The Ultimate Guide to Making Jun Tea (Kombucha’s Sweeter Cousin)
Jun Tea, pronounced as ‘juhn’, is a fermented health drink thought to have originated in the East, is sometimes confused with its sister beverage, Kombucha. Both of these health tonics have quite a history to them, a lot of which is unknown and often full of myths.
Kombucha has become a well renowned health drink in Western society, while Jun is just starting to see more widespread popularity, though it’s still mostly unknown in mainstream health circles as of yet. This might sound odd seeing that Kombucha and Jun Tea are so similar.
The most apparent reason for this is a tradition of secrecy around Jun.
Jun Tea and kombucha are both brewed using a culture, often termed a ‘mother’, or SCOBY, which stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts. This is because the culture is made up of a cellulose mat which houses the bacteria and yeast species responsible for the fermentation process. The cultures are specific, so if you are about to start brewing Jun Tea, rather than attempt to use a kombucha SCOBY (you won’t really get Jun Tea from that), get your hands on a real Jun culture.
Jun Tea and kombucha are both brewed from sweetened tea. Kombucha uses black tea sweetened with white sugar, and Jun Tea is made with green tea sweetened with honey. The common denominators are a form of sucrose for the culture to feed on, and a tea type derived from the Camellia sinensis plant.
It is important that you use the right tea for Jun or kombucha, because the cultures have adapted themselves to feeding off of tea from the Camellia sinensis tea bush over hundreds, if not thousands of years. Using alternative teas such as herbal tea or even non-green teas (such as black tea) can damage your culture and lead to subpar ferments. There are certain ways to brew Jun with alternative teas, but before you try these methods out its best to get the hang of regular brewing first.
While there are some guidelines to follow and things to watch out for, brewing Jun Tea or kombucha is not difficult or complex. So relax, and read on to find out how to make your own Jun Tea, or as some say ‘champagne of kombucha.’
This is the most comprehensive tutorial on Jun Tea on the web (it’s nearly 6000 words). We spend a great deal of time discussing what Jun Tea is. But if you just want to skip all that awesome information and just get to brewing Jun tea, then go to our How to Make Jun Tea for Beginners section to get started brewing.
Table of Contents
Just as we thought we were the know-it-all’s of fermented foods and trending health topics – along comes Jun Tea. Search it, and you will find that almost every article which pops up starts off by calling it a mystic, mystical, mysterious fermented drink. Which makes one feel even more left out and confused! : )
So let’s get up to speed: Jun Tea is a fermented green tea and honey tonic, thought to have originated in the Far East. While both green tea and honey are widely acclaimed as health foods, once fermentation has taken place with the Jun culture, the mature Jun Tea is not only a pleasant fizzy, bubbly, sweat and tangy drink, but it is also an effective probiotic.
The easiest way to describe Jun Tea is like this: If Kombucha is a a man, dark, robust and strong, then Jun is a woman, light, subtle, and smooth.
A Family of Ferments
Jun Tea is sometimes called kombucha’s cousin, sister, or ‘the champagne of kombucha’. Just like kombucha, Jun Tea is fermented by a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts) culture. The Jun SCOBY looks almost identical to kombucha SCOBYs, except that it is a lot lighter in color.
Here’s a Picture of a June SCOBY
This is due to the fact the Jun is made with green tea and honey, as opposed to kombucha, which is (usually) made with black tea and white sugar. The black tea leads to staining of the SCOBY. It is also said that the Jun culture is more bacteria dense and contain fewer yeasts, which are also responsible for darker colored SCOBYs you see in Kombucha.
Here’s an image of Kombucha Tea and June Tea
As you can see, Jun Tea is quite a bit lighter in color than Kombucha, in part due to the Green Tea.
However, the Jun Scoby itself tends to be lighter in color, almost white in fact.
The flavor profile of Jun is lighter and more delicate that kombucha’s robust taste, and often more effervescent. As honey is the sweetener, different flavors originated from the type of honey used can come through as well.
