The Ultimate Jun Tea FAQ: Everything You Need to Know
If you’ve started brewing Jun tea, or you are interested in starting it, you might have a few general questions about Jun Tea. This is our complete FAQ about Jun tea to help answer those questions you might have about it.
To learn how to brew Jun Tea, please read our Ultimate Guide to Brewing Jun Tea article.
What is Jun Tea?
Jun Tea is an effervescent fermented health drink, made from green tea and honey. It comes from the Jun Scoby, a cousin to the Kombucha Scoby. Jun Tea is arguably a more subtle flavored Kombucha. Usually, people who brew both Jun Tea and Kombucha say they prefer the flavor of Jun Tea to Kombucha.
What Does Jun Tea (and the Jun SCOBY) look Like?
This is what a Jun SCOBY looks like:
You’ll note it’s a LOT whiter than kombucha SCOBYs.
Where Can I Get a Jun SCOBY?
You can send me $99 and I’ll ship one to you. JUST KIDDING! No, I don’t sell Jun SCOBYS.
Unless you are lucky enough to know someone who brews Jun, you are going to have to buy one online. I recommend Amazon (click here to find Jun SCOBYs on Amazon) as the source right now. Finding a Jun SCOBY is not easy outside of Amazon.
Keep in mind you don’t want to get scammed by people selling you a Kombucha SCOBY on Amazon and telling you it’s a Jun SCOBY.
A Jun SCOBY will be:
- white — very pale white
- the Jun tea itself should be a pale amber — almost like a wheat beer color
- Jun SCOBYs are usually more expensive than Kombucha SCOBYs — be wary of some Jun SCOBY being sold for 5-7 dollars
- There should be plenty of Amazon reviews with people verifying that the SCOBY is really a Jun SCOBY and brews with Honey
- When you get the SCOBY, it should brew quickly and take well to pure raw honey and green tea. If it starts to die, you’ve been conned with a Kombucha SCOBY
Where does Jun Tea come from?
Jun Tea is thought to have derived from the East, where it is said to have been brewed in monasteries and consumed by monks and warriors for its health benefits in order to promote a state of well being and as aid for a clear mind. That’s the myth, but the truth is we don’t really know for sure.
However, Jun Tea is still brewed in Western Tibet and is well known there. As such, Jun probably did in fact originate from Tibet, passed down from generations by monks and locals — so there is some truth to the myths. It could be in fact that Jun Tea is the ‘original’ Kombucha, given that sugar was hard to come by long ago on the Tibetan plain. Perhaps the Jun SCOBY was taken out of Tibet and was brewed with sugar, adapting to the regular sugar brew and becoming the Kombucha SCOBY.
What does Jun Tea taste like?
Depending on the length of brewing time, Jun Tea has a sweet/sour tart taste. Bubbly and fizzy, it also carries through flavors from the green tea and honey used in its making. In comparison to kombucha, its health beverage cousin, it is lighter and fresher in taste, and is sometimes referred to as ‘the champagne of kombuchas’.
What does Jun Tea contain?
Jun Tea is made from green tea which is sweetened with honey. Those are its only two ingredients, but once fermentation has taken place, Jun Tea contains a range of vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes.
What are the health benefits of Jun Tea?
As a fermented health tonic similar to kombucha, Jun Tea is heralded for a wide variety health benefits, ranging from the mundane to the fantastic. While claims stating that Jun Tea is able to drastically prolong longevity terms like ‘elixir of life’ and probably far-fetched, and almost no laboratory studies have been published with regards to its effect on the human body, it is safe to say that Jun Tea’s health benefits are probably very similar to those of kombucha. Kombucha is well known for a range of health benefits, the primary and most far reaching being one that of a natural probiotic. The probiotic qualities of fermented products are of great benefit to the digestive system, populating it with beneficial bacteria which help to ensure that digestion, absorption, elimination and detoxification are carried to properly. As these processes can cause heightened uptake of vitamins and minerals and more effective waste and toxin removal, consuming a probiotic can bring about a host of healthy side effects.
How is Jun Tea Different to Kombucha?
While the health benefits of kombucha and Jun Tea are thought to be very similar, and the brewing process is pretty much the same, there are some differences between the two. Kombucha is brewed from black tea and sugar, while Jun Tea is made from green tea and honey. Both fermentations are carried out by cultures which look similar, but are however specific to either Jun Tea or kombucha. Jun Tea ferments in a shorter space of time – 3-5 days compared to kombucha’s 7-30 days – and thrives in slightly cooler temperatures. It is also slightly more alcoholic.
