Jun: Nobody Wants us to Know About it.

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No One Wants us to Know About it. So far, they are succeeding.

For centuries we have been nourished by fermented traditions. From the Russian kefir to the Korean kimchi. In the aftermath of kombuchagate more people are catching on to the benefits of fermentation. In the West there is an elite group of people who know of, and brew the finest form of kombucha, called Jun.

What is Kombucha/Jun?

First time kombucha drinkers are always thrown off by the snot like cultures in the bottom of the bottles “oh that’s the good stuff, you want to make sure to drink those” your seasoned kombucha drinker tells you.
If we knew the exact, secret process involved in Jun (rhymes with hoon) brewing we would be busy brewing instead of writing this. While hard proof of kombucha’s existence can be traced back to Russia in the late 19th century, there is little to no information available about Jun. Jun cultures reproduce more slowly than kombucha and Jun takes days to finish brewing. The cultures of Jun eat raw honey and green tea rather than unrefined sugar and black tea. Jun is also more alcoholic, hovering somewhere around the 2% range, versus kombucha’s .5% . Jun is like kombucha and mead synthesized into one.

The oxygen bar Tonic, in Boulder, Colorado, (which had to acquire a liquor license to serve it’s Jun) and serves Jun made by Herbal Junction Elixirs, offers this in its menu about Jun: “Jun is a drink originating in ancient Asia. The earliest writings on Jun date back to 600 B.C in Northeast China where it was valued for its ability to open chi (energy) in the body and to increase its circulation.” No source is cited for this.

Where can Jun be found?

Jun is widely found in parts of western Tibet. Each province of China has a version of Chang beer, in some parts of Tibet the beer has Jun in it. Like all fermented things, when placed in contact with precious metals,the lively drink begins to lose its potency and enzymes.

My anonymous source (Christopher James Whitson) first tasted Jun in Tibet, at a camp at the base of Mt.Kailash. At this camp a 40 year old Tibetan woman attempted to seduce him with a fine grade of Jun.
The closest thing to a store in this part of the country is a dirt hut with a half naked 5 year old selling soda out of a cooler (and a marketing genius with the going rate for a soda being $2 US).

The rarest form of Jun is the “snow leopard” and one taste gives the equivalent effect of trampoline jumping for an hour. The Bonpo monks who produce this fine Jun are of Taoist, Buddhist and Shamanic origins and were rumored to have been given heirloom cultures by Lao Tzu.

The most easily found and tastiest Jun in Tibet comes from the Khampa Nomads—former monks turned physical and spiritual warriors who learned their knowledge of how to make Jun from the Bonpo. The Khampa Nomad’s were trained by the CIA in the 70’s to try to kick China out. They took Jun so they would have superior fighting abilities against the Chinese. They are also guardians of heirloom cultures, travel on motorcycle with single long braids bouncing off their backs, flasks of Jun and swords on their hips.

Somehow Jun cultures have sprouted up all over the Americas, but few are trained in the alchemy of Jun brewing. Herbal Junction Elixirs, of Eugene Oregon ships Jun to a few select places, but the owner has kept his process for Jun brewing a tightly guarded secret.

For those fortunate enough to have drank Jun from Herbal Junction Elixirs and western Tibet, they report equality in taste, but the jing in Tibetan Jun to be superior. According to my source, “Jing is the thing that makes you levitate when you’ve got nothing to lose.”

Some Jun—kies speculate that the owner of Herbal Junction Elixirs has an heirloom culture from Lao Tzu and/or he learned to brew Jun in a monastery in Northern California. Jun critics agree that he probably studied with someone who had heirloom cultures. The true heirloom Jun cultures can not be commercially distributed ever. It would mean a perversion of something sacred.

The back of our Jun dealers car.

In recent years the Herbal Junction Elixirs’ warehouse was broken into twice and cultures were stolen. Some of these stolen cultures are now dispersed in Boulder and Hawaii.
My family’s Jun dealer uses one of the stolen cultures and over the years has perfected the Jun to taste like the Jun from Herbal Junction Elixirs yet also pleasantly original tasting. Our Jun dealer—who distributes mainly from his vehicle, plays gongs for the Jun while it brews, as he considers it a living, sentient being and will reprimand you for cursing around it. The first bottle is free.  The flavors range from “blood cleanser” and “acai berry” to “peace and love III”—our favorite. He brews his Jun with Rainforest Tea, which has sustainable practices.