Although there is not a whole lot of info on Jun Tea and no studies have been done, crazed claims abound regarding the powers that it holds. While these claims tend to put a person off rather than convince, the probiotic benefits of fermented foods are widely thought of today as fact. The exact makeup and effects of Jun Tea is undocumented, and unlike kombucha, there have not been any published studies done which we know of.
However as kombucha and Jun Tea’s cultures are so similar, and the ingredients are merely variations of the same thing (tea from the Camellia sinensis plant and a form of sucrose) it is reasonable to conclude that Jun Tea’s probiotic and other benefits are similar to those of kombucha.
While there is not much written history of Jun Tea available, the passed down stories usually tell of Jun Tea being used for the enhancement of energy, stamina and mental alertness.
The propagated air of mystery is a bit strange and hard to figure out, but perhaps it is a product of people’s desire to be a part of something which is not mainstream, and hints of old and special knowledge. From the different stories which are being repeated, it seems that Jun Tea, as opposed to kombucha, has always had this element of secrecy about it.
Regardless of the myths and hype, one thing remains absolutely true: Jun is absolutely delicious, and offers a far more complex and subtle level of flavor when compared to its cousin, Kombucha.
Where Does Jun Tea Come From?
Jun Tea is a fermented health drink very similar to the popular beverage kombucha. One of the striking differences is that while kombucha is all over the place, from high ranking blog posts and sleek new culinary books to old books and writings, Jun is not. In fact Jun Tea isn’t t well documented at all, and its origins are not recorded in any form except hearsay!
It seems possible that this lack of information might stem from a tradition associated with Jun Tea, which from all indication seems to be – to not talk about Jun Tea! This might sound super weird, but from what is published about Jun Tea, it appears that besides the basic brewing of the ferment, which is quite simple, there can also be traditions of spiritualism to go along with it. What practices these are is not detailed that much, but there does seem to be a suggestion of respect and awe of the Jun culture (which appears to include not talking too much about it).
Many people believe that the attitude one has towards food and things we create has a large impact on the invisible molecular structure. Perhaps the spiritualism towards Jun stems from a similar school of thought, and is implemented to ensure that the finished Jun Tea is of the highest quality. I think that also explains the playing of harps to kombucha and other strange stories I have come across!
As Rumor Has it…
Although there are no written records to go by, there is lots of hearsay and many different theories regarding where Jun comes from and its history. As rumor has it, Jun Tea originated in Northern China and Tibet where it was brewed by monks and spiritual warrior nomads.
On how old the tradition of brewing Jun Tea and the Jun culture is, there are quite a few claims saying that it is + 1000 years old. Some Jun dealers say that the use of Jun tea in China dates back to 600 B.C. Apparently it’s fundamental uses in Ancient China were to open chi in the body, increase circulation, and facilitate high level mental functioning.
The brewing of Jun Tea is considered by some schools of thought to be a scared activity whose end product is a beverage aimed to further enlightenment. It would seem that this philosophy is inherited from Jun Tea’s monastic origins. Still today there are many who feel that the brewing of Jun Tea for monetary reward is a sacrilege, and compromises the quality of the beverage from the start.
In addition to the habit of discretion surrounding Jun Tea, this aversion to any form of commercial production of Jun Tea goes a long way to explain why, while kombucha can be found on the refrigerator shelves of almost any health store in the US, Jun Tea is mostly unavailable.
Jun Tea requires honey while Kombucha does better on sugar. One probably reason, given that myths and legends tie Jun Tea to Tibet, is that refined sugar was difficult, if not impossible to acquire in that area. It makes more sense that pure honey was a far more readily accessible source of sucrose to feed the SCOBY. As such, the Kombucha SCOBY may have adapted to feed exclusively on honey. Another idea is that the Jun SCOBY is the original source of the Kombucha and that the SCOBY was later taken out of Tibet, into the lowlands, where refined sugar was more available than honey, and over time adapted to use sugar instead of honey, and thus Kombucha was born.
