What is Kukicha (茎茶)
Kukicha茎茶 is also called, Bōcha棒茶, due to stick-like shape and In English, known as the “stem tea” or “twig tea.” It is cultivated from the same plant as Sencha, just like Bancha, consisting of stems, stalks, and twigs instead of leaves like in other teas.
It mostly comes from the processing of Sencha and Matcha when the stems and twigs are left behind. After the steaming and drying process of Sencha, leaves are separated based on colors. Sencha is dark green leaves, and Kukicha has light green stems, etc. These are separated either by labor or sorting machines. While brewing, it also takes a longer time than Sencha and has a less bitter taste than Sencha and a more refreshing aroma, which is why it is preferred over many other green teas for daily intake.
Tea leaves and stems have the same nutrient called Theanine, which gets equally bitter and turns into catechin when exposed to as much sunlight. Leaves always receive more sunlight then stems; therefore, Sencha has more astringent notes than Kukicha.
Aside from this, Sencha plant is grown and mature for at least three years, and then its four sorts of stems, twigs, and stalks are harvested to make Kukicha. Kukicha tea has a unique aroma and taste compared to other green teas due to its being composed of other parts of the tea plant that are not included in the most teas.
Kukicha is considered a second-grade tea because it is not the general green tea form. It is mostly for personal use and not for offering guests, to whom you must like to present high-grade tea.
When Kukicha is made from processing Gyokuro, it is named as “Karigane”雁が音(かりがね) or “Shiraore.” 白折れ茶 Kukicha made from Gyokuro has the best quality and made from Bancha will be considered low quality. If you roast Kukicha, it is called Kaga boucha 加賀棒茶or Houji boucha. ほうじ棒茶 These have brown color stems and resemble houjicha, have roasted aroma and astringency flavor.
Kukicha is brewed just like the Sencha in a traditional Kyusu, Japanese teapot. Kukicha has a mild nutty and slightly sweet creamy flavor if brewed right. Moreover, it has a dark yellowish color when brewed and has a distinct woody aroma. You only need Kukicha, boiling water, and tea set to make it at home to enjoy.
- Add one teaspoon or 4 grams of Kukicha per cup in a Kyusu.
- Boil the water and pour them in cups to warm them and cool the water to 80 degrees.
- Now pour this water in your kyusu, where you have added the Kukicha.
- Let it steep for about one minute. Don’t over brew it as it makes the taste bitter and color darker.
- Pour it in cups by adding half and a half first because if you pour in one cup first, then the other, the second cup will be more concentrated.
- Pour it the right way and enjoy nutty and creamy flavor tea after every meal.
- Lastly, use the same leaves for the second and third infusions and let it steep for a lesser time.
You can make it another way, a modern style that is used in other countries. Boil the water and add one teaspoon of kukicha. Let it brew in the water for about 2-3 minutes and pour it into your cup. Drink it just like this, or add milk and honey to mild the strong taste.
Kukicha tea is beneficial to your body, just like any other green tea. However, it does not contain theine but has many antioxidants.
- It is an alkalizing drink that neutralizes the acidity in your stomach.
- Tannins present in tea help digestion of grains and vegetables by speeding up the process and benefiting your body with every vitamin and nutrient.
- Kukicha tea is rich in minerals such as copper, selenium, manganese, calcium, zinc, etc., also A, C B-complex vitamins due to being grown for three years, as it continuously takes minerals from the soil.
- It has one of the high levels of calcium. One cup of Kukicha contains at least 13 glasses of milk worthy calcium in it.
- Kukicha is recommended to take in breakfast as it gives you energy and vitality for a whole day in a natural way. Also, take it as digestive after meals.
- Tea also helps in combating heart diseases, bladder infection, and skin issues. Also, it lowers the cholesterol level in blood and fights oxidants.
- The main thing about Kukicha is that it contains less no caffeine, which makes it suitable for tea for anyone, and you can drink it at any part of the day.
- Last but not least, it is the preferred tea for the macrobiotic diet.
Here is Kuki-cha we carry:
- 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)