Kokeicha, known in Japan as winter tea, is in many ways the perfect beverage to sip on a cool morning.
Kokeicha, known in Japan as winter tea, is in many ways the perfect beverage to sip on a cool morning. Like the branches of winter trees, stripped of their leaves, Kokeicha is made with the leafless stalks, stems and twigs left behind after Sencha production. What’s more, the unusually shaped tea is traditionally harvested and processed in the fall, before the tea bushes are pruned to prepare for the winter dormancy. The tea has cool windy weather written all over it.
Like Sencha grade teas, Kokeicha is made by steaming the stalks before processing in order to halt fermentation. The cup produced is exceptionally clean, with a mild nutty flavor, malty highlights and cream on the finish. Many proponents claim the character is reminiscent of South African Rooibos. In Japan, the tea is commonly enjoyed on its own or, due to its low caffeine levels, (approx. 1/10th of other green teas), added to fruit juices to make children’s tea.