75

This tea surprised me. After I decanted the pot, I sniffed the brewed leaves, and it instantly brought back a flood of memories.
You know how certain smells are strongly connected to memories or emotions? Well, this reminded me of when I lived in Hong Kong…. I don’t know if it was the smell of a HK bakery, or mochi, or dim sum, but the aroma was very good and I couldn’t help but continue to sniff and figure out why it felt so familiar.

Surprisingly, the leaves of this tea are very light green/yellowish and tiny. I could have sworn this was a fukamushi, as the leaves are only a little larger than dust. I thought this could be a fukamushi bancha, though, I’ve never heard of such a thing. (I don’t know the difference between bancha and a 2nd or 3rd harvest sencha… does anyone else?)

EDIT I wasn’t quite able to finish my thoughts on this.

I’m really surprised about the size of the leaves, because it’s just lightly steamed.
I would say I enjoyed this tea, but there wasn’t much depth to the flavor. Not sweet, nor bitter; slightly astringent, with the main flavor being a perhaps a little grassy or like sweet rice (which, as you know, isn’t really sweet). I think I enjoyed it because there wasn’t anything wrong with it, and the aroma was so connected to those memories. Nevertheless, it wasn’t very exciting or a flavor I would go seek out (especially to buy it from Japan). If I saw it in my local grocery store, then perhaps I’d pick some up.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Shadowleaf

As far as I have heard, the main difference between bancha and sencha is that bancha leaves are usually brown, have a taste more similar to houjicha than sencha and was traditionally grown in people’s gardens rather than a plantation. Usually, it is seen as a more low quality tea than normal sencha. I have found this often to be true when I shop at Japanese supermarkets.

Bancha is often translated to commoner’s tea, but it is not too incorrect to translate it into everyday tea, as bancha was the tea people would drink everyday instead of just water. This tradition is said to be dated back to over a thousand years ago, as clean, safe water was hard to find in both China and Japan, one would boil the water first, and often make tea. (In Europe we made wine, beer and similar beverages)

Thus the culture and way of raising and making bancha varies a lot from area to area, but in the recent 50 years, I guess, many big companies have now taken over this production and bancha has moved out from people’s homes to plantations. The variations of bancha is still very big. There are indeed green types as well, as many raise bancha from the late summer and to the late autumn. That is why some high grade banchas have different “flushes”, depending on when they were harvested in this period. (三番、四番 and so on). A lot of green banchas are also more aged sencha with less caffeine and more tannin.

And, I am only guessing now, but it sounds reasonable for a lot of tea companies wanting to still sell a lot of tea during this autumn season as the three main flushes of shincha is of out season now. As a result of this one might use many creative ways of selling bancha, including what you, Shinobicha, guessed could be a fukamushi bancha. I actually found one here: http://www.e-cha.co.jp/fs/sugamo/jt182

Why Obubu Tea would label this as sencha in the first place sounds weird to me as it is described as light steamed aracha. Maybe a mail to the tea vendor could bring some good answers. I will do some research on my own here, because finding the right label for Japanese tea has proven to be quite hard for me as I discover more and more Japanese teas.

Phew. What a long comment. Hope you found it at least a bit useful.

Shinobi_cha

That’s really interesting, thanks for sharing!
Yeah, I am sure you are right, that it is a way for them to sell some of the ni-ban or san-ban harvests. What I don’t know is why it LOOKS like a fukamushi, when they put on the website it’s an asamushi… I should definitely ask them and find out.

I agree, the more I learn about Japanese teas, the harder they seem to label/classify!

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Shadowleaf

As far as I have heard, the main difference between bancha and sencha is that bancha leaves are usually brown, have a taste more similar to houjicha than sencha and was traditionally grown in people’s gardens rather than a plantation. Usually, it is seen as a more low quality tea than normal sencha. I have found this often to be true when I shop at Japanese supermarkets.

Bancha is often translated to commoner’s tea, but it is not too incorrect to translate it into everyday tea, as bancha was the tea people would drink everyday instead of just water. This tradition is said to be dated back to over a thousand years ago, as clean, safe water was hard to find in both China and Japan, one would boil the water first, and often make tea. (In Europe we made wine, beer and similar beverages)

Thus the culture and way of raising and making bancha varies a lot from area to area, but in the recent 50 years, I guess, many big companies have now taken over this production and bancha has moved out from people’s homes to plantations. The variations of bancha is still very big. There are indeed green types as well, as many raise bancha from the late summer and to the late autumn. That is why some high grade banchas have different “flushes”, depending on when they were harvested in this period. (三番、四番 and so on). A lot of green banchas are also more aged sencha with less caffeine and more tannin.

And, I am only guessing now, but it sounds reasonable for a lot of tea companies wanting to still sell a lot of tea during this autumn season as the three main flushes of shincha is of out season now. As a result of this one might use many creative ways of selling bancha, including what you, Shinobicha, guessed could be a fukamushi bancha. I actually found one here: http://www.e-cha.co.jp/fs/sugamo/jt182

Why Obubu Tea would label this as sencha in the first place sounds weird to me as it is described as light steamed aracha. Maybe a mail to the tea vendor could bring some good answers. I will do some research on my own here, because finding the right label for Japanese tea has proven to be quite hard for me as I discover more and more Japanese teas.

Phew. What a long comment. Hope you found it at least a bit useful.

Shinobi_cha

That’s really interesting, thanks for sharing!
Yeah, I am sure you are right, that it is a way for them to sell some of the ni-ban or san-ban harvests. What I don’t know is why it LOOKS like a fukamushi, when they put on the website it’s an asamushi… I should definitely ask them and find out.

I agree, the more I learn about Japanese teas, the harder they seem to label/classify!

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