Taste of Tea :: Kukicha from The Cultured Cup

Hey there, tea drinkers! I hope you had a great weekend. Today’s post is another Taste of Tea entry in which I’ll relay my tea-tasting journal entry for the Kukicha loose leaf tea from The Cultured Cup. I first purchased some of this tea back around my birthday in November (a happy birthday tea from me, to me) and I quickly made my way through the 2 oz bag before I even had a chance to make a journal entry. Luckily, my wonderful girlfriend purchased me another 4 oz bag of this delicious tea as a Christmas gift, so I was able to do a journal entry for this particular tea.

Type of Tea: Green Tea, loose leaf

A quick bit about Kukicha: Kukicha is a type of Japanese tea [1-4] that is composed of leaves and stems, or keba (“fluff”) [3], collected during the production of either Sencha or Gyokuro teas. There are two versions of Kukicha that are processed in different manners: a green Kukicha [1-4] that is steamed and a roasted Kukicha [4,5] that undergoes charcoal roasting. The name kukicha roughly translates as “twig tea” [5,1], an apt moniker for this stem containing tea. Kukicha is quite similar in style to Hojicha [5,6], which is another roasted Japanese green tea that also makes use of leftover stems and leaf material [7]. The Kukicha from The Cultured Cup is a deep-steamed, or Fukamushi [1,8], (green) Kukicha from the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu in the Kagoshima prefecture and it is derived from the production of Sencha [1].

Tasting Notes 

Dry tea: Out of the package, the scent off of the dry tea was very sweet with strong dry grass note and a savoriness that made my mouth water. The tea was composed of bits of leaves and stems. The leaves were a dark but shiny green, and the stems were a pale, slightly yellowish, green.

I warmed the teapot and added the dry tea to help further activate its scent. The activated scent was even more savory/umami and the grassiness was a little bit lighter.

Preparation: 2 teaspoons approximately 170 mL (5.7 oz) of roughly 80 C (176 F) water for 30-45 seconds.

Tea liquor: After infusing, the scent coming off of the liquor was still sweet, grassy, and umami. The color of the liquor was a bright pale yellow-green.  

The taste of the tea liquor was grassy with a strong punch of minerally umami-ness. There was also a hint vegetalness in the taste which reminded somewhat of spinach. The tea was mildly astringent with a dry finish. The finish also had a strong sweetness with a mineral twang that lingered for a while after drinking the liquid.

Quick Summary

  • Tea: Kukicha, loose, green tea, organic
  • Pick: leftover leaves and stems from Sencha tea
  • Processing: deep-steamed
  • Origin: Japan, the island of Kyushu, Kagoshima Prefecture
  • Retailer: The Cultured Cup
  • Current Price: $16.50/ 2 oz (57 g)
  • Flavor Notes: dry grass, savory/umami, mineral, spinach
  • Finish: dry with strong sweet and minerally elements that linger

Final Thoughts: I love this tea! In retrospect, I think this Kukicha is far superior to the previous Kukicha that I’ve tried (which I did enjoy and that introduced to this type of tea) and really catapulted Kukicha into my short list of favorite teas that I drink regularly. With its deliciously strong umami and grassy character and vegetal undertones followed by a dry, strongly sweet and minerally finish, this Kukicha from The Cultured Cup offers a complex and mouthwatering experience that keeps me coming back for more.

Thanks for reading! As always, these are my tasting notes, and since the perception of taste and aroma can be quite personal your experience will likely, and indeed probably should, differ from mine. But regardless, I hope this post inspires you to get out there and to keep trying new teas. And if you don’t already, I’d encourage you to try making your own tasting notes as you do!

What tea should I try next? Drop me a line down in the comments and share your suggestion.

And don’t forget to Like, Share, and Follow. Your support is greatly appreciated! It really does help me (i.e., my motivation) and the blog! And once you’re done here, be sure to head over to the BlakesTeaJournalBlog Zazzle store and check out my awesome tea-themed designs.

That’s it, tea drinkers. Until next time, keep enjoying the wondrous taste of tea! — Blake – the tea drinker behind Blake’s Tea Journal

References

  1. “Kukicha.” The Cultured Cup®. Accessed March 03, 2019. https://www.theculturedcup.com/products/kukicha#sub-header.
  2. “Kukicha Tea.” Adagio Teas. Accessed March 03, 2019. https://www.adagio.com/green/kukicha.html.
  3. “Kukicha.” Rishi Tea. Accessed March 03, 2019. https://www.rishi-tea.com/product/kukicha-organic-japanese-green-tea/green-tea.
  4. “Japan’s Kukicha and Karigane Twig Teas A Peasant’s Tea Fit For a King.” The Tea Detective. Accessed March 03, 2019. http://theteadetective.com/JapansTwigTeas.html.
  5. “Kukicha.” My Japanese Green Tea. Accessed March 03, 2019. http://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/kukicha.
  6. “Kukicha.” Harney & Sons Fine Teas. Accessed March 03, 2019. https://www.harney.com/products/kukicha-tea?variant=29491980550.
  7. “History of Hojicha Roasted Green Tea.” Hojicha Co. Accessed March 03, 2019. https://hojicha.co/pages/history-of-hojicha-roasted-green-tea.
  8. “Ocha & Co. Japanese Fukamushi Deep-Steamed Sencha Green Tea.” Ocha & Co. Accessed March 03, 2019. https://www.ochaandco.com/products/japanese-fukamushi-sencha?variant=12707131590&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0u2v5LPn4AIVC43ICh37nwy2EAQYAyABEgIsA_D_BwE.

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