Kuding – Bitter nail tea
Kuding is a herbal tea produced in China’s southeast regions. Its very name suggests that it tastes bitter, but that fact hasn’t stopped millions of people around the world from drinking it on regular basis. Kuding is quite an adventure tastewise. When you take the first sip, bitterness will hit the tip of your tongue and then envelop the rest of your mouth gradually transforming into a much less invasive taste characteristic of some blanched vegetables and nettle. As you swallow the beverage, a subtle mellow taste will kick in, creating a balanced bittersweet harmony that tends to linger in the mouth for a few minutes.
Why we like it?
We like kuding because it is very low on caffeine , and, compared to an average kuding sold in Chinese tea markets, this particular variety is not all that bitter. However, it’s still an acquired taste, so one probably shouldn’t expect to fall in love with it at the first sip. Kuding yields strong, intense infusions of pale green color. Should you steep it for a longer period of time, and the color will shift to various shades of yellow.
A wide range of medicinal properties are attributed to kuding: it can normalize blood pressure, alleviate itching in the eyes, deal with thirst caused by dehydration, headaches, rhinitis, coughing, and other respiratory issues. If consumed regularly, bitter nail tea can help maintain overall health. More importantly, kuding can be an excellent supplement in alleviation of flu-induced symptoms.
Roman’s personal score: 85/100
Miha’s personal score: 81/100
The scores above represent how the Daoli co-founders Miha and Roman feel about each particular tea. The ratings are given on 0 to 100 scale and are absolutely subjective. We simply translate into numbers our first impression about this tea.
General steeping suggestions
Tea can be steeped in a tea pot, gaiwan, or a strainer placed right in your cup. Feel free to experiment with time, temperature, and quantity. If tea feels a bit strong or bitter, just use less leaves or steep it for a shorter period of time.
The purpose of the first brew is to rinse the leaves, so it shouldn’t last more than five seconds and should be discarded. Pour the hot water again. This time, steep it for longer periods. Avoid leaving the leaves soaking in water between brews, because it makes tea taste bitter and steals a lot of its flavor. If used properly, about six grams of tea leaves can yield several middle-size cups of excellent tea.
This is a herbal infusion and some people might add honey or lemon to it.
Gongfu steeping suggestions for kuding
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 4 grams (0.14oz – about 1 tsp)
- water: ~ 90 °C, 100-250 ml (~ 195°F, 3-9oz)
- time: 30-60 seconds
- number of infusions: 3-4
- discard the first brew
Short infusion time will keep bitterness at acceptable levels. Steeping kuding for over a minute will make it very strong and bitter.
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.