The story of 3 leaves temple is an old one. It is believed that the tea was named for the three kingdoms that ruled China from the years 184 - 220 A.D. This era, aptly named the Three Kingdoms Period, is often compared to the Samurai period of Japan or the Medieval period of Europe. The ruling kingdoms were the Shu, Wu and Wei. For a time, what is now known as Anhui existed under the jurisdiction of a powerful warlord named Cao Cao, founder of the Kingdom of Wei. A venerable ruler, Cao Cao sought to unite the disparate kingdoms. Although his efforts failed, this tea was created and named 3 Leaves Temple in honor of his unifying vision. When brewed the leaves unite, as the three kingdoms never would.
3 Leaves Temple is a remarkable tea. Plucked only in March, then baked and sorted by hand, every effort is made to ensure only the finest leaves make it to market. The dry leaf is somewhat flaky, open and light to the touch. Infused the leaf remains whole and produces a fresh, slightly bold cup underscored by a touch of spring flowers that smoothly gives way to a jammy finish. This is truly a tribute to the monks of Anhui - a tea to be praised!
Country of Origin: China
Region: Zhejiang Province
Shipping Port: Shanghai
Grade: Ban 2 Go
Altitude: 700'-1500' feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Steamed Sencha Green Tea made to Japanese specifications
Cup Characteristics: Delicious green tea character with notes of toast, a haunting finish
Infusion: Light pale and clear
Ingredients: Luxury green tea
In Japan, Bancha's ancestral home, this grassy green brew has long been considered the journeyman of teas. This is to say that while the island nation has long been home to many notable tea varieties, Bancha is the cup most commonly consumed, and is considered by many to be the perfect drink for everyone from small children to the elderly. Bancha itself is notable for the fact that it is plucked from the same bushes as Sencha, arguably the best-known Japanese variety on the international stage. The difference is that the leaves used to produce Bancha are typically plucked after Sencha season, resulting in a coarser appearance that often includes some stalk and stem. The coarse quality of the loose leaf gives the tea a unique character, milder infusion and lowered caffeine and tannin levels compared to many finer grade greens. (Milder cup strength is the reason many Japanese parents consider Bancha to be suitable for children.)
At this point in the story, you may be wondering why we've sourced a traditional Japanese style tea from a grower in China. The answer is two-fold. Part one is that following the Fukushima nuclear event of 2011, much of Japan's tea crop began to exhibit increased levels of radioactivity. For a company like ours where food safety is paramount, the increased risk to our customers was not worth the gamble. Part two is that the Bancha we've subsequently sourced from Zhejiang province rivals any Bancha we've sampled from anywhere. (In fact, our Tea Master mistook this tea for a Japanese grown variety the first time it was offered to him no small feat!)
All that said, we know your customers will love this fabulous Japan-style Bancha. Plucked and produced according to ancient Japanese tradition, this is the tea to recommend the next time you're asked for something easy drinking, at any time of day. Enjoy.
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'.
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength