I have recently started drinking Kukicha, which is also known as Japanese Twig Tea. I always assumed this tea was difficult to find, but then I noticed a coworker drinking some in the office. Turns out he found it at our local health food store and it is manufactured by Choice Organic Teas. How very convenient!
Twig Tea is a traditional tea made from collecting the stems and twigs of the tea plant, and not the leaves. These are then aged and roasted. This tea is very low in caffeine since it does not use any tea leaves! Kukicha was originally made as a peasant drink, because the tea farmers would be left with the twigs and stems after selling off the leaves and buds.
Right out of the box, this bagged tea has a sweet and nutty fragrance. The liquor is a golden color and has a mellow, toasted tea taste. It is smooth and delicately sweet. There is a hint of a woodsy taste that lingers. Very different from the strong aroma, which screams of toasty sweetness.
Through some research I have learned that Kukicha is the tea of choice for those that follow a macrobiotic diet. Macrobiotics founder George Ohsawa introduced Kukicha to the West forty years ago. The tea supposedly balances the acidity levels in the body, which can help to prevent disease*. Kukicha is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
I actually had a nostalgic experience when I first tried this tea. When I smelled it, I was immediately transported to a childhood memory of drinking tea in a Chinese restaurant while munching on crunchy noodles. The sweet, woody smell reminds me of the tea we were given at our local Chinese restaurant. I don’t know what we were served (I’m guessing it was an ancient bag of Oolong), but this tea is really bringing me back. I love it when aromas and flavors evoke a special memory.
Choice Organic describes this tea as:
Restore your inner harmony with this delicious, traditional Japanese cup made from tea twigs and stems. They’re carefully aged and slowly toasted to create a full-bodied taste that’s slightly creamy with sweet, nutty undertones. Naturally low in caffeine, this purifying tea may be enjoyed any time of day.
This is a great tea to drink all day long. It’s gentle taste works well for any time of day, and would pair well with all different types of foods. I prefer to drink it after a meal, as the sweet aroma is relaxing and feels very dessert-like. It also does a nice job of easing my tummy when I am feeling anxious. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy green tea, definitely give this one a try!