Buckwheat tea is a delicious, nutty, and naturally caffeine-free tea. It has many health benefits and is made out of roasted buckwheat.
I often get asked questions about how to brew and serve buckwheat tea, so have put together this guide with some tips for you.
How is buckwheat tea served traditionally?
In countries like Japan, China, and Korea, buckwheat tea is traditionally served hot, and on its on. Interestingly, it's usually served in a teapot. The recommended temperature for brewing it is 95 - 100°C.
In the spring and summer months, you'll find that cold buckwheat tea also becomes popular. In fact, in some restaurants in Japan, buckwheat tea is served as a substitute for water.
In Japan in particular, it is very typical to find soba-cha served in soba restaurants, where they prepare their own buckwheat noodles and serve them to you with the tea.
When is it best to drink buckwheat tea?
Since buckwheat tea has no caffeine in it, you can pretty much drink it at any time of the day.
It's nice to have in particular after a meal - an afternoon cup of buckwheat tea goes down perfectly after lunch, as it helps with digestion, and is also quite calming (this is quite a contrast to drinking an afternoon coffee, which tends to give you a short-term energy boost and typically results in an afternoon slump..!). Since buckwheat contains protein & is a low GI (glycemic index) carbohydrate, you will still get a slow-release of energy after drinking the tea.
It's also perfect after dinner, or just before bedtime. It can be a nice part of a calming night time routine, and it anecdotally helps with a more restful sleep (the magnesium found in the tea relaxes your blood vessels, so this could be one of the reasons why).
Finally, buckwheat tea can also be paired with a dessert, as a digestif. Or it can be a replacement for having a dessert, if you're trying to cut back on sweets! It blends well with brown sugar.
How long should I brew buckwheat tea for?
I recommend brewing buckwheat tea for approximately 5 minutes, for a good depth of flavour. However, you can play around with this (+/- 2-3 min) to suit your preference.
You can even leave the tea bag inside the cup or teapot, and you'll notice that the flavour keeps developing.
Whatever the brew time, you won't have to worry about this type of buckwheat tea getting any bitterness you may notice with green tea or other variations of buckwheat tea - as mentioned, some people just leave the teabag in while they sip on their tea!
How much buckwheat tea should I use?
Each teabag contains 5 grams of buckwheat tea, which is quite a lot! You can use one teabag for up to 2-3 cups of tea - either in a small teapot, the traditional way, or directly in your teacup (just make sure you preserve the teabag* to use again later).
*Keep it covered if you plan to use it again within a few hours - otherwise save it in an airtight container in the fridge, where it will last for up to 2 days.
How do I make cold buckwheat tea?
Cold buckwheat tea is delicious - it's refreshing and thirst-quenching, almost like a nutty and wholesome-flavoured water.
To make cold buckwheat tea, simply brew it as usual with hot water and let it cool down before storing it in the fridge for 2 -3 days.
Or if you want it right away, pour some freshly-brewed buckwheat tea over ice.
The flavour tends to deepen in the fridge, so you don't have to make it as strong as you would when serving it hot (you can use around 2 teabags for a 1-litre jug).
In fact, if you have some leftover buckwheat tea, you can pour it into a jug and top it up with some water to store in the fridge!
A variation on this is to mix cold buckwheat tea with sparkling water, or sparkle it yourself if you own a device like a SodaStream!
Buckwheat tea for children
Not only does the caffeine-free nature of buckwheat tea make it suitable for children, its sweet aftertaste is something that most kids love!
You can give kids cold buckwheat tea, as an alternative to water - for added hydration that's full of goodness.
Or you can give it to them warm, after brewing it and letting it cool down a bit.
Variations on traditional buckwheat tea
More recently, Japanese and other Asian teas are being 'modernised' and served as lattes, with various types of milks, flavours, sweeteners, etc. It's very exciting to be able to blend the tea with different things and explore different tastes.
For example, buckwheat tea with milk is delicious. The milk adds a creamy flavour to the tea, and makes it more filling. Plant-based milks, such as hazelnut or almond, work quite well due to the combined nutty notes.
With regards to sweetening buckwheat tea - the tea has a naturally-sweet aftertaste served by itself, but you can add in some sugar or honey if you prefer your tea sweeter.
Finally, you can also be creative and infuse buckwheat tea - for example add some fruit into cold buckwheat tea, or fresh ginger to a pot of hot buckwheat tea, for a variation to the standard taste.
Any questions? Or suggestions for something to add to this guide? Drop a comment below and let me know!