I have to confess that I have been drinking and preparing Kukicha Green Tea in the wrong way all along! I only discovered that now as I was doing a bit of research about how to prepare the tea ‘properly’. Steeped too long, the tea will turn slightly bitter. Turns out though, that I really enjoy drinking it in this way, as it enhances the roasted taste and I love adding either almond or hazelnut milk and a bit of honey to it, especially in the winter. Sacrilege I know!
As with all things in life, it’s nice to follow the recipe, but sometimes it’s also good to do things in a dodgy way, or as I like to call it the ‘creative’ way, in order to discover new things.
Kukicha or bocha is different from other teas, in that it’s the stalks and stems of the Camellia sinensis or tea shrub that is used and not the leaves. From there it is steamed and dried and then aged and roasted. You can also use the unroasted variety, if you prefer it that way.
Therefore, in today’s recipe, I’ll offer 2 ways to prepare this Japanese tea.
The proper Japanese way: The tea can be steeped 3 times. The first time at 40 seconds, with the water at 70-80 degrees Celcius. The second time for 15 seconds and 30 seconds for the third time. Take some time to savour the more subtle flavor of this tea – plus if you’re not a big fan of green tea, you might find that you’ll love Kukicha, as it’s not astringent.
The dodgy way: Steep the stems in just-boiled water for 3 minutes or more. Drink as is, or add a bit of nut milk and honey to taste.
Benefits of Kukicha
- High in minerals like copper, selenium, manganese, calcium, zinc and fluoride
- Contains A, C and B-complex vitamins
- Helps with digestion
- Contains anti-carcinogens (to help prevent cancer)
- Helps anyone suffering from bladder infection and heart diseases and lowers cholesterol levels.
- High in antioxidants
- Has 90% less Caffeine than coffee (normal green tea contains 60% less)
- Has various skin care benefits