Lot of small sticks and twigs, this is kukicha green tea, a very particular Japanese tea that differs from other teas that are in the form of leaves. The aroma of kukicha green tea is sweet and stands out from other Japanese green teas that, on the other hand, have a scent that reminds of freshly picked grass. So let's see the types of kukicha, the properties and the preparation of this particular tea.
Kukicha tea, types
Whether it's gyokuro, sencha or kukicha, the plant from which green tea is obtained is always the same, camellia sinensis. What varies is the time and place of harvesting and the processing. The green tea leaves are harvested with the sprigs, which are then set aside and sold, the famous kukicha tea. If the green tea leaves are of the gyokuro or sencha type, the finest types of Japanese tea, kukicha green tea is called karigane and clearly represents one of the varieties with the best quality. But kukicha green tea can also be obtained, for example, from the seedlings that will become bancha tea. In this case, this kukicha represents a more common and somewhat less valuable type of green tea.
Kukicha tea, properties
Kukicha tea provides vitamin C and is rich in a substance called L-theanine (FDA Database). L-theanine is produced by the roots of the plant and then reaches the leaves through the stems and twigs. The leaves, through photosynthesis, lose L theanine but produce catechins. In gyokuro green tea, which is a shade tea, this loss is avoided and that is why kukicha tea obtained from gyokuro seedlings is even richer in L theanine. L-theanine is a substance extensively studied by science that has demonstrated its ability to counteract anxiety, stress and related symptoms such as increased blood pressure and depression (White et al, Nutrients, 2016). Not only that, L-theanine increases attention and cognitive function, both in terms of fluency of speech and reasoning (Hidese et al, Nutrients, 2019 - Nobre et al, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2008). And that's not all, L theanine supports the immune system, is anticancer and protects the health of the cardiovascular system by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which is a key substance in blood pressure control processes. In fact, when the blood pressure increases, nitric oxide is released in order to make the blood vessels dilate, thus lowering the pressure (Williams et al, Beverages, 2016). Finally, kukicha green tea is a good tea to drink even in the afternoon as it is low in caffeine.
Kukicha green tea, preparation
Kukicha green tea is prepared like other types of green tea. Heat two liters of water up to a temperature of 70° C and infuse the kukicha leaves, about 13 teaspoons, the dose is given by the said one teaspoon per cup and one for the teapot. Remove from the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Then filter and drink.