Mellow Monk

Recent Tasting Notes

93

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

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

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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84
drank Harmony by Mellow Monk
444 tasting notes

Moving is stressful, so I had to have some of this tea. It smells like the green base at first, then a little brown rice cakes. The flavour reminds me of noodle soup. This would be a good tea for winter, as it has warm and homey feel.

Flavors: Toasted Rice

Cameron B.

Yum, noodle soup! :D

Cheri

You’re almost ready to go, right?

Lariel of Lórien

Kinda. It will be a busy weekend, we leave on Monday.

Cheri

You so got this.

Stephanie

It’ll be over before you know it Lariel! Good luck :)

Lariel of Lórien

Thanks. It’ll likely take lots more of this tea.

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89
drank Artisan's Reserve by Mellow Monk
272 tasting notes

I think I have food poisoning. I got sick at work and had to leave 2 hours into my shift. I’ve gotten sick a few more times since then. So I’ve been sipping on some broth and some tea and trying to settle my stomach. Green tea is usually a good choice for doing so.

1 tsp, 8oz water, 175F, 60s.

Hmm, vegetal and savory, a bit bitter and astringent. The flavor is good, so I’m going to try lowering the temperature and decrease the time.

1tsp, 8oz water, 130F, 30s.

This is just what I need my delicate stomach. Soft, gentle, soothing. Smooth with no bitterness or astringency. Vegetal, a bit like spinach, with a touch of citrus and a hint of melon. I love knowing that this is just as good hot as it is cold brewed. When I’m feeling better I might try slightly warmer. Either way, it’s yummy and calming.

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89
drank Artisan's Reserve by Mellow Monk
272 tasting notes

Phew, it has been a busy busy week. Work all week, midterms, a home football game/tailgate, and still trying and failing to find time for the gym and sleep. I received this last week, and since it was out I decided to try it cold steeped, something I haven’t been doing much off lately, but I realized it’s easier and quicker for me than regular methods. I’ve been making up a cold steep the night before and then taking it with me for breakfast at 6am on the way to work.

I love this tea. Sweet, fruity, vegetal. This is one of those perfect iced green tea teas. Sweetened or not, I love it. Some mornings I’m craving sugar, so I sweeten it and am rewarded with a refreshing, citrusy, melon-y, fruity, slightly “green” green tea. Some mornings I’m I don’t crave sweet, so I drink this straight and enjoy the vegetal, sweet, mild, brew. It reminds me of a spinach salad made up of spinach, mandarins, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Leaves me feeling satisfied despite not having time to actually eat breakfast.

I will try this hot steeped the traditional way, but for know I’m really enjoying this cold steeped. I’m not sure if I like this or Top Leaf more cold brewed, so I’ll have to do a taste off and see. Either way, both are excellent choices for me.

Cameron B.

I’m getting a sample of Kuma Green 1228 next, but I would really like to try one of his shaded greens or Blissful Buds after that. :D

Mandy

I really like 1228, this is a mix of shaded and unshaded, their only blend. I really love it. I think Blissful Buds is the one they’re sending next. I’m excited

Mandy

This as in Artisan Reserve

Cameron B.

Gah, I want to try them all, including the black tea and genmaicha. Maybe I’ll just let Paul choose for me. :P

Mandy

That’s what he did for me, I told him what I liked, and he made a “Tea Flight”. But I too want to try it all ;P

Cheri

Tis the season for football and tailgates. We’re smoking pork butts for tomorrow, so we’ll be up and down all night making sure things are going well……I’m looking forward to the final product, but not so sure about the whole overnight smoking project.

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91

One of my Steepster friends told me about this company. I wanted this tea because it sounded interesting. It smells different, like a darker green or dark oolong. The flavour is on the sweet side, with some smoky taste. There is mostly a smooth and mellow cup, and the smoky taste is subtle enough to be present and not overpowering.

Overall, it is very plesant and kinda makes me think of the forest of Mirkwood.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Cheri

Sounds yummy!

KiwiDelight

But Mirkwood is scary…Greenwood?

TeaBrat

their green teas are really good

Lariel of Lórien

Yes, I meant when it was still the Greenwood.

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95
drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
601 tasting notes

Hooray, it’s here! Miss Mandy mentioned in her note that Paul from Mellow Monk was looking for more people to try and review his teas, so of course, I sent him an email and he sent me this tea! Thanks Paul! This tea is described as being a “honcha”, which means it’s a traditional green tea. I tried to find more information on this type of tea via Google, but I didn’t come up with much in the way of useful information. C’est la vie!

The small leaves of this tea give me the impression that they were allowed to shape themselves naturally while drying. Some of them are rolled into tubes, some are slightly curled, and I even found one that had rolled itself into an oolong-style pellet. Their color is a dark and rich green with a touch of blue, and it reminds me of evergreen trees. Dry scent is quite sweet and gives me impressions of dark grass and hay with a light saline seaweed note. I did three steeps with this tea – 2 minutes, 45 seconds, and then 1 minute. I used 8 ounces of 175 degree water each time.