Can I make Jun Tea at home?
Yes! The brewing of Jun Tea is almost exactly the same as that of kombucha. The difference is that you will need a specific Jun Tea SCOBY, and green tea and honey, instead of black tea and sugar.
How does one brew Jun Tea?
Jun Tea is made by brewing up a batch of medium strength green tea, sweetened with honey. After this the Jun Tea SCOBY culture is added, and the batch is left to ferment in a glass container, unsealed on top, but covered securely with a cloth to prevent dust or fruit flies getting into the brew.
Where can I get a Jun Tea Culture?
If you have a friend who is brewing Jun Tea, they might be able to give you a culture to start with. If you do not know anyone from whom you can get a culture, the easiest place to purchase one is usually online.
Does Jun Tea have any side effects?
While no known studies have been published with regards to the effect of Jun Tea on the human body, it is fairly safe to assume that Jun Tea and its associated effects are similar to that of kombucha. The most common side effect when taking kombucha is loose stools. Other side effects include stomach cramps, skin break outs, slight dizziness, tiredness, muscle aches, arthritic flare ups, headaches, insomnia and congestion. Note however, that some of these symptoms are often temporary, and can be caused by the a re-balancing of the intestinal flora, thanks to the probiotic qualities of the fermented Jun Tea. This re-balancing of the gut can include the dying off of bacteria which has grown out of its proper proportion. This process can produce toxins which go into the body’s blood stream aggravating existing complaints. Often however, once the gut flora has been repaired, these specific complaints may ease drastically or go away completely.
How much sugar and caffeine does Jun Tea contain?
Fermented Jun Tea contains left over amounts of sucrose and caffeine from the green tea and honey with which it is made. During fermentation, much of the caffeine and sucrose is reduced, but not all. Sucrose levels are dependent on how long the fermentation is left to mature, as the Jun Tea culture will convert the sucrose, causing the brew to become less sweet and more sour as the sucrose is used up by the culture. The sweeter your Jun Tea, the more residual sucrose it will contain. While Jun Tea has not been tested for residual caffeine levels, using kombucha levels as a rough gauge, we can assume that mature Jun Tea should contain 2-3 mg of caffeine per cup.
Does Jun Tea contain alcohol?
Yes. Jun Tea usually contains roughly 2% alcohol, as opposed to kombucha which contains about 0.5%. This makes it unsuitable for children and pregnant and nursing mothers, and should not be consumed before driving or operating machinery.
Can Jun Tea be invaded by mold or bacteria?
Yes. This is something that can happen. But before you freak out, keep the following in mind: Fermenting Jun Tea is acidic in ph. Mold and most unwanted foreign bacteria cannot survive in acidic conditions (this is why mold can be killed with vinegar). Making sure that your ferments are acidic from the beginning of the brew can dramatically reduce any chance of mold or foreign bacteria taking hold. This is done by adding ‘starter liquid’ – mature Jun Tea- or spirit vinegar to the initial setting up of the brew to drop the ph.
Do You Only Have to Use Honey with Jun Tea or Can You Swap In something else?
In short, you should only use honey for best results. For those experimenters (and if you have a backup SCOBY), you can swap in different sugar sources, but your SCOBY health will likely degrade Read our FULL article that answers this question specifically.
Can I do a Second Ferment with Jun?
Absolutely. Jun is a form of Kombucha and you can make a wonderful second ferment. In fact, like Kombucha, we recommend it! Typically, second ferments are faster with Jun than Kombucha and Jun prefers a cooler ideal climate to that of Kombucha (anywhere from 7-10 degrees Centigrade cooler).
You can second ferment Jun Tea exactly the same way you do Kombucha. The difference is that the second fermentation tends to happen quicker, and Jun seems to have MORE carbonation, on average, than Kombucha. You likely won’t need to second ferment as long (1 – 2 days, vs 2 to 5 days). Make sure you burp the bottles to prevent an explosion.
Read our full guide to Jun Second Fermentation.
What Do Different Types Do For Jun
The type of honey and the quality of honey affects the final Jun flavors quite a bit. Choosing your honey is a very important part of making the best tasting Jun.
Typically, you want:
- raw unpasteurized organic honey
- high quality honey
As for the source and type of honey (i.e. the type of bee, the location of the honey, etc), you’ll have to try out different honey strains.
Read our full guide to the types of honey for Jun.
Can you Brew Jun tea like Kombucha?
