ABOUT BANCHA SPECIALTY SHOP FURYU Bancha Specialty Shop Furyu was established in 2010 by aspiring tea master Nobuhiko Ikematsu, who works directly with farmers in Kurume City, Fukuoka, to develop delicious bancha teas. He is also a specialist gathering rare bancha teas from around Japan.
Throughout Japan there are many methods of producing tea. There are tea leaves that are fermented in barrels as well as tea leaves that are sun-dried without rolling.
Have you ever heard of "burnt tea"? It is a production method that has all but disappeared, but was once a common method among self-sufficient farmers living in the mountainous Japanese interior. Branches of the tea plant would be broken off with their leaves, roasted over a bonfire, then brewed in a kettle.
It is said this is how we first started drinking tea. This kind of locally-produced, homemade tea we categorize as "bancha" has a small but active niche market in Japan.
While sencha accounts for some 70% of the tea sold in Japan, it is this kind of locally-produced bancha tea that has the older history, teas that were enjoyed by Japanese before the sophisticated development of processing techniques. You might call it the original form of Japanese tea.
In recent years, these traditions have become endangered as producers--both farmers and processors--have difficulty finding people to inherit their knowledge and skills resulting in an increase in abandoned tea fields.
Bancha Specialty Shop Furyu was born in order to help grow the audience for this type of bancha tea. And, as I help the producers in their fields and factories, I also hope to convey their intense passion for their tea.