Jun is quite similar to kombucha. It is often referred to as the “champagne of kombucha” due to its delicate qualities. It is still a fermented sweet tea, and uses a SCOBY, however it is a little different. You can not use a kombucha scoby to make jun. Pure jun scobies are extremely rare to come by and you need to make sure you source your jun scoby from a reputable seller (This is me! Feel free to contact me if you would like to start brewing your own jun). When you make kombucha, you grow a kombucha ‘baby’ each time you brew. However, jun can be very temperamental and will sometimes need a few brews in order to make a new scoby, and even then it will not be nice and thick like kombucha scobies.
Jun is effervescent, and is lighter, fizzier, and a faster brew than kombucha. It uses less tea, and takes less time to steep and brew. I also find I am able to digest it much easier. It tends to be cloudier and contains more yeast and I personally find it has more depth of flavour. Unlike kombucha, when you leave it too long it tends to turn to vinegar, jun is different and turns more ‘dry’, yet still retains the complex honey characteristics and sweetness. It’s a faster brew because the sugars in the honey don’t need to be broken down as much as cane sugar does. However caution, it does have a higher alcohol content due to the differing levels of fructose, glucose, and other sugars in the honey (2+% rather than 0.5%)
It is simple to brew, requiring 5 ingredients and around 5 minutes of active time before being left to brew for a few days. I have been brewing jun for some time and have never encountered a problem, including the dreaded mould. I have compiled my top tips and the recipe that I use in my home. Much of my tips are the same as kombucha.
- Ferment in a glass container, or ceramic
- Do not let the scoby come into long exposure with metals or plastics (short exposure seems to be fine)
- Use filtered water. Tap water contains chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals that prevent bacteria from growing. We want bacteria to grow and thrive!
- Use green tea, any kind. Aim for organic tea, as conventional tea has extremely high levels of fluoride
- Only use honey to ferment. Never use another type of sugar, as you would not be making true jun
- Yes you do need the amount of sugar listed. This is what the bacteria feeds on. Any less and it may die. The bacteria ‘eats’ the sugar and releases carbon dioxide, so you are left with a low sugar content beverage
- It is not an exact science. I rarely measure my ingredients precisely. Especially the starter tea, I just add in whatever I have
- The starter tea helps ‘kick start’ the process and adds some acidity to help prevent any unwanted bacteria from forming
- Make sure the tea has cooled slightly before adding the honey. Too hot and all the beneficial enzymes will die. However too cool, and the honey may not dissolve
- Over time, the scoby usually floats to the top, however, sometimes scobies stay towards the bottom of the container. Jun does not always produce a new scoby every batch. It may take a few batches to have a scoby baby
- Jun needs oxygen to ferment. Keep loosely covered with a cloth/pillowcase/paper towel fastened with a rubber band to keep the ants and flies out.
- Keep away from sunlight (I keep mine in my kitchen cupboard.) Make sure it is away from the bin
- Depending on the temperature of the room, it will take anywhere from 3 days to 7 days to ferment. In summer it will ferment quite quickly. Have a taste test from day 3 and see if it’s to your liking. It shouldn’t be too sweet, but it’s to personal taste
- For every few batches of jun, there will be an additional scoby. The same scoby can be used indefinitely. Until you can gift your additional scobies to friends and family, you can store them in a ‘scoby hotel’. This is simply scobies stored in starter tea. Every few weeks or so, add sweetened tea so the scobies have new food to eat
- Ensure the sweetened tea has completely cooled before adding the scoby. Too hot and it may kill the scoby!
- A second ferment adds flavour (optional) and carbonates the drink so it’s fizzy. I find I don’t need to add flavouring to my jun as I simply love the taste how it is. I still do a second ferment for extra fizziness
- Fill the bottle until around 2/3 full for second fermentation. You need the airspace to allow for carbonation.. otherwise you could have explosions! If you want it fizzy, choose an air tight flip top bottle, otherwise any other glass container will work.