The stems and veins of tea plants are known as Karigane – usually when it comes from the Gyokuro plant, but not limited to it. Most Japanese green teas you see have only tea leaves, but Karigane is from a few types which involve stems and other parts of the tea plant. It is different from Kukicha, which has thin and thick stalks, stems, and lower parts of the plant. In Karigane, leaves are also included along with stems and veins.
Usually, Karigane tea refers to the infusion of stems and veins taken from the Gyokuro plant, and Karigane Sencha is a mixture of both; i.e. Gyokuro stems and Sencha leaves. By blending both tea plants, you get to experience the incredible taste and health benefits. Though the brewed tea is not very aromatic, it still has a gentle aroma and translucent green color with a hint of yellow. It gets a mellow tint from the Gyokuro and a refined aroma from the Sencha. By adding Karigane in Sencha leaves, the taste gets mature and more refined, and you get the combined flavor.
Some refer to Karigane Sencha as the stems and leaves of Sencha plants. You will find some brands that only have a blend of Sencha plant stems, veins, and leaves. These are usually from the first flush in the Kyoto region and grown in full sunlight. Some even roast it to make the delicate flavor and amber liquid, which has a perfect balance of aroma.
Sencha contains more catechins that keep your body healthy by fighting disease, compared to other teas; due to being exposed to the sunlight for the longest, and Karigane Sencha has the same health benefits. Moreover, Karigane Sencha has less caffeine compared to original Sencha tea.
You can brew Karigane Sencha just like you make Sencha tea. Make sure you have the following ingredients for brewing a perfect cup.
- Amount of tea per serving: 5g / one tea caddy spoon / 2 teaspoons
- Water quantity per serving: 200 ml
- The temperature of water: 80℃ / 176℉
- Steeping time: 1 or 1.5 minutes
- Take 5 grams or one tea caddy spoon or two teaspoons of Karigane Sencha loose leaves and stems per cup.
- Boil water and let it cool for 40 seconds, until the temperature drops to 80 degrees.
- Put loose tea in kyusu and add 200ml water per cup over it, and cover the lid.
- Let it steep for about 1 or 1.2 minutes.
- Pour in teacups and serve. For best taste, drink it without milk and sugar.
- The same leaves can be used for a max of three infusions, and each needs more time for steeping and a bit hotter water.
Photo “Tetera (llamada kyusu)…” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “Ministerio de Cultura…” and is being posted unaltered (source)