Saturday, September 26, 2015

My Cuppa: A Bancha goodness in a cup!

Today I enjoyed a tea one of my fellow tea lovers provided me with. Bancha, a tea quite similar to Sencha, is actually a great tea despite what you may have heard about. Bancha is often considered a low quality, cheap tea, mainly because it is harvested much later in the season, usually Summer to Autumn, using older leaves. Hey, if it still makes a good cup, I’m up for it! The wonderful tea I had is called Sweet Willow Bancha. This is a 2014 Summer tea harvested in Wazuka, Japan, by the Nakai Seicha Company. 

Just a Bancha leaves!

Harvested from second flush Sencha leaves, Bancha is processed much like Sencha. Brewing is so simple in that you could use water close to boiling point with a short infusion time. This makes Bancha a great everyday tea for consumption where you don’t have to concern yourself with temperature control and how long to infuse, when all you want is a cup of tea right away!

I prepared my tea according to the instructions on the package with a little tweaking in the temperature. The 85°C is suggested, but, I really recommend cooling the water down to 70°C - 75°C. You get a much sweeter taste! I used 1 teaspoon for each cup I drank and infused for 1 minute. In this 1 minute, I saw the colour of the water change to yellow-green right away, so don’t think 1 minute is not long enough. I was rewarded with a very aromatic and flavourful cup! I could detect seaweed and hints of hay without any bitterness or aftertaste. The second infusion was just as good even after increasing the infusion time by another minute.

A Bancha sips to enjoy!

My Bancha was a great tea to drink along with my meal of sushi. The combination of the various rolls and the seaweed flavour of the tea went so well together. Much better than what’s normally offered as tea in some of the sushi restaurants. Bancha is definitely not something to pass on. It’s a good everyday green tea without the fuss!

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