Buckwheat noodles are popular in Japan and Korea, the difficulty of making noodles from flour with no gluten has resulted in a traditional art developed around their manufacture by hand. in Japan, they are made from buckwheat flour (juwari 十割), or a combination of buckwheat and wheat flours (nihachi soba 二八). Depending on the shop, the percentage of buckwheat flour in soba noodles typically ranges between 40 percent and 100 percent.
Buckwheat groats come from the buckwheat plant, or Fagopyrum esculentum. Buckwheat is not a wheat, but a 'pseudocereal' that is related to sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb. The groats can also be sprouted and then eaten raw or cooked. Buckwheat groats have a rich, nutty flavor, and are a good source of zinc and of the protein lysine.
The groats can be processed into flour, made into beer, roasted and brewed as tea to make soba-cha そば茶 and cooked like rice.