This is a pot of Kukicha I ordered at the Samovar Tea Lounge last week while I was up in San Francisco for the day.
What makes a green tea Kukicha? Instead of using the new, soft, spring leaves, Kukicha instead uses late season leaves that are more coarse and mature. True Kukicha (pronounced: koo-key-cha) is traditionally made of the dried stems and branches of the tea plant. This results in two major difference: A lower caffeine content and a milder flavor.
I was first introduced to Kukicha when I used to practice macrobiotics. Even though I no longer practice the diet and lifestyle 100% the tea is one of several dietary recommendations I have hung onto and incorporated into my day to day life.
This is my favorite twig tea. Made by "Choice Organic Teas" it's flavor is slightly sweet, toasted and very refreshing hot, cold or at room temperature. This photo shows the branches, twigs and stems are not only aged but carefully toasted creating the rich, brown color you see here.
The Flavor: Very light, smooth, slightly sweet and nutty
The Price: $3.85 for 16 tea bags
This is a new Kukicha I recently picked up at Samovar Tea Lounge. It is more like a classic green tea as it contains some leaves. This would be a good transitional tea for someone who has never had twig tea to begin drinking before changing to twigs only. With a price of $25 for a small tin I had to think about whether or not I was worthy of such a luxury. In the end I decided I was.
The flavor is light, smooth and grassy.
The Price: $25 for a 1.75 oz tin
So if you like tea but have never tried twig tea... Give it a try. It's available in most health food stores. I usually purchase mine at Whole Foods but you can use the links in this post to order online direct from the companies themselves.
And when brewing tea remember to never use boiling hot water, this will cause the flavor to turn bitter. For a smoother, sweeter flavor always heat the water to boiling then turn the heat off. Remove pot from heat source. Let the water sit for a couple of minutes then add your tea.