Teas made using the stems left over after the leaves have been taken from a tea plant to make sencha are known as “kukicha” (lit: “stem tea”), and the especially high quality varieties, made from the stalks of premium teas such as gyokuro, are referred to as “karigane”. This name literally means “call of the wild goose” and is thought to come from how the shape of the stalks are reminiscent of the floating branches upon which a wild goose rests during its migration. Karigane teas are highly prized for how the savoury flavour originating in the tea leaves combines with the unique sweetness from the stalks. The stem also contains less caffeine than the leaves of the tea plant, making karigane perfect for those who don’t like the high caffeine content of sencha. The premium Karigane Tea mixed with matcha featured in this month’s issue has a top quality flavour that perfectly balances soft sweetness with a distinctive savoury element. It is best enjoyed when the water is heated slightly lower than usual, at around 70 to 80 degrees.
CEO/Owner of ES Food Trading, Qualified tea master in the Omote-sen-ke & Ura-sen-ke traditions.
Produces the highest quality range of matcha and other teas selling at Minamoto Kitchoan, Partridges and Selfridges.