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Tea Question? Kukicha!

ok, so Kukicha is a tea made from stem and twigs from what i understand, so are they steamed, fired, processed in a special way to make Kukicha? or If I have jar that i have been putting all stick and stem pieces into over the past year from all different kinds and types of teas then is that some kind of Kukicha now or just a jar of sticks? Should i drink them now?

13 Replies

This is a really good question! I am glad you’re thinking about stuff like this.

From my knowledge, kukicha is steamed, like other Japanese green teas. And it is produced from freshly harvested stem, not leftover stem from other types of tea.

If you are gathering stems and sticks from various types of teas, and you mix it together, that’s not going to be kukicha, like you said, it’s going to be a jar of sticks. You could try them out though, and see how they taste. But, unless you’re collecting stems from steamed Japanese teas, it’s unlikely to taste anything like kukicha.

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Cool, thats kinda what i was thinking, i’m gona try it out. its mixed from all kinds of teas mostly puers.

I wonder what it’ll taste like! Hope you post the results.

i’ll post the results, i think i’m going to try it tonight soon as i get home.

Azzrian said

I can’t wait to see / read the result!

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James R said

Sounds like a captain planet blend to me! Good luck let us know how it is!

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I’ll have you know that in honor of this thread, when my fiancé pulled a stick out of one of our newest teas, she handed it to me and said that I could start my own jar of sticks :P

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Hells Yeah! We all need a stick jar! I taste it too and it wasn’t bad at all just kinda tasted like pretty nice tea kinda puerh-ish, i’m gonna keep adding to it tho:)

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Azzrian said

I have yet to find many sticks – only a rare few. It could take a long time to come up with enough for a brew. Maybe I just need to double up on my intake but geesh I thought I was already over doing it. :)

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mbanu said

Generally stalks are removed from most British-influenced styles of tea before it is sold, because stalky tea fetches lower prices at auction.

Pu-erh seems like it is a little different, so you might have more luck finding stalk there.

Kukicha is a bit odd. I had always assumed it was brought about by mechanical harvesting (which gives the pluckers less control over what is harvested), and the “aracha” tea divide. After all, if as a refined tea processor you buy a load of aracha, you get the stems along with the good tea… so perhaps it seemed more like throwing away money in Japan to do nothing with the stems…

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I recently tried Kukicha and found it bitter and odd – even at lower temps and times. Do the stems contribute to the odd flavor and bitterness? And do the stems offer any of the benefits the leaves give?

Hmmmm, normally kukicha is on the sweet side, since it’s high in L-theanine (sweetness) and low in caffeine (bitterness), so it is odd. There is high-quality kukicha made of gyokuro or high-grade sencha, sometimes called karigane, if you want to try it.
The stems have the same compounds found in the leaves, but the proportion is different. There are more amino acids (like L-theanine) but less catechins (like EGCG) and caffeine than leaves. Note that leaf quality quickly degrades with later flushes, so that a good kukicha is way better than a bancha.
I don’t want to sound too promotional, but for more info on kukicha you can visit http://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/kukicha

Thank you for the information Ricardo!!

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