One of my fondest memories while living in Japan was of a green tea I had found while rummaging through a cupboard. Large, dark leaves were inside a bag that must have been nearly a foot in length. The smell was sweet and with faint notes of grass lingering on the nose. While I never saw the brand again, I was quick to learn that this was a bancha.
Bancha is an interesting type of tea. This is due, in part, to its many different and varying definitions. Some will define bancha as a roasted green tea, turned brown and with a distinct char flavour. Others will define it a tea made from a harvest others than the first of the year. And still more people will say that bancha is a tea defined by its use of coasre and large leaves.
On today's tea podcast I call Ian Chun from Yunomi and ask him to help translate for Nobuhiko Ikematsu of Furyu Bancha, a bancha speciality shop. What we learn today is not only about bancha, but the tea's history within Japan and its development throughout time.