The first steep (2 minutes) smelled very buttery and creamy with sweet steamed spinach, seaweed, and light citrus notes. Tasting it, I was amazed by how richly creamy and buttery this tea is! It’s silky in the mouth, with mild and sweet steamed spinach, butternut squash, and seaweed flavors. I could detect a light citrus note, and it was especially apparent in the aftertaste (the tea’s description mentions grapefruit, and this seems accurate to me). There was just the slightest hint of bitterness that really served to prevent this rich and creamy tea from becoming cloying and overwhelming.

The second steep (45 seconds) surprised me with a more vegetal aroma of spinach and seaweed and less creaminess. And then I was surprised again by the sweet and mellow taste of honeydew melon. Overall, the flavor was milder with this steep. There was still some of that spinach and seaweed combination in the aftertaste, and I found it to be mildly astringent, making me want to drink more.

The third steep (1 minute) had a similar aroma to the second, but was milder in intensity. Overall, I found this steep similar to the second. It still featured that sweet and lovely light honeydew melon flavor, with just a touch of mild spinach. It was also slightly more astringent than the second steep, and a touch too mild in flavor for me.

Overall, this is an extremely delicious tea! The mouthfeel is amazingly silky and the sweet and creamy flavors pair with it beautifully. I did notice a touch of astringency that developed as I continued to steep, but even at its zenith, it was still very light and inoffensive to me. Thanks so much to Paul at Mellow Monk for giving me the opportunity to try this tea! I have already promised a sample to one other Steepsterite, and any others curious about this tea are welcome to one as well!

Flavors: Butter, Butternut Squash, Citrus, Creamy, Honeydew, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86
drank Shaded Leaf by Mellow Monk
272 tasting notes

Drinking this cold brew, and not bad. I prefer it hot, though. Top Leaf is still my go to cold brew green. While this tea is more buttery and savory cold, Top Leaf is a sweeter vegetal type of green when cold brewed.

So Paul from Mellow Monk told be this morning that he is looking for more Steepsters to do reviews of his teas, so if anyone would be interested in receiving any Mellow Monk teas in exchange for reviews, let me know and I’ll give you his email! (:

Cameron B.

Ooh, pick me! :D

Mandy

PM’d you (:

Parsifal

Please forward his email, that sounds really fun :)

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86
drank Shaded Leaf by Mellow Monk
272 tasting notes

I’ve loved the two other green teas that I received from Mellow Monk, so when I got this in the mail yesterday, I couldn’t wait to try it. My boyfriend made burgers for dinner, and after such a heavy meal, this seemed like the perfect choice to calm my tummy.

1 teaspoon, 8 oz water, 160F, 60, 40, 60 second steeps.

The dry leaf smells darkly vegetal, but sweet. The wet leaf smells less sweet, and more like steamed dark vegetables.

The first steep steeps up cloudy with fluffy looking floaties that settle down to the bottom after a couple of minutes. The flavor is gentle, but savory. Soft and buttery, fleshy and dark vegetal. Like a broth made from broccoli, green beans, spinach, and maybe a bit of seaweed.

Second steep, this is less cloudy, but still some speckles at the bottom. The flavor is more gentle this time, lighter, more seaweed and less green bean. Still silky and buttery, a little less savory, and a little more sweet, melon like note. There’s also a sort of mineral note at the end of the sip.

Third steep is even more sweet and melon and seaweed and gentle. It’s a little bit on the weak side, so I don’t know if I needed a longer steep, or warmer water.

Another solid offering from mellow monk, and another I can see myself cold brewing and taking with me to work in the morning.

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96
drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
4 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
2 min, 30 sec

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drank Shaded Leaf by Mellow Monk
437 tasting notes

from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB

This tea had so much promise, and was just so disappointing. It was the end of the sample in the box, and it was smooshed at the bottom of the box. I could see the leaves were pretty broken up and there was a lot of dust, but I crossed my fingers and tried it anyway.

Nope.

Bitter as heck, with hints of the flavors I wanted this tea to have. But bitter, nasty bitter.

So hopefully I’ll see this in some other teabox or somewhere and can try it again, because this didn’t work for me.

Oh well.

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90

When Paul at Mellow Monk told me that Kuma Green 1228 was in the same family as Top Leaf, I couldn’t wait to try it. Comparing the dry leaves, I can absolutely see it. Appearance wise, I can hardly tell them apart. Kuma Green 1228 has the same dark green leaves, the only difference is Top Leaf is a little less tightly twisted. While Top Leaf has more loosely rolled leaves, Kuma Green 1228 is more spindly and twisty.

They also both smell fresh and vegetal and mouth watering. But while Top Leaf smells a bit more darker some how, Kuma Green 1228 smells a bit more almost fruity. The wet leaf also resembles cooked spinach on both.

This too produces a beautiful green broth. The first steep is a delicious sweetly vegetal green, just barely hinting at a seaweed like note, which I love. It’s also dm very smooth, with no astringency or bitterness. I practically gulped down the 16oz cup.

