Japanese Green Stem Tea
Brewing: 1 tsp per cup ~ 70°C ~ 3 mins
Country of Origin: Japan.
Region: Kagoshima Prefecture.
Growing Altitude: 200 - 1000 feet above sea level.
Manufacture Type: Non-fermented, traditional process, steamed.
Cup Characteristics: Distinctive Japanese green profile. Cup tends lightly vegetative leading to a beguiling finish loaded with malt.
Infusion: Tending yellow-green, somewhat pale.
Ingredients: Green Sencha tea stems.
Antioxidant Level: High.
Caffeine Content: Low.
Kukicha, known in Japan as winter tea, is in many ways the perfect beverage to sip on a cool morning. Like the branches of winter trees, stripped of their leaves, Kukicha is made with the leafless stalks, stems and twigs left behind after Sencha production. What's more, the unusually shaped tea is traditionally harvested and processed in autumn, before the tea bushes are pruned to prepare for the winter dormancy. The tea has cool, windy weather written all over it.
Kukicha is made by steaming the stalks before processing in order to halt fermentation. The cup produced is exceptionally clean, with a mild nutty flavour, malty highlights and cream on the finish. In Japan, the tea is commonly enjoyed on its own or, due to its low caffeine levels (approx. 1/10th of other green teas), added to fruit juices to make children's tea.
Here in the west, Kukicha has come to be regarded as an excellent part of a complete macrobiotic or vegan diet. The nutty flavour pairs exceptionally well with grain based dishes, rice and breads and the high antioxidant count offers an added degree of dietary health.
Alternatively, put the tea in a tea infuser and brew right in your cup.
When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times.
Milk not recommended for green tea.
Iced & Cold Brewing
- Make as for hot, but add extra tea - a rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the amount of tea used per cup. When the tea has cooled a little, pour over ice. It is important to make it a little stronger as the ice will water it down.
- Alternatively, you can cold brew the tea by placing the Sencha stems in a jug and adding cold water. Leave to infuse for a few hours (or overnight in the fridge) strain and enjoy. Cold brewing will give a smoother taste.