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bancha tea leaves

Bancha – Extra Japanese Green Tea: Benefits and Where to Buy

Bancha is something Japanese grabs it for a break to relax or drink it over the meal. This “extra” Japanese green tea would be ideal for any casual setting.

What Is Bancha?

bancha tea leaves
Bancha tamakien tea by Rama

The tea leaves of Bancha consist of “extra” Japanese green tea that is firmer compared to other green teas since they are plucked later in the season (late summer to autumn). It is a casual Japanese green tea that you can drink every day. While other types of Japanese green teas require you some tools or knowledge of serving a cup, you can make it with no mess.

Ichibancha Relatively high-quality bancha that consists of late buds of the 1st Flush of green tea (sencha).

Akifuyu Bancha Plucked the overgrown tea leaves of the 3rd Flush, specifically called “Akifuyu Bancha” (Autumn and Winter Bancha). The amount of harvest is pretty large compared to others.

Atama It consists of large flat tea leaves that left out in the final production process of the Sencha green tea.

Health Benefits of Bancha

The main components of bancha are tea catechins and polysaccharide.

Tea Catechins

  • Antioxidant effect
  • Anticancer effect
  • Antivirus effect
  • Lowering blood cholesterol level
  • Supressing rise in blood sugar level
  • Antibacterial and bacteriocidal effect
  • Prevention of tooth decay and bad breath
  • Prevention of obesity

Polysaccharide

Lowering the Blood Pressure

It’s considered to lower the blood pressure thanks to polysaccharide. Polysaccharide is a combined carbohydrate

Specifically, in Akifuyu Bancha, there is much amount of tea catechins that we can expect them to reduce the body fat. Even better, serving it is really easy that you just have to pour hot water without fussing over the method or any proper way.  

Various Bancha in Various Regions

There are many types of Bancha depending on the regions.

Kyo Bancha

If you like the smoky flavor, this is the one for you. It should be the most famous one of all that produced in Kyoto. It’s the type of Bnacha that the larger tea leaves get to be dried without rubbing, and roasted. The smoky flavor is the signature of this tea.

Mimasaka Bancha

Produced in Okayama. The mild and sweet flavor is similar to that of Hojicha. Plucked with twigs are attached get simmered like boiling. Spread them on a straw mat and dry under the Sun while keeping pouring its soup over them.

Awa Bancha

This is one exceptional tea here. It’s half fermented tea close to pu-erh tea. Excellent balance of astringency, mildness, and sweetness. Produced in Tokushima. Plucked with twigs are attached, boiled in a cooker, and put them in a pot after rubbing. Dry them after they are fermented with lactic acid, take them out and dry under the sun.

How to Serve Bancha?

The goodness of it is that has a warm and simple taste. And it’s the best warm beverage you can ask for in more than chilly weather. We can suggest you have some Japanese sweets such as Karinto (deep-fat fried cookies made of buckwheat), Manju (a bun with sweet bean-filling), and Senbei (rice crackers).

Serving for three

  • Hot water 400cc
  • Tea pot
  • Three cups
  • Bancha 6g
  • Teaspoon

1. Put three teaspoons of tea leaves in a pot.

2. Pour hot water in a pot. Make sure the water is really hot that would bring out the best flavor out of the tea.

A tip: Since we use hot water, you’d better prepare a larger size cup that you can handle without having your finger get hot.

3. Put a lid on a pot and wait for 30 sec.

4. Pour the tea in three cups in a rotating manner to make sure the concentration of the tea would be equal. We recommend you to turn the wrist each time you pour to even the concentration of the tea in each cup. Additionally, turning it stirring well with water and tea leaves that brings out the flavor. Always make sure to pour the tea to the last drop so that the next cup should be tasteful.

Compared to Sencha green tea, Bancha has a lower amount of Umami flavor (theanine: amino acids) so that using hot water suits the best to extract the taste and flavor of catechins.

A tip: When you make a cup of tea and you don’t plan to drink the second cup for a while, you can put the pot in a fridge to preserve its freshness.

Serving Akifuyu bancha

The common method for serving Akifuyu Bancha. This is the method to bring out polysaccharide the most.So make sure you use cold water to prepare it instead of using hot water if you expect lowering blood pressure with this tea.

You put 30g of Bnacha in a pot or plastic bottle and pour 1 liter of water. Let it stand overnight and voila! It’s done. The active ingredient “polysaccharide” should be extracted nicely. We recommend you to drink all the tea you make at a time for a sanitary reason. You can warm it up when you drink it in the winter or whenever you want it to be warm which is good for your stomach, too. Warming it would not change any health benefits you can get from it.

For your reference on how to serve other Japanese green teas.

It’s said that you should use relatively lower temperature water and take time to make higher-quality Japanese green teas. On the contrary, when you make Genmaicha, Hojicha, and Bancha, they say you should use hot water and make it quick! Why the difference?

It’s to bring out the best in each tea that has different ingredients. The main two flavors of Japanese green tea, Umami and sweetness of amino acids (theanine) and astringency of tea catechins. The Umami resolves well in lower water temperature and the astringency resolves well in higher water temperature.

In the case with bancha, make it with hot water in a short period of time is the best way to bring out the best of it that makes you refreshed. With that being said, you can experiment and find your own water temperature to make your tea. That’s one of the

Where to Buy Bancha?

IPPODO

They carry a variety of bancha that you can enjoy roasted aroma to refreshing flavor.

MaikoTea Japan

They offer you Kyobancha that is produced in Uji, Kyoto. It can well with any food items.

Japanese Green Tea Shops

You can enjoy its high-quality and tasty flavor for economical price!

Maruyama Tea Products Corporation

There is no shopping cart, however, you can inquire them about purchasing products. The quality is superb.

Hime Brand on Amazon

Perhaps, you might be familiar with Hime Brand that handles a variety of Japanese foods. You can order 4 packs of bancha (8 ounce-boxes) easily.

Have you found your favorite one? Let us hear how you drink them in the comment!

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