609 Tasting Notes


This is my second free tea sample for review from Paul at Mellow Monk. Thanks again, Paul, for the opportunity to try your lovely teas! This is Mellow Monk’s version of sencha, and the 1228 refers to the grower’s street address, which I thought was really cool. The leaves are rather irregular in terms of both size and shape – some are long and thin like needles, some are shorter and wider, some are somewhat curved. There seem to be a lot of broken leaves, although by looking at it I would say this is intentional. The dry scent is a lovely comforting combination of sweet alfala hay and succulent grass with some honeydew notes. I did three steeps of this tea, all at 165 degrees: 1.5 minutes, 45 seconds, and another 45 seconds.

The first steep was 90 seconds. The liquid is a lovely yellow-green that reminds me of a certain lemon-lime carbonated beverage! The aroma is both sweet and savory, the sweet being grass and butternut squash, and the savory being a touch of seaweed and vegetable broth. It also smells creamy and buttery with notes of soy milk. Wow, the sweetness in the taste surprised me! It’s quite sweet with steamed spinach and dark grass notes, but there is a savory touch of saline seaweed and vegetable broth. The texture is definitely thick and creamy, and I’m detecting a light touch of floral. The aftertaste is all sweet grass.

The second steep was 45 seconds. The aroma seemed quite similar to me – a combination of sweet butternut and savory seaweed broth. The taste, however, was even sweeter than the first steep. The texture has lightened a bit, and now there’s a touch of crisp, sweet apple. I’m still tasting steamed spinach and the floral has identified itself as jasmine to my palate. There’s a very slight drying sensation and a tiny hint of bitterness in the aftertaste.

The third steep was also 45 seconds. The liquid is just slightly lighter in color this time, and perhaps a touch more green. Aroma is sweet and mild with spinach, grass, and jasmine notes. Again, the taste is super sweet, and it reminds me of honeydew melon juice. The foundation of steamed spinach and sweet grass remains, and the jasmine seems to have become slightly stronger for me, especially in the aftertaste. Astringency is extremely slight, and I’m picking up a light lemon flavor after the sip.

I really enjoyed this one! I did find it to have some similarities to the Top Leaf – both are quite sweet with spinach and honeydew notes, but the Kuma Green 1228 had a distinct natural jasmine flavor while the Top Leaf was more citrusy. Both are totally delicious Japanese greens from Mellow Monk!

If anyone would like to try a sample of either of these lovely teas, please let me know with a comment or a PM. Willing to share!

Flavors: Apple, Broth, Butter, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Grass, Honeydew, Jasmine, Lemon, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet

160 °F / 71 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

ooh, I’d love to try the Kuma Green. I’ve had the Top LEaf before and it is delicious…

Cameron B.

TeaBrat, I’ll be sure to send you some. :D

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drank Sunny Fruits Puer by Lupicia
609 tasting notes

This Lupicia tea is a sample from Mikumofu, and it’s in sachet form. I can see cute little shreds of red flower petals mixed in with the dark puerh leaves. Dry scent is sweet and tart citrus with some fishiness from the puerh. I used 1 sachet in 8 ounces of water.

Once steeped, it smells much the same as it did dry – sweet and citrusy – but it’s now more earthy instead of fishy. Yum, I actually really like this one! The fruit flavor is nice and refreshing and sweet, and it seems like a combination of citrus with some stonefruit. I can taste the puerh only a little and it just manifests as an earthy flavor. Very yummy and summery!

Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Fruity, Stonefruits, Sweat

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Framboise Chocolat by Lupicia
609 tasting notes

More Lupicia from Dexter! Chocolate and raspberry is definitely a flavor combination I can get behind. So, the base tea… To me, it looks like a mixture of small leaves and little CTC pellets (although they’re bigger than other CTC teas I’ve seen). Then there are the most itty bitty little white flower buds mixed in. I tried to look it up on Lupicia’s website to see if it described the base tea at all, but it’s no longer there! Oh well. Dry, it smells like mild cocoa with a lovely fresh raspberry note.

