Hello, fellow tea enthusiasts! I hope you had a great week. Today’s post is another The Taste of Tea entry in which I’ll relay my notes from my tea-tasting journal entry for the Kukicha loose leaf tea from Adagio Teas. And in fact, I’m having a cup of this tea while writing this post! I purchased this tea as a part of Adagio’s Teas of Japan sampler; this is the second of the teas I’ve posted about from the set, so once you’re done here you can check out my previous post on the Hojicha tea from the set.

Kukicha package
Kukicha from Adagio Teas package

Type of Tea: Green Tea, loose leaf

A quick bit about (green) Kukicha  Kukicha (green) is a type of Japanese green tea [1,2,3], which is composed of leaves and stems, or keba (“fluff”) [2], collected during the production of either Sencha or Gyokuro. The name kukicha roughly translates as “twig tea” [4]. Kukicha is similar in style to Hojicha, [4,5] which also makes use of leftover stems and leaf material [6]. However, the green version of Kukicha is not roasted [5] but is instead steamed, sun-dried, and then aged [6].  There is also a more oxidized version of Kukicha that undergoes roasting [3,4].

Tasting Notes  The dry stuff was composed of separate stems and leaves; the proportions were probably close to half and half of each one. The dry leaves are a dark forest green, while the stems were a little lighter in color. The ensemble looked sort of like lawn clippings.

dry kukicah tea
Dry kukicha tea

The scent of the dry tea was grassy with a semi-sweet note.

To prepare the tea I infused it for 30 seconds in less than boiling water without an initial rinse.

Infusing Kukicha tea
Infusing Kukicha tea

After brewing the first infusion, the wet tea still had a grassy scent, but now more like fresh cut grass after a spring rain. It also still retained some of the semi-sweet quality, but also maybe with a hint of a pine-like note.

The tea liquor had a strong yellow-green color, a little heavier on the yellow hue.

Kukicha tea
Kukicha tea liquor

The tea liquor was somewhat astringent, but not overly so. It had a fairly strong grassy flavor with a sweet finish. There were also some hints of a bit of roasted vegetal notes in the flavor.

Wet Kukicha tea
Wet Kukicha tea

Quick Summary

  • Tea: Kukicha, loose, green tea
  • Pick: primarily stems, with some leaves, collected during processing of other teas
  • Processing: steamed, sun-dried, and aged
  • Origin: Japan
  • Retailer: Adagio Tea 
  • Current Price: $12/3 oz and $34/16 oz
  • Texture: mildly astringent
  • Flavor Notes: grass, semi-sweet, mild roasted notes, slight pine-like note
  • Finish: slightly dry, sweet

Final Thoughts  I enjoyed the sweet grassiness of this tea. I found this to be a very pleasant green tea. So if you enjoy grassy green teas then I think you’ll enjoy this one as well. Overall I think this is a pretty good stand-in for other grassy Japanese greens like Gyokuro and Tencha, maintaining a pretty similar flavor profile but at a much more affordable price point.

Thanks for reading! Have you ever tried this tea before or a similar one from another retailer/provider? If so, please comment and share your thoughts. If you enjoyed this post or found it useful, then please like and share.

And if you enjoy my other content as well and want to get new posts from Blake’s Tea Journal then follow the blog.

References:

  1. “Kukicha Tea.” Adagio Teas. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www.adagio.com/green/kukicha.html.
  2. “Kukicha.” Rishi Tea. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www.rishi-tea.com/product/kukicha-organic-japanese-green-tea/green-tea.
  3. “Japan’s Kukicha and Karigane Twig Teas A Peasant’s Tea Fit For a King”. Accessed October 14, 2018. http://theteadetective.com/JapansTwigTeas.html.
  4. “Kukicha.” My Japanese Green Tea. Accessed October 14, 2018. http://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/kukicha.
  5. Harney. “Kukicha.” Harney & Sons Fine Teas. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www.harney.com/products/kukicha-tea?variant=29491980550.
  6. “History of Hojicha Roasted Green Tea.” Hojicha Co. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://hojicha.co/pages/history-of-hojicha-roasted-green-tea.
  7. “Kukicha, Twig Tea, Organic.” Eden Foods. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www.edenfoods.com/store/kukicha-twig-tea-organic-16-tea-bags-box.html.

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Blake A. Wilson, PhD

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