Yanagi Bancha

Tea type
Green Tea
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Grass, Spinach, Green, Seaweed, Sweet, Hay, Nutty, Sweet, warm grass, Toasted Rice
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Edit tea info Last updated by Shinobi_cha
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 15 sec 6 g 9 oz / 259 ml

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14 Tasting Notes View all

From Obubu Tea

About a month after harvesting the leaves to make our premium Kabuse Sencha or shaded tea, we do a second cropping of the same plants in June to produce our Yanagi Bancha or やなぎ番茶 leaves. Bancha is usually classified as the lowest grade tea leaves, and this allows us to offer you something a bit better. :)

By June, the leaves have matured, and we do a deep cropping to increase volume as well as to get slender pieces of twigs (which contain sugars that offset the bitterness of the more mature leaves). Low in caffeine, this tea is great for drinking regularly throughout the day and before bed.

Product name: Yanagi Bancha
Ingredients: 100% aracha from Wazuka, Kyoto
Tea plant: Yabukita plants, about 25 years old
Cultivation notes: Open air (uncovered)
Harvest period: June
Processing notes: light steaming (about 30 seconds)
Product size: 1 bag (24.5 x11.5 x2.0 cm / 9.65 x4.53 x0.79 in)
Weight of contents: 100 g / 3.53 oz
Producer: Akihiro Kita
Expiration: Good for 6 months from shipment
Storage: Seal tightly and refrigerate

About Obubu Tea View company

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14 Tasting Notes

131 tasting notes

I received my sampler from Obubu Tea and what a beautiful sampler it is. The packaging is artistically done, and all text is in Japanese, so if you may have to do a bit of detective work matching the inscriptions to translations provided on the guide provided. It is filled with different versions of Sencha, Genmaicha, and several different roasts of Houjicha. All great temptations, but I chose to start by brewing up this Bancha and am very happy I did!

Time to load up the sample into my kyusu, and take a few deep breaths of the lovely aroma of the dry leaves and stems. A bit like alfalfa hay, and a real sweetness that is hard to explain, but nice to experience.

1st steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F
2nd steep: 15 seconds at about 190 degrees F
3rd steep: 30 seconds at about 190 degrees F

Now this is real aracha (http://www.obubutea.com/tea-info/aracha/), in the best way possible. It is nicely refreshing in being both mildly sweet and mildly savory. I found myself chewing on a couple of the twigs/stems just to verify this is where that fascinating sweet flavor is coming from. This may not have the refined complexities of the higher grade teas, but for me it is a really pleasant connection to the tea plantation, and I look forward to the other samples to follow!

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I’m intrigued! I have such little experience with Japanese teas, and I’ve been on the look-out for good vendors. I haven’t heard of Obubu until now, so I think some of their tea may be in my future.

E Alexander Gerster

My favorite Japanese tea vendors at the moment are Den’s Tea and Obubu — but I know there are other really good ones out there. I found Obubu because of their involvement with the International Tea Farms Alliance (http://www.teafarms.org/about/) that empowers worldwide tea artisans by connecting them to tea loving consumers… You have to keep us updated on your new experiences with Japanese teas. They can take you on a really amazing journey! :)


You may also want to try Hibiki-an. I bought tea from them a couple times and it was the freshest Japanese tea I’ve ever drank.They have varying degrees of leaf, from House Sencha to Sencha Super Premium, etc. Free Shipping over $36, last time I checked. A very honest, fair company with great quality teas!

E Alexander Gerster

Great suggestion Scott! I have heard lots of good things about Hibiki-an, and they have some great teaware that I have been lusting over. :)


Yeah, thats for sure. I ony wish I’d bought one of their Tokoname teapots, the Meteor Stream. Anyway, in 2008 it was $79, now it’s $93. I’m still consideing it, esp if I order tea from there as well. What do I mean IF I order tea from there?!


Also I believe their tea is of higher quality, so it has increased in $$ as well (of course). It is still a bargain. Have you noticed International shipping costs from Japan?!

Years ago, I tried Genmaicha and couldn’t drink it. My tastes in tea and preparation have changed since then. So I’d like to try the Genmaicha Matcha-iri from Hibiki-an too. Going to drink some tea :)………….


This tasting note really makes me want to buy a sampler from Obubu! Thanks for sharing!

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54 tasting notes

This was part of my December Obubu CSA Club shipment, along with a sample of Gokou matcha (which smells fantastic). This is a lovely everyday green, the flavor is much sweeter than I was expecting from a tea grade described as being “low” – not as buttery as the other grades of sencha, but still that vegetal “hearty” green tea flavor that steeps into a pleasing bright yellow. I got two great steeps out of my first pot.

