Organic Kukicha Green Tea

Fresh tasting and buttery, notes of cucumber skin with moderate bitterness

certified organic
Organic Kukicha Green Tea
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Organic Kukicha Green Tea


Our organic Kukicha (pronounced KU-key-cha) is a distinctive-looking organic Japanese green tea from the Kagoshima Prefecture that consists of tea leaves mixed with the young stems of the tea plant. For this reason, this organic loose leaf tea is also known as "twig tea." The resulting mixture consists of fairly uniform yellow and medium-green fragments, which yield a pale yellow-green infusion with a sweet aroma. It has an extraordinarily fresh taste with moderate bitterness and notes of cucumber skin. It is not as vegetal as most of our other organic green tea from Japan.

Please note: this Kukicha tea is not roasted. However, if you are looking for a roasted Japanese green tea check out our Organic Houjicha Green Tea. Roasted to perfection, our Houjicha has notes of toasted grain and honey.

Ingredients: organic Japanese green tea

Origin: Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan


Kagoshima is a prefecture on the island of Kyushu, in Southern Japan which boasts a chain of active and inactive volcanoes that add to the soil content. Kagoshima is the second largest producer of green tea in Japan, and tea has been growing here since the 1300s. However, much of the world never experiences organic tea from Kagoshima because green tea is so popular in Japan that most tea grown in Japan is consumed in Japan; very little is exported. Within Japan, Kagoshima is the furthest distance from the Fukushima disaster. For those concerned with the implications of the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster, we continue to have our organic teas from Japan independently tested for radiation.

Steeping Instructions


At Arbor Teas, we believe tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. We’re happy to make recommendations to get you started, but don’t hesitate to experiment! When brewing your tea, your main considerations are tea quantity, water temperature, and steeping time. We recommend green and white teas to be steeped for 2 to 3 minutes in water heated to not-quite-boiling, just as bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pan (approximately 170 to 180 degrees F). For the best flavor, use fresh water whenever possible. Try not to steep your tea longer than necessary, as you’ll extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. If you want a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. And don’t forget to re-steep your tea leaves to get the most out of your leaf!

Looking for more info? Check out our How-To Guides and Eco-Brewing Tips!

Staff Perspectives

  • Trish

    "The look of the dry leaf (and twig!) is always surprising to me! "

  • Jeremy

    "I find this tea a nice alternative to some of our other Japanese teas like Sencha or Gyokuro when I'm not in the mood for quite as "bold" of a green tea flavor."

  • Aubrey

    "I love the appearance of the dry leaf. I think this tea is especially fresh tasting!"

Health Benefits


Like all true tea, green tea offers many potential health benefits. Research has found that tea (Camellia sinensis) can have many positive effects on human health, including improved cardiovascular function, cancer risk reduction, improved immune function, improved oral health, and help with weight management. Tea is also full of polyphenols, which are a class of antioxidant that help your body maintain homeostasis and balance your stress levels.

Green tea specifically is known for its array of health benefits, which have been supported by a growing number of studies. Green tea research has demonstrated that it may be an effective anticancer agent for breast cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and prostate cancer, among others. Studies have shown a link between green tea and weight loss, and the ability to modulate energy metabolism, aid in body fat regulation, and possibly promote preferential loss in abdominal fat. Research has also shown that green tea may increase performance for short term memory tasks, as well as being increasing potency of antibiotics. Other peer-reviewed studies link green tea to healthy skin, help with lowering cholesterol, and regulating diabetes. It’s important to keep in mind that many of these studies monitor subjects who drink several cups of green tea per day.

For more information about the health benefits of green tea, and for direct sources of the above information, check out our Tea Health Benefits page!

Please note: the information above is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Customer Reviews

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  • 2
    What happened? used to be a favorite

    Posted by Starla Carpenter on 13th Jun 2024

    This was one of my favorite teas, but the product in my recent order was very unsatisfying. I had to use about twice as much tea to approximate the flavor. Not sure what happened-- bad season? producer adding in twigs? -- but I'm reluctant to order it again.

  • 4
    Refreshing and approachable

    Posted by Chris Baker on 4th Sep 2023

    This reminds me of the kinds of green tea I first enjoyed when branching out into green teas before I was able to appreciate the more popular green teas that are typically bolder. Good body, refreshing, with mild astringency and thoughts of citrus. Tastes of cucumber or outer melon flesh, like wood that is still green. While not what I would call a daily, this is on my keeper list to have on hand.

  • 5
    A nice surprise!

    Posted by Michael Vanier on 15th Nov 2021

    I ordered this on a whim, and I'm very surprised by how much I like it! Its flavor is strongly reminiscent of gyokuro, but the umami flavor isn't as overpowering, nor is it as astringent as sencha. This is definitely one I'll be ordering again.

  • 4
    Nice, fresh green

    Posted by Tracey on 21st Feb 2021

    I like a pure, fresh green tea and this fits the bill. Light, grassy and fresh, love the smell and flavor.

  • 5
    My favorite tea!

    Posted by Jocelyn on 2nd Jan 2021

    I have been drinking this kukicha every day for almost a year and I love, love, love it. I'm very sensitive to caffeine and I find this has the perfect amount: enough to wake me up a little, but not enough for me to feel the negative effects. The flavor is light but not at all weak.

  • 4
    Not a true twig tea, but a perfect sencha

    Posted by Daniel Cohen on 4th Apr 2019

    Exactly what I look for in a green tea; buttery, grassy, light. A bitter smell, but no bitterness in a fresh brew

  • 5
    Tastes Like Spring

    Posted by Kathrine Pierce on 12th Mar 2019

    Like some other reviewers have noted, this is a tea that needs to be steeped well below the 180 degree mark, or else the stems turn bitter and burnt. Traditionally, Kukicha can be steeped as low as 160, though I usually aim for 165. The infusion ends up creamy and bright - grassy, with light citrus notes. This is currently one of my very favorite teas, and it re-steeps super well. A perfect "wishing for spring" drink. Highly recommend!

