Bancha (Japanese Green Tea) from Frontier Coop in album tea

In Albums: tea

dark green, large, dry tea leaves, broken somewhat

Feb 27th, 2013, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows bancha from Frontier Coop. I thought this was a decent tea, even though I don't think Japanese teas are Frontier's greatest strength. You can read my full review of this tea on RateTea.

Bancha is a type of Japanese green tea, sometimes called "coarse tea", which is considered the common, base, or default type or grade of green tea in Japan. In spite of its lowly reputation, bancha is one of the teas that I actually prefer buying and drinking in the U.S. I suspect that this may be due to the fact that its common nature makes it an "unsexy" product to carry: companies that don't know much about green tea will be likely to only carry sencha, a higher-grade and more expensive type of Japanese green tea. Indeed, sencha is much more widely available than bancha in the U.S.

But I've noticed that companies that sell bancha tend to have better-quality Japanese green teas across the board than ones that only sell sencha and few other types of tea. I suspect that this may be due to the fact that companies carrying this type of tea, tend to know more about Japanese tea and be selling to a more discerning audience. But it also may reflect the fact that I just like this type of tea a lot, and that I also like bargains so I may hold it to a slightly lower standard and have lower expectations going in.

I find bancha to have a less seaweedy quality, and a more toasty, corn-like quality, relative to sencha. It is often somewhat astringent, especially if brewed strongly. It also tends to be considerably lower in caffeine than sencha, which means I can drink considerably more of it and drink it closer to bedtime, two things I enjoy.