Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kukicha Hatsukura

This kukicha was received as a sample during one of the STI classes that I attended, in January I believe.
I believe that traditionally, kukicha was specifically only the stems of the tea plant. This kukicha is a mix of both stems and leaves. I do not know if this is a common practice, or if it is just this specific blend by SerendipiTea.

Moving on.

The dry leaves are potent with a nutty, grassy combination in the midst of that aromatic umami aroma that I find so common in Japanese teas. There is a slight resemblance to raw sugar in the scent.

The aroma in the first infusion was identical to that of the dry leaf, except much more potent. It had a creamy texture and a hearty nutty taste.
A mild astringency presented itself on the finish.

The second infusion had a strong vegetal taste and the liquor was a much more opaque, vibrant green. There was not a sweetness as I had anticipated. It was very wheat-grassy in taste.

One more brew.
This time it was a strong citrus (lime) taste, which matched the color perfectly. The liquor was tart and this time the sweet finish was brought out.

I am enjoying using my kyusu.
It functions well, and looks good.
I probably won't be needing another one for a long while. I try to make my tea ware last as long as possible.
I didn't eat the stem filled leaves. I figured I might have a fiber overdose.



  1. :D Do not eat the stems; only leaves of high quality teas are supposed to be eaten. Although kukicha can be of great quality, it still is just a tea-trash. (Lovely trash, though, I drink it everyday :D)
    About the content of leaves - Karigane teas are traditionally supposed to contain 90% of stems and 10% of leaves, but content of leaves is often even much higher - I remember drinking one Gyokuro Karigane by Koyamaen, one of Japan's most famous tea producers, which contained about 40% of leaves, according to my estimation back then.
    Price of that tea was also much higher than for what you can buy some really high-quality Sencha or even some Gyokuro, because Koyamaen's approach towards Kukicha is that it's equally good to Sencha and other teas and therefore has to be produced with same care and attention.
    So I would say it really just depends on producer and the approach he has in production of Kukicha. Some think of it as a trash / by-product, some as gold. ;)

  2. Michal,

    I figured that the stems should not be eaten haha. =]
    And yes it is a very lovely tea! I have quite a bit of it so I should be getting used to it and figuring out the proper brewing parameters and such!
    I suppose all tea producers have to make a decision on what they want to do with the leftover material from the higher grade stuff!
    This tea is good, but is in no way better than the shincha I purchased!
    Thank you for your knowledge and input =]