Regardless of the actual ‘how’ and ‘why’ of Jun tea, it remains that a true Jun SCOBY will only do well with honey.
The few Jun ‘dealers’ that there are, either claim that their cultures were procured on special trips to the Himalayas, or openly admit that they are ‘black market.’
If you were wondering if there is anything else which could give this fermented tea even more street cred; the one place in the States which does make and distribute Jun Tea en mass, got burgled for their culture stock. Not once, but twice!
What is in Jun Tea?
Jun Tea, kombucha’s pretty cousin, is a fizzy, effervescent sweet and tangy health drink. While it is brewed in exactly the same way as kombucha and probably has a similar set of health attributes, its ingredients are different.
Kombucha is made with black tea and sugar, but Jun Tea is brewed from green tea and honey. The tea strength and sweetness ratio comes out similar, but this difference in ingredients is responsible for some other changes.
Caffeine: Kombucha usually comes with a certain amount of caffeine in it because its main ingredient is black tea, which contains between 40-90 mg per cup. Because Jun Tea is made with green tea, it has significantly lower caffeine levels. Green tea contains between 25-70 mg caffeine per cup. As a frame of reference, coffee contains 150-200mg per cup.
Once the tea is fermented, these caffeine levels drop dramatically, as the SCOBY culture feeds on the caffeine. The SCOBY culture usually consumes 20-30% of the available caffeine during a normal brewing period. One can further reduce the caffeine content of your finished ferment by using a couple of decaffeinating tricks. To find out how to make decaffeinated kombucha and caffeine-free kombucha, you can read How to Brew Kombucha with Less Caffeine and How to Make Caffeine-Free Kombucha Tea.
Alcohol: In addition, Jun Tea contains a low amount of alcohol. While levels tend to differ from one batch to another, the average amount of alcohol in Jun Tea is 2%. Kombucha on the other hand usually contains about 0,5%. This number can be inflated by certain tricks, to produce alcohol kombucha.
Honey Enzymes & Nutrients: Jun Tea also contains all of the nutritional elements present in the honey used for making the sweet green tea base. These elements can vary immensely from batch to batch of honey – depending on what the type of bee was which produced the honey, which flower’s nectar it used etc.
However there are some fundamental components of honey which do not differ that much.
Honey contains varying levels of organic acids, vitamins, and enzymes:
- vitamin B6
- pantothenic acid
Minerals in Jun Tea:
Besides vitamins and minerals above, honey contains two antioxidant substances:
- phenolic acids
- and flavoniods, and eighteen amino acids and their corresponding enzymes.
- Honey is also known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
The fact that the sweetener for Jun Tea is honey, means that you will inadvertently be enjoying all of these nutritional components when drinking Jun Tea.
The other component of Jun Tea, green tea, is also a source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Green tea is probably most famous for its detoxifying power, which is mainly due to the polyphenols which it contains.
In addition green tea also contains small amounts of
- vitamin A
- vitamin C
- vitamin B1 & B12
- vitamin K
- vitamin P
- and traces of elements such as phosphorus and molybdenum.
Products of Fermentation
Although there have not been any studies or lab tests done to ascertain the exact nutritional components of Jun Tea, it is relatively safe to assume that they are pretty similar to kombucha’s. Kombucha is acclaimed for having a substantial amount of B vitamins and hard to find organic acids.
As Jun Tea is a product of fermentation, it also contains species of beneficial bacteria which assist in rebalancing the internal flora of the digestive system. The exact strains varying widely, as fermentations are usually influenced by which yeasts and bacteria are common to the locality in which the ferments are kept. However lab tested kombucha ferments generally contain Saccharomyces (one of the yeasts) and almost always Gluconacetobacter xylinus (one of the bacteria).
Is Jun Tea Any Different From Kombucha?
Yes. While they are very similar, Jun Tea does differ from kombucha. Some write ups list Jun Tea as another name for kombucha, but this is not correct.
Here’s a side by side comparison:
Like kombucha, Jun Tea also has a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeasts), is a fermented beverage made from sweetened tea, and is a probiotic. The health benefits and nutritional components are assumed to be very similar as well.
