Drinking the last of my Top Leaf sample presently. It’s quite good. I enjoy this more than most of the sencha teas I’ve tried. It’s characteristic smoothness is very appealing. The deep grassy flavor is maximized with with almost zero astringency (at least the way I brew it: < 1 minute). It’s a very refreshing and invigorating tea for early morning drinking. First time I tried this was actually at a tea gathering with friends in the evening, and having been away from Japanese green teas for a while, I found myself at a low tolerance to their higher caffeine levels (relative to whole leaf Chinese teas) and could not get to sleep that night.
Anyway, I find this kind of tea very well suited for the morning, especially when it’s still dark out. Drinking before and during dawn is one of my favorite times for tea. It’s a liminal and contemplative time, when I feel completely free of distractions. And I’m finding the Mellow Monk teas I’ve tried to be apropos in that space. Not just anything will do here. A more astringent sencha would be like the shock of a bad alarm clock, starting your day with a nervous jolt. I can’t have that.
Honestly, I’m generally much more fond of the shaded Japanese greens, as I had indicated in my tasting note of Mellow Monk’s kabusecha (Shaded Leaf). I enjoyed the kabusecha quite thoroughly, and this tea doesn’t fall that far beneath it. I would take this over a standard sencha any morning. Though if I had my way, and money was no concern, I’d be going for the finest gyokuro all the time (which is really my favorite of the Japanese greens, far and away).
For the price, which is less than half of Mellow Monk’s kabusecha, Top Leaf is much more reasonable for the possibility of drinking a good Japanese green tea daily. And it’s certainly a tempting prospect…