Understanding Ichibancha and Nibancha

Tea buds undergo dormancy in the winter and eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring. In March, the buds begin to flush and develop into new leaves. It takes about a month for the leaves to mature for the first harvest. The first flush tea, Ichibancha, is harvested between late April and early May, and it is widely known for its superior quality. About two weeks after the first harvest, new buds begin to grow, and after approximately 45 days, new leaves are ready for another harvest. These teas are called Nibancha. However, Nibancha cannot compete with the quality and aroma of Ichibancha because the latter stores ample nutrients during the winter. Furthermore, while Nibancha grows rapidly, Ichibancha develops slowly during the relatively cold climate. Additionally, Ichibancha contains three times more theanine than Nibancha, which is the main source of the tea’s taste. This also explains why Ichibancha tastes better than other teas.

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