The June Tea SCOBY, however, is not the same as the Kombucha SCOBY and adapted for Green tea and Honey — likely over hundreds, even thousands of years. Thus, Kombucha and June are similar but not the same.
June Tea Requires Green Tea & Honey
Where things differ is that while kombucha is made with black and sugar, Jun Tea is made from green tea and honey. This difference causes a marked change in taste. Jun Tea is also usually more effervescent that kombucha.
Jun Tea Has a Lighter taste Than Kombucha
Most people describe Jun Tea as lighter, fresher, and more delicate in flavour than kombucha. Flavours from the honey used for the Jun’s sweet green tea base also come through, and these can vary depending on what types of nectar the honey happens to derive from.
Jun Tea is Less Tart
Kombucha can develop quite a strong acid tang, and although Jun Tea also gets progressively sourer the longer it is left to ferment, brewers say that it is more forgiving if left too long, and does not acquire quite such a potent sourness.
Shorter fermentation time & cooler brewing temps
An interesting difference between Jun Tea and kombucha, is that Jun Tea’s fermentation time is only 3 days, whereas kombucha’s can be anywhere between 7 and 30 days. Jun Tea’s preferred temperature range is also quite a bit lower that kombucha’s. The ideal band of temperature to brew kombucha is between 69-71o Fahrenheit (21-22o Celsius) and 82-84o Fahrenheit (28-29o Celsius). Jun however, does best between 68-77o Fahrenheit (20-25 Celsius).
June Tea Has Less caffeine
Because it is made with green tea, Jun Tea has lower levels of caffeine than kombucha. Black tea contains between 40-90 grams of caffeine, and once made into kombucha will contain approximately 8 to 25 grams of caffeine. Green Tea contains between 25-70 grams of caffeine per cup. The fermentation process brings down the caffeine levels, as the SCOBY culture feeds on the caffeine. The SCOBY will usually consume between 20-30% of caffeine present during an average brewing cycle. If you are interested in making reduced or caffeine-free brews, check out How to Brew Kombucha with Less Caffeine and How to Make Caffeine-Free Kombucha Tea.
Jun Tea Has More alcohol
Kombucha contains small amounts of alcohol, and so does Jun Tea.
The difference however is that while kombucha usually only contains about 0.05 to 1% alcohol, Jun Tea has about 2% on average.
Although this is quite a difference percentage wise, and Jun Tea is not potently alcoholic, many people who make Jun Tea do not give it their kids. This 2% is also maybe a good thing to keep in mind if you are going to be drinking a large glass of Jun Tea before driving anywhere. 2% is getting to the point where it’s lightly alcoholic (a beer has about 4 percent).
If you are interested in making more alcoholic versions of kombucha or Jun Tea, you can read How To Increase Alcohol Content Of Kombucha Tea and How To Make Kombucha Alcohol. The same principals apply to Jun Tea.
Jun Tea Ferments Better in Cooler Temperatures
Another difference is that Kombucha fermentation generally does better in warmer climates (76-82 degrees is the ideal fermentation) while Jun Tea’s ideal temperature is cooler — anywhere from 5-10 degrees less than Kombucha.
Although there is not a lot of info available on Jun Tea, there are numerous opinions stating that Jun Tea is a sort of ‘elixir of life’, and which attribute it with all sorts of benefits. These statements sound inflated and lack practical evidence. But what we can relatively and safely assume is that the health benefits of Jun Tea must be very similar, if not almost the same as those of kombucha.
Both kombucha and Jun Tea are ferments made from tea from the Camellia sinensis plant and a form of sucrose; in the case of Jun Tea green tea and honey, and in the case of kombucha black tea and sugar. Their cultures are almost identical in appearance, except for the fact that the culture of Jun Tea is lighter in color and contains fewer yeasts.
Until lab tests are done and the use of Jun Tea becomes better documented, we can only attribute the well known benefits of kombucha to this almost identical – but not quiet – sister ferment.
