My Love Affair With Honey Jun Soda. Make your own DIY Probiotic Soda Pop!
Over the past few months I have developed a new kindred friendship with Honey Jun Soda, also called Jun Tea. My new Best Friend Forever, Jun, is a cousin of Kombuch, and is made in a similar fashion. Both are SCOBYs = Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. The big difference is that Jun thrives on Green Tea & Honey, where Kombucha thrives on Black Tea & Cane Sugar. I have personally declared war against all forms of cane sugar (except occasional use of mineral rich, unsulphured black strap molasses, in my Xmas Treats) but otherwise my gut issues always flare right up whenever I ingest any cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, or sucanat, etc.
Even though “most” of the cane sugars are consumed by the Kombucha SCOBY during the fermentation process, there is almost always some residual sugars left, unless you let it go until it turns into a vinegar. And if you buy the bottled kombucha in the store, they will also usually have some residual sugars, along with added fruit juice. And since I am totally cane-sugar-free, I had to ask myself, why would I want to consume something that thrives on sugar? I hate sugar, and I don’t allow it to enter my kitchen. This is why my water kefir days were short lived, because the kefir grains WANTED me to FEED them SUGAR! And this is why I feel head over heals in love with Jun! Which is light years better then water kefir in my opinion! It’s made with honey, and my body loves honey! And you can ferment it to the level of sour sweetness you prefer, add in some fruit juice, and enjoy a truly effervescent probiotic beverage. And it is believed that Jun has all of the probiotic enzyme rich benefits that kombucha is touted to have. Here is a great article on the benefits of adding probiotics to your diet!
The big difference is that Jun thrives on Green Tea & Honey, where Kombucha thrives on Black Tea & Cane Sugar. And they are truly different, even if you start using honey and green tea to make your kombucha, it’s still kombucha. You need and actual jun scoby to make jun.
Now if you love your kombucha, I believe you! I wouldn’t ever try to tear you away. I just noticed often times after drinking kombucha that I felt bloated and a bit more run down by my own digestion. But with Jun, I can honestly say, that is not the case! I don’t have any mixed feelings about it. I just love it.
I have read that Jun originated with monks brewing it in the Himalayans, going back over 1,000 years. But most of these internet rumors are hard to validate. All I know is I purchased a $2.50 Jun SCOBY ($5 shipping) from Amazon.com this summer, and I have been loving brewing my weekly batch of natural, fermented honey soda pop! I just heard from a friend of mine, and fellow AS Warrior, in Australia this past weekend and he is also loving home-brewed jun soda too! He purchased his SCOBY on ebay in Australia. You can also do a google search to find them at places like Kombucha Kamp. Some of my favorite combinations so far, are jun with a little cherry juice and a splash of lime juice, for a Cherry Lime Fizz. I also added some homemade rose petal water. And I made a tasty batch with lemongrass & honey. But even just plain, with no added juices, I still really enjoy this drink. I honestly love all things naturally fizzy!
I have a routine set up with my SCOBY. It has let me know that it does best on a 7 to 10 day brewing cycle. So every 7 to 10 days, I heat up 2 cups hot water and brew it with 4 to 6 bags of green tea for about 15 minutes. I like the more floral and lighter green tea varieties. Then I let it cool to just above room temp, and mix in 1/2 cup raw honey. Next I mix in 6 to 8 cups of cool water, and pour all of this into a gallon sized glass jar. And finally, I add in my Jun SCOBY, and a little bit of the last batch of jun, about 1/2 cup. Cover with a secure light weight towel and tie, set in a dark spot in my lower kitchen cabinet, and repeat in another 10 days. After each batch is ready, I simply poor it into a 1/2 gallon mason jar, with one of these special air tight pour spot lids, and keep it in the fridge, drinking a cup or two daily. I also bought a case of these fun flip top glass bottles for when I want to make up different flavored batches that are easily taken on the road with me.
I have had a few people ask me, “You use honey?! Isn’t that super expensive??” Well 1/2 cup honey pure 1/2 gallon batch of jun, makes about 8 servings, only costs me around $2. I buy raw honey by the gallon, and I think $2 per 1/2 gallon batch ($0.25 per serving, at 8 servings, plus a few cents for green tea) of Jun is well worth the price! Heck, a small serving of kombucha in the store is usually over $3 for just a serving or two.
For me, it love at first sip, when I first tried a bottle of Wylie’s Honey Brews Jun Soda Root Beer. I have a whole blog post over here, dedicated to Wylie’s and a fabulous Jun Root Beer Float I made! If you live in Oregon, you must get your hands on a bottle of Wylie’s Honey Brewed Jun Root Beer, Birch Beer, or Gingerale! And their newest flavor, Lemon Lavender Rosemary is heavenly too! I have found it at health food stores in Salem & Corvallis so far. Oh my, Wylie’s has nailed it when it comes to flavoring Jun. Their “Root Beer” flavored Jun has way more snap crackle pop than found in an Old Fashioned Root Beer Soda! There are over 12 organic spices (including nutmeg, cardamom, sweet birch, sarsaparilla) that go into each bottle of their Root Beer, and I dream of once day making as marvelously tasting fermented teas!
Honey Jun Soda
- 1 jun scoby (purchase here)
- 6 to 8 green tea bags
- 2 cups hot water
- 1 cup raw honey
- 6 to 8 cups cool water
- one gallon glass jar, cloth cover, string
- optional: glass bottles with stoppers
- Heat 2 cups water over the stove top, bring to a boil, remove from heat, then add in green tea bags.
- Let tea sit in the hot water and brew for 10 minutes, then remove tea bags.
- When the tea has cooled to below 80*F, stir in raw honey.
- Add in 6 – 8 cups cool water.
- Gently transfer in Jun SCOBY with 1/2 cup of liquid from the last batch of jun. If needed, add in more cool water to fill the container.
- Cover with a light towel, secure with a rubber band or tie (to keep fruit flies out).
- Keep in a dark cool place for 7 to 10 days. (Some people only ferment it for 3 days, then do a secondary fermentation w/o the SCOBY for another few days. But I like the flavor and fizz I get after 7 to 10 days best)
- Pour finished batch into a 1 gallon mason jar with this air tight lid, or individual glass bottles, and store in the fridge. You can add in additional fruit juice and flavorings if you like! Keep an eye on the jun soda though, don’t let it go too long without letting some air out of the bottle, as it will continue to ferment, since it is a living soda pop!
- Jun is the gift that keeps on giving! Every few weeks for me a new SCOBY is formed on my original SCOBY. I gently separate it and give it to a friend with a fresh batch of honey tea, so they can start brewing their own Jun sodas.
And often times you can actually grow yourself a new SCOBY from a bottle of Jun Soda made by someone else. Since it is alive, and it’s soul mission is to eat honey & drink green tea (sounds like me!) then it will keep growing when there is a food source. I left a bottle of my Jun out on the counter for a week and a new baby SCOBY formed on it’s own in it. Buying the initial SCOBY is a one time purchase, and it will keep reproducing baby SCOBYs you can give away to your friends.
What are your favorite natural soda flavors? Have you tried Jun Soda? Or do you currently brew or enjoy kombucha?