What is the future of Jun?

GT’s Kombucha did an enormous amount of work to educate the public about kombucha, which no one has done thus far, for Jun.

When I spoke to the owner of the Tonic bar in Boulder, he stated he’d rather not answer questions about Jun and he wishes, “people could just enjoy Jun for what it is”. This implies buying the Jun at Tonic ($6 for 10 oz) and not asking further questions about it. The owner of Herbal Junction Elixirs would not return my phone calls or e-mails at the time of press.

The future is bright for Jun, with a high buzz unlike anything found in ordinary alcohol (probably because the drink is living) and alkalizing properties. How long until Jun is found on tap, in billiard halls and bars? Or at the least, the knowledge of Jun’s alchemy made more easily available instead of belonging to a small group of profiteering men? I think that’s what the Bonpo monks would want, since everyone deserves Jun.



“June Honey Brew Culture—Brand New Culture From China.” Organic-Cultures.com

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anonymous Nov 11, 2015 1:51pm

I received a bucha scoby from a coworker and immediately decided I did not like the idea of using sugar as a sweetener. The first batch I produced, I used a 50/50 ratio of raw sugar and honey. It turned out fine. The following batches I prepared with 100% honey. The transition from sugar to honey almost instantly killed my original scoby and left its dead corps sandwiched between two new bacteria colonies that I can only assume are completely different than a kombucha scoby (Jun??). Either way, with personal (non-scientific) experience, I have observed that the bacteria in kombucha are not able to metabolize honey and different/adapted bacteria are required. With the help of “The Art of Fermentation” I was able to accidentally creat what I believe is a Jun scoby. While it is very delicious, I’m curious about the health benefits compared to that of Kombucha. I’m wondering, because of the amount of sugar I consume, would it be better to have probiotics that are able to metabolize sugar, rather than honey. Either way, Jun is delightful and I have been successful in carbonating it and infusing it with local, organic, seasonal fruits. It’s been a very fun and interesting experience.

anonymous May 20, 2015 12:25am

Amazing and good one dear. Keep sharing.

anonymous Apr 11, 2015 12:20am

I was visiting Hawaii w/ my hubby and they sell this health tonic called Jin Elixirs at every health food store and got to meet the creator and operator and he was very knowledgeable about his culture and others. He claimed to have made his, NOT from a "stolen" JUN culture or from a "JUN" bottle. Rather through (Jin-ger)Ginger Culture. Similar to how ginger beer was made?!. According to his analysis, he said his culture has 25 different strains of lacto-bacillus and 1 strain of yeast. Which apparently group together forming colonies/strains and doesn't reproduce "Jin" babies or like "JUN" or "KOMBUCHA". He said his does not look like a "JUN" or "KOMBUCHA" scoby. Said his is a lactic ferment.
I am lucky to have a "JUN" culture and the tonic "Jin Elixirs" i had although similar to, but was different to the jun i make and have had, was delicious and therapeutic. I felt great. I know his is safe to drink since his research and scientific data back-up made since to me, more so then tibetan monks. Just fascinating.
He also sated that we are in a time of history that should focus on "how" these culture were created in the first place, not some folklore, Heirloom story. Which sounds cool, but much cooler that he created his and hopes more people will too.
Its fascinating to me that there is still not any proven evidence where "Jun" originated from, nor bacterial analysis, but there is tons on "kombucha" and its origin. Does it matter? maybe, to those who want to understand what they're putting into their bodies. At least for Jin Elixirs i know it's origin. and craving more of it.