Being a product of fermentation, Jun Tea is a natural probiotic. Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria which assist to balance the microbial populations within the digestive tract. Healthy colonies of internal flora ensure that food is digested properly, nutrient absorption is at a maximum, and effective elimination is carried out. This is perhaps the backbone of Jun Tea and kombucha’s beneficial power. Enhanced uptake of nutrients means that you get more from the food that you eat, and proper elimination means that you are excreting all waste and toxins which the body does not need.
Source of vitamins & minerals
Kombucha is a source of vitamin B 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 and12, vitamin C, iron and zinc. Because Jun Tea is made from green tea and honey, this means that it will most probably also have small amounts of calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, and vitamin K derived from the honey and the green tea. Honey also contains two major antioxidant substances, phenolic acids and flavoniods, as well as up to 18 amino acids and their corresponding enzymes.
Source of organic acids
As with kombucha, Jun Tea is a source of organic acids. The main ones in kombucha are gluconic acid and acetic acid. These acids have some far reaching health benefits. Acetic acid is the one of the components which makes apple cider vinegar a health food. Organic acids have an alkalising effect on the body, and if consumed regularly can assist to balance ones ph level. High levels of acidity can lead to many different kinds of health problem, from arthritis to weight gain.
What To Drink Jun Tea For
Kombucha is taken by many people to assist with the following ailments. Not all of these different health areas have had research done on them in relation to the drinking of kombucha. Some of the problem fixing abilities of kombucha is documented merely on the testimonials of individuals. As Jun Tea nearly is not as widely used and analyzed as kombucha, for now we are going to have to assume that the health benefits are pretty similar based on how alike the two ferments are.
Health problems where kombucha/Jun Tea can help:
- Acidity and associated problems
- Arthritis and rheumatism
- Asthma and allergic conditions
- Bladder stones and kidney problems
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Constipation, diarrhoea and other digestion ailments
- Forms of cancers
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Skin disorders (eg. acne, psoriasis, eczema, atherosclerosis)
- Toxicity (eg gout)
There are more health conditions which people have claimed to have cured through the use of kombucha, but for the sake of reliability we have just listed the main ones.
Now that we’ve given you a complete guide ABOUT June tea, let’s talk about how to actually make it.
Hint: if you make Kombucha, it’s pretty much the same process!
1. The Jun SCOBY
The first thing you will need is a culture. If you are lucky enough to have a friend who is making Jun Tea, see if you can snag a culture from them. If not, the easiest place to lay your hands on one is probably online. You can always try asking around at your local farmer’s market, but since Jun Tea is not nearly as widespread as kombucha, the chances of finding a culture are a bit slim.
No, you can’t use a Kombucha SCOBY to make June tea. Kombucha SCOBYs and June SCOBYs are not the same. You can make Kombucha with Honey, but honey-based Kombucha won’t taste the same (or nearly as subtle) as June tea.
2. Green Tea
As mentioned above you need to be using green tea specifically. The Jun culture’s nutrient source to which it has adapted is green tea, so for true Jun Tea and best results, one must use green tea. You can use teabags, or loose tea leaves. Ordinary store bought green tea like Lipton Green Tea works fine, but as one is brewing the Jun Tea as a health tonic, I would recommend you choose an organic brand as it will not contain any harmful substances.
Can you use black tea with a June scoby. Yes, but your SCOBY won’t do well over the long run. June tea is adapted for Green tea. For best results and a healthy culture, you need to use green tea. You can, however, experiment with different teas just like you do with Kombucha, provided you have a backup Jun Scoby.
From a nutritional perspective, the ideal honey to use for Jun Tea is raw, unpasteurized, unprocessed honey which is free from additives. Technically, unprocessed honey which is still ‘alive’ ups any chance of the addition of unwanted strains of bacteria, but there have not been any reports of problems so far.
Basically, you get a free pass with unpasteurized honey and June tea. If you brew Kombucha with honey, this may not be the case and you may find unpasteurized honey degrades your Kombucha culture over time.
