Posted by Tea Selector: Mr. Taro Ishihara on 30th Oct 2016
TMS also carries the variety of green tea. Bancha is one of them. We sometimes receive the inquiry from our customers 'what is Bancha?' so I would like to explain about Bancha.
1. Name of Bancha and its meaning
People say that in general the origin of Bancha if 'Bangaicha'(番外茶). Ban in this case means 'Junban 順番 (English: turn)'.
Ichibancha(一番茶) = new tea (first flush tea) As the name states, it is the tea that is picked the very first of that year. The quality is also good. It is equivalent to 1st flush for black tea.
Nibancha(二番茶) = second flush tea after Ichibancha
Sanbancha(三番茶) = third flush tea after Nibancha
*For Japanese tea, we pick about 2-3 times a year.
Bancha means out of the above picking (Bangai).
2.Characteristics of Bancha
Of course its quality and price would be lower than the 1st flush tea, so we can say it's the economy grade of Japanese tea. We could say it's for daily use (home use).
The appearance of tea leaf, the size of tea leaf is also not even and looks like yellowish (brownish) green.
The characteristics of flavor, it is recommended for someone who like tanning taste or bitterness and someone who cares about caffeine (doesn't like caffeine) as it has low sweetness, umami and caffeine.
The production quantity in Japan: No.1: Sencha (60-70%), No.2: Bancha (approx. 20-30%) Bancha is produced 2nd largest in Japan.
As you can tell, this tea has a high demand for daily use even in Japan.
3. How to categorize Bancha
If I sort out this more in details, Bancha is
1) Autumn Winter Bancha = the second tea is not pick, the branches and leaves are simply stretched, pick in Autumn (the most quantity for Bancha)
2) During the process of finishing of tea, the leaves that are out of the standard are taken out and made them into a product
3) In areas of Hokkaido, Tohoku and Hokuriku, it is referred to 'Hojicha' as their local word.
*In those areas, they call 'Bancha' for Hojicha.
Any of them seem to have a strong meaning that it's not a main stream (not main).
4. How to make good Bancha
You don't need to worry about the temperature of hot water much for Bancha like Gyokuro or Sencha.
Please use hot water (about 90℃) and pour tea right away. (You can steep tea for 30-60 seconds or so) *Of course you can make tea as you like.
The characteristic of the flavor is bitterness, so please try to find the way of making tea with the bitterness you like.
*After all, you can enjoy tea with a kyusu compare to a tea pot.
5. TMS's recommended Bancha
OTA TEA: [Agrochemical-Free] Ureshino Autumn Bancha 200g (7.05oz)
TAKEO TEA: [JAS Certified] Organic Spring Bancha Aoyanagi (May Harvest) 200g (7.05oz)
TAKEO TEA: [JAS Certified] Organic Autumn Bancha 250g (8.82oz)
I hope this information of Bancha helps you to understand.
It’s my personal opinion but I believe that this tea is recommended for someone who wants to drink a lot of tea casually and for someone who is concerned about caffeine.
Also it's reasonable, so even if you fail the way of pouring tea, you won't regret it which is a good point.
I will write again.