Momo Tea’s Kyobancha | Tea Review

by Tea in Spoons

When I saw this tea was in stock, I quickly purchased it as Kyobancha has a special place in my heart since I harvest it while in Japan!

Description: “Made from the large leaves that survived during the winter.”

Instructions: 20g | Boil (with tea) for 3 – 6 minutes | 1.8-2L

Review: A few years ago, I lived in Japan when I was an intern at the Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms. I was there during the winter season leading up to spring, so I was a part of harvesting Kyobancha! Kyobancha is a large leaf green tea that has been roasted.

Kyobancha is normally harvested in March. The tea leaves are clipped in preparation for the spring to ensure that the large leaves are not mixed in with the new small tender shoots. The leaves are used as either fertilizer or made into tea. When the tea is made in Kyoto, it is called Kyobancha and in other areas, it is known iribancha. The ‘bancha’ part of the name indicates that it is a lower-grade tea as it is made of older and larger leaves which tend to be less flavourful.

In the past, I brewed Kyobancha in a teapot. However, Momo, the owner, introduced me to a method used by locals who boil the tea in a kettle and drink it throughout the day. I hesitated at first since this was more tea than I tend to drink in one day, however, I always like to try something at least once!

The dry tea was compromised of large flat roasted leaves and twigs which were light in weight. It smelled sweet, roasted, nutty, woody, and molasses. After brewing it in a big pot, since I did not have a large kettle, a toasted, woody, and caramel smell filled my kitchen and reminded me of my time in Japan. While Momo had mentioned that people tend to leave the tea in the kettle, I ended up straining the leaves, so I could scoop the tea with a soup ladle.

The liquor developed into a golden orange-brown colour after 4 to 5 minutes. From the cup, the liquor smelled of grains, warm bread, toasted hazelnuts, and burnt caramel. The liquor had notes of damp wood, hazelnuts, caramel, cocoa, and brown sugar. When brewing the tea for 6 minutes, the liquor developed a stronger charcoal note and some bitterness.

When cooled, the roasted note of the liquor was more evident but it also reminded me of chestnuts and barley tea. The liquor was also drying at the back of the throat. Since I was unable to drink it all, I put the rest in the fridge which made for a refreshingly sweet and toasted liquor.

The wet large and charcoal coloured leaves smelled roasted, woody, and caramel.

I’m glad I tried the kettle/pot recommendations from Moom, despite the volume of tea it made because it created a delicate, sweet, and roasted tea which is what I envision when I think of Kyobancha. This tea definitely brought me back to my time in Japan! I recommend this tea to anyone who wants to try something different (roasted bancha leaves) or enjoys sweeter and roasted Japanese teas like hojicha (4/5 rating).

  • Type: Green tea
  • Origin: Kyoto region, Japan
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Kyobancha
  • Company: Momo

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!