Jun Tea has been brewed for a lot longer than modern pasteurization methods have been in place, so most probably the Jun culture is resilient against unwanted forms of bacteria incorporating themselves into the culture. If you are going to be using pasteurized honey for whatever reason, the SCOBY culture should handle this fine as well. The main differences you might experience could be in regards to nutrient content and flavor.
The type of honey you select to brew with will most probably play a role in the final flavor profile.
Honey Flavor Tips
- Dark honeys will usually result in a thicker stronger honey flavor
- Amber colored honey will probably give a lighter and fresher taste.
- If the honey you are using is derived from nectar which comes from citrus flowers for example, this will definitely make itself known in the final Jun Tea.
- Use organic, unpasturized honey for best results
- Use the highest graded honey you can get your hands on — it will make a difference to the final flavor
Remember: the strain of honey you use will significantly affect the final Jun tea flavor. So you can experiment with different honeys when brewing June tea.
4. Filtered water
It is important that you use filtered water for Jun Tea. Even if you usually use tap water for consumption, do not use this for the Jun Tea. The reason being is that tap water contains chlorine and a host of other water purifying chemicals. While these chemicals keep the water free of pathogens, they do so by killing most living organisms present. As the Jun culture is made up of living micro-organisms, chlorinated water will have a harmful effect on it, and can lead to you losing your culture completely. Not to mention sub standard ferments.
If you have to use tap water for whatever reason, then make sure that you do the following:
- Run the water through a filter jug. You can purchase one cheaply, and use it to purify your drinking water as well.
- Boil the water which you want to brew the green tea in for at least ten minutes. This will allow for a good quantity of chlorine to evaporate off.
- Let the boiled water stand overnight for further evaporation of the chlorine to take place.
If you want to read more about what water you to use for your ferments you can also check out What is the Best Water For Kombucha.
5. Some Jun Tea Starter
The person who gave or sold you your Jun culture will probably have included some Jun Tea for it to float in. This finished Jun Tea is important, as your will need to include into your new batch. The reason for this is that the mature Jun Tea will have an acidic ph. The acidity will dilute through your new brew which you assemble. It is important that the brew is slightly acidic right from the word go, as this keeps out pathogenic bacteria, which cannot survive in acidic conditions.
For this recipe you will need 2 cups of mature Jun Tea – or starter liquid as it is usually termed.
Use Distilled Vinegar if You Don’t Have June Starter
If you did not get any starter liquid, or not enough for your first batch, you can make a substitution with spirit vinegar. For this recipe you would need 1/2 cup (8 Tbs) distilled white vinegar.
- Do not use raw or naturally fermented vinegar. As products of fermentation, like Jun Tea and kombucha, these vinegars contain their own specific blend of bacteria and yeast species. Using naturally fermented vinegar can result in these species becoming incorporated into your SCOBY culture’s microbial population.
- Do not use Kombucha as starter. Mixing in Kombucha introduces different bacterial and yeast strains. This WILL affect the flavor of the Jun tea. You can later experiment with backup Jun Scobys, mixing in Kombucha and whatnot, but don’t do this for your first batches!
6. Glass brewing container & cover
The other important thing you will need is a nice sized glass jar, or similar container, to use as a brewing vessel. Ceramic bowls or pots are also good. Do not use a container that is made out of metal or plastic. Due to the acidic nature of the maturing Jun Tea, plastics and metals can erode and leach substances into the brew. Not only is this a health hazard, but it can also harm your culture.
If you do not have a nice big glass or ceramic vessel, you can also use a large glass bowl. In the long run however, jars are a bit more practical, easier to move, and take up less space. The increased surface area can also speed up brewing times too much.
For guidelines on how surface area affects fermentation, read How Surface Area of Container Affects Kombucha Brewing.
