Review: Teavana Kuki Matcha Green Tea

Green Tea, Kukicha Tea, Matcha Tea, Teavana Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"I pictured a homeless guy plucked from the streets and given new duds to sport. Problem was, no shoes were included with the outfit for walking."
Geoff’s Teaview: 6/10
Other Teaviews: Numi gave it 9/10, Laura gave it 7.5/10
Your Reviews:Add your review »
teavkukimatchaKukicha is one of those odd little underdog delights. Like "bancha" - from Japan as well - it is considered a poor man's green tea, usually after the first flush, cultivated from lower leaves on the stem. What separates kukicha from it's other lowbrow cousins is the incorporation of the actual stems with the leaves. Kukicha literally translates to "twig tea".

I've made it clear in multiple postings that Japanese green tea is not one of my favorites. The narrow refinement process leaves a fried or roast-flavored beverage in its wake that I find mostly uninviting. There are a few exceptions; the less refined types such as tamaryokucha, for example. Gyokuro and matcha are, of course, the gold standards, and their flavor profiles reflect that.

That said, I consider myself a fan of kukicha. It is relatively inexpensive in bag or loose form, and while the tea does have the trademark roasted flavor, it also possesses an uncharacteristic nuttiness. Some liken it to rooibos, but I believe the profile might be closer related to a fennel tisane due to some hint of creaminess.

Teavana combines this wonderful little street urchin with mid-grade matcha for a powdery, bright green brew. On first appearance, the titular twigs look like they've been doused in green powder as a middle school prank. The smell is light, sweet, with a roasted almond finish. I was instantly stoked to try it.

I adhered to the Teavana website brewing instructions to the letter: "1 teaspoon of tea per 8 ounces of water. 175 degrees and steeped for two minutes." The water turned bright green upon infusion, which was a huge shocker. It was foggy as well, one couldn't see through it. The roasted smell was much stronger in the liquid form. Flavor-wise, it was quite spinachy, but not in a bitter way. As in, it didn't kick back too much. Matcha residual was subtly apparent as a back-up.

While not blown away by the blend, it did prove effective in what it set out to do. I pictured a homeless guy plucked from the streets and given new duds to sport. Problem was, no shoes were included with the outfit for walking. That's how I'd compare this tea. Decently dressed, decent to the taste, but it doesn't go much farther than that.

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Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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