Review: Maeda-en Kuki-Cha Twig Tea With Matcha

Japanese Tea, Kukicha Tea, Maeda-en, Matcha Tea Add comments
Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The flavor is delightful— sweet and mellow with the lightest touch of bitter, and mildly astringent."
Lynn’s Teaview: 7.5/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.5/10, Steven gave it 6/10, Vanessa gave it 6.5/10, Troy gave it 8/10, Scott gave it 8.3/10
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maedakukichaKuki-cha, also known as "twig tea," is made from carefully rendered leaves and stalk cuttings from the early spring sencha production. Processed separately, leaf and stalk are cut to a uniform size and infuse to a bright yellow-green tea with a fresh, herbaceous aroma.

Maeda-en combined kuki-cha with quality matcha powder to create a remarkably sweet-smelling tea. The kuki-cha pieces look more like small bits of straw than twigs and are about the same color. The matcha powder is a lovely spring green, always a good sign with this type of tea, which needs careful handling and storage to maintain quality.

Following Maeda-en’s instructions, I steeped a tablespoon of the dry tea in one cup of 200F water for one minute. The result was a cloudy (due to the matcha) medium jade liquor with a rich aroma that was at once sweetly grassy and herbaceous. If you’ve ever smelled dried sweet grass, it’s very much like that.

The flavor is delightful— sweet and mellow with the lightest touch of bitter, and mildly astringent. The quality of the matcha comes through in the creamy feel on the tongue and distinctive round, vegetal, sweet/bitter flavor. The kuki-cha lends additional sweetness and herbal notes, and more of the dried sweet grass fragrance at the back of the throat. The strong balance of taste and aroma make for a vivid drinking experience.

2nd brew: With a two minute infusion in slightly cooler water, the color emerged as a brighter, clearer green and the aroma came through as sweet and strong as the first time, but the flavor was more subtle. This was probably in part due to the fact that most of the matcha had washed away with the first infusion, leaving the rebrewed kuki-cha to carry on by itself. The flavor is best described as "thinner." The richness of the matcha was gone, leaving a more singular herbaceous flavor that I did not find as engaging after the punch of the first steeping.

3rd brew: I let the third steeping go for four minutes to see what this tea could do. The fragrance was diminished but still there. The flavor was reduced to a hint of bitterness and the strongest astringency so far, although it was not strong. Certainly still drinkable, but sadly lacking the drama of that first infusion.

Although I found the secondary brewings disappointing, at $8.75 for a 3 oz. package, this tea is definitely worth trying for that delicious first brew. Recommended.

— To purchase Maeda-en Kuki-Cha Twig Tea With Matcha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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One Response to “Review: Maeda-en Kuki-Cha Twig Tea With Matcha”

  1. zflaurr Says:

    I tried kuki-cha for the first time a couple months ago. I, too, was overall impressed. I mixed it with Matcha and later found that Teavana sells it pre-mixed as Kuki Matcha. I also mixed it with Gyokuro and discovered one of the most “earthy” flavors to ever hit my tongue. Thanks for the review and I hope more people try this delicious, healthy tea. By the way, this is not pleasant as an iced beverage. :-\

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