Hmm, steeped it smells like some kind of raspberry-flavored candy… The chocolate is there also, smelling lovely. Hm, I’m not a huge fan of the raspberry flavor here. It’s definitely raspberry-flavored something as opposed to actual raspberrries. The chocolate is that dark and somewhat bitter variety, which is fine since I added a sprinkle of raw sugar. Overall, this one is just okay, the raspberry flavor is mediocre and it’s the strongest flavor in the cup.

Flavors: Bitter, Candy, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Lariel of Lórien

Is this discontinued?

Cameron B.

I guess so? It’s not on their website.

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drank Kuuipo by Lupicia
609 tasting notes

My second Lupicia Hawaiian tea from Dexter! I was worried when I saw that this one contains hibiscus… It has the same small black leaves mixed with rose petals and small pieces of fruit. Dry, it smells fruity and somewhat tart, which is a nice change from Hua Ki.

Once steeped, it smells fruity but I can also catch hints of tart hibiscus and floral rose. Wow, this one is way milder than Hua Ki, which is odd considering I steeped both the exact same way. I can taste very light fruit notes (papaya?) and a slight touch of hibiscus tartness. There’s also a weird powdered sugar note that I don’t enjoy. Overall, finding this one rather weak in flavor, which is disappointing.

Flavors: Fruity, Hibiscus, Powdered sugar, Tropical

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Hua Ki by Lupicia
609 tasting notes

And Lupicia day #2 commences! This one is from Dexter. The black tea leaves are quite small and dark and somewhat broken, and there are crushed dried green leaves and a couple fruit pieces mixed in. Dry scent is extremely sweet and fruity, like sniffing a bowl of tropical fruit hard candies.

The steeped tea also smells sweet and fruity, but more specifically like mango with a touch of pineapple. This tea is definitely full of fruit flavor, and there’s something about it that make it taste like hard candies or gummies (is there cherry…?). I dunno, it’s nice but overall it’s a little too artificial tasting for me. I can see it making a very nice fruity iced tea though.

Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Cherry, Fruity, Mango, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
609 tasting notes

Good morning Steepster! This sample came to me from Dexter. I’m excited to try this one, it’s been a while since I had a golden snail tea. These curls are about half to two-thirds golden, and they have a gentle bread and honey scent.

Wow, I was surprised by the aroma. I was expecting sweetness and bread, what I smell is decidedly savory with smoked food. And the taste is savory as well! Definitely different from other golden snails I’ve tried, or at least how I remember them tasting. It’s definitely a savory flavor, though there is some breadiness there. The main flavor for me is smoked meats along with a hint of pepper. I do pick up on some sweet honey notes also, especially in the aftertaste. Overall, it’s lovely, though not what I expected.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Smoked

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This one was a sample from albertocanfly. I was looking through my caffeine-free samples and this sounded so amazing, I had to try it! I love lemon, especially when paired with something sweet, as in lemon cake or sweet lemon candies. Honestly, the dry bags don’t smell much like lemon to me, more like a buttery pound cake with some lemon glaze as an afterthought. I used two sachets for about 10 ounces of water.

Ahh, the steeped tea smells much more lemony, hooray! I added a small amount of raw sugar to this one, because cakes are sweet of course! Hmm, the flavor is actually weaker than I thought it would be, especially since you’re supposed to use 6 ounces of water per bag. However, this is an extremely delicious and convenient lemon dessert tea! It tastes like a lemon cake with vanilla buttercream on top! And since it’s green rooibos, there’s no base tea flavor to interfere. Maybe next time I’ll just steep it longer or use even less water per bag. Yum!

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Frosting, Lemon, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

yay! This is a good one :)

Cameron B.

