A review: Kukicha (Twig Tea) by Haiku
Tea farmers turn to the harvest of tea twigs for kukicha, the “peasant drink”, so-called because farmers drank it after selling the leaves to sophisticated urbanites as a cash crop.
Kukicha is described as twig tea, which is a Japanese blend of green tea. Tea farmers carefully select 40% of medium twigs aged 3 years, 40% thick twigs aged 10 years, and 20% thin twigs and leaves aged 1 year; they then roast each variety separately to bring out its rich flavor. Over all tea has a nutty, slightly creamy flavor.
The water is bought to full boil and adding some to a cup with two tea bags, I allow for it to simmer for five minutes. I like tea’s aroma straight away: smelling of burnt wood from a roasting fire. It is a very nice smoky smell; those liking tobacco would favor this type of aroma.
Tea’s color is a dark red, or a very dark amber because it is more brown than red. As I sip this tea I am reminded of the other time I have tried twig tea, it was last year and I did like then as well. It was loose-leaf tea; and this Haiku Kukicha (Twig Tea) is tea bag. Tea is mildly astringent and has a nutty grainy texture to it as it reached the back of the throat.
Signature attributes of this tea are that it is nutty, with a slight creamy flavor. And I think I can understand, appreciate why it is described as “peasant drink”, not affording tea leaves and wanting something hot similarly to tea; this twig tea could suffice.
I remember using such words to describe the kukicha I had last year: ‘a large oven baked cookie slightly on the burnt side; and with longer steep and two tea bags as opposed to one makes for a nuttier taste, bringing about the smokiness in the aroma and adding sugar brings about the burnt sweetness of the cookie; were it to be that.
I am saying it is good tea to be played with and to enjoy discovering its many folds.