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More on Bancha (番茶)
Also called: “common tea”, “coarse tea”, “ordinary tea”
Eastern Japan definition:
- nibancha – Bancha picked in June
- sanbancha – Bancha picked in August
- yonbancha – Bancha picked in October
A daily green tea, fairly inexpensive, low quality, made from coarser grade, heavier, late season tea leaves.
The leaves are tougher with each subsequent picking. They are also larger leaves lower down on the stem than for most Sencha (sun grown) teas.
Well-defined character, vivid yellow colors, refreshing and deep flavors that lack the Sencha sweetness but is still enjoyable and goes well with most Japanese foods.
Lower caffeine since more mature leaves are being used (shielded from sunlight by upper leaves used for sencha).
More commonly available due to lower price and increasing demand in Europe and North America. Bancha is also used to make houjicha and genmaicha which are also becoming more popular outside of Japan.
Called Yanagi Bancha (柳番茶) in Western Japan (Kyoto etc).
Western & Northern Japan definition: Roasted tea or hojicha.
The term bancha is often added on to so that the time of harvest or place of processing are indicated (click on each photo for more information):
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