The dry leaf is also fun, light greens and dark greens and twigs here and there – a sign that it’s fresh. Reminds me of childhood when my grandfather farmed hay and made handmade brooms. Will hopefully get a pic on my blog up soon.

Once again, a well-crafted tea, even if it’s just a ‘lowly’ bancha. Very grateful that Obubu has made their teas available via the CSA club.

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280 tasting notes

While I enjoyed this cup, the wet leaf smelled like pickled peppers. Now, I liked pickled things (be it peppers, kim chee, or cucumber), but that was a strange smell to get from tea.

Stranger still was that this was actually present as a flavor. I did like the tea, but it was strange. I don’t remember what else it tasted like, but I don’t think there was a lot there. I’m rating it this high simply because I enjoyed it, but in terms of good quality bancha, I’m sure there’s better out there.

Also interesting was the fact that this had really long twigs present (1" – 1.5"!) that really looked like twigs from a tree, rather than the very small, reed-like kuki in a regular kukicha.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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27 tasting notes

This is a nice, cheap, everyday tea. The flavor is really good for bancha, and the leaves are big and whole.

I deviate from Obubu’s “standard” steeping method a little, I use 3 oz of boiling water to about 4g of tea for 30 seconds for the first infusion, then 3oz boiling water for 15 seconds for the other infusions. The brew is tasty. A bit tart, with a good mix of bitter and sweet. For the price, a really nice tea!

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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286 tasting notes

I tried to rebrew, but I just couldn’t like this tea. It tasted one dimensional to me. Mostly twigs, like a kukicha, which I am not the biggest fan of either. To each their own.

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304 tasting notes

This is slight sweet with a somewhat hay-like flavor. It’s moderately dark and has a short finish. It’s a light tea, not strongly flavored but pleasant.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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362 tasting notes

This tea was pretty meh all around, I would say. Now, I’m not saying that because it compares unfavorably to nicer sencha or even gyokuro, because that wouldn’t make sense. This one didn’t stack up particularly well with a couple other similarly-priced and underprocessed teas I’ve tried from Yunomi.

The leaves were very interesting in appearance – you could say ugly or just “different.” They had a crisp grassy and nutty aroma when dry – after the first steep, they smelled like steamed spinach.

The flavor was pretty weak really. Some crisp grassy notes, along with a bit of a green spinach-y flavor. Getting three steeps out of it was a bit of a stretch, but they were all decent tasting. This tea wasn’t much more than drinkable. I think it might have done better on a warm summer morning, but even then I’d likely prefer even a cheap sencha.

Flavors: Grass, Spinach

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

I’ve never had bancha yet, but kind of expected it to be underwhelming. Sounds like it needed more roasting time.

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1024 tasting notes

Tonight I finished packing over 1.2kg of tea to send out to people to discover new teas :)
What a process that was… however, Netflix helps a lot

Anyways, I was packing this tea up and realized I never actually drank it so I decided that I needed to. WOW talk about an instant flashback… drinking this reminded me of the tea that Japanese tea houses in Tokyo provide when you sit down inside. Normally the liquid is very green and has some bitterness to it because they don’t offer their highest tea or gyokuro but free tea is free tea :)
What I really enjoyed most about this is how pure it is. This is nothing but Japanese bancha and that is something to embrace. It isn’t the best and it isn’t bad, it is simply good. Everyday teas are quite a beautiful thing!


You are a purveyor of happiness Andrew!

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646 tasting notes

My latest sample. Decided to have this while watching anime, and playing Harvest Moon. The tea smells like seaweed, and a little spinach. There is a very seaweed- like flavour as well. It reminds me a little of wakame soup. (Will try again with sushi.)

Thanks for the sample, Yunomius.

Flavors: Green, Seaweed, Spinach

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36 tasting notes

I received this as a sample from Yunomi.us. This was admittedly my first taste of a bancha but I was pretty impressed. I always read about how bancha is supposed to be one of the lowest grades of green tea so I wasn’t expecting anything that good.

Honestly I did find this to be an extremely drinkable green tea. It had a much lighter green taste as compared to most green teas. It had a slight sweetness to it with some very slight green hints. I may try to steep a bit more at a time next time and see what that produces. Overall this was a pretty good tea experience.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet

3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I really like Bancha… actually, sometimes I like it more than Sencha. I have a tin of Harney and Son’s Bancha that is kind of my go-to green tea… just goes great with everything. I think their “Tokyo” blend uses their Bancha base, too, and that blend is really great.


It is definitely more of what I would describe as a delicate flavor. I’d probably recommend something like this to a green tea newcomer if they are iffy on the grassy tastes.


Yeah, I agree. It’s more subtle in its ‘vegetal’ qualities… :)


Yes ‘vegetal’ qualities is a good way to put it :D

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