If you haven’t heard of kombucha, then you’ve probably been living off the grid. The fermented beverage has been made in the kitchens of wellness OGs for decades. However, in recent years, kombucha has undergone a form of renaissance and can be found everywhere from Whole Foods to gas stations — even Coca-Cola has its own product line. But there’s another gut-friendly tea that’s just as powerful for our microbiome but definitely lesser known. Jun is a similar probiotic tea — but also has its own healing properties — and it’s making circles in the ferment world.
We sat down with Fermentation Farm — the experts on all things fermented — to understand the difference between the two.
Nearly everyone has heard of kombucha but not so much about jun. Can you explain a little about jun?
Absolutely! Jun is actually a close cousin of kombucha. Just like kombucha, jun is a fermented tea that ultimately becomes a fizzy, probiotic drink.
Kombucha’s origin can be traced back to China around 2,000 year ago, but jun has a somewhat mystical and debated origin story. While some believe that it can be traced back to Tibetan monks, others maintain that it is a relatively new culture that has branched off from kombucha.
In what ways does it differ from kombucha?
Kombucha is traditionally fermented with cane sugar and black tea, but jun is adapted to thrive on raw honey and green tea. While the ingredients are similar, the raw honey and green tea create a flavor that tends to be smoother and lighter than kombucha. Also, since the microbes can ferment raw honey faster than sugar, the entire fermentation process only takes about 5-7 days versus 2-3 weeks for kombucha. We typically stick to fruitier flavors with our kombucha, but with the lighter flavor of jun, we like to add various herbs, teas, and superfruits.
Many people have taken to making kombucha at home — can you also make jun in your kitchen? Any tips?
Yes, you definitely can! Jun can be a little bit harder to work with so it may take several batches to get it right as the culture adapts to your home environment. Luckily, the batches ferment rather quickly, so you don’t have to wait as long to get a finished product. For tips, we recommend using the highest quality raw honey that you can get in your local area. The better the ingredients you use, the better jun you will end up with. Also, we recommend allowing the green tea to cool slightly before adding the honey so that you don’t completely kill off the honey’s natural microbe population.
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about adding fermented foods and drinks into their daily life?
We have more microbes in our bodies than we do human cells, so we are basically more microbe than human! Since we have trillions of bacteria and yeast in us, we need to be consistently adding more beneficial bacteria and yeast from fermented foods to help keep the peace and add to our gut diversity.
Fermentation Farm is not a farm in the traditional sense, but one that farms beneficial bacteria and yeast for our probiotic benefit. Specializing in probiotic-rich and restorative foods that also contain B vitamins, electrolytes, collagen, and minerals that are necessary for proper gut and immune system and overall body wellness, we serve the general public with the aim to heal.