anonymous Apr 5, 2015 6:56am

Hi Emma,
I just stumbled across your article today – I know it was written years ago, but I wonder if you have a follow up article in the works somewhere – I have been brewing JUN for about a year, and yes I can actually trace the lineage of my culture back to Tibet, so I know it is authentic. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have such a beautiful culture, and I do also keep a nursery of JUN babies for friends who want them. I also use the babies to experiment with other teas, and herbs, but keep my big momma as pure as she was when I got her. Interestingly enough, there is still very little information about JUN, and I am sure as I’d like to know more, so would many other people out there. Please let us know if you write more in JUN. Thanks LJ

    anonymous Apr 7, 2015 3:15pm

    Hi Lisa,

    Can i purchase a JUN baby from you?

    anonymous Jul 17, 2015 7:28am

    Hi Lisa I would like to brew Jun . May I know do you have extra Jun scoby for sale ? And also the step by step instructions on how to brew it . Thank you .

anonymous Oct 23, 2013 10:27pm


How much honey would you use in a 1 gallon jar? Would 1 1/2 cup be ok?

anonymous Aug 22, 2013 10:38am

I bought a Jun culture on the Internet and have been very pleased with the results. Is it Tibetan heirloom? Is it from a strain stolen from Herbal Junction? Who cares! It brews up fast with green tea and honey and tastes fantastic. My Jun culture has already produced several SCOBY babies, which I plan to use to expand my production and eventually give to friends. In the long run, I plan to stop brewing kombucha and make only Jun.

anonymous Jul 18, 2013 8:16pm

I have a JUN culture that was passed down to me from a dear friend who has been brewing it for years. From all i can surmise, the cultural and ritualistic aspects of JUN might make certain batches more "spiritual" eh hem… cough… cough. However the Difference really lies in the specific strains of yeast and bacteria. Point being, KOMBUCHA will not thrive with honey because of the honey's natural antibiotic properties. JUN however has evolved and adapted different yeast and bacteria colonies that THRIVE on honey. That's the main difference from what i can tell. Personally i stopped brewing "traditional" kombucha once my friend gave me a JUN mother (SCOBY), because the JUN tasted better, looked and felt better and makes me feel better. I sing and talk to mine, play music for them.

anonymous Dec 22, 2012 3:09pm

[…] write up introduces the brew by saying, […]

anonymous Dec 15, 2012 8:25am

Whenever something becomes trendy like this in the hippy/new age world, people just start making crap up and it's very difficult to tell the difference between the truth and what is real. But since many very well-informed fermentation experts and labs seem to know nothing about this particular fermentation, I am going with the idea that someone just started brewing kombucha with some herbs and honey and are calling it something new. If anyone can show me a reference suggesting otherwise I am all ears. But a thorough online search has produced nothing but web pages of people selling their own thing. That is quite suspect. Also, to Herbal Junction: if you are really not just trying to corner a market and Jun is truly an original product, be nice and send me a starter. [email protected] Otherwise I am going to experiment for myself.

    anonymous Dec 31, 2012 3:19pm

    It *does* have its own entry in the Art of Fermentation and I know it must be something different since the bacteria in honey does not kill it as it does with kombucha. 🙂

      anonymous Feb 21, 2013 12:15am

      Honey will not kill buch, you can train your cultures to use many food sources, honey thing is a myth. So much misinformation about this easy to brew, forgiving culture. Shys many away I'm afraid. Take the "Pepsi"challenge and pull a scoby off your normal batch, all cultures will take an adjustment period to new tea, diff sugar, etc, in the long run you can brew on the sweet on many things, honey ive been doing for years with no issue. As far as jun, I have free cultures to share, thats right, FREE. [email protected]. Lets take herbal junction right off their little soapbox. "If I give away info or cultures, that threatens my business" Yeah, GT is surely struggling with the fact EVERYONE knows how to brew buch now, what are we in 2nd Grade?!?!? Happy brewing, folks send me a sweetly typed email and you shall see the mystery unfurled. Cheers!

