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Jun! New Culture or Honey Kombucha Hybrid?


For some of you, this culture is old news . . . for others, you may have never heard of it. Jun is a cultured food similar to kombucha but supposedly its own separate thing. It is brewed with a SCOBY culture that is light in color and is made using green tea and honey. It ferments for a few days less than kombucha and has a wonderfully tangy floral taste that is lighter than traditional kombucha. There is VERY little history on Jun, unlike kombucha which can be dated back thousands and thousands of years. Jun is said to have been brought over by travelers who visited a monastery in the Himalayas and discovered this “unique” and wonderful drink. It is said to be “sacred.”

According to food writer Sandor Katz, “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.”

Jun Kombucha

Is Jun really kombucha made with honey?

This, in our personal opinion, is more likely. In the past I have not recommended the substitution of honey (especially raw honey) in place of sugar to make kombucha (due to honey’s naturally antimicrobial qualities), after MONTHS of experimenting, we have made dozen and dozens of very healthy batches of “Jun” using a kombucha SCOBY and kombucha starter tea.

In the beginning, we tried to ease the SCOBY into it using only 1/4 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of honey and increasing it every week, but after weeks of wonderful brews we dove right in and took a brand new SCOBY and starter tea and made a batch using all honey. And voila! Success! We’ve repeated this process dozens of times, including using raw honey (which would no longer be raw once added to boiling or hot water) and each brew has turned out great!

Remember that honey is a prebiotic too and this feeds good bacteria and makes it grow – which is a very good thing.

No need for a Jun-specific culture

Yeast Sediment

In our opinion, there is no need for a separate Jun-specific culture. Just use a SCOBY from your kombucha and brew away!

A few notes: *This will produce a very light SCOBY as the ingredients you will be using are light in color and this is normal. It is said to produce better at cooler temperatures, although I haven’t found this to be the case. But again, we are using a traditional kombucha SCOBY. However, I have tasted both “authentic” Jun and our own honey “Jun” Kombucha and could tell no difference.

*Our Jun/honey kombucha seems to produce MORE yeast sediment than (sugar) kombucha as seen in the bottom of our brews. So don’t be concerned if you notice this. It’s just the process of fermentation when you’re using honey.

Does Jun have more alcohol?

It is said that Jun can have UP TO 2% alcohol (first ferment). However, we do know a kombucha brewer who has started a wonderful kombucha bar in Tustin, California. She makes “authentic” Jun and has had it, as well as her regular kombucha, tested in lab and hasn’t seen any difference in alcohol content. She finds her Jun brews to be very, very low alcohol content, just like kombucha. But, you would have to personally test your Jun to be one hundred percent sure of the alcohol content, so keep this in mind. It may not be as friendly a ferment in this regard. Personally, we didn’t notice a difference until we second fermented it. When second fermenting with Jun/honey kombucha, the alcohol content can rise if you are not careful. Do not second ferment Jun/honey kombucha that is very sweet or you will wind up with a more alcoholic beverage. Honey is highly beneficial and the flavor of the Jun/honey kombucha by itself, with no second fermenting, is carbonated and lovely and has its own unique benefits due to the benefits found in honey itself. So don’t be scared!

*Always keep an extra kombucha SCOBY and starter on hand in case you need a back up.

Whether you believe in the mythical tales of the sacred Jun culture or lean more to the Kombucha hybrid side, it is nice to know you can use honey when making kombucha and not worry about harming your brew.

Check out the recipe if you want to try some Jun.

Jun Kombucha
Traditional "Jun" is said to be a completely different culture than kombucha.  Jun is made with honey and green tea. There are some who believe it is just a hybrid of the traditional kombucha SCOBY. In any case, this is our kombucha version of Jun and to learn more check out this blog: Jun! New Culture or Honey Kombucha Hybrid? ~Donna
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  1. Bring 12 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add honey and dissolve.
  3. Add tea bags to water and honey.
  4. Turn off heat and let brew for at least 5-10 minutes.
  5. Strain your tea, if necessary, into your brewing vessel. Let cool.
  6. Once completely cool, add your kombucha starter liquid and SCOBY.
  7. Cover with a thin cloth or a towel and rubber band to secure.
  8. Brew on countertop from 6-14 days. Houses warmer than 70 degrees will take less time than cooler houses.
  9. When your Jun Honey Kombucha is to your taste, you can drink right away or store in bottles in the fridge.
  10. Reserve 1 cup of starter liquid to use with your next brew.
    Reserve 1 cup of starter liquid to use with your next brew.
Recipe Notes

When second fermenting with Jun/honey kombucha, the alcohol content can rise if you are not careful. Do not second ferment Jun/honey kombucha that is very sweet or you will wind up with a more alcoholic beverage. Honey is highly beneficial and the flavor of the Jun/honey kombucha by itself, with no second fermenting, is carbonated and lovely and has its own unique benefits due to the benefits found in honey itself. So don't be scared!

Make a note, there will be more sediment at the bottom than your regular kombucha brew.




