(Japanese Green Tea)
Country of Origin: Japan
Region: Shizuoka Prefecture
Shipping Port: Tokyo
Grade: Ban 2 Go
Altitude: 500 - 1500 feet
Manufacture Type: Steamed green tea
Cup Characteristics: Delicious green tea character with notes of toast. A haunting finish.
Infusion: Light pale and clear
Ingredients: Luxury green tea.
Most Japanese teas are made from well handled leaves and much of their
elegance and style is due to the processing: steaming immediately after
plucking and then air drying. Bancha or Sencha are the everyday green
tea drinks of Japan. Ban 2 GO is one of the highest grades of Bancha.
The leaves to produce Bancha are generally plucked after the new season
and tend to be somewhat more coarse. This however gives the tea its
unique character and visual appearance. Since the leaves used to make
Bancha are more coarse and contain some stalks and stems the resulting
tea generally contains less caffeine or tannin then the finer grades of
Japanese tea. Also the cup tends to be somewhat milder. Because of the
proceeding factors Bancha, parents in Japan often give this tea to their
Japanese tea gardens look quite different from tea plantations in other
parts of the world. The bushes are cultivated in long rows and trimmed
so the row has the appearance of a long dome. In Shizuoka Prefecture it
is said that the tea gives the impression of smooth waves of green,
undulating over the landscape. This curved form of the tea bush gives
the largest plucking table (the area where the new shoots used in high
quality tea production grow is called the ‘plucking table’ - not only in
Japan but in other parts of the tea growing world as well). It is on
the long regularly shaped plucking table that the pickers take the
leaves and the new buds. In the early season plucking is only done by
hand, but once the first few weeks pass, mechanical plucking is the
preferred method. The Japanese have been very innovative in this aspect
by developing a curved machine that is handheld but clips the tea bush
with automatic scissors that look like electric hair clippers.
Tea has always had a place in Japanese life. It has been used to show
respect to honored guests, as a medicinal drink to aid digestion after
meals and in the “tea ceremony” whose rules were laid down by Rikuyu.
Recent research has revealed numerous chemical and mineral components in
green tea. Japanese green tea contains the following components:
Theanine, Catechins (polyphenols), Flavonoids, Vitamins C, B1, B2,
Niacin, Caffeine, Amino Acids and Minerals F, Zn, Mn, Cu, and Se
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used
repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about
180’F or 90’C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup let the tea steep for about 3
minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove
the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water,
and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at
the pattern of the leaves in the brew, not only do they foretell your
fortune but you can see the bud and shoots presenting themselves,
looking like they are about to be plucked.
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, scoop 2-4 teaspoons of tea
into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn
(previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore tends
to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (virtually
all the leaves will sink), pour into your cup but do not add milk or
sugar since green tea is enjoyed ‘straight-up’.