Everything You Want To Know About Twig Tea
Twig tea, also referred to as kukicha or bōcha is an exotic Japanese blend of twigs, stalks and stems. It has a very unique aroma and flavor compared to most other teas due to it being composed from parts of the plant that are traditionally excluded. The tea offers a nutty, mild, sweet and creamy flavor. Similar to green tea varieties, this blend should not be steeped for more than one minute before enjoying or it may be bitter. Kukicha comes from either matcha or sencha plants.
The Aging Process
Between Kyoto and Mara, in Japan, you will find an old tea district. The farmers of ancient times would make twig tea for themselves after they had already sold the valuable buds and leaves for profit. These tea farmers managed to develop a very precise method for making this peasant drink.
Similar to sencha green tea, kukicha offers a myriad of health benefits. You make the tea by fist steaming the entire plant. Then, you sun dry the twigs completely which are later stored for two to three years in paper bags to develop their full flavor. After the aging process is complete, the twigs are trimmed to a specific length and grouped together according to their grade. Every grade is then roasted in different temperatures for various durations to result in a desired and very consistent taste. The farmers are essentially manipulating the flavor the way that they want to.
In Japan, twig tea is still often though of as being a beverage for the poor man however, dwellers in the West have welcomed and embraced it for the many exceptional health benefits that the tea provides. The beverage was first made popular by George Ohsawa who spread the word about all of the remarkable twig tea benefits that could be received from drinking it.
Kukicha plays a key role in a macrobiotic diet. This particular diet is based entirely on the knowledge that balance is the most important element for optimum well-being. Individuals consuming a macrobiotic diet basically eat vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seaweed and legumes.
There seems to be endless health benefits that are associated with drinking twig tea and the list just continues to grow. It has alkalizing abilities on the body's tissue and fluids so it balances acidity levels which ultimately prevents diseases. Traditionally, most people have far too much acid found in their body which is caused by eating foods such as eggs, meat, white flower, dairy products, artificial sweeteners and sugar. These people generally do not consume nearly enough alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables which can result in having a very hard time losing weight, cardiovascular problems, kidney or bladder trouble, premature aging, weak immune system, fatigue and bone and joint pain.
These ailments are all a result of the acid in the body borrowing buffering minerals including calcium, potassium and magnesium away from vital organs and bones that need them. These nutrients are used to neutralize this extra acid rather than complete the functions that the body usually uses them for. When this happens, fat is preserved by the body to protect itself which results in weight gain.
Of all the Japanese teas, kukicha offers the most nutrients. One cup of twig tea contains vitamin C, vitamin A, B-complex, flavonoids and cancer-fighting catchins. The catchins are a fierce antioxidant, decreasing the effect that free radicals can have on cells. Research has show that twig tea can block enzymes and suppress tumor growth. It is suggested that drinking this tea and consuming a macrobiotic diet can cure cancer.