Topic: Amount of Stem/Twig in Kukicha(茎茶)
Kukicha is one of my favorite teas. One thing that I've found, however, is that when I've ordered it, it often seems to contain a fair amount of leaf. But I've also had kukicha that was almost exclusively stem.
The overall characteristics of the kukicha that is exclusively stem/twig and that that contains more leaf is very different. The kukicha made mostly of twig seems to brew clearer and has a more woody taste, lighter, and typically less vegetal. The kukicha containing more leaf seems to be much more like sencha in overall character, often brewing a more opaque and more greenish color, and with more vegetal tones in the aroma.
There are times I really want the purely twiggy kukicha, as it has a uniqueness to it: there is no other tea like it, whereas the kukicha with more leaf is less interesting and less unique to me, being more like other Japanese greens.
Is a tea really kukicha if it contains a large portion of leaf? Is there a convention for these sorts of things? Is this just something that varies from one vendor to another?