Been waking up to this tea and Mellow Monk’s Top Leaf for the past week or so. Fine teas to wake up with! The Shaded Leaf definitely stands out as my favorite of the two, but I’ve enjoyed them both. Just finished a first steeping of Shaded Leaf, and am now beginning a second. For a Japanese tea, this is quite good! Creamy, smooth, beautiful, and yes, I do believe that Mellow Monk is justified in describing this tea as exquisite. From color and aroma, to the flavor, mouth-feel and aftertaste, it is thoroughly that.
I’ve been steeping it at the low heat suggested, but for much less time than what is outlined in Mellow Monk’s guidelines. The description on Steepster recommends a 3 minute brew time, which I find a bit shocking. As it happens, the recommendation on Mellow Monk’s website lists a 2 minute brew time for this tea. For my part, I’ve been brewing it for about 45 seconds to 1 minute each time, and I am more than happy with the results from that. At 2 or 3 minutes, I think I’d have to take this tea with some sugar, which isn’t necessarily out of step with Japanese tea drinking norms, but I’ve practically abandoned sweetening teas since I started drinking Gongfu style.
A small sample of Shaded Leaf (enough to make about 5 cups) was given to me by a friend, and using the last of it in this present cup I’m sad that I probably won’t have any more for a while. The price on this one is more than I want to pay right now. I believe it’s worth it, but if I bought a green like this one I would want to drink it every morning, or at least quite frequently. And the thing is, this tea is too refined and cost-prohibitive for me to drink that way. Alternatively, if I purchased a 100g pack for special occasional use, I worry that some of it might go stale from neglect before I got around to using it all, or that it might turn green with jealousy as I give abundant attention to so many of the other great teas in my cupboard. It would be a shame to offend a tea like this. So for the time being, I don’t think Shaded Leaf would fit well with my drinking habits or budget, but I’ll be sure to remember this one when I’m feeling an unambiguous kick for Japanese green tea.