  • 3
    Flavorful, but ...

    Posted by Dave V on 19th Jun 2017

    Definitely not my cup of tea. I think the fact that this tea is not roasted makes a big difference. It is certainly flavorful, just not the flavor I look for in a green tea. Glad I only bought a sample size of this one.

  • 5

    Posted by Kara on 14th Mar 2017

    To the other reviewer who stated that this tea is the poor person's gyokuro, I completely agree! This tea is luscious and vegetal, like the gyokuro but cheaper. I want to order a full-sized bag!

  • 4
    nice earthy flavor

    Posted by Unknown on 9th Dec 2016

    i like this tea for the earthy smell and taste

  • 4

    Posted by Steven on 31st Jan 2016

    When I wanted to drink tea, but I couldn't justify having more caffeine, I dipped into my sample of this instead of my rooibos. It was actually creamy, I'd say. It made me think just a little bit of warm milk before bed.

  • 5
    best tea for my lifestyle

    Posted by Andrea on 1st Jun 2014

    I was introduced to Kukicha when I was researching macrobiotic diets (I am a vegan-macrobiotic). It's been my tea of choice for years, and I believe this one to be the best I've ever tasted. Not only is it very low on caffeine, which I am very sensitive to, but you can play with the flavor by adding a pinch more or letting it brew for longer; and I do not find it to be bitter, even when I brew it strong and for a longer period of time (I should add that I love bitter greens so the more vegetal flavor it has, the better).

  • 5
    Gotta have my Kukicha!

    Posted by Candice Fryda on 10th Nov 2013

    I was introduced to kukicha through a tea class, and it soon became one of my favorite teas. This twig tea is great not only for the amazingly fresh flavor that is a mixture between grassy and nutty, but also because it is extremely low in caffeine as it is comprised mostly of the twigs and not the leaves that contain all the caffeine. This means you can drink some green tea before bed and not be kept up all night. I love green teas and want to drink them all throughout the day-but I also like to sleep. I start drinking in the evening when I want green tea and it gives me the best of all worlds. Totally worth the price, I start to panic when my stash is getting low!

  • 4
    Very Nice Tea for the Money

    Posted by Andy on 30th May 2013

    This tea compares favorablly to other more expensive Kukicha teas I have purchased from other sites. The flavor is fresh and light, but with an impressive "kick".

  • 4
    Nice Vegetal Green - Good Alternative to Gyokuro

    Posted by Alise on 9th Dec 2012

    I love Gyokuro but this is fairly similar in that vegetal flavor I turn to Gyokuro for. I set up 8 green teas today to sample so I could pick out my favorites from Arbor Teas. Their Gyokuro is slightly more astringent than others I have had and Kukicha prevailed in my taste test here. This and Dragonwell (Chinese Green) were my favorites in terms of nice overall smooth, vegetal qualities. There are quite a few stems in this mix but that is purposeful in the making of Kukicha.

  • 4
    hints of asparagus and notes of green chard

    Posted by Bob on 15th Oct 2012

    First pressing: If you hit the sweet spot in regards to water temperature and steep time, you are rewarded with an excellent brew with hints of asparagus and notes of green chard. After about a minute of the tea pot starting to make noise, the water is ready. Steep for only three minutes or less, otherwise bitter. Kukicha is an unforgiving tea. There is a small window of proper steep time and water temperature. Consider watering the plants with it if you miss the window, or pour over ice, sweetened with honey.

  • 4
    Uplifting Tea Makes Me Feel Good

    Posted by Dimitra on 15th Oct 2012

    This uplifting tea makes me feel good. Great morning tea, as well as for an afternoon pick me up. Beautiful grassy vegetal flavor. I often do a second pressing for less caffeine in the afternoon. The cup of tea has less depth, but still has a wonderful, smooth and nourishing flavor.

  • 5
    Poor man's gyokuro

    Posted by Richard Sitorius on 27th Feb 2012

    Love this tea. I'm a huge Gyokuro lover, and this tea is very much akin to it in my opinion. Love it. Had to give it 5/5. A very delicious vegetal tea. Not quite as delicate & complex as gyokuro, but close. I was very pleasantly surprised by this one.

  • 3
    Okay, but not my favorite

    Posted by Unknown on 13th Feb 2012

    This green was part of the Japanese sampler, and it was my least favorite of the bunch. I found the flavor to be so subtle that it just felt like it was a weaker version of a Japanese green tea. It's still better than your average green tea, but there are better greens available here.

  • 4
    A low key Green

    Posted by Anne C on 10th Oct 2011

    If you've tried other greens and found them too powerful, I'd give this one a try. Vegetal smell, but calm, soothing flavor. Relaxing cup. I wouldn't turn it down if offered, but I don't know if I'd buy the full size. Will definitely finish the sample, perhaps its lightness will grow on me.

  • 5
    Love this one!

    Posted by Gretchen on 15th Apr 2008

    This is one of my favorite teas--vibrant green color vegetal flavor. Delicious!

  • 4
    Interesting tea

    Posted by Bill Edwards on 7th Jan 2008

    I have been drinking this tea for three days in an effort to describe it. The twig-like leaves are distinctive. They brew to a bright yellow green exceptionally clear. It has a pleasant aroma with a hint of smoked sweetness. It has a toasted grain taste that I find enjoyable. In my review of sencha I said it was less vegetal than kukicha but that is incorrect. This is the least vegetal of the Japanese teas.

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