      anonymous Feb 21, 2013 9:59pm

      Emma, I talked to Sandor Katz about jun. He seems to think it is probably something that was developed from kombucha itself. And if you read Art of Fermentation carefully it states that there doesn't seem to be any references in any Tibetan Fermentation books on jun. Anyway, I suspect that it was developed in the states and I hate to be a jerk but I don't believe the story about the traveling Tibetan giving the Herbal Junction dude his jun culture. I think it might be difficult to be a traveling monk with jugs of fermenting liquid. Just doesn't make sense. I think it is a different thing, but that it originated in the states by training kombucha cultures. I am open to being wrong. What is funny is that it seems americans made a new product, but have to sanctify it or validate it by making up stories about Tibetan monks. How about admitting, hey we made a cool new fermentation.

      anonymous Mar 16, 2014 4:40pm

      The bacteria in honey could be the bacteria we know as Jun

anonymous Sep 24, 2012 7:07pm

You are making your Own fermented drink, therefore you should use your Own name for it. Lets be respectful, we are all One Love.

anonymous Sep 13, 2012 3:22pm

Hey HerbalJunction, get over yourselves. You did NOT invent Jun. You don't own Jun. It's free all over place btw, so get used to it.

    anonymous Sep 24, 2012 7:08pm

    It isn't Real Jun my friend.

anonymous Sep 1, 2012 10:14pm

I believe the difference between Jun and Kombucha to be the essence of what the culture. Like making beer or wine you can use a different yeast to bring about different fermentation qualities. It is possible to feed a kombucha or jun culture a variety of teas and sugar sources. Fruit and berries can also be a fun addition to any brew when done carefully, This supplements sugars, add flavors, and brings a truly local aspect to your brew. ALSO: IT IS POSSIBLE TO GRO A "MOTHER" FROM ANY NON PASTEURIZED BOTTLE OF JUN OR KOMBUCHA! That's how I got my culture, traceable back to the mother land! Also, folks have tried my brews and those from where I got the culture, and they like mine better! ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Support honorable brewers! Give thanks for the power of fermentation!

anonymous Sep 1, 2012 6:10pm

Support the TRUE makers http://www.herbaljunctionelixirs.com/

    anonymous Jul 4, 2014 5:38pm

    Herbal Junction, I don’t support theft. Your thievery of healthful information and cultures from humanity (through your secrecy, willing only to share when you receive profit) created the karma that got your warehouse broken into. I’m not opposed to you making money for brewing and selling your product, that’s fine. But knowing how you withhold something that could help many? No, I can’t support your business model even though your product (not the culture) is sold at my store. I will happily acquire a Jun culture anywhere I can, and share it with everyone freely.

    It is entirely possible for peaceful co-existence among home brewers and your retail business. 1st world countries are big on the convenience of not preparing their own foods, if you didn’t know.

anonymous Sep 1, 2012 6:03pm

And your Dealer shouldn't be proud that he is selling something that was stolen, plus in order to be actually making JUN you first have to know how Jerry makes it, step by step, if you don't then you have no right to call your fermented drink (*because that is what it is) JUN.

anonymous Sep 1, 2012 5:57pm

I don't think that whoever wrote this article did their research. You should have actually called Herbal Junction to get the actual TRUTH.

anonymous Jun 30, 2012 7:16am

I’m a huge fan of all kinds of music (most kinds even) and a musician myself. I’ve performed in the improvisational/unregimented music of jazz/fusion/funk, to the “cookie cutter” performances of classical and metal. Why, just because metal and classical are regimented, does it mean that they lack any meaning? Why have we “lost” something by playing those kinds? Just because you’re playing the same thing twice, doesn’t mean each time you play it, it will yield the same feeling. Metal and classical are two of the most technically difficult genres of music to play, and many musicians love that, because it takes a high degree of musicianship to play like that.

anonymous May 10, 2012 7:13pm

That was a fascinating article Emma. This is probably the most comprehensive writing I have found about Jun, even in the comments. Jun sounds magical. 🙂

anonymous Jan 1, 2012 6:02am

I have a culture – it is amazing!! My drinks are incredible!! I am glad they got cultures somehow – though sorry the warehouse was broken into (not cool) – it is not right to keep something like this from people even though they will eventually bastardize it like how the lady I got a kombucha culture from had fed it only kool-aid 🙂 lol Fortunately my aunt from Phoenix sent me Kombucha culture when I was SEVEN… now I am thirty two… we have been making medicine together a long time! 🙂

    anonymous Feb 16, 2012 12:02pm

    I have a culture too now!!! SO BLESSED!

