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Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Unique Tea: Kukicha (Twig Tea)

Japanese tea is plucked four times during the growing season. That last plucking is used to make bancha, which means "last tea." At the same time twigs are pruned from the [tea] bushes and used for twig tea or kukicha. It's really a sort of clean-up of the bushes as the growing season ends. I suppose this isn't really too surprising as land is so scarce in Japan. If I were a Japanese tea farmer, I would want to extract as much value from each tea bush as possible.

Some kukicha is roasted and therefore very brown and "twiggy" (as in the image above), and some kukicha blends are very green and contains pieces of leaf.

I think I would like to try a roasted kukicha. For those of you who already have, what can you tell us about it?


Rosemary said...

Isn't the name of this tea so pretty?! Kukicha... just love it. Years ago, I was sent a teabag sample of Kukicha, and it tasted exactly like twigs, if you can imagine. I recently purchased a sample of loose kukicha, and it must be fresher than the teabag sample I had as this had a slightly nutty flavor to it, not nearly as twiggy! It is a fun tea, pretty too, but unusual, er, unique, since it is twigs mostly, and not many tea leaves. Low temp and short steep times (2 - 3 mins.)

Melanie said...

I have some of this tea, but haven't worked up the courage to try it yet. And I had kinda forgotten about it. Thanks - I will try it soon!

VeggieMama4Him said...

A few months ago I began a Vegan diet. One of the new things I have been drinking is the Kukicha tea from Eden Foods which I do believe is toasted/roasted. The first time I ever tried it, I agree with you- very twiggy. I decided to give it another shot, but this time I added a little stevia and some lemon- NOW I am hooked!!!! It has replaced my morning decaf coffee and my evening decaf Constant Comment Tea! I ABSOLUTELY am addicted and the best part about it is that it has sooooooo many AWESOME health benefits!


I am a recent convert to Twig (Kukicha) tea. I get two slightly different ones from my two food coops. One darker brown roast than the other. Both have their good qualities and freshness is not an issue with the coops.

It is alkaline (good for your body) and has a very satisfyingly rich roasted flavor, not unlike roasted barley tea (another favorite).

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