Great news, tea fans! We just got another special health tea from Japan. Kukicha – “twig tea” – is frequently enjoyed as a health tonic due to its high antioxidants and low caffeine.
Kukicha is quite literally the twigs and stems of the tea plant, mostly byproducts removed from the leaves during processing. But this very mild tea is recommended by those who follow a macrobiotic diet (which stems from “yin and yang” ideas of Chinese Taoism and Japanese Zen Buddhism) as a balancing and restorative elixir, and it is sometimes mixed with fruit juices to provide healthy nutrients to young children.
This Roasted Kukicha is really yummy! The roasting adds more robust and well-rounded flavors, appealing more to Western tastes. It is still a very mild tea, with pale orange liquor and a subtle aroma, easy on the belly, calming and warming rather than stimulating. Flavors tend toward nutty with subdued notes of cedar, canteloupe, jasmine, plus a unique tone that stands out compared to other teas – rich and buttery oats. Kukichas are known for being “creamy” and this roasted variety seems to have even more thick silky body. With longer steeping, a little astringency creeps in, but almost no bitterness (as long as you keep water temps low), and then eventually more vegetal flavors resembling bamboo or pine begin to dominate as body and sweetness improve slightly more.
After taste testing different temps and times, we recommend giving this roasted kukicha a gentle but longer steep to bring out more flavors and enrich the delicate liquor. We liked it best when steeped for about 5 minutes in 170 degree water. At only 3 minutes, this tea will contain some antioxidants and micro-nutrients, but will look and taste very light, similar to our Exquisite Pearls White Tea. At 7 minutes, it will taste much more robust, nutty with a hint of crisp melon floating on top of silky sweet body, but beyond that it begins to take on a more woody vegetal flavor.
Or try steeping this kukicha in traditional Japanese style – 6 grams of tea in 6 ounces of water, steeped for 30-60 seconds. This provides a rich flavor experience quite different than a typical green tea – stand-out flavors include creamy buttery oats and a light but uniquely crisp astringency that tingles the palate and sinuses. It can be re-steeped numerous times to enjoy the full range of flavor profiles.
Steeping Time – 3-7 minutes
Water Temp – 170 F
Organic green tea twigs