Topic: Bancha (番茶)

I've read many times that bancha(番茶) is considered a common or low-grade tea.  However, I've noticed that, perhaps because of this reputation, it is rarely sold in the United States.  There is also a lot of low-quality sencha floating around out there, especially in tea bags.  Sencha seems to have somehow become the de-facto "default" Japanese green tea sold in western countries: companies that do not specialize in Japanese teas and do not always know much about selecting the best teas will often sell sencha and nothing else.

The few times I have seen bancha for sale and tried it, it has often been better than a lot of sencha.  It's been my experience that the companies that offer bancha tend to be the ones that know more about Japanese tea.

There's also some level on which I don't think of sencha as being "better" than bancha in terms of its flavor, aroma, or how I feel after drinking it, even when comparing it with sencha of high quality.  There are times when I simply don't feel like drinking sencha, but bancha hits the spot.

Have others had similar experiences as well?

Re: Bancha (番茶)

There could be a few things going on here.  One is you may be prone to liking stronger flavors, in which case Bancha might be better suited to your tastes.  Another might be that The processing Bancha undergoes can be different than Sencha and you may like the flavors from the processing.

Re: Bancha (番茶)

I do often like stronger flavors, which possibly explains it.  I also find that bancha sometimes has a strong grainy character to the aroma, often strongly suggesting corn to me, but considerably more complex than what I think of as the aroma of corn.