloth

Methods

I currently make a double batch so the photos below depict twice the ingredients listed. It is best to start with the smaller recipe then increase (if needed) after the first couple of batches.

Step 1. Clean the glass vessel and your hands thoroughly, then add the tea.

Step 2. Boil 4 cups of water then cool to 73°C before pouring over the tea bags. Brewing at higher temperatures will destroy the polyphenols in the green tea

Step 3. Steep for 2 minutes then remove the tea bags

Step 4.  Add the honey and stir until dissolved in the water. If using raw honey, wait until the tea cools so that you do not destroy the benefits of the raw honey.

Step 5. Add remaining water cold, cover then leave to stand until the tea cools to 20-25°c

Step 6. Add Jun starter liquid (liquid from last brew) and the SCOBY, whitest side up. Cover with the material/tea-towel and secure in place with the elastic band.

Step 7. Leave in a dark spot to ferment for 3- 7 days. The amount of time needed will depend on personal taste. The tea should be sweet, with a sour tang. I find that after three days, the Jun is far too sweet for me to drink, but my husband loves it. Very mature Jun is sour, vinegary and less fizzy.  I often leave mine much longer than recommended as I like it sour, but I add some newer Jun to the mix for extra fizz. The mother SCOBY often sinks to the bottom when first added, it may remain there, float to the surface or stay in the middle, but the end result will be the same.

Step 8. Remove the SCOBY and place in a bowl with the portion of Jun tea reserved for brewing the next batch, then begin preparing new sweet tea (return to step 1). Pour fermented Jun tea into an airtight bottle with your flavouring of choice leaving approximately 2 inches of air space at the top. During second fermentation, I often use blueberries, strawberries or lemon and ginger. My favourite addition is 3 tablespoons of blended pineapple which makes a seriously fizzy ferment.

Step 11. Leave the Jun to ferment in the bottles for 1- 2 days, then store in the fridge. If you are worried about explosions, burp the bottle after the first day. If the liquid rushes to the surface when you open the bottle, move to the fridge immediately. I have never had any issues with exploding bottles with any of my ferments,  but I have heard that it has happened to others so use strong bottles that can withstand some pressure. Always open carefully over the sink.

Step 12. With time, older scobies can start to discolour and look past their best. When this happens, simply allow the brew to stand longer to encourage the Jun to produce a new SCOBY and discard the old one.  If I bottle the Jun every three days I find that it is not long enough to produce a new SCOBY, or it makes a wafer thin SCOBY that is hard to handle and does not work well. If I leave the Jun to stand for a week or more, eventually a new SCOBY is produced.

Jun - Honey and Green Tea Alternative to Kombucha
 
How to make Jun, 'the Champagne of Kombucha's'.
Author:
Recipe type: Fermented Drink
Ingredients
  • 1 Jun SCOBY*
  • ½ cup of Honey
  • 2 teabags Organic Green tea bags or loose green tea
  • 8 cups non-chlorinated Water
  • ½ cup Starter tea
  • Equipment
  • Never use any metal equipment with ferments, choose either plastic or glass.
  • Glass jar
  • Plastic funnel
  • Measuring cups
  • Food Thermometer
  • T-shirt material or clean tea-towel
  • Elastic headband, rubber bands or similar (to hold the material/teatowel over the jar)
  • Long handled plastic spoon
  • Air-tight bottles (If using glass flip-top bottles use strong ones that can withstand pressure to avoid explosions)
Instructions
  1. Clean glass vessel and your hands thoroughly, then add the tea.
  2. Boil 4 cups of water then cool to 73°C before pouring over the tea bags. Brewing at higher temperatures will destroy the polyphenols in the green tea
  3. Steep for 2 minutes then remove the tea bags
  4. Add the honey and stir until dissolved in the water. If using raw honey, wait until the tea cools so that you do not destroy the benefits of the raw honey.
  5. Add remaining water cold, cover then leave to stand until the tea cools to 20-25°c
  6. Add Jun starter liquid (liquid from last brew) and the SCOBY, whitest side up. Cover with material/tea-towel and secure in place with elastic band.
  7. Leave in a dark spot to ferment for 3- 7 days. The amount of time needed will depend on personal taste. The tea should be sweet, with a sour tang. The mother SCOBY often sinks to the bottom when first added, it may remain there, float to the surface or stay in the middle, but the end result will be the same.
  8. Remove the SCOBY and place in a bowl with the portion of Jun tea reserved for brewing the next batch, then begin preparing new sweet tea (return to step 1). Pour fermented Jun tea into an airtight bottle with your flavouring of choice leaving approximately 2 inches of air space at the top. During second fermentation, I often use blueberries, strawberries or lemon and ginger. My favourite addition is 3 tablespoons of blended pineapple which makes a seriously fizzy ferment.
  9. Leave the Jun to ferment in the bottles for 1- 2 days, then store in the fridge. If you are worried about explosions, burp the bottle after the first day. If the liquid rushes to the surface when you open the bottle, move to the fridge immediately. I have never had any issues with exploding bottles with any of my ferments, but I have heard that it has happened to others so use strong bottles that can withstand some pressure. Always open carefully over the sink.
  10. With time, older scobies can start to discolour and look past their best. When this happens, simply allow the brew to stand longer to encourage the Jun to produce a new SCOBY then discard the old one.

 


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