The differences between Kukicha, Kariganecha, and Shiraore
Green teas are often made from leaves, but these three green teas are made from stems of green tea plants. Because of this, they are called stem green teas. Green tea is one of the most popular drinks globally because of its health benefits and since we wanted a sweeter taste from green tea but a bit less in antioxidants than green tea leaves, let’s dive in and see the differences.
What makes stem green teas delicious?
The taste is creamy sweet, with a nutty taste and umami flavor. These teas are high in L-Theanine (the reason for its sweet taste). Tea plants contain L-Theanine, a non-protein amino acid, from roots, and it passes on the stem until it reaches the leaves. Since the stem serves as the gateway, there is more L-Theanine on the stem than on the leaves. Also, the leaves have less L-Theanine because of the photosynthesis, where L-Theanine converts into catechins or antioxidants. Because of the very low caffeine content of the stem green teas, it is okay to drink any of these teas at least two hours before bed.
Kukicha is made of stems, stalks, and twigs of the Sencha plant. ‘Kuki” means stem, and ‘cha” means tea. In the beginning, when tea processors discarded the stems while making green tea, the poor picked these and made the Kukicha tea, but now, it is popular even among tea connoisseurs.
Kariganecha (wild goose) is made of stalks, stems, and twigs from the Gyokuro plant. Imagine you are a goose who needs to rest on floating large branches. It is mainly a drink in Kyoto but still a drink in other parts of Japan. It is sweeter and less astringent than Kukicha.
When preparing Kukicha and Kariganecha, the water must be 167 to 176 degrees Fahrenheit or 75 to 80 degrees Celsius. The only difference is the Kukicha can be infused two times while Kariganecha can be infused three times.
When Kariganecha reaches and is made from Kyushu, it is called Shiraore (white fold). Although, it is also called Shiraore in other parts of Japan.
There you have it! What is important is you know where these stem green teas came from and if you haven’t tried these teas, go to your nearest tea shop or order online. These are considered high-grade teas because they came from Sencha or Gyokuro plants grown in the shade to maintain the beautiful green color and the sweet taste. In addition, you will feel a calming experience while gaining the health benefits of a cup of green tea.
Here is the green tea we carry that are mentioned above:
- ShizuokaTea – Kukicha – Green Tea Leaf Stems
- KagoshimaTea – Matcha Karigane Sencha (This tea has matcha in addition to Karigane-cha. Karigane-cha is kukicha from gyokuro or high-end sencha tea)
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