I have tried some of this Bancha, and I now have questions. Let me share the description:
This "Bancha Suruga" is produced from the bottom part of tea leaves that are big and thick. Compared to Sencha, Bancha is somewhat more stringent. Nevertheless, it is appreciated in Japan for its robust flavor. Den's Bancha Suruga is an upgraded variation, using fresh green leaves picked right after the first flush tea.
The packaging suggests I use 2 grams per 4oz of Boiling water and steep 30 seconds.
1) Does it usually taste so close to the sencha? I'm not finding it more astringent or hearty. It's still good, though.
2) How unusual is the call for boiling? I expected it to taste bitter based on those perams, because everything else calls for 80c instead of 100c. I've found no bitterness, so maybe that is a factor of the leaf quantity and short infusion.
3) Is this even technically bancha? References to "First flush" throw me off. Bancha is, to my knowing, the last tea picked for the year - at the end of summer early autumn. First flush is early spring - and that's shincha. The stuff between is just sencha. Thus, it sounds like this is actually a form of sencha.
4) The reference "produced from the bottom part of tea leaves that are big and thick" - does this mean that, leaf per leaf, this is the lower half (closer to the stalk) or is it a reference to being made from leaves further down on the branch/stalk than the bud? That would prevent it from being categorized as Sencha.
5) What does Suruga mean?