Iri-bancha and kyô-bancha refer to the same tea, a bancha from kyôto prefecture, a very simple and popular tea, apparently originated from Uji-Tawara. This is the third bancha of my traditional regional bancha series. It is far less particular than the two others already presented, goishi-cha and batabata-cha, which are post-fermented teas or dark teas. The kyô-bancha is indeed a green tea, and it is also probably the best known of these regional bancha because one of the largest chain of tea shops in Japan sells.
This iri-bancha is made from thick, hard leaves, not from regular picking, but from the pruning of tea plants, whether in spring or summer or even in winter. In principle, after steaming, the leaves are simply dried in the sun, without rolling, then roasted very strongly. Nevertheless, today the big productions for big companies do not use a drying in the sun, but a mechanical drying, then using even more stronger roasting on these big leaves.
The one that I propose to you is dried in the sun according to the traditional method, making a real regional bancha, testimony of simple techniques of yesteryear for these popular teas rather intended for a personal consumption.
The very strong roasting gives a very smoky perfume which is also reminiscent of tobacco, nevertheless, with this kyô-bancha that I propose to you, this smell is less strong than on the products of big companies that some already know maybe. It should also be noted that this odor tends to soften quickly after opening the bag. To be consumed preferably quickly, but it is true that this type of bancha is an everyday tea drunk in large quantity during or after the meal.
This iri-bancha is made with very thick winter leaves, and if it is true that one first notices in the mouth these famous smoked aromas, one is then immediately surprised by the mellow and sweet flavor of the liquor. This is not umami, but really a sweet impression, as we find in kancha (another traditional bancha, for example from Asuke, made with steamed winter leaves and simply dried in the sun, without roasting nevertheless).
With its relatively mild smoky smell, this kyô-bancha is very easy to drink, fluid and at the same time sweet. It will also be very nice cold.