Not exactly — if you brew Jun like you do Kombucha, you probably won’t get a very good tasting brew. Jun tea is far more sensitive than Kombucha. If you use the wrong type of tea (for example, Black Tea), if you brew in a temperature that’s too warm, if your tea is too weak or strong, or if you ferment your tea the same length you do Kombucha, you may not get a good tasting Jun tea. Typically, Jun Tea brews better in cooler temperatures (70 degrees centigrade) and it tends to ferment faster than Kombucha between 3 to 5 days.
Can you convert a regular Kombucha SCOBY into a Jun SCOBY
Yes and No. You can adapt a Kombucha SCOBY to make a version of ‘Jun Tea’ by brewing with Honey and Green tea. It will take some brewing cycles before the Kombucha SCOBY does well with honey and green tea (it may take 5 or 10 cycles to convert a SCOBY and typically it takes more than 10 cycles to see if a brew is ‘stable’ for long term). The taste may be similar to Jun, but there will be some taste differences. It’s not a ‘real’ Jun SCOBY and the bacterial strains will be different. But you’ll get an approximation of Jun Tea.
Is a Jun SCOBY really just a Kombucha SCOBY?
There’s not a lot of information about this, but it appears that Jun Tea has been brewed in the highlands of Tibet for hundreds or thousands of years. Likely, Jun SCOBYS are Kombucha SCOBYs that have been adapted to Green tea and honey over many, many years to the point where it’s a different type of SCOBY.
Can you mix Jun SCOBYs with Kombucha SCOBYS?
Yes, but then you get cross contamination between the cultures and it won’t be a pure Jun SCOBY. I don’t recommend this unless you want to experiment. Once you mix the cultures, you’ll never get a ‘pure’ Jun Tea again.
Can you use Black Tea instead of Green Tea for Jun?
Yes, but your Jun SCOBY will almost certainly suffer. You can experiment with tea types, but Jun Tea will almost always tastes best with Green tea, not other types of teas. Don’t start off brewing your Jun tea with anything other than Green tea; experiment AFTER you master the basic Jun Tea recipe and you have backup Jun SCOBYs to use.
Where Does Jun originate?
From China (likely) or Tibet (you can find it consumed widely in parts of western Tibet).
What is the best green tea to use with Jun Tea?
This comes down to experimentation. However, Jun tea does best with quality teas. Gunpowder green tea does well with Jun. Sencha Tea also seems to brew a tasty Jun. Jasmine Tea is more difficult — if you steep Jasmine tea too long, you may get a more bitter tasting Jun.
Can you replace Honey with Sugar with Jun Tea Brewing?
Don’t. Jun tea is adapted for Honey and is far less flexible than a regular Kombucha (which you can use with honey) SCOBY. If you replace the honey with sugar, your SCOBY may degrade and you might end up with a Swiss-cheese like texture on the Jun SCOBY or the SCOBY will be very thin. You may not even get a baby SCOBY and / or the ferment may not take properly. You can try to experiment, of course, but use a backup Jun SCOBY.
Can You Use Tea Bags to Brew Jun Tea instead of Loose Leaf Tea?
Yes. Use between 4 to 5 tea bags per gallon of Jun tea (we find 4 tea bags is about the best ratio). We recommend Gunpowder or Saencha tea bags. Jun tea is particularly sensitive to the quality and strength of the tea — more so than Kombucha. The perfect tea for Jun is not too light and not too strong, so aim for a tea strength in the middle.
How much loose leaf tea to use?
If you use loose leaf, we recommend about 2 oz per 1 gallon of tea, or 4-5 teabags. This is not necessarily a fixed ratio, however.
What’s the ideal brewing temperature for Jun Tea?
Jun Tea does better at a lower temperature than Kombucha. The best temperature for brewing Jun tea is about 70 degrees centigrade rather than the 77 degrees that Kombucha brews best at.
What’s the best fermentation length for Jun tea
You’ll have to experiment, but we recommend you shorten the brewing time to about 3 to 4 days at about 70 degrees, vs the 7 to 12 days that Kombucha does. Jun brews a lot faster, even in cooler temperatures.
How long to steep the tea before adding in the honey?
Steep your tea about 10 minutes with 5 or so teabags per gallon of tea. This ratio seems to produce a very tasty Jun. The right tea strength seems to affect the resulting Jun tea flavor far more than it does with Kombucha.
The Final Word
This FAQ is in-process. As more questions come up on our Facebook page and in our comment section here, we’ll extend it.