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?

Re: Amount of Stem/Twig in Kukicha(茎茶)

I have personally found that it is really just a large amount having to do with the supplier. I've found that some of them have more leaf than others. It can still be considered kukicha if there is a large amount of leaf in it, however I don't think I've ever had a kukicha with more leaf than twigs. That is my experience though.

Re: Amount of Stem/Twig in Kukicha(茎茶)

My take...
sencha karigane: a blend of predominately sencha with 20-30% stem added.
kukicha: just stem.