What is Kukicha?
Kukicha tea is a green tea made from the stems and leaves of the tea plant. By mixing the stems into the tea, a farmer is able to produce a lower caffeine tea with a milder, hay or straw like flavor profile. These teas tend to be higher in minerals, and you can feel this minerality as a tingling sensation on the palate.
Our Kukicha is exclusively sourced from small farms in Japan
After traveling around Japan for the past few years, we have met with dozens of farmers and sampled many different kinds of kukicha tea. We ultimately decided that only a few met our standards, and those are the kukicha osada, kukicha sakamoto and kukicha chanoka. These teas all do a great job at demonstrating the mild, mineral rich flavors that kukicha tea is known for, and we’re proud to share them with all of you.
Our Kukicha is 100% organically grown and pesticide free
After visiting dozens of non-organic and organic farms, we found that the farms that grow tea without the use of pesticides of chemicals not only tend to produce better tasting teas, but they also end up being a better habitat for the local flora and fauna. On these more natural tea fields, you will find not only tea being grown, but also other species of plants and animals thriving in between the rows. When you choose a kukicha tea grown without the use of pesticides, you are not only getting a delicious green tea, you are also helping to transition the tea industry into a more sustainable direction
Kukicha flavor profile
The flavor of kukicha is much milder compared to a tea like sencha or gyokuro. The addition of the stems really softens these steamed vegetable notes that Japanese green teas are typically known for. The liquid of the kukicha tea becomes clearer, thinner and there is more minerality and astringency in the taste.
History of kukicha
Kukicha tea began as a way for farmers to enjoy the teas they were producing. Each year, they would sell all of the top leaves from the tea plants, and couldn’t afford to set aside tea for themselves. They found that they could actually brew the leftover stems of the tea plant to produce a surprisingly flavorful tea. Soon, people all around Japan began to take notice of the kukicha, and actually appreciated its milder flavor.
Kukicha brewing instruction
When it comes to brewing kukicha, you can use a hotter water temperature. The stems of the tea plant are much less sensitive to heat compared to the leaves, so a tea like kukicha can be brewed hotter without extracting too much bitterness. First, you can add 5 grams of kukicha tea to your kyusu teapot. The teapot is the best tool for brewing this type of tea, but a strainer can work as well. Next, you can pour in 150ml of water at a temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, let the tea sit undisturbed for 1 minute and then pour it out as you brew.
While kukicha tea used to be made by hand, now it has become a much more industrialized operation. When we visited the producers at Marufuku in Shizuoka, we got to witness the stem sorting process first hand. The stems were removed from the leaves and sorted out into different bins. Once separated, the leaves can be turned into sencha and the stems into kukicha.
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Teas and Teaware
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While returns are very rare at Nio, they occasionally do occur. We want everyone to be satisfied with the tea they get, so we would prefer to offer a replacement tea rather than leave someone with a tea they don’t like. Please be sure to reach out to us and we can solve whatever issues you might have with the tea you ordered.