Haru Bancha 2016 Yuuki-Cha

Spring tea Haru Bancha is one of the first Japanese green teas of the season, but also one of the last teas from previous season. Intense green scent and special leaf appearance differentiate it from all other Japanese green teas.

Name: Organic Miyazaki Haru Bancha
Tea vendor: Yuuki-cha
Type: Japanese green tea

About spring tea Haru Bancha

The first Japanese spring tea Haru Bancha of the season comes from Miyazaki. Although technically falling into  the category of spring teas (harvesting time), it is actually winter tea because the older leaves which remained after the winter were plucked. So, spring tea Haru Bancha is also the last Japanese tea of the previous season. Even this description can give us hints that this tea is very special. What is also interesting is that it is pan-fired rather than steamed, just like Chinese green teas.

Haru Bancha 2016 Yuuki-Cha

Many thanks to my dear friend Nataša for letting me use one of her haiku poems. It fits well with this tea. Sorry for the bad translation, I am not a haiku translator. 🙂

Snow is melting –
Through the metal gutters
Murmur of the creek

The first time I tried Haru Bancha was about four years ago. Since then it kept lingering in my memory, with its perfect mix of intense green leaves and stems and intense special green aroma. This tea became so special for me that I started counting down days until April, eagerly waiting for new harvest. If looking strictly at the quality, this tea is certainly not a premium tea, however, in my opinion it is premium in its category. I do not believe in regular reviews, I do not believe in ten thousand of different nuances one can find in each tea. Drinking tea is purely individual experience. But I do believe that a good quality tea has to offer unmistakable pleasure. This tea is 100% special. The price is extremely low, 600JPN for 100 grams bag. Appearance of dry leaves is beautiful, intensely green, fresh with lots of branches and even separated leaf veins.  Unfortunately, a great amount of leaves is broken into small pieces, which was not the case in year’s 2012 harvest. Leaves are intense green, flat, some of them are pretty big.

Haru Bancha 2016 Yuuki-Cha

Brewing

Recommended brewing with water temperature of about 80 degrees, 1 minute, at least 3-5 grams of tea. Multiple steeping is possible, you will get at least 3 very good steepings out of it. Even the smell of dry leaves is outstanding, intensely green and sharp, vegetal. It gets more intense in hot tea pot. The color of the liquor is greenish-yellow, very intense and bright. This tea has a perfect amount of sweetness, just right for one bancha, not destroying it’s Japanese character.

What is also interesting about this tea is that you can brew it with really hot water and still not destroy it. In that case, be aware of steeping time.

Haru Bancha 2016 Yuuki-Cha

This tea offers pretty intense sharp green and vegetal aroma, one I haven’t found so far in any other tea. It’s interesting how after the first steep, little branches become dominant. Taste can easily be compared to the smell of fresh thin bark of young tree branches in spring. The fourth steep also give very satisfying liquor, without aroma of used-up leaves.

Spring tea Haru Bancha is a very good every-day tea, very affordable and intense, with low amount of caffeine. It’s really easy for brewing and a good choice for those who love green teas with more pronounced aromas (but not bitter). This tea has a very good balance between stronger and more mature older leaves and freshness of Japanese spring teas.

Haru Bancha 2016 Yuuki-Cha

In 2012 this tea was slightly more expensive. What I have noticed in this year’s harvest is that leaves are a little different, more of them are broken and the taste is a little less intense than before. All in all, this tea is still excellent. They also changed the packaging, this one cannot be resealed after opening, which is very  impractical for a 100 grams bag. They kept the vacuum package though. This tea should be best used a month or two after opening and keep in mind to store if away from direct sunshine. 

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