Happy December, everyone! This is the time of year for parties and celebrations and that means lots of fancy alcoholic drinks. When I’m abstaining from alcohol or simply want an alternative that still feels fancy, bubbly, and refreshing I turn to kombucha’s fancy friend, jun.
Kombucha and jun are delicious naturally effervescent probiotic drink that is much lower in sugar than soda and much more refreshing. Jun is kombucha made with honey instead of sugar. But the difference in sugar source is not that superficial – because each of these drinks are literally alive, the difference of sugar source makes a meaningful difference in the composition of beneficial microoganisms that are the result of the sugar consumption and conversion that is the fermentation process. I find that Jun has a milder taste that is nuanced with floral accents from the type of honey used. If you are completely new to kombucha and jun, I recommend visiting Cultures for Health, The Happy Herbalist, and the nourished kitchen.
Low Sugar Jun - Kombucha Champagne
- 3 liters water
- 2/3 cup honey
- 3 tsp loose green tea (or ~6 tea bags)
- 1 scoby
- 1 cup starter liquid
- Heat the water to 165 F/74 C in a large pot. Use a frying or candy thermometer to check the water is not too hot. Do not boil the water like when making kombucha.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add tea. If using loose tea, make sure it's contained in a stainless steel tea mesh or large tea bag. Let steep for about 2 minutes.
- Remove tea mesh and add honey. Let mixture come to room temperature.
- Place scoby and starter liquid in your brewing vessel (I use a large glass jar). Add tea and cover top of vessel with a clean cloth or towel and secure with a large rubber band.
- Place someplace where the culture will not be disturbed by changing temperatures, movement, airborne matter/gases. Don't place somewhere too warm or too cold (try to keep the brewing temp between 68-77 F or 20-25 C - a bit cooler than when brewing kombucha.) Don't keep on top of a refrigerator or other electric device. Leave for 3-6 days (Jun brews faster than kombucha).
- I prefer to let aerobic fermentation take place for about 3 days and then bottle the jun in airtight glass bottles and allow the remaining fermentation to be anaerobic (as this produces more effervescence). For anaerobic fermentation to take place, simply place sealed containers of jun in the same brewing conditions (68-77 F) for another 3 days.
- Jun should be bottled in clear glass and kept in the refrigerator to halt additional fermentation (which eventually produces a strong vinegar taste).