18 Responses to "Jun! New Culture or Honey Kombucha Hybrid?"
  1. Hi Donna—I have matcha green tea powder that I would love to try this jun recipe with because I understand it is super nutritious–do you know how much is equivalent to 5 green tea bags? Can I mess up the ratio of honey to tea by putting too much matcha powder in the batch? I was going to try 5 teaspoons matcha to replace 5 bags of green tea…what do you think?
    By the way, I tried this jun recipe with green tea bags and it is heavenly! I pre-dissolved the raw honey by stirring it around in some of the cooled tea instead of boiling it to preserve all the nutrients. I have been following you quietly Donna for several years now, but want to thank you so much–In my search to heal leaky gut, I found your website and recipes which got me into fermented foods which have changed my life and healed my body ( all that nutrition and probiotics!) I make Kombucha ( my favorite experiement: I second ferment a gallon with 1 orange and 4 dropperfuls of Sweet Leaf vanilla creme stevia mixed with 1quart water in my vitamix–tastes like orange julius! ) ; kefir —I make coconut or cashew kefir with raisins instead of dates–have used raisins for two years with great results— I use 1 can coconut milk , add 1/4 cup raisins, and 6 cups water –soak for the raisins for a while in the liquids, then blend in myVitamix —I let it sit 24 hours and it is nice and tangy–second ferment with some orange slices –yummy! —–and of course I make sauerkraut (which I turn into gut shot in my vita mix)–love your orange kraut recipe by the way!….thank you so so much for your continued inspiration and sharing–you are truly a ray of sunshine, hope and light!!! by the way, my husband looks 55 instead of 75 and when people comment about how young he looks, he tells everyone it’s because of all the amazing foods his wife feeds him! (cultured foods) haha Many Blessings, Donna, to you and your family– Sara

    • Thank you for such a lovely note and I’m so glad these foods are helping you and yours. I love your tips and will have to try some of these for myself. I’m glad you like the orangeade kraut its one of my favorites too.

      About the matcha kombucha, we really have only second fermented with matcha powder since the actual tea is still left in the brew. You can experiment with this and we will too but we don’t actually know how it will work. Make sure you save an extra scoby and starter tea just in case it doesn’t work and keep us posted!

  2. I haven’t tried alternating it but I dont see why it would be a problem. Also You can use black tea or rooibus as well green tea is just the traditional one used for “Jun” and it gives it an even lighter flavor 🙂
    The Team at CFL

  3. Can you just boil 4 cups of water in which you would steep your tea & disolve your honey ( or sugar for kombucha) and then add 8 cups of cool filtered water? Is there a need to boil all 12 cups of water? It just takes longer to cool.

  4. Hi Donna,
    Are you saying that you just use your regular kombucha scoby with honey as the sweetener and this makes it Jun. Just want to understand.

  5. Hello Donna,

    I read your article about Jun. I wanted to tell you that I never put the raw honey in the hot tea before it cools because it destroys some of the good stuff in the honey. I mix it into a cup or so of the cooled tea in a small container so it is easier to mix (still kind of hard, but it works), and then I add it to the large batch of green tea once I get it dissolved and worked into the small amount of the cooled tea in the smaller container. I guess you could use a mixer to go faster but I don’t, just work it and spread the clump around the edges of the container I use for mixing and eventually it gets incorporated, then it is added to large batch and then poured into my fermenting jugs with my scoby. In 3 days it is ready to bottle and then in 2 days it’s ready to drink. I bottle it with 2 oz of organic fruit juice that I have added a little more honey to and put in each grolsch bottle and fill it up with the Jun, to add flavor to my finished drink. Always turns our delicious and very fizzy. I buy my organic green “gunpowder tea” from Mountain Rose Herbs and organic honey that is raw and unfiltered from Y.S. Bee Farms that I order the 2 lb. jar from Vitacost.com at a darn good price, I think.

    Hope this was helpful.

    Jeanne Katz

  6. It doesn’t sound like it would hurt to alternate between honey kombucha and regular kombucha using the same scoby, correct?

    I would not mind a higher alcohol content. This would make jun an interesting beer alternative.

  7. Darling D
    I’ve been silently following you for a long time. And am a huge fan!! Kudos!!
    But I had to speak up. I understand that you are making a Hybrid. But I thought I’d add some notes on traditional Jun.
    My family has been making Jun for years. And am a bee-keeper. I just had to make a peep.

    Please! Don’t add honey to hot water! It kills the benificials of honey. Steep your tea first and allow your tea to cool. Also, I use raw honey all the time.
    Ferment your Jun in a DARK space.
    I notice you don’t include the 2nd ferment in your recipe.
    At #8 add your fruit, vegetable, spices, herbs or flavoring. Divide your Jun into bale top bottles. Place them back into your ferment cabinet. GENTLY “Burp” the bottles every couple days. This is best done in the sink, as it can be VERY carbonated.
    One of my favorites is 1 cup lemon + 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper. (lovely in a margarita!)
    You can make it savory or sweet. The only limit is your imagination.

    Thanks for such a great site!!

    • Thanks for the info and that’s good to know. It such a help to have other fermenters offer their experience. I love that you’re a beekeeper, which means you have lots of wisdom to help others. Thanks again!

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