Jun, also known as “champagne of kombucha”, is a honey-based kombucha. Check out our recipe to make this refreshing probiotic drink at home!
Go straight to the section:
- Ingredients for making jun
- Activating the jun scoby
- Jun recipe
- Storing the jun scoby
- Frequently asked questions
What Are the Differences Between Jun and Kombucha?
Jun and kombucha are both fizzy beverages made from fermented sweet tea. Although they are similar, they are slightly different.
Jun is made from tea and honey. It has a slight taste and is very fizzy. Jun is also less acidic than kombucha, as the two cultures contain slightly different microorganisms.
Kombucha, on the other hand, is made from tea and sugar. It has a stronger bitterness and is slightly more acidic than jun. Kombucha contains microorganisms that could struggle to consume honey and are accustomed to white sugar.
Despite these differences, jun and kombucha are similar in the preparation and maintenance of the cultures.
Most of the tips we provide for fermenting kombucha can also be applied to fermenting jun. Our recipes, guides, and articles on kombucha can easily be adapted.
What Ingredients Are Required to Make Jun?
Jun can be made with ingredients that are easy to find at home.
Any honey can be used in the preparation of jun.
Unpasteurized honey is ideal, as it naturally contains microorganisms that complete the fermentation process. Raw, unpasteurized honey adds a lot of flavour and character to jun!
The quality of the honey and its properties will have an impact on the flavour profile of the jun produced. Try clover honey, buckwheat honey, or blueberry honey… and compare the results!
Green tea is often used to prepare jun. It gives a sweet jun and allows room for honey and fermentation flavours.
However, any type of tea can be used: black tea, green tea, oolong tea, etc. Each tea gives a different flavour profile.
The teas must be unflavoured (no other ingredients than tea). Flavoured teas can be harmful to the health of the jun culture.
Water is the most important ingredient in terms of quantity. Make sure you use good quality water that does not smell or taste like chlorine.
Filtered water is adequate. If your water is highly chlorinated, let it sit on the counter for a few hours, or boil it to get rid of the smell. Don’t forget to let it cool down before preparing your jun!
For more information, see Which water for my fermentations?
Jun scoby, also called jun culture, is a colony of bacteria and yeast that together can turn tea and honey into a fizzy drink.
Without jun scoby, no jun!
If you know someone who makes jun, you can ask them to share their culture with you. Otherwise, you can buy a jun scoby.
Only have a kombucha scoby on hand? See Can I use a kombucha scoby to make jun? to find out where to start.
What Equipment Do I Need to Make Jun?
Jun is an aerobic fermentation, which means that it needs oxygen to ferment successfully.
- Fermentation jar: A glass jar with a wide opening is ideal for fermenting jun.
- Breathable and elastic fabric: To allow air to circulate, attach a breathable fabric to the opening of the jar. Use tightly woven cotton, but not cheesecloth, as the holes are too large and let insects through.
- Bottles: Use pressure resistant bottles to bottle your jun. Decorative bottles or mason jars are not suitable, as they are not strong enough.
Other equipment such as a kettle, a funnel, or a ladle are very useful for preparing jun.
Any questions? Check out our complete guide: What equipment for homemade kombucha?
How to Activate a Jun Scoby?
Have you just received your jun scoby? Before your first recipe, you need to activate it.
This activation will make the jun scoby more acidic and will help guide the fermentation process.
Honey contains lots of wild yeast. To help the jun culture overpower the yeast and ferment well, make sure it is acidic enough.
- Place the jun scoby and its liquid in a jar.
- Add 1 tsp. of pasteurized white vinegar or lemon juice.
- Cover the jar with the cloth and rubber band.
- Allow the culture to activate for 1 week at room temperature.
This step is only required for the first use.
You can also skip the reactivation if you are using pasteurized honey.