7. Spirit Vinegar
Make sure that you have a bottle of spirit vinegar handy before your get going with your first batch of Jun Tea. Spirit vinegar is needed to rinse/clean all of the utensils you will be using, as well as your brewing vessel. The reason for this is to eradicate any unwanted bacteria or substances which could contaminate your brew. Do NOT use antibacterial soap for this. Residue from antibacterial soap, being ‘anti-bacterial’ can harm your culture. And Again, do not use naturally fermented vinegars for the cleaning, e.g. apple cider vinegar.
8. Optional Second Fermentation Bottles (if you want to do a double ferment of Jun Tea)
You will need some bottles in which to store your Jun Tea when it is finished. Metal or plastic are not suitable. You can use any old glass jars or bottles, but the nicest bottles to use are those flip-top ones. The sturdy rubberized seal allow for very effective second fermentations, and minimize the potential danger of a bottle exploding from pressure build up.
For more on the principles behind second ferments, have a look at this article on how to second ferment kombucha How To Make Second Ferment Kombucha (And Why You Absolutely Should), and to guard further against potential explosions check out How to Prevent Your Kombucha Bottles from Exploding.
9. Other utensils
Other utensils you might need are a large pot for making your green tea in, and some wooden or plastic spoons. You will also need a square of clean cloth, big enough to cover the opening of your brewing vessel, and a piece or string or a rubber band to fasten the cloth over the opening once you have assembled the ferment and it is ready to go. In addition, a good thing to have when doing any type of fermenting is a thermometer.
You can strap this to the side of your vessel, or suspend it inside. Knowing what the temperature of your brew is can help a lot to fermentation problem solving. If you do not have a thermometer, it is no train smash, but you might want to think about purchasing one at some point so that you can always know if your brew is within a temperature range which is good for fermentation. Lastly, one more little item which can be handy is a durable straw. You can use this to insert into your brewing Jun Tea to taste how far along it is, and if it is ready to harvest.
In this guide the quantities listed are to make a 1 gallon batch of Jun Tea.
1. Assemble the following:
- 8 bags of green tea (or 8 teaspoons of loose tea & a tea net/holder)
- 1 cup of honey
- 1 gallon filtered water
- Starter liquid
- Large pot
- Brewing container
- Cloth covering & elastic band or string
- Spirit vinegar
- Measuring cup
2. Rinse your equipment
Wash out and rinse all of your equipment with a combination of hot water and the spirit vinegar (not raw vinegar). Do not worry if any trace amounts of vinegar remain, this will only help to acidify the batch from the beginning. Use hot water, but not overly hot if you have selected a glass brewing vessel. Very hot water could crack the glass.
3. Boil 1 gallon of water
Bring 1 gallon of water to the boil. Let cool for a few minutes.
4. Add 4-5 bags of quality green tea
Add the 4-5 bags of green tea, or 5-6 teaspoons of loose tea (about 2 oz worth of loose leaf tea).
5. Steep for about 10 minutes
It’s important you don’t make too strong or too weak of a tea. Jun Tea is far more sensitive to tea strength than Kombucha is. We’ve found that steeping the tea for about 10 minutes makes the right strength of tea that works for Jun. You can experiement, but use 10 minutes as the base.
6. Add 1.5 cups honey
Now add the cup of honey. You can play with the ratio, but we find using 1.5 cups of honey to 3/4 – 1 gallon of tea gives the ideal flavor.
Stir until dissolved, and leave the brew until it drops to room temperature. Remove the tea bags or loose tea. At this point you might have to remove some of the liquid if you are going to be incorporating mature Jun Tea. Remove the same amount as you will be adding: two cups. If you are adding vinegar, remove half a cup. This tea you can either drink, or save in the fridge for your next batch.
7. Add tea and culture into brewing vessel
Pour the tea and starter liquid (or spirit vinegar) into your brewing vessel. Place the SCOBY culture into the liquid.
8. Cover and store it
Cover the opening of the brewing vessel with the piece of cloth, and secure with a rubber band or tie closed with a piece of string. You can place the ready to go ferment in a cupboard, on a counter or on a shelf. Be careful not to position it in a location where it will receive direct sunlight as this can harm the culture. To avoid cases of mold, keep the batch away from close proximity to plants and cigarette smoke and do not allow contact with airborne chemicals such as air fresheners or insect repellents.
