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A byproduct of the manufacture of Tencha in Japan is Kukicha. Let me tell you more about Kukicha, and about Tencha.
Tencha is the high quality leaf that is used to make matcha, by grinding it finely to that familiar powder, which is used to make ceremonial matcha, as well as the basic and cooking grades. Because you get a wide range of qualities of matcha, the same applies to your original tencha.
When preparing tencha for matcha, you strip the leaf off the twigs and stems of the tea, as this would hamper the quality of the resultant matcha. What then to do with the twigs and stems? The farm we buy our tea from in Wazuka make use of the stems by roasting them, to make kukicha. We have two grades, Suzume and Tsugumi and in my simple little brain, I remember the difference because Suzume is the Japanese word for sparrow (chunky legs like sparrows) and Tsugumi means swallow (slender little legs like swallows!)
See the difference?
The stems are roasted, and go from the intense umami, to the vanilla, caramelly flavour of Hojicha. Yum!