Saturday, July 21, 2012

Time For Twig Tea

Just over here sipping on some twig tea in the nebulous region between Oakland and Berkeley, part concrete jungle and 2am Jack in the Box drive-thru binges, part sunshine garden idyll and self-righteously organic paradise. The air is scented with tiny jasmine blooms and the heady spices of Cafe Colucci, one of the Ethiopian restaurants that pepper almost every block in my new area.

I don't think I can make a convincing case for twigs as vegetables, since we can't really eat them, just drink hot water they've been soaked in. Still, it does feel strange and notable to drink infused twig water. You can get kikucha (its Japanese name) in sachets, but I like to get the actual roasted twigs. Feels a bit more witchy that way... I think I got these from Rainbow Grocery over a year ago--I found them in a box I unpacked with all my old teas and spices in it (still good, dammit, though the spices probably have their best days behind them).

Kikucha is not as weird as you might think at first, however, when you realize that the twigs are not just any twigs but come from the tea plant, whose black/green/white-leaf water we're more used to drinking. Kikucha has a little caffeine, which is why I'm drinking it as I wean myself off coffee for a week or so (just so I can restart the addiction with fresh vigor). I got really into twig tea when I tried adhering to a macrobiotic diet for a week-and-a-half and nearly lost my mind--I felt so much healthier but proportionately crazier for all the cravings left unfulfilled. But twig tea was a good friend in that time of need and no coffee.

I find its amber hue and mellow, smokey flavor very soothing even as it cuts through my drowsiness. It's not as bitter or jarring as some green teas can be and also not as strong as black tea. I often drink it after dinner when I need to get some writing done but still want to feel a little dreamy and be sure I can fall asleep when crawling into bed. The roasted brown rice genmaicha is also another favorite tea with a deep yet delicate flavor, but its portion of green tea makes it too caffeinated for me to drink at night.

You can read more about twig tea here and here.


Anonymous said...

aw reminds me of when i lived on 63rd street! welcome back to the yay

kale daikon said...

thanks! yes, you know the hood, then. very close.

taya said...

I can't believe the book in tbe background "Cuisine est en Jeu..." That livre is in my library too (since the 1970s
when I owned Cookbook Corner in San Francisco.) Love your blog. Just discovered it searching for thyme flowers. Please check out my blog called Me and My Green BIn which also has literary references and features. We have a lot in common.

kale daikon said...

Hi Taya! I'm so glad you noticed. "La Cuisine est un jeu d'enfants" is one of my most prized possessions. I used to work at Phoenix Books in Noe Valley and every time someone would ask me to pull it out of the glass case containing our special books, I'd get nervous that they'd buy it. That's how I knew I had to get it myself. I love compost almost as much as I love vegetables, and the origami green bin liner on your blog nearly gave me a heart attack (from excitement). Thanks for saying hello!