There is a Japanese term in Buddhism that is the English equivalent of “Waste not, want not.” The term is mottainai and it is, in part, a way of expressing regret over squandering resources. The spirit of mottainai can be understood as children are taught to not leave so much as a single grain of rice in their bowls at dinner, as to do so is wastefulness - or mottainai. It is this concept of sustainability and appreciation for resources that is part of the beauty behind Kagoshima Kukicha tea.
Kukicha, in Japanese, means “twig tea,” a name derived from the fact that it is made from the twigs of tea leaves, not the leaves themselves, making use of the entire tea plant. Grown in Kagoshima, Japan, a tea-growing region in South Japan, Kukicha is steamed rather than pan-fired like many other green teas, which serves to enhance both its health benefit as well as its flavor.
Kagoshima Kukicha is an organic tea that has all the health benefits of green tea. It is lower in caffeine, alkalizing for the body and supports a macrobiotic diet. It brings with it all the wonderful amino acids, minerals and vitamins that make Japanese green tea so favored. It has a very high calcium content as well with up to 13 times more calcium than a glass of milk!
This Firepot video demonstration shows you how easy it is to make Kagoshima Kukicha at home.
It’s important to remember, when steeping Kagoshima Kukicha, to neither steep the tea too long nor too hot, as it can make the tea taste stronger, if not bitter. Kukicha’s flavor notes are delicately nutty and grassy, smooth, light and sweet. Its tastes best when steeped quickly, no longer than 60-90 seconds, with water that is not boiling. Let it sit off the boil for 5-10 minutes.
And...in the spirit of mottainai...you can resteep the same leaves 2-3 times.