    I love Jun better than any liquid!

      anonymous May 19, 2012 3:46pm

      I love jun and have been looking all over for a mother. Do you (or does anyone else) have a mother? I tried growing my own but it didn't work. Thanks!

      anonymous Aug 6, 2012 12:06pm


      Is there any chance you would sell me a culture and send it to Iceland to me along with instructions?


anonymous Jan 1, 2012 5:03am

Yes it is easy to brew! Similar to kombucha except with green tea & Honey – have to be careful not to add herbs that would kill it, like pau d'arco, and also be careful not to thujonate it unless u r looking to get really high

    anonymous Sep 1, 2012 6:44pm

    You are wrong, you would have to know how exactly Jerry Brew's it to rightfully call it Jun. You are not making it, you are making your own fermented drink.

anonymous Dec 31, 2011 4:48am

[…] Potions and herbal elixirs are available for those who don’t want alcohol. They have healthy cultures similar to kombucha only stronger, Jill explained. Yummy food plus elixirs equals good digestion, and plenty of choices. Shine makes it possible to go out, have a good time, socialize and drink delicious beverages. They also offer wine, beer and cocktails. Shine boasts of a hard core juicer that keeps the enzymes and vitamins in tact for up to three days. This allows the staff to make plenty of juice that will hold its health benefits. […]

anonymous Jun 3, 2011 2:11am


anonymous Mar 13, 2011 6:49pm

[…] Through out the day I will drink as much herbal or white tea as I wish. I also drink at least one cup of Yogi teas ‘Get Regular’ and the same brand makes an excellent ‘fasting tea’ which is really great at satiating hunger. And kombucha! I drink lots of kombucha and or Jun. […]

anonymous Feb 1, 2011 9:40am

[…] The oils smelled fantastic, everything a hippie should smell like, but typically doesn’t. I could tell I was dealing with top grade essential oils and spending time on the Mountain Rose Herbs website, this suspicion was confirmed on the essential oil info page they describe their oils saying,“The essential oils offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are 100% pure steam distilled plant oils with an unsurpassable fragrance, exceptional depth, magnificent keynote, and are free of carriers, diluents and other inputs.” Mountain Rose Herbs are located in Eugene Oregon, I wonder if they have ever tasted Jun? […]

anonymous Oct 11, 2010 2:20pm

There was a group of botany students at UC Davis selling Jun at the Whole Earth Festival in the late 80s and early 90s, i used to order it every year and it was great. I never seen it pop up again since. When I saw the Kombucha thing grow I always wondered about if I would ever see Jun again.

    anonymous Sep 1, 2012 5:58pm

    Herbal Junction Still goes to Whole Earth….

anonymous Oct 3, 2010 8:57am

Genuinely truly excellent website submit which has got me considering. I never looked at this from your point of view.

anonymous Aug 10, 2010 5:41pm

The difference between Kombucha and Jun is NOT in the INGREDIENTS, rather it is in the PREPARATION. It is true that there are heirloom cultures – but a true JUN has exponentially more JING (or kidney chi) in it then kombucha does.

anonymous Aug 5, 2010 5:29pm

Going for that fetal alcohol syndrome, are you?

    anonymous Aug 6, 2010 1:00am

    No. Drinking a glass of 1.5% alcohol will not give the child fetal alcohol syndrome at this point, according to my neo-natal specialist and midwives.

    The gallon I was bragging about was shared around with the other Elephants. It is hard to drink a lot of it, it is seriously potent in ways beyond the alcohol.

anonymous Aug 5, 2010 2:44pm

$6 for ten ounces?! God bless the West End. I’ll have a $5 beer and just come try some at your place instead… 😉

    anonymous Sep 1, 2012 6:37pm

    Yes $6 for ten ounces I don't think you realize what goes into it….

