Mauna Kea Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog from yesterday – my birthday tea!
I woke up and my stomach was really upset for some reason. This always steers me toward green teas or mint teas, and I saw this first so into the infuser it went.
I still think the directions on this are really confusing – they say 5 grams to one quart, which is what – 1/2 tsp. to a cup? Still at boiling for two minutes. I can do the boiling water and the 2 minute steep time (hesitantly!) but anything less than 1 tsp. would surely be too weak for me.
I went with the 1 tsp. and yeah, I can’t imagine doing less leaf – as it was I got a light vegetal green but I think it would have been little more than tinted water if I’d followed that recommended amount. This was very soothing and there were some roasted undertones that did give it an oolong-ish character. I had this with honey in Hawaii, but yesterday it was just plain and it was more than drinkable.
It is unlike any tea I’ve had before – I don’t know if that’s because it was grown in such a unique climate or what, but I’m going to be sad when my small sample is gone. Guess I’ll just have to move there so I get it more frequently! :)
Bought this while on Mauna Kea for the summit tour on the Big Island. (How is my vacation over already?!)
Anyway, I was not about to pass up tea grown on the mountain I was currently standing on – I mean, how often does that happen? Once I got it back to our rental house, I realized the parameters were pretty atypical for a green – boiling water and two minutes. The leaves were pretty atypical for a green, too – there was no uniformity, some were as long as grass shavings, others as small as mint leaves.
As is typical for a vacation brew, I guesstimated at amounts and steeping times. This didn’t suffer from the lack of precision, though. It reminded me most of an oolong, probably since it was a dark roast, but there is a notable vegetal flavor too. Mostly I’m surprised that the leaves held up to boiling water without turning into an astringent mess.
I’m rating this high for now partly because of the nostalgia factor, but I have enough left to give it a try at home and judge it a little more carefully then. It was pretty fabulous to be able to get tea so close to its source – if only that could be a permanent thing (sigh).
This is really delicious! Last time I think I suggested that it tasted rather like a genmaicha; this time I feel like it was much sweeter and more nuanced. Wish I could remember exactly what I thought of it, but I was definitely quite impressed!
Last cup of this. Hopefully I’ll see it at another craft fair or some thing. It’s a nice green tea with warm, toasty flavor. :)
I think it was Azz who sent me this one, so sorry, if someone else did! Eeeek!
This is really nice and smooth and roasted and sweet. That about sums it up, really! I’m really impressed with this flavor, tho, it doesn’t look all that interesting but it IS super flavorful and unique!
A nice slurping or Gulping tea!
My mom bought some of this for me :) I followed the brewing on the package and got a light, sweet green tea. It’s good, refreshing and the taste is not too strong. It has a natural sweetness to it that’s light so it seems like it would taste good iced as well. I didn’t get any bitterness or unpleasant aftertaste, nice warmth on a cold night.
Sip Down of one more cup then a few cups off to others.
Very good tea.
See previous notes.
Also a full review on http://sororiteasisters.com/ November 5th
I am going through all the steepster select items that have never been tried. I think I am in the minority but I really did not like this. It reminded me of bad seaweed and I LOVE seaweed salad…but this was just not my cup. I posted it on the swap discussion.
There is definitely a roasted flavor to it. One of the most unique green teas I have tried. I am going to have to make another cup and see how it goes. I am also thinking of increasing the steep time to 3 minutes.
Yay, trying out another sample from Missy & Dylan tonight! Thanks guys! Have definitely been missing you on Steepster…. :(
Sweet and genmaicha-like are the associations I’m getting from the steeped cup, which isn’t surprising given that the flavour is roasty and sweet like genmaicha, although short on toasted rice flavour. This is definitely a different take on green tea, in my mind, being so far from the vegetal teas I’m more used to, but it’s nice and calming. I’d probably choose to drink a genmaicha of some variety over this one though if I was looking for a quieting tea, as there’s considerably less caffeine in them (or at least there is in the tea I have, which I swear is 80% rice!)
