This Month's Tea - KariganeThis Month's Tea - Karigane

What is Karigane?

We would like you to rediscover the value of our Karigane teas for monthly recommendation.

Karigane is made from the stems of Gyokuro and high grade Sencha. Tea leaves, stems, and powder are sorted during the finishing process. The stems are called Karigane, and only account for about 5 to 10% of all tea leaves. The stems of middle or low grade Sencha are not called Karigane.

Karigane stems are rich in Teanin. Teanin is a kind of amino acid found in green tea that builds protein. The molecular structure (base arrangement) of Teanin is similar to Glutamic Acid which is known for having a sweet and flavorful taste and working to relax the brain and body.

Karigane is less expensive than tea leaves because it is a by-product. It is sorted from high grade tea leaves, and therefore has a better flavor than tea leaves of a similarly low price. In Japan some Gyokuro lovers tend to search for Gyokuro Karigane sorted from much higher grade Gyokuro. Karigane lovers are usually repeat customers - once they try Karigane they want to drink it all the time because it has such a great flavor and is an excellent value.

Karigane is sometimes difficult to find. This is because it's only made from top quality tea leaves. Since Karigane only makes up 10% of these top grade leaves, there is only a tiny amount of Karigane produced each year. So many green tea lovers in Japan search far and wide for Karigane. Fortunately Hibiki-an is able to have a steady supply of Karigane because we grow and sell only the highest grade tea leaves.

Karigane is made from the stems of Gyokuro and high grade Sencha

Processing Scene

Tea color of each Karigane item

Tea leaves of Gyokuro Karigane

Tea leaves of Sencha Karigane

Tea leaves of Houjicha Karigane

Special Karigane Tea

Karigane is an excellent value because it is a by-product of green tea production. Karigane is made from the stems and veins of high quality tea leaves.
Stems and veins for Gyokuro Super Premium are sorted from the highest quality Gyokuro shaded from sunlight under the traditional "Honzu" canopy structure made with reeds and straw.
Even in Kyoto, known around the world as the center of Japanese green tea culture and production, it is difficult to find top grade Gyokuro Karigane. During tea production, green tea leaf stems (which make up 5 to 10% of the harvested tea) are separated from the tea leaves. These green tea stems are used to make Karigane. Only small quantities of our top grade Gyokuro (such as our Pinnacle grade Gyokuro) is grown each year. So we can produce only a limited amount of Gyokuro Karigane Super Premium.
Fortunately we are able to offer Gyokuro Karigane Super Premium, but only as a limited edition of 450 packages and available only in early spring season..

Stems and veins for Gyokuro Super Premium are sorted from the highest quality Gyokuro shaded from sunlight under the traditional "Honzu" canopy structure made with reeds and straw.

Picked by skilled hands

Tea leaves just after picked

One of several processing steps

The brewed infusion color of Gyokuro Karigane Super Premium is the same as Kuradashi Gyokuro Pinnacle. The aroma is quite elegant and gentle.

Selected stems and veins from Gyokuro Pinnacle and Kuradashi Gyokuro Pinnacle.
Stems and veins for Gyokuro Super Premium are sorted from the highest quality Gyokuro shaded from sunlight under the traditional "Honzu" canopy structure made with reeds and straw.
Picked fresh tea leaves are processed just a few hours after harvest. All processing machines are traditional style, and tea leaves are processed with great care in the traditional way.
They are finished and become Aracha just a few hours later.

Karigane Teas: Now Available!

[Limited] Gyokuro Karigane Super Premium (40g/1.41oz): US$19.00 (Now Available)
Limited edition of 450 packages available only in early spring this year.
Gyokuro Karigane Super Premium is an excellent value. Because it is made from the stems and veins of the only highest-quality Gyokuro, such as Gyokuro Pinnacle and Kuradashi Gyokuro Pinnacle, you can have the quality of Premium for a fraction of the cost...
Gyokuro Karigane Premium (100g/3.53oz): US$23.00
Gyokuro Karigane Premium which is made from the stems of highest grade Gyokuro is very valuable and precious. You can enjoy the excellent flavor of high grade Gyokuro at an affordable price...
Gyokuro Karigane Superior (200g/7.06oz): US$31.00
Gyokuro Karigane Superior which is made from the stems of high grade Gyokuro is valuable and precious. The stems are called Karigane, and only account for about 5 to 10% of all tea leaves...
Sencha Karigane (200g/7.06oz): US$24.00
Sencha Karigane Premium which is made from the stems of high grade Sencha is valuable and precious. Karigane contains much Theanine which is the source of its sweet and mellow taste...
Houjicha Karigane (200g/7.06oz): US$20.00
Houjicha Karigane is made from the stems of high grade tea leaves and roasted in the same way as standard Houjicha. The flavor is deeply sweet and roasted, which is quite unique among Japanese tea...
[Limited] Houjicha Karigane Super Premium (100g/3.53oz): US$17.00 (Now Available)
The stems contained in this tea are usually used for Sencha Karigane, not Houjicha Karigane. Stems from the highest grade Matcha are added in order to create the unique noble aroma...
Karigane Tea Tasting Set (each 100g/3.53oz x 3): US$37.50
Karigane is made from the stems of Gyokuro and high grade Sencha. We combined three valuable Karigane items: Gyokuro Karigane Superior, Sencha Karigane, and Houjicha Karigane...

