An Overview of Kukicha (Bocha)

Kukicha (茎茶), also known as twig tea or bōcha (棒茶), is a Japanese tea made from stems, stalks, and twigs of the Camellia sinensis plant. Unlike most teas that are made from leaves and buds, kukicha has a distinct aroma and flavor due to its unique composition. It is available in both green tea and oxidized forms.

Origins and Varieties

Kukicha is believed to have originated in Japan, where farmers would use the remaining parts of the tea plant after selling the more valuable leaves and buds. The name “kukicha” comes from the Japanese words “kuki” meaning “twig” and “cha” meaning “tea.” The tea is traditionally made from the stems, stalks, and twigs of sencha or matcha tea production. When made from leaves used for gyokuro tea, it is known as karigane or shiraore.

In modern times, karigane has become a diverse term used for high-quality kukicha tea. Kukicha made specifically from Kyushu is called shiraore. Moya Kukicha is a popular organic kukicha tea variety that is grown on the island of Kyushu and has a slightly stronger aroma due to delicate roasting.

Flavor and Preparation

Kukicha has a mildly nutty and slightly sweet flavor with a touch of honey and umami notes. It is a light shaded tea that is best steeped in water between 70 and 80 °C (158 and 176 °F) for less than one minute to avoid bitterness. Oversteeping or steeping too hot can result in an unsavory brew. It is common to steep kukicha for three or four infusions.

Health Benefits

Kukicha is a macrobiotic tea that is highly regarded for its alkalizing properties and high calcium content. It is low in caffeine and high in theanine, a relaxing compound that is not affected by photosynthesis. It is considered safe to drink by kids, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Like other Japanese green teas, kukicha is a rich source of catechins and antioxidants, making it an excellent choice for overall mental health. It aids in digestion, helps to detoxify the body, regulates blood sugar levels, and reduces bad cholesterol. Its leaves contain easily absorbable vitamin C, beta-carotene, folic acid, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.


Kukicha is a unique Japanese blend that offers many health benefits. Its distinct flavor and aroma make it a popular choice among tea enthusiasts. It is a light, refreshing tea that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Its health benefits, including alkalizing properties, high calcium content, and antioxidant-rich composition, make it an excellent addition to any diet.

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