Why Bancha is a Good Everyday Tea - Rivertea Blog
Bancha’s flavor is truly unique, featuring a strong straw smell and though it is considered the lowest grade of Japanese green tea on the market, it is very popular as daily tea in Japan. Discover more about bancha tea and why it should be part of your own daily routine.
While there are some bancha fans outside Japan, a lot of people have unfortunately begun to think of it as just a “cheap tea”.
Are there any reasons why you should drink bancha instead of high-end Japanese teas like sincha and gyokuro? Sure! But before that let’s find out what bancha is.
What is bancha?
Bancha shares the same cultivation method and processing as sencha, but it’s considered a lower grade because it uses leaves that are either from later harvests (after the second) or they come from lower shoots of the tea plant.
Bancha leaves are larger and coarser. Because of that, bancha has a lower price than other Japanese teas. In fact, the easiest way to differentiate a sencha from a bancha is just by looking at their prices!
Benefits of bancha
Bancha leaves have the same chemical components of gyokuro (the highest grade of Japanese tea), but the proportion is a little different. All other factors being equal, bancha has less caffeine and amino acids but a higher catechin content than gyokuro.
Keep in mind that catechins, and especially epigallocatechin gallate are responsible for the various health benefits of green tea in different studies. Therefore, bancha offers the same health benefits at a lower price!
In Japan, bancha is an everyday tea. If you asked around how many people have ever drank gyokuro, you’d be surprised to find out that a lot of Japanese have never tried it! Of the ones that do, most will only drink it on special occasions much like us Westeners would treat an expensive brand of wine.
Another advantage is that bancha is very easy to brew. It uses boiling water so there’s no need to check the water temperature, and the brewing time is very short. Therefore, it’s a good tea for people brewing green teas for the first time.
Bancha can also be made into other forms such as genmaicha and houjicha (both low in caffeine), which are also popular. Furthermore, different brands of bottled tea in Japan use mostly bancha and a lot of people like it.
If you learn to appreciate bancha, you’ll discover that is has its own flavor and aroma. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a bancha fan too.
About the author:
Ricardo Caicedo is a Japanese green tea enthusiast whose favorite teas area genmaicha and matcha. He regularly writes all about it in his tea blog and hopes that one day green tea will be as popular as black tea in the US.