How to Make Jun Tea (Honey Kombucha)
- 1 Funnel
- 10 cups filtered water
- 1 jun scoby and its liquid starter (about 1½ cup)
- 2 tbsp. tea
- 1 cup honey
- Place the tea bag in the jar.
- Pour 500 ml of boiling water and let infuse for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bag.
- Add the honey and stir until it's dissolved.
- Add the rest of the cold water, until you get 3 litres.
- Add the jun scoby with its liquid culture.
- Cover the container with the cloth and the rubber band.
- Let it ferment for 5 to 12 days at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
- As of day 5, taste once a day. As soon as the acidity is to your liking, it is time to bottle.
- Set aside the scoby along with some jun (about 500 ml) for your next recipe. Store in the fridge.
- Transfer the jun into pressure resistant bottles. Fill to within 5 cm of the rim and close tightly.
- If you want a fizzier jun, let the bottles ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 days.
- Put in the fridge as soon as the jun is fizzy (be careful with the pressure).
How to Flavour Jun?
Plain jun is delicious, but you can customize it by flavouring it to your taste.
Add your favourite ingredients after removing the jun scoby. We don’t want to contaminate it.
You can add the ingredients directly into the jar or bottles.
Ideas for flavouring your jun:
- Fruit juice (orange, cranberry, etc.)
- Infusions (mint, chamomile)
- Fruit pieces (strawberry, blackberry, apple, orange, etc.)
- Spices (ginger, cinnamon, etc.)
For more information, see our Guide to flavouring kombucha. Promise, it works for jun too! You can also check out our Kombucha Recipes and adapt them.
How to Store Your Jun Scoby?
Before bottling your jun, collect the white layer and about 2 cups (500 ml) of plain jun. This will allow you to restart your next recipe.
If you are not using it immediately, place the jun scoby in an airtight container in the fridge. The jun scoby can be active for up to 6 months.
To restart the fermentation, simply add the jun scoby to a new recipe.
For other storage methods, see How do I store my kombucha scoby? The same principles apply to jun scoby, as long as you replace the sugar with honey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Crystallized Honey to Make Jun?
Yes, it is possible to use crystallized honey. Melt the honey in a double boiler to liquefy it. It will be easier to dilute in the tea.
At What Temperature Should I Ferment Jun?
Jun prefers temperatures between 20 and 25°C (68 and 75°F).
As jun ferments very quickly, we like to keep the temperature a little cooler. This results in more balanced flavours and a rounder profile.
The fermentation temperature should remain between 18 and 30°C (64 and 86°F).
Does Jun Contain Alcohol?
Jun contains some residual alcohol, the amount of which varies from recipe to recipe. Most jun contain between 1 and 2% alcohol. For informed consumers!
To reduce the amount of alcohol, follow the instructions in our Recipe for sugar and alcohol-free kombucha, replacing the sugar with honey.
Can I Use a Kombucha Scoby to Make Jun With Honey?
It is possible to ferment honey with a kombucha scoby, but it takes time to adjust.
The microorganisms of the kombucha and jun cultures are slightly different. The jun culture is adapted to fight the natural yeasts in honey and contains more lactic acid bacteria (milder taste) than the kombucha scoby.
A kombucha scoby can be accustomed to fermenting honey. Follow these tips:
- Start with recipes that are half white sugar, half honey
- Gradually increase the amount of honey
- Use black tea to start
- Choose pasteurized honey
This gradual adaptation helps the microorganism colony to get accustomed to the new food source.
My Jun Scoby Looks Like an Alien. Is This Normal?
Jun scobys are often thinner and look stranger than kombucha scobys.
The fermentation of jun is very active, which creates a lot of bubbles and prevents the creation of a uniform scoby.
Jun scobys often sink to the bottom of the jar. They sometimes rise or merge with the younger scobys.
There may also be formations of yeast clumps and tea residues. These are brown or green clumps that stick together under the surface of the jun scoby.
In any case, this is normal!
To recognize moulds or problems, see our FAQ: Is my kombucha scoby normal?