Second steeping, the tea is a bit cloudy, but that doesn’t seem to affect the flavor in any way. This steeping, the vegetal notes have mellowed a bit, allowing a citrusy note to come into play at the very end of the sip. It reminds me of cooked spinach with the smallest touch of lemon juice.

The third steep is even more mellow and delicate, and this time there’s a floral note dancing with the citrus note at the end of the sip. Overall it’s a very subdued cup.

Like Top Leaf, I loved this. I like how in the second and third steep, instead of just becoming weaker, new notes are found as the overall cup becomes weaker. I’m going to have to do a side by side comparison to see which one I love more.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85
drank Shaded Leaf by Mellow Monk
1450 tasting notes

MzPriss’ Unflavored Tea Box – Tea #22
I haven’t tried many of these grassy greens but this is a GOOD one. Something very unique here. It’s very creamy and sweet and only a little bit savory.. maybe something a little fruity as well… probably melon! I thought three minutes for this tea was too much, but it’s really perfect at a low temp. The second cup really didn’t have much flavor like the first cup did, which was a little odd. I wish everyone in the tea box could try this one, but there is only one teaspoon left: go for it Kiwi (the next person in the teabox), since I know you have something like this on your wishlist! Den’s Fukamidori… I’m debating on adding it to the teabox but it is closing in on the expiration date.
Steep #1 // 40 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 3 min

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89
drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
272 tasting notes

Backlog
I’ve cold brewed this and brought it to close quite a few time this past couple of weeks. I think the fact that I’ve made it more than once sort of speaks for itself. With as many teas I have waiting to be tried, I haven’t been making the same tea twice for the most part. But there’s something just so satisfying about this tea.

For one, the color of the leaves is just to dark and vibrantly green, and combined with the feel of the wet leaf, it really reminds me of spinach that’s been cooked. It’s just so pretty. And it brews up so green. Most teas are shades of yellow and brown, but this one is distinctly green. I even kept commenting on it to my boyfriend on the way to the store. He didn’t seem to appreciate it like I do though, haha.

But the thing I love most is the taste! It’s so perfectly vegetal, yet delicate, vaguely sweet and refreshing. It’s such an easy pick for when I want something tasty to take to class. I really need to try test resteeping the leaves because at this rate I’m going to run out much fast than I want to.

Preparation
4 tsp 28 OZ / 828 ML

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90

This is a classic, brothy fuka (though lighter than some of this genre). Having a noticeably nautical, clam-water taste in the first infusion, and a nicely biting astringency in the second, this is a fine tea. The best sencha I’ve had in quite some time.

First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, 65 deg., 2:00 min.

Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 65 deg., 5:00 min.

Third infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 65 deg., 10:00+ min.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

I like this tea. It has dark green leaves and bright green liquid. It has a strong scent. It has an almost smooth flavor. The rest of the review is on my blog. randomtopicgirl.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/review-for-kuma-green-1228-tea/

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88
drank Crimson Grove by Mellow Monk
38 tasting notes

This tea is different. The leaves looked chopped up. The liquid was a dark color and It has a smooth and woody flavor. It is like a darker oolong tea. I like this tea’s flavor.

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82

I liked this tea. It had a vaguely sweet flavor. It did not have much of the fishy seaweed flavor. I have tasted that flavor in other teas.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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8
drank Harmony by Mellow Monk
2 tasting notes

This Genmaicha has far too much rice and far too little tea to be described as a ‘perfect balance’. I was quite disappointed by it and won’t be ordering it again, although I do wonder whether the pouch I received was representative of the Harmony blend.

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88

Just got this in today. Upon receiving, I noticed that the tea inside the package felt very dense compared to my bag of Monk’s Choice.
On opening, I noticed that this tea was much “dustier” than Monk’s Choice. I don’t know if this has to do with the methods of the particular artisan, but it’s very similar in piece-size to what you would see if you cut open a tea bag, with some whole leaves here and there.
Scent was nice. Similar to Monk’s Choice, but a little less bold and a bit more sharp. Steeped for 1:20s. Flavor is still earthy, slightly astringent, and sweet. So note for those who buy this, steep short due to small leaf size. Very good stuff. The liquor is more actual-green looking compared to some greens/senchas i’ve had.

Handles 2nd steepings very well, probably because of low initial steep time.

After drinking this for a while, Monk’s Choice tastes weak in comparison. This is some flavorful stuff, apparently. Highly recommended.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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35
drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
2 tasting notes

Very overrated tea. Its possible it was not fresh, but it lack the sweetness and unami taste I associate with a high quality green tea. Personally I prefer Teavanas Premium Sencha over this stuff. IF you want something really high quality order A Japanese green from Den’s TEA!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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86

Best value green I’ve ever had and one of the earthiest teas I’ve tasted. If you could brew planet Earth, this is how I would imagine it would taste. Not too sweet, very vegetal, as I see some people say around here. At $10 for 100g, you can’t beat the value. Paul at Mellow Monk is also extremely kind and helpful. CS is just fantastic. Only complaint about this tea is that resteeping doesn’t produce (in my opinion). Get’s kind of astringent and flat somehow.
Gonna check out the Kuma Green 1228 next and be the first to review it on here (as far as I see).

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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