Kukicha Green Tea
Kukicha is a special type of Japanese Sencha tea (see below). Unlike common Sencha teas, the leaf material used for Kukicha contains a portion of stems. Just like Sencha tea, Kukicha comes in various qualities. On that score, our Kukicha is mainly based on tender leaf stems. These are mixed with leaves of a high-grade Sencha tea of the spring picking and then processed together.
Due to the the contrast between dark green tea leaves and the light green, almost white leaf stems, the resultign Kukicha is eye candy right from the start. The bright yellow cup of the equally high-contrast infusion further contributes to visual enjoyment. In terms of taste, this Japanese green tea classic with its fine-dry, very pleasantly spicy note resembles a Sencha tea of elevated class.
First of all, Sencha tea is a generic term for pretty much all Japanese green teas. In a more specific sense, however, Sencha means unshaded green teas of the 1st and 2nd (spring and summer) pluckings. According to estimates, sencha teas make up about 80% of all tea grown in Japan. Also, it is the most consumed tea in Japan.
In contrast, Japanese teas of the late summer and autumn pickings are referred to as “Bancha“. Other types of Japanese green tea include the shaded “Kabusecha” and the also shaded, Tencha-based Gyokuro. To these add several special processing variants of Sencha tea. Examples for such are Fukamushicha (deep-steamed), Kukicha (ratio of stems among leaves), Tamaryokucha (open rolled leaf), Hojicha (roasted green tea) and Genmaicha (Sencha leaves with roasted rice grains). Another special version of Sencha tea is Shincha, which is the freshly picked tea of the first spring picking.
Unlike in China, the Japanese method to stop the oxidation processes in the tea leaf is steaming instead of roasting. This is responsible for the special character of Japanese green teas, compared to green teas from China and most other countries of origin. In Sencha tea, this character finds its most characteristic manifestation. To a pleasant grassy to hay-like basic flavor add lovely sweet, fresh fruity or even off-dry notes, depending on type. After stopping the oxidation processes, a special rolling technique brings the Sencha tea leaves into their characteristic needle shape.
At a dosaging of 2-3g tea leaves on 100ml water of a temperature of 70°C, let infuse for 1-2 mintes. With preparation in such way, a 2nd infusion of 1/2-1 minute infusion period easily lives up to full value again. And a third infusion (infusion period 2 minutes again) is definitely still worth it!
More informatin about tea cultivation in Japan in general and types of Japanese green teas in particular provides my pertaining blog article: