Kombucha -- fermented tea -- is made with tea and sugar and undergoes an anaerobic fermention process. A scoby (which is an acronym of "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast") creates a biofilm over the tea, which prevents air from entering the liquid and causes natural carbonation. Yeast converts sugar in the tea to alcohol, and bacteria converts the alcohol into acids (essentially, it creates a vinegar). Sugar (opposed to other sweeteners) is used to make kombucha because it's much easier to control its pH that way.
On paper, I realize this beverage sounds completely unappetizing. (Biofilm? Yeast? Bacteria? Really?) In fact, my DH looked pretty skeptical when I offered him a glass, but now he's just as hooked as I am because it's really quite nice. Even my dog likes it. Bubbly and tangy, it reminds me of stone fruit and apple cider vinegar.
So anyway, I've been making this for a while using a continuous brew method, which I like because of the minimal cleanup, and we've been enjoying it every day. However, I recently read about something called jun kombucha. It was described as "the champagne of kombuchas." Also, instead of using sugar, jun is made with green tea and honey! Well, hot diggity! I had to try it!
It's important to note that one cannot use a regular kombucha scoby and starter tea to make jun as it requires different yeast/bacteria to process the honey. Jun scobys also work better at lower temperatures, which might be a good thing since a lot of windows make my kitchen a bit chilly in the winter.
Although I grew my own kombucha scoby, jun scobys are reported to be much more difficult and fickle, so I bought one instead. You can pay as much as $45 online for a jun scoby & starter tea, but I found a much less expensive one on Amazon. Even with shipping, it came out to only about $10. Etsy seems to have some jun scobys for sale as well.
|Here are my scoby, starter tea, and instructions|
Making jun kombucha is pretty easy -- just mix some green tea, honey & starter tea and add the scoby. The hardest part is waiting for the fermentation process to complete.
|Green tea brewing|
|Green tea is cool. Honey goes in next.|
Brewing a new pot for me in the background.
|Add jun scoby & starter tea|
|Avoid transferring undesirable bacteria to jun scoby|
by making sure everything it touches is clean.
|Couldn't find a rubber band, so I used a long balloon to tie my kombucha!|
After letting it ferment the prescribed number of days, I bottled it and let it carbonate a few more days until it was ready to drink.
|A bubbly glass of jun, ready to drink|
The color of it was positively lovely, and it had loads of bubbles. But the smell was... not entirely off-putting. I could smell the honey, but it wasn't the tangy, vinegary smell of regular kombucha. The actual tasting, though, was something of a Lou and Andy moment. Lou and Andy are two of my favorite characters from a sketch comedy show called Little Britain. Essentially, Andy constantly insists on having things that Lou knows he'll hate -- like an ice cream cone with just the cone and no ice cream. Despite Lou's valiant attempts to dissuade him, Andy always gets his way and always ends complaining, "I don't like it." It's a highly predictable gag, but it still cracks me up. Anyway, I'm having a very Andy moment. I don't like it.