Very yummy! My favorite lemon tea so far. :)

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Taking a break from Lupicia teas, and saving the other 4 or 5 I have left to try tomorrow! This tea is yet another sample from Dexter’s big box of tea love. This blend is very…chunky. There are whole mulberries and big chunks of coconut and other “food” things. I do see a few scant silver needles mixed in with all of the additions. Dry, it smells very sweet and almost vanilla-y with some tart fruitiness.

The steeped tea smells quite mild, but I can definitely identify coconut in there, along with something that reminds me of vanilla. Hmm, this one is a bit too much for me I think. It’s very strong on the coconut, which is fine, but the flavor combined with the mouthfeel gives me the impression of drinking straight coconut milk mixed with butter. There’s definitely too much richness here for me! It’s like eating a coconut candle… :P

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Custard, Sweet, Thick

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Lychee Barley by Lupicia
609 tasting notes

I’m trying this one cold-brewed this evening! I put a sachet into 12 ounces of filtered water and left it in the refrigerator for an hour, then removed the bag and let it chill until I was ready to try it.

The verdict? This one is lovely cold as well! Obviously it’s a bit milder than it is hot, but it still has a lovely roasty flavor with a pop of juicy lychee. My only complaint…it’s a pain to stir raw sugar into cold beverages! :P

Iced 8 min or more 12 OZ / 354 ML

I was on the Lupicia website earlier and all the Barley teas caught my eye. I wanted to order them in my last Lupicia order but they weren’t on the site. Perhaps it is time for a second order…

Cameron B.

I’m thinking I’m going to pick up the Watermelon Barley since it says it’s a limited flavor, but they all sound yummy! :D


Neat, never had a flavored barley tea


I am so jealous! Why can’t they make these with buckwheat?

Roswell Strange

@VariaTEA – if you do a Lupicia order let me know – I’ll add some stuff into your order ;)

Lariel of Lórien

I kept forgetting to get that one when I went by the shop.


Roswell, I will definitely keep you in mind though I think there are a few other places I would order from first.

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drank Momo by Lupicia
609 tasting notes

Lupicia, Lupicia, Lupicia! Another Dexter sample here. This is Lupicia’s version of a peach black tea. The leaves are small to medium in size, and almost black in color. There appear to be pieces of some sort of dried green leaf mixed in, not sure what that is. Dry scent is sweet peach nectar, yum!

Once steeped, it smells more like other peach teas than peach nectar – the tart element isn’t there anymore. On a side note, I used my infuser insert that came with my new mug (it’s a ceramic one, not mesh), so now there are little pieces of tea floating around in the bottom of my mug. Harumph. I think I accidentally used too much water this time around, as the flavor is somewhat weak. The flavor that is there tastes remarkably similar to all of the other generic peach black teas I’ve tried. I guess peach is a flavor profile that I would prefer more as a fruit tisane or perhaps a green tea.

Flavors: Malt, Peach, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 24 years old and currently living in Saratoga Springs, New York with my lovely boyfriend (a software architect). I am currently not employed, which leaves plenty of time for cooking and tea-drinking! I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-face dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one. :(

I originally got into tea a couple of years ago. My sister introduced me to Teavana (there was a store in the nearby mall) and I was hooked. I have just started to drink tea again and I am very grateful to have found this community where there are so many with experience and wisdom to share!

Currently trying to move out of the flavored tea phase and into those tasty straight teas!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, shoot me a private message and we’ll work something out!

My general tea info:

Taiwanese Blacks
French Flavored Teas
Yunnan (esp. Pure Bud varieties)
Japanese Greens (esp. Sencha & Gyokuro)
Genmaicha (traditional or otherwise)
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Favorite Companies:
Yunnan Sourcing
Mariage Frères
Mellow Monk

Not A Fan
Green Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Licorice Root
Rose Hips
Strong Bergamot

Rating Scale:

90-100: Spectacular, a staple
80-89: Delicious, might buy again
70-79: Pretty good, won’t repurchase
60-69: Just “okay”
00-59: Undrinkable!


Saratoga Springs, New York

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