What Is Jun Kombucha?
Jun tea is a delightful fermented tonic that is cultured with honey in a base of green tea. It is known as the “champagne of kombucha” because of its soft, light flavor and plentiful carbonation. It differs from kombucha in that it cultures best with green tea and raw honey, while kombucha thrives in black tea and sugar. It is truly a delicacy.
The history and origins of jun tea are mysterious. Some speculate that this close member of the kombucha family was a spiritual elixir originating in regions of northern China and Tibet. Others, however, think that it is a more recent deviation from kombucha.
Jun tea requires a specific mother culture or SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), which can be purchased online. The organisms within the culture are responsible for turning sweet tea into a fermented beverage high in probiotics, enzymes, vitamin C, the B vitamin family, and some amino acids. Over time, jun SCOBYs produce new SCOBYs, which can be used in your home fermentation, given to a friend, or even consumed if desired. Similar to other ferments, the beneficial microbes present in jun help give the gut and immune system a boost.
1 Gallon filtered water
1 jun SCOBY
1 cup raw honey
1 cup plain jun from previous batch
4 teaspoons organic green tea
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, remove the pot from the burner and add the loose tea or teabags and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. I allow my tea to steep in the pan on top of the stove away from the heat. Once steeped, remove your teabags or strain loose tea into another vessel such as a Pyrex liquid measuring cup. Allow the tea to cool to about 100-115 degrees. It is important that you not add the raw honey when the tea is above 115 degrees, as it will kill the beneficial enzymes in the honey needed for proper culturing. Stir until well incorporated.
In a one-gallon jar, add your sweetened tea, jun starter, and SCOBY. Then fill with filtered water up to the “shoulders” of the jar. Cover with a fabric scrap or cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. Set the vessel in a dark place or wrap it in a towel to keep out light. Allow the jun to ferment for roughly three days. Stick a straw beneath the SCOBY to sample the flavor if needed. In my home, it takes three days in the summer and four days in the winter because of the differences in temperature. Ideally, jun tea fermentation thrives between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the fermentation process is complete, reserve one cup of jun to be used as a starter as well as the SCOBY for your next batch.