Updated: Mar. 14, 2014
Typical loose-leaf bancha, showing large, coarse leaves, and some stem.
Bancha is produced similarly to sencha, but is harvested later in the season. It tends to be made of larger, more mature leaves; it often contains stem or twigs, although it is not made predominately from twigs like kukicha or twig tea. For these reasons bancha is sometimes described as a coarse tea, and tends to have a lower caffeine content.
Like most Japanese green teas, bancha is steamed rather than pan-fired as most Chinese green teas are. Bancha is a lower grade of tea than sencha, and tends to be less expensive. However, it is hard to generalize about the quality or price of bancha; some bancha exceeds some sencha in both price and quality.
Sakae Standard Bancha from
1. Shizuo Tsuji, M.F.K. Fisher, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, Kodansha International, 2007.
The notion of the "best" Bancha is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas in this category, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.