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Kukicha: A Sip of Fresh Air

Tekuno brewing shiboridashi
Japanese teas are unique in that makers remove the leaf's stem as part of the crafting process; in comparison, high quality Chinese and Taiwanese teas will leave the stem and brew it as part of the tea. The reason is purely for aesthetics, as Japanese tea grading considers not only flavor but also appearance—the highest quality teas appear a uniform, deep green. In the final stages of steaming, rolling, and drying the leaves, the tea stems are removed and sorted out using static electricity (here is a video showing that process). Rather than discarding the stems, tea producers blend them into their own tea, often mixing different leaf varietals to craft a sweet, naturally viscous profile.

Kukicha is considered a humble tea, yet it is one of my favorites for brewing a refreshing crowd-pleaser. The kukicha in Tekuno's collection is exceptionally forgiving, brewing sweet and rich at most temperatures. It also makes a naturally sweet cold brew.

We have just a few satchels left, so I do recommend grabbing one for your summer iced tea before we run out. I anticipate getting this year's kukicha in a few months, and it will be interesting to see how the 2020 crop differs in flavor!

Finally, I am eager to give you a sneak peek at a new program for San Francisco residents: seasonal, handmade mochi 🍡 I have been working on recipes since the shelter-in-place started and are hoping to launch this program very soon. It will be pick-up only for now. Hopefully it will make a sweet treat to complement your tea time. A photo from today's taste test below!

Finding solace in sunshine,

Tekuno taste test mochi

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