Provided to me in my Steepster Select (http://member.ly/steepster-select) package, which I luckily won for March! Thank you Steepster Select!
So when I opened this package I was surprised because it looks like Yerba Mate! Not that I have a lot of experience with Yerba Mate but that is what it reminded me of. Now from what I know of Yerba Mate it has a lot of caffeine, whereas Sweet Roast Green is low in caffeine so the look of the leaf is where the similarities end as this tea does not taste like Yerba Mate either.
The dry leaf smell is indistinct. I really did not get much of any aroma from it. Steeped however the aroma is robust, grassy, earthy. It tastes exactly as it smells with just the tinniest bit of sweet with a heavy mouthfeel. The color is a golden amber. There is a slight green bean flavor to as well, and there is absolutely no astringency or bitterness.
One teaspoon of Sweet Roast Green to six ounces of water, steeped at a boiling temp for 2 minutes are the recommended instructions. I made no modifications and have before me a perfect cup of a rare and unusual tea. Yes I do realize that it is a green tea, and yes I did say boiling! This is a no fail green tea.
Now I will note, this tea is not going to be for everybody. I could potentially see this as a love it or hate it tea but I do believe everyone should give it a try. Hawaii is an up and coming tea producer of artisan quality teas. The hopes are to replace the struggling sugar industry as per the information provided with my Steepster Select package. I am all for supporting local business and industry and doing something good to help others. I do enjoy this tea very much but could see it being too musky for some, too smoky perhaps. It does have an unusual smell and I can only describe it as being something from a party perhaps in the 60’s or 70’s, now if you know what I am talking about it also has a bit of the same taste. My husband disagrees with me however but everyone’s palate is a different.
The second steep (yes you can re-steep this tea! Yay!) yields a much sweeter aroma, more of a caramel essence peeks through, yet for being named Sweet Roast I get far more of the roast flavor than the sweet. I would not say this is a sweet tea at all. On this second steep there is also a light floral aroma poking through. Much lighter now, the mouthfeel is crisper, cleaner. The same flavor elements are there just toned down. There is a slight nudge toward a genmaicha tasting tea both in the first and second steep although not quite the same there is a resemblance. I feel safe in saying those who love a genmaicha, like myself, would enjoy this tea. It is lacking some of the buttery notes of a genmaicha, and of course the toasted rice, therefore nothing for me to pick out and eat (bummer) but the base flavors do nod to genmaicha.
I did steep this a third time, although I made two cups at a time and by the time I got to the third steep I was getting to my morning tea limit, plus this is a low caffeine tea, probably a mistake to make it first thing after getting up. Could not help myself though I had to try it! The third steep still had nice flavor complexity, but was getting noticeably thinner. Regardless, still toasty, still roasty, but now lacking some of the more pungent flavors from before. Had I not had four cups already I could enjoy this tea on steep three very much. Wow, I just noticed I am already more than half way through cup one of steep three, so there you go. Still good on the third steep but there is no way I am going for four, not today anyway.
Sweet Roast Green Tea (Dark) sells on the Mauna Kea Tea site (http://www.maunakeatea.com/home) for 10.00 per 30 grams or just over an ounce. You can also get a sample size bag for 4.00 which is 10 grams.
This is a pretty awesome green tea. It really reminds me of a sweeter gen mai cha. Gen mai cha made with Rice Krispies cereal. The roasted flavor has carmel like qualities. The green tea is smooth and almost malty. Smooth operator, lalala. I have now named it rice krisy tea.
Wow! I like this a lot! I’ve tried Mauna Kea’s green and Oolong teas, but, I had not yet tried the sweet roast, and this is unlike any green tea I think I’ve tried. When I think of roasted tea, I immediately think of Houjicha, but this is not quite like Houjicha. This is more like a thin Matcha – not thick and creamy like Matcha but I taste more of a Matcha-like taste to it, but with a roasty-toasty quality to it too.
