Japanese Bancha green tea is harvested from the same tree as the popular Sencha family of teas. However, the leaves for Bancha tea are harvested later, towards the start of autumn and almost up until winter when the leaves are larger. This is known as the ‘second flush’ of harvesting. Due to the fact that they are picked later in the year, Bancha tea is ranked at a lower grade than traditional Sencha tea. The advantage of this is that it makes Bancha tea much more affordable.
Bancha’s green tea relatively low price point makes it a good Japanese green tea for everyday drinking, particularly if you tend to drink three or more cups a day. Because the leaves are picked later in the year they tend to give Bancha a fuller-bodied flavor and aroma then you’d normally expect in a green tea. However, Bancha tea remains low in caffeine and a popular tea to have at mealtimes.
Bancha is an excellent choice if you want to upgrade your tea drinking to several cups of Japanese tea every day and need a more affordable option than traditional Sencha based tea.
BANCHA GREEN TEA BREWING INSTRUCTION
THE WATER TEMPERATURE
- The golden rule about water temperature is never to use boiling water on the tea, whatever kind of tea you are making.
- Green Teas require water at 70°C and black teas require water at 85-90°C.
- These days you can get kettles which enable you to choose your water temperature.
THE AMOUNT OF TEA
- Custom dictates that 4 grams are sufficient for one cup. But the amount is partly a matter of preference.
- In the case of Assam tea, which is naturally very robust, you might want to reduce the strength and brew 3 grams instead of 4.
THE BREWING TIME
- This is a very important step in the art of tea-making. In fact, the brewing time varies depending on the type of tea. An over-brewed black tea will develop a bitter taste whilst an under-brewed white tea will be flat and insipid.
- Black teas are normally brewed for 2-3 minutes, green teas for 3 – 4 minutes. It is a good idea to check the brewing time before making the tea because some teas need to be infused for very specific times: for example, Jade Pearl is left to infuse for 7 – 20 minutes, whilst Oolong tea will need 5 – 7 minutes for its bouquet to develop fully.
- Brewing is normally done with a lid on so that the tea retains all its aromas.