The refinement of sencha involves at its simplest step, a filtering out of stems and leaf bits, which leads to kukicha (stem tea). It may also then undergo slight heating to impart roastiness without becoming roasted tea. Reblending the stems into the sencha allows you to subtly add extra sweetness.
Because it is a premium kukicha, these leaf stems from Shizuoka prefecture are provided the name of karigane, literally the "sound of geese". Karigane is mainly a term that is utilised in the Kyoto/Southern areas of Japan and the term evokes the elegance of Japanese geese carrying a twig as it migrates across the Sea of Japan. When it tires, it places the twig in the water and rests on it... (very poetic!) or so the legend goes.
If you are not too familiar with kukicha, one may wonder why people drink tea made from stalks instead of regular leaf tea. It is because the stalks of green tea are also rich in nutrients, contain umami flavor, and have a pleasant aroma and flavor. In fact, stalks and stems receive less sunlight compared to leaves which result in less production of catechins and more sweet notes (umami) in brewed tea.
- Ingredients: Green tea leaf stems
- Japanese name: かりがね
- Harvest Season: Spring
- Cultivation & Processing Notes: Long regular steaming (very nearly fukamushi deep steaming)
- Region: Shizuoka Prefecture
- Number of Cups in 100g: 60 cups (20 uses / 3 steepings / 1 cup per steeping. Varies with your steeping recipe.)
- 1st Steeping - Tea: 5 grams. Time: 60 seconds. Water: 70˚C/158˚F, 1 cup.
- 2nd Steeping - Time: 10 seconds. Water: 80˚C/176˚F, 1 cup.
- 3rd Steeping - Time: 45 seconds. Water: 90˚C/194˚F, 1 cup.
- The amounts above are guidelines. Adjust to preference.
- Consider also advanced steeping techniques such as cold or ice steeping (see Steeping Techniques).
- Name: Seiko Tea Company
- Type: Tea Refinement Factory
- CEO: Tatsuya Hoshi
- Employees: 20
- Address: 4-64 Anzai, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka, 420-0011
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