Making Kombucha With Honey and Why You Should Try It
You had your short-lived sesh of homebrewing, and maybe you even gave homemade kombucha a go. If so, you probably used a base of black tea and cane sugar. Or maybe you prefer to buy your brews straight from the store, taking all of the legwork out of the equation.
Either way, here’s the thing: honey is a much better option than sugar. That’s why we use it in our hard kombucha here at JuneShine, for a whole lot of reasons.
What Is Kombucha?
While this fizzy, fermented drink hasn’t always been popular in the mainstream, kombucha is nothing new. Kombucha has been around since approximately 220 B.C.
First found China as “The Elixir of Life,” it was later brought to Europe and remained popular there until after World War II. After the war, kombucha made its way to Californian homebrewers in the 1960s and the rest of North America in the 1980s and 1990s.
When brewed at home, kombucha uses a black tea base, boiling water, and cane sugar. After the tea mixture has cooled, it’s combined with white vinegar and left to ferment. While fermenting at room temperature, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY) forms and continues the fermentation process for 7 to 30 days before the probiotic is ready to drink.
As fermentation is occurring, the yeast (aka the SCOBY) feeds on sugars and releases carbon dioxide, resulting in a fizzy drink. Of course, that’s the SparkNotes version. A lot more goes into making our hard kombucha.
Enter Jun (rhymes with run) kombucha.
Unlike traditional kombucha, with its black tea and cane sugar base, Jun kombucha uses green tea sweetened with honey rather than refined sugar. Jun kombucha still goes through the fermentation process with SCOBY, but the result is a smoother, more drinkable brew. Later, we add spices and fruits like citrus, berry, mango, and pineapple (all organic, never artificial) to give our booch its iconic flavor.
Using Jun, we provide an effervescent and less harsh sip. In comparison to traditional kombucha’s seven to 30-day fermentation, Jun Kombucha is ready to drink in about a week and retains the same probiotic qualities as the original method. This means we can produce our hard booch and get it to you more quickly.
What’s the Buzz on Honey?
Bee people are pretty intense—and for good reason. There is an entire world of bee and honey aficionados that keep this little ecosystem operating.
Bees play a vital role in our world. Flying around from crop to crop, they pollinate plants—allowing them to reproduce and create fruit. People are fiercely protective of bees because, basically, we wouldn’t be able to exist without bees.
Most of the honey that we consume today is pasteurized—we’re talking about the stuff packaged in cute, bear-shaped bottles. In the pasteurization process, honey is heated to eliminate yeast cells and reduce the pollen content. However, in that process, important enzymes that are beneficial to the body are also removed.
In our Jun kombucha, we use raw honey that doesn’t undergo the pasteurization process. Part of that is because we’re committed to using real, organic ingredients—nothing crazy that you can’t pronounce. The other reason is that raw honey comes with tons of benefits that are just too good to pass up.
Benefits of Honey
Raw honey is pretty much straight from the beehive. It’s rich in antioxidants, which can reduce the potential damage caused to our cells by free radicals. Compounds found in raw honey are also believed to support normal heart health.
Warm tea with honey is a staple when you aren’t feeling well. It turns out there’s a good reason for it. Raw honey is soothing, promotes healthy immune functions, temporarily relieves discomfort, and helps maintain digestive processes.
Depending on where you live and which crops the bees are feasting on, the nutrients of honey will vary slightly. However, regardless of the honey’s origin, it provides amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Natural, raw honey provides us with small amounts of niacin, riboflavin, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc—and the list goes on and on.
Honey is also unique in terms of how our bodies process it. When you taste raw honey, you’ll immediately notice that it’s sweet. However, raw honey is moderately ranked on the Glycemic Index, at 58.
The Glycemic Index ranks foods 1-100 based on how quickly they raise blood sugar levels. Pure, refined sugar scores 83 on the Glycemic Index, meaning it is much more difficult for our bodies to process. The lower the Glycemic Index, the smaller the insulin response in our bodies. The smaller the insulin response, the healthier the overall metabolic function—that’s a major score for honey over cane sugar.
Now that you’ve had a crash course in why we use honey in our Jun kombucha, let’s check out all the flavors that you can sample it in. Whether you’re in the mood for Hopical Citrus, Acai Berry, or Midnight Painkiller, you’ll find that the Jun kombucha gives every option a smooth, crisp flavor.
If you’re worried about the sugar content from the honey, fear not. Since this booch is so nice that we ferment it twice, each 12 ounce can only has between one and four grams of sugar. Plus, with no GMOs or artificial colors and flavors, you can trust that what you’re drinking is just as real as it is thirst-quenching.