9. FERMENT for 3-5 days
Jun Tea requires 3-5 days to ferment fully. Keep in mind that Kombucha usually takes 7 to 12 days, so Jun tea ferments much quicker than Kombucha. Keep this in mind.
You can taste it along the way to see how sour it is getting. Harvest on the day that it has reached the maximum level of tartness that you like. Temperature will influence the brewing time.
The temperature range in which Jun Tea does best in is 68-77o Fahrenheit (20-25 o Celsius). The colder it is the longer it will take, the warmer the temperature the shorter the brewing time.
The ideal Jun tea temperature is about 70 degrees vs the 77 degrees that favors Kombucha.
10. Second Ferment (Optional)
If you want to increase the flavor profile, you can do a double ferment — exactly the same as with Kombucha.
Second ferments are a good opportunity to add in additional flavors as well as more fizz if you want extra carbonation.
Jun Tea tends to be more effervescent than Kombucha, so usually 1 day of second fermenting is good enough to get a good fizz.
Advanced Brewing Tip: Some people do report that they dispense with the second fermentation and do a primary anaerobic ferment straight away for 3-4 days. This gives you a carbonated first ferment right off the bat. To do this, you’ll need to SEAL your first ferment and treat it like the second ferment (except you don’t add in any secondary flavorings). I have NOT tried this personally yet, but there are plenty of reports out there where brewers report a very good brew.
They can also give a more nutritious brew. For info on second ferments, have a look at How To Make Second Ferment Kombucha (And Why You Absolutely Should).
How to Do a Second Ferment of Jun Tea
Remove the SCOBY and create another Jun Tea brew with it, using 1 cup of starter
Pour the remaining Jun tea into bottles (we recommend the EZ Cap bottles)
Adding in second ferment ingredients
- 1 cup of fresh fruit or fruit juice
- fresh herbs
- dried herbs
You can mix in fruit and herbs and spices, or just keep it fruit only. The sky’s the limit in terms of what flavors you want to come up with. Jun Tea is a more subtle taste than Kombucha and as such, different flavor combinations will make a different tasting Jun Tea than if used with Kombucha.
However, as a base, look at our How to Flavor Kombucha for some ideas on flavor combinations for June tea
11. Refrigerate & Drink!
Once your Jun Tea is ready to harvest (either after the first ferment or after the second ferment), put the bottle into the fridge to stop fermentation and drink it as you will. If you are stopping after the first ferment, then you’ll probably want to bottle your Jun Tea into smaller bottles. If you did a second ferment, you can put the smaller bottles into the fridge, or you can strain out the fruit / flavorings, rebottle, and put in the fridge.
Hint: to build up extra fizz with Jun Tea, take the bottles out of the fridge if they’ve been sitting around for more than a day or two and let them sit out for half the day, then quickly refrigerate for a couple hours and enjoy — you’ll get an explosive level of fizz!
Please go to The Ultimate Jun Tea FAQ Page. I’ve answered the following questions (and much more)over there…
- Where Can I Get a Jun SCOBY?
- Can you Brew Jun tea like Kombucha?
- Can you convert a regular Kombucha SCOBY into a Jun SCOBY
- Is a Jun SCOBY really just a Kombucha SCOBY?
- Can you mix Jun SCOBYs with Kombucha SCOBYS?
- Can you use Black Tea instead of Green Tea for Jun?
- Where does Jun originate?
- What is the best green tea to use with Jun Tea?
- Can you replace Honey with Sugar with Jun Tea Brewing?
- Can You Use Tea Bags to Brew Jun Tea instead of Loose Leaf Tea?
- How much loose leaf tea to use?
- What’s the ideal brewing temperature for Jun Tea?
- What’s the best fermentation length for Jun tea
- How long to steep the tea before adding in the honey?
- Can you do a second ferment with Jun Tea?