Customer Reviews of Karigane Teas

[Limited] Gyokuro Karigane Super Premium
After trying a few different brewing techniques, I finally discovered this tea's delightful aroma. I must say that it took me some time to figure out a way to get three infusions from these stems, but now I can fully enjoy this high quality karigane. Thank you Hibiki-an!
--- Male, Canada

A rich, savory, brothy, and umami flavor makes this tea very unique. It's gentle and not too difficult to brew in terms of getting the right temperature/steep time. It seems incapable of producing any bitterness, but I agree with other reviewers who noticed a refreshingly clean and dry finish to this tea. Definitely the best karigane I've tried, which one would expect given the high grade and price of this tea.
--- Male, United States

This is the first high quality material Karigane I drunk. The dry tea-leaves (or, better said, tea-stems) vary from very light to very dark color.
The tea is very light, very subtle with nice citric flavor. Nice to drink at late night, it freshes my senses yet does not prevent me from sleeping.
--- Male, Slovakia (Slovak Republic))

Gyokuro Karigane Premium
Have to say I'm impressed. I ordered this Karigane Saturday afternoon and this Thursday morning I'm enjoying it here in Copenhagen, Denmark! Even though I'm novice into Japanese green tea, drinking this Karigane feels like tasting the essense of a gentle and quite summer morning. This evening I'm going to try the Organic Gyokuro, and surely I can't wait! Thanks to the Hibiki-an people for delivering this magic tea so quickly from Uji, Kyoto to Northern Europe.
--- Male, Denmark

I am a longtime drinker of Kukicha tea and a newcomer to Gyokuro bliss! This lovely stem tea provides the best of both worlds in one affordable brew for everyday drinking. And unlike other brands of tea, three pots of excellent tea are yielded from one measure of Karigane. Thanks so much to Hibiki-an for their excellent service and products.
--- Female, United States

Gyokuro Karigane Superior
This is a tea that I really enjoy. I find the aroma sweet and when I infuse the stems/leaves I will leave them in longer than say, Sencha - maybe 2-3 minutes minimum, though I haven't timed it.
I find the flavour is also sweet, somewhat like a sweet gooseberry if there is such a thing! Like a previous review, I notice that the flavour falls off quickly with subsequent infusions - say more than 2, probably because this is predominantly leaf stem and vein with a small percentage of leaf. I find this a wonderfully refreshing drink, not bitter at all (unless you really overdo the water temperature, amount of tea or the length of infusion). I have no hesitation in recommending this to all tea drinkers, whether very experienced or a newcomer.
--- Male, United Kingdom

Outstanding tea at a very good price! This is the first tea that I've tried from Hibiki-an and it is the best green tea that I've ever tasted. The shipping to Canada was very fast. The tea was very well packaged and very fresh after opening. Overall, I am very impressed with Hibiki-an!
--- Male, Canada

Sencha Karigane
What a lovely pleasant surprise this Sencha Karigane is. I was instantly enamored by the refined clarity and delicateness of this unassuming tea in my first cup. I decided to give this tea a try because of its high theanine and low caffeine content. But now i am forever intrigued.!. Quiet, simple yet delicately complex, this tea invites a poet out of me.
The gentle viscosity of the first brew is a real sweet treat, then the flowery aroma of the second and third is comparable to that of exquisite darjeering. I feel this karigane tea is truly in a league of its own by having more complex flavors in depth than the other noble teas from its leaves.
I appreciate much Hibiki-an for opening the delightful world of karigane tea for me. Next would be the gyokuro kariganes to try. Thank you.
--- Female, United States

I regularly order Sencha Superior (another excellent purchase), but thought this month I would try the Karigane as well. Not being sure what to expect, I can confirm that Sencha Karigane is a most pleasant surprise! I am very pleased with the taste, aroma & appearance.
I will order the Sencha Karigane again without hesitation; & recommend that you give it a try.
Yet again, delivery to the United Kingdom was under a week. First class service from Hibiki-an!
--- Male, United Kingdom

Houjicha Karigane
This is outstanding tea by any measure. Extremely fragrant, surprisingly complex, somewhat creamy and very well balanced. In short, delicious. Importantly, this tea is very forgiving when it comes to brewing - it is really difficult to ruin the taste.
--- Male, Poland

This is an excellent houjicha, the best I've had outside of kaiseki restaurants. The initial aroma is a lovely and produces an excellently balanced tea... pleasantly sweet and lightly roasted. This is probably my favorite tea in general, it just gives you such a nice warm and nostalgic feeling.
In comparison to normal houjicha, this tea is mellower, and sweeter. I would find it hard to go back to the normal houjicha after this.
--- Male, United States