What Is Kukicha?
Kukicha is tea made from collecting twigs which have dropped out during the selection and sorting process of sencha and gyokuro tea leaves. In Kyoto, the stems of high quality gyokuro have been especially called “Karigane,” but today all kinds of tea stems are often called by the same name. They also can be called by different names such as “Shiraore” depending on the region. Kukicha is easy to drink thanks to its light and plain taste. It can also be recommended as an easily brewable tea, as this tea releases comparatively less bitterness and astringency even when prepared with boiling water.
We carry three kinds of kukicha: Sencha, kabusecha and gyokuro. Here the main focus goes to Sencha Karigane.
[High]Weaker and more plain in comparison to the sweetness of regular tea leaves. Does not liger on the tongue or in the back of the throat.
[High]Weaker and more plain in comparison to the sweetness of regular tea leaves. Does not liger in the aftertaste.
Bitterness and Astringency
[High]Harshness and astringency are faint. Is well harmonised with the sweetness and deliciousness.
[Low]Subtle. Released when brewed with boiling water, but harshness is faint.
[High]The pure aroma of sencha with a subtle green fragrance, unique to twigs. The tea is imbued with the strong aroma of twigs when brewed at higher temperatures. The aroma does not have a clean finish.
[Low]A monotonous aroma unique to stems. Superficial and disappears immediately.
[High]None to minor red- and darkness. Clear golden yellow. Hardly cloudy and highly transparent.
[Low]Yellower than leaves. Pale and lacks in brightness. Kukicha of sencha can be reddish as long as it does not affect the flavour.
[High]The twigs are greenish and soft. No parts are brown. Similar to the tints of leaves.
[Low]The twigs are white and hard. Some parts are brown. Obviously thick.
How to Make Good Cups of Tea (for two)
As tea stems contain less tastes than regular leaves, kukicha tastes brisk and plain. It is a type of tea easy to brew even for beginners because it releases less bitterness and astringency even when brewed with boiling water. However, the tea may taste weak after the second round compared to a leaf tea.
- Tea Leaves
- Water Temperature
- Water Amount
- Waiting Time
- 30-40 seconds
(1) Pour boiling water into your cups and tea pot to warm them up and at the same time lower the water temperature. Each time you transfer the hot water to a different vessel, the temperature can by lowered by approximately 10 degrees.
(2) Insert 8 g (approx. 2 teaspoons) of tea leaves in your tea pot. Slowly pour 200 ml of hot water at 80 °C. Be careful when handling hot water!
(3) Wait for about 30-40 seconds without moving the pot. Alternately pour the tea little by little into several cups (to distribute the tea evenly). Pour until the last drop and leave the lid of the tea pot open.
Pour quickly to avoid bitterness and astringency.
(4) For the second round and on, serve without waiting after pouring hot water in the pot.
Use hot water at a little lower temperature (60-70°C) for kukicha of gyokuro and kabusecha to enjoy it's fresh sweetness. Also refer to the brewing methods of gyokuro and kabusecha for these particular types.