April 2015 - Karigane from Mie

This month we selected an amazing Karigane (かりがね) from the prefecture of Mie (三重).

Karigane

Karigane

Kukicha (茎茶), also called Bocha (棒茶), is a tea blend made of stems, stalks, and twigs. Karigane is a kind of Kukicha made exclusively from Gyokuro (玉露) plants. Gyokuro is a special kind of Sencha (煎茶) grown in the shade, producing tea leaves vibrant green in color and rich with umami flavor.

Karigane is naturally very low in caffeine. Its taste is lighter and sweeter than that of a full bodied Gyokuro produced from the same plant.

Uji bridge at the entrance of Ise-jingū

Ise, in the prefecture of Mie

This month we selected a tea from the city of Ise (伊勢) in the prefecture of Mie (三重), in the eastern part of Kansai. The producer is Kawahara Seicha.

Ise is famous for the sanctuary bearing the same name: Ise-jingū (伊勢神宮), as well as the nearby Married Couple Rocks: Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩). Less known outside of Japan, Mie is also home of Matsusaka beef, considered as the best beef of Japan in front of both Kobe and Yonezawa beef.

How to prepare Karigane?

The amount of tea leaves should be adapted according to the desired taste: roughly 2 teaspoons (6 to 8 grams) of Karigane in 150 to 200ml (5 to 7oz) of spring water.

Karigane can stand 4 or even 5 infusions. The first infusion should not last more than one minute in water at 60ºC to 70ºC (140ºF to 160ºF). Second infusion should be done at 70ºC to 80ºC (160ºF to 180ºF) for 30 seconds. Then after water should be poured at close to boiling temperature, and infusions should only last the time to refill the cups!