What is Bancha?
Bancha (番茶) means ‘common tea’ or and is a type of Japanese tea that is popular for daily use. Depending on the specific kind of Bancha, the leaves for its production may originate from a spring, summer or autumn harvest. Bancha can be made from the leaves left-over from the first crop or from late summer growth. Taken from the lower part of the plant the leaves are slightly bigger and have a firmer structure than the ones used for Sencha. After the harvest and steaming, the whole leaves, including stems, go through the same rolling process as Sencha. The end product is slightly flatter needles due to of the different quality of leaves. As it is made from coarser leaves and contains stalks and stems, it is low in caffeine but at the same time it is full of nutrition. As the lower leaves are shielded from the sun by the upper ones fewer bitter compounds are produced, This and the large size of the leaves contributes to the tea’s mild and refreshing taste.
Mr Nakai’s family has been farming tea for seven generations. 26 years ago, he began farming organically after discovering high levels of pesticides in his blood. This news inspired him to grow tea in a safe and natural way, and he drastically transformed his farming methods in order to create what is known today as Organic Nakai Seicha Uji green tea. His teas are now certified by the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS). Although weeds are a problem, effective composting and long hours in the tea field, along with a deep respect for the environment, enables his tea farm to thrive by working together with the ecosystem. Mr Nakai believes that without weeds, there is no tea.