anonymous Aug 5, 2010 10:09am

Nice article, but I think it is a bit misleading. Kombucha is a fermented drink that can be – and is – made with GREEN, BLACK, PUER, or OOLONG teas, AND a type of sugar – honey, cane sugar, brown sugar, agave, etc. Jun is Kombucha. I brew what you are calling Jun and have for several years – you can get it in Boulder for free if you know who to ask. I also brew Kombucha with black tea, but I prefer green tea. I believe you can also trace Kombucha back much further then the 19th century, as there are texts mentioning the drink dating back to the 15th century. By varying the amount of sugar – and how long the elixir sits AFTER you take it out of the culture – the amount of alcohol will vary (as the alcohol is a by product of the cultures eating the sugar). This is just basic chemistry. Jun = Kombucha = Any other name you want. The probiotics are the same.

    anonymous Aug 6, 2010 1:14am

    Most commonly the drinks are brewed in the aforementioned ways.

    Yes Jun is a form of kombucha, as I stated in the beginning.

    According to the owner of the oxygen bar tonic "everyone thinks they have Jun cultures".
    Good for you brewing your own!

      anonymous Sep 1, 2012 6:14pm

      Jun is not Kombucha you are incorrect.

    anonymous Dec 31, 2010 8:43pm

    Well K drinker, since you seem to know alot about chemistry, you would probably enjoy the approx. 15 pages of clinical data I have from the extensive testing I had done at the university lab in Boulder. We compared the two spores and needless to say there is quite a difference! Molecularly , they are drastically different! I don't understand why everyone can't just support something they believe in , acknowledge those that came before them, and represent with your dollar ! People just can't accept any sort of mysterious nature around the product ,when the lab techs, themselves were even baffled. The more controversy everyone stirs up around it , the more sales for jun & those who possess the "stolen" spores, so keep the confusion rolling !

      anonymous Jan 1, 2012 5:07am

      Okay, I am with you on testing the biology of Jun. Why not? It's awesome! But why not EDUCATE people about this? Mystery is cool in theatre and movies, but when you are consuming something on a regular basis, you kinda want to know wtf is up… right … cuz everyone was drinking that stupid black mica extract and getting aluminum poisoning… obviously Jun will not poison you in any way, however, there could be some things people should know before consuming based on their own body.

        anonymous Sep 1, 2012 6:41pm

        That is why you would ask the actual brewers who are making Jun, hey or even better Herbal Junction. Not someone who stole the "Culture".

          anonymous May 24, 2013 12:02pm

          The actual brewers are being selfish by hoarding it all to themselves. This is a health tonic and should be shared. Everyone should be making Jun babies. I know for a fact there are Jun babies being grown in other states. Just wait a few weeks and people will be sharing and putting this company out of business.

            anonymous Jul 13, 2013 12:42pm

            Absolutely. I have a whole herbal class that is brewing it right now and we are sharing with as many people as we can. it is a health tonic and I totally agree with you!

      anonymous Jan 15, 2013 10:43am

      I know I am a bit late to comment, but I would love to see the research if you are willing to share. From my non-scientific inferential observations, it seems more bacterial than anything with some weak natural yeast strains that tend to fall off before they can flocculate.

      anonymous Jan 16, 2014 9:13am

      Lil Jun…I would LOVE to read thru the data you have on Kombucha vs Jun. Please?

anonymous Aug 5, 2010 1:26am

Wait, is this a joke? I thought it was for real, then I thought it was a joke. Is this for real?
A monastery in Northern California, of course! What else?
It is alive tho, that I do know.

    anonymous Aug 6, 2010 1:12am

    Not a joke, if you think it's a joke, drink some.

      anonymous Sep 1, 2012 6:38pm

      Jerry didn't get it from Northern California………

anonymous Aug 4, 2010 6:57pm

I will give it a try!

anonymous Aug 5, 2010 1:07am

Oh this is Emma btw!

anonymous Aug 24, 2010 11:37am

Thanks Tim! We agree and love our Jun ! If you think this is interesting, wait until you try some!

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Emma Blue

Emma Blue wants to be a mensch when she grows up. To inspire you to share your story and to wear fewer ungapotchke outfits.
She finds eye contact, dancing and writing with stolen time agreeable. She lives in Sarasota, Florida with her daughter, Aurélia.
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