Loose-leaf Bancha, Japanese Green Tea, Hime Brand
Aug 20th, 2013, by Alex Zorach
This photo shows loose-leaf bancha from the Hime brand (owned by JFC).
Bancha is a type of Japanese green tea that is usually seen as a lower grade. This photo clearly shows the typical characteristics of the leaf--note that it consists mostly of broken pieces of large leaves, and also contains some twigs. Higher grades of tea are usually made from smaller leaves (newer growth, including tips and leaf buds), and have intact leaves, often leaves with a bud attached.
For being a "low grade" tea, I am actually rather fond not only of the type of tea, but this particular batch of it, which was very cheap. You can read my full review on RateTea; I encourage you to look for this one; it's available in some Asian markets and is outright cheap.
I am especially fond of brewing this tea as an iced tea. I make four cups of it at once, using the method I describe here.