I like this a lot… and I think that this makes up for the other two less-than-exciting teas in the Steepster box this month. Excellent choice, Steepster!
My Steepster Select box came today as well… man, I am just getting a ton of new tea to try!
In the bag, I wasn’t really sure what to think about this tea’s smell. It truly smelled like hay and fresh grass, and I was setting myself up for disappointment. I just can’t handle the teas that taste like I’m drinking hay. It’s just not right. I’m sure it’s healthy, but it’s not right.
Let me say that I was delightfully, pleasantly surprised by the flavor of this tea. The toasted-ness definitely brings out some malty, sweet notes from the green tea that makes it super enjoyable. It is truly transformed away from the green tea flavor into this sweet, nutty blend. I’d believe you if you told me this was some kind of toasted nut infusion, rather than a roasted green tea. Other than, you know, the green leaves that were obviously in the bag.
Almost as an afterthought, underneath all of that roasted goodness, you can begin to taste the green tea base. I’d be bluffing, at best, if I tried to say I could figure out what kind of green tea flavor it was, but I know that it doesn’t taste that much different than the aftertaste I get from my genmaicha.
Now, I’ve never had a houjicha before, having only recently learned what it was. I’m really curious how ‘different’ this may taste from those roasted green teas. Am I truly tasting something unique and remarkable from Mauna Kea, and therefore it deserves me paying $10/oz for more? From my current level of inexperience, it’s really hard to say. But this will definitely kick around in the back of my mind as I try other teas.
On that note, anyone have a houjicha they would recommend?
I am quite enjoying this! Thank you Steepster Select for my free March box!
I agree with some of the comments Ian has made about this tea it does have a bit of a “smokey” musty flavor to it. I am currently working on a longer review for the Tea Review Blog but I will say that so far I am in love with this tea. No it’s not going to be for everyone. I am surprised at the look of the dry leaf – like yerba mate.
Honestly though its more earthy than smoky and I am perplexed by the name having the word “sweet” in it – I do not find this tea to be naturally sweet.
Anyway I am on steep two so we shall see how it evolves. :)
Exciting tea world news for Ian: I made my Verdant Tea order today and I’m super excited AND to top it off the Steepster Select box that I won came in the mail today! So, if you’re looking forward to trying the teas and you haven’t gotten your package yet or haven’t tried them don’t read this because THERE ARE SPOILERS
So, this is weird-the steeping instructions say boiling water even though it’s a green and the one other review on here said the same. So, naturally I went with boiling water and did a 2 minute steep time. The dry and wet leaf smell……….. not good. Kind of like cigarette smoke, which may possibly be my least favorite smell in the world. The tea itself smells slightly better, though there is a slight cigarette hint in the smell.
This is actually okay, despite the smell. It has a toasty taste, but not in the way that you would think. When I thought of toasty I thought of sort of a genmaicha-esque flavor, but this is not like that. It’s very hard for me to describe the taste but the only way I can put it is like a non-disgusting ashtray. Not that gross ashtray taste that you get from burnt gas station coffees, but reminiscent of that. I know that probably sounds absolutely repulsive to most of you but it is somewhat palatable.
Overall this is okay. Not something I love but I don’t really hate it either. I look forward to trying the other teas in my box!
Amazing tea – this is a Green tea that can be prepared with boiling water with NO BITTERNESS. Here’s how the taste pans out across steepings:
1st infusion – Sweet flavor reminiscent of caramel popcorn – I guess it’s the combination of sweet and toasted flavors that creates this.
2nd infusion – Slightly less sweet, which allows more of the toasted flavor to come through.
3rd infusion – Much less sweet, allowing toasted flavor to become prominent.
I enjoyed each infusion for the unique flavors they yielded. I bought some of this tea from Taka after visiting his tea farm on the big island of Hawaii last week. He said that his special methods of preparation allow for the tea to be infused with boiling water without any bitterness (but he wouldn’t elaborate on his trade secrets). I highly recommend this tea and also recommend a visit to Mauna Kea tea if you’re ever on Hawaii!