“Stem Tea”, Sweeter Flavour, Low in Caffeine
Kukicha has a light flavour, fresh green aroma and sweetness of premium tea.
Brewing Temperature : 70°C – 80°C / 176°F
Brewing Time : 40 seconds to 1 min
Kukicha (stem tea), or twig tea, also known as bōcha (stalk tea), is a Japanese green tea blend made of stems , stalks, and twigs. It is available as a green tea or in more oxidised processing. Kukicha has a unique flavour and aroma among teas and rich in Amino Acid (Stems are composed of parts of the tea plant that are excluded from most other teas.)
Regular kukicha material comes from production of gyokuro, sencha or matcha. When coming from gyokuro’s production, it takes the name of Karigane or Shiraore.
Kukicha has a mildly nutty and slightly creamy sweet flavour. It is made of four sorts of stems, stalks and twigs of Camellia sinensis. For best results, kukicha is steeped in water between 70 °C (158 °F) to 80 °C (176 °F). Green varieties are best steeped for less than one minute (oversteeping or steeping too hot, as with all green teas, will result in a bitter, unsavoury brew).
It is common to steep kukicha for three or four infusions.
Kukicha is unique in that it is naturally very low in caffeine without any industrial decaffeination.
Compared to leaves, the stems are twice as rich in theanine, which causes palatability and sweetness. pyrazines, which is the scent component of the aroma, are about 1.5 times, and geraniol and linalool, which are the flower scent component (sweet scent), are about 4 times more in stems.
In addition, theanine is converted to the astringent component catechin by photosynthesis, since the stems hardly perform photosynthesis as compared to leaves, theanine and catechin (tannin) production is surpressed naturally without artificially inhibiting photosynthesis for Gyokuro production.
As a result, the tea has a unique taste and aroma, and is one of prefered teas.