WHAT IS JUN?Jun pronounced (/juhn/) or “Xun”
Jun SCOBYs looks very much like a kombucha SCOBYs that have been brewed in green tea and sugar.
Many of the descriptions you will get of Jun when searching on Google will describe Jun as the Champagne of kombucha, it’s just like comparing Champange with Wine when comparing Jun with Kombucha.
The difference is that kombucha is usually made with black tea and sugar BUT Jun is quite happy living on Green tea and Honey. Jun has a quicker fermentation cycle than kombucha and can tolerate lower temperatures.
History & Origins of JUN
Jun is widely found today in western Tibet although it’s actual history is shrouded in rumor and mystery.
Some Jun dealers claim that the earliest writings about Jun tea date back to 600 B.C. in Northeast China where the elixir was valued for its ability to open energy (chi) in the body and increase circulation. Unfortunately, no source for these “earliest writings” is actually given.
“Heirloom” Jun cultures were at one stage so rare, that there have been robberies of Jun cultures reported by specialty fermentation dealers in recent years with distribution of daughter cultures of the stolen originals ending up in Hawaii in Colorado.
Here’s what the well respected fermented food revivalist Sandor Katz has to say about the origins of the Jun culture:
“The lack of credible information on the history of Jun leads me to the conclusion that it is a relatively recent divergence from the kombucha family tree. Some websites claim that it comes from Tibet, where it has been made for 1000 years; unfortunately, books on Tibetan food, and even a specialized book on Himalayan ferments, contain no mention of it. Whether or not it has a 1,000-year-old history, it is quite delicious.”
There is this much of a debate about Jun SCOBYs being from Tibet and then others recon that Jun SCOBYs are made from kombucha SCOBYS that was fed with green tea and honey.
Well, when looking at the basics of biology you’d see that adaptation is one of the 7 characteristics of life, SCOBYs are alive with beneficial microorganisms and it’s definitely possible for them to adapt and live from green tea + honey instead of black tea + sugar.
The lacking evidence of the origins of these JUN SCOBYS have me thinking that some or other genius converted a kombucha SCOBY into a green tea loving “Jun” culture.. but that’s my opinion.
Some people have compared Jun Kombucha Hybrids with “Hierloom” Jun cultures and claim that there is definitley a diffrence in taste and character and others claim that there’s none.. sales talk.. who will ever truly know?
Not so long ago,
in South Africa, it was VERY difficult to get hold of Jun SCOBYs and I’ve decided that it wouldn’t hurt to try and convert a Kombucha SCOBY into a Green tea honey loving culture.
the cultures made a bit too much of a sediment that accumulated at the bottom of the jar.. and I didn’t like the end result much..
Some time passed,
I bought a Kombucha culture from Hanna @ Kombucha kamp and I got curious again. You’ll know why I did it and maybe feel the same way if you are a true kombucha brewer and enthusiast. Here’s why: No one’s kombucha tastes exactly the same and sometimes one has to wonder if it’s good advertisement or weather the cultures are really as good.. so I gave it another try and the last attempt worked well! The sediment is less and it taste good but I have to admit that there’s still more sediment forming at the bottom of my Kombucha JUN jar compared to a Traditional Kombucha brew.
~ a true kombucha brewer ALWAYS want to taste the brew of another enthusiast because the end result is always diffrent – even if you brew it from the same mother! and that’s what makes the world of kombucha brewing so unique and wonderful!
Here’s a simple way to convert a normal kombucha SCOBY into a Honey loving kombucha JUN SCOBY.
Some suggest that you convert the SCOBY gradually but, Really, you can go ahead and start feeding a kombucha SCOBY in some starter liquid with green tea and honey as soon as you decide that you are ready for it.
What you’ll need:
To make about 1 liter of JUN You’ll need 1/4 – 1/2 cup of starter liquid (finished kombucha or JUN tea), 1/4 cup of honey, 3 1/2 cups of water, 2-3 Green teabags.
You’ll need a pot to boil your water in measuring cups and a sieve if you are using loose tea leaves. You’ll also need a breathable cloth, rubber band and a big enough jar. This recipe is for making 3 liters of JUN.
Temperature & fermentation time
KOMBUCHA : 25°C – 28°C Fermentation Time: 7 days +
JUN: 20°C – 26°C Fermentation time: 4-6 days
Some say Jun has a higher Alcohol percentage which can range up to 2% where Kombucha’s alcohol percentage remains 0.5% and lower. But, as you may know, the brewing + bottling time and temperatures, second fermentation and flavoring are all influencing factors. AND These types of ferments can’t be accurately measured for alcohol content as you would by measuring wine or beer and this is because of the Acetic Acid that keeps on converting the alcohol formed with beneficial acids and the bubbles as byproduct – if you leave it long enough it will eventually turn into vinegar.
- 6-8 Green Tea Bags or 6 teaspoons Loose Green Tea Leaves
- 1 1/2 -2 cups of Starter – JUN or Kombucha starter tea if it’s your first batch
- 1 cup Honey – This can be raw honey too
- 12-14 cups Water – fluoride & Chlorine free water
- Make your tea. Start by bringing your water to a boil.
- Add the honey and teabags
- let your tea steep for 15 minutes
- Remove the tea bags and let it cool to room temperature
- Add the tea to the Culture & Starter Tea.
- Let it ferment for 4-6 days
- Taste test on day 3 – if it’s still a bit sweet then you should let it go a bit more if it’s too sour then let it ferment for a shorter time period next time. If you leave it too long it will become vinegar!
The recipe above is for the first fermentation.
The second fermentation is about flavoring and carbonation. After the first ferment you’ll want to bottle your JUN, you can add some flavoring like
- a 1/4 cup of fruit – fresh dried or frozen
- Herbs or spices
- Jam or fruit juice of your choice..
- or more honey
add your flavors of choice, close your bottle tightly and let it ferment for another 3 – 4 days.
Most of the sugar will be converted by the beneficial yeast + bacteria resulting in a flavorful probiotic carbonated beverage.
Share with your friends and let me know what you think of the conversion.. what’s your experience?
Does Authentic Jun taste different from the Jun made of a KombuchaJun Hybrid?
Come chime in on the FB group.