Mellow Monk

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Shaded Leaf by Mellow Monk
384 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
1338 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
236 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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74
drank Shaded Leaf by Mellow Monk
38 tasting notes

I like this tea. The leaf was pretty and it makes a bright green liquid. It has a different scent and taste. The scent is almost like vanilla. It has a smooth almost vanilla with grass flavor. It does not have a lot of that bitter seaweed flavor. I tasted that flavor in a lot of sencha type tea.

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec

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62
drank Frosty Garden by Mellow Monk
38 tasting notes

I like this tea. It has an interesting taste. It has a green veggie taste and it is slightly salty. The liquid is a bright green and it is kind of thick. This tea seems a little picky with the water temperature. The flavor gets more balanced with the second and third steeping.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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76
drank Harmony by Mellow Monk
38 tasting notes

I like this tea. It has a nice smooth flavor and a roasted rice flavor. The liquid has a nice green color. It has one tiny flaw. This tea seems picky with the steeping time. It gets really bitter when it is steeped above the steeping time.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
debrica

I like this tea too.

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80
drank Blissful Buds by Mellow Monk
68 tasting notes

When brewed at a mild temperature (65 deg.), this tea is extremely light and sweet, with a slight berry-like tang to it. It needs hotter water to get the most from it. A quirky tea, for sure.

First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, 70 deg., 1:00 min.

Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 70 deg., 2:30 min.

Third infusion – 5 g. per 5 oz. water, 70 deg., 10+ min.

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

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1.5 tsp for 100 ml; loose-mesh stainless steel basket in small ceramic cup

Dry leaves warmed in cup.

01 (25s; 158F): Shorter brewing seems to bring out a better side of this tea. A much more balanced degree of astringency, and a very good moderately thick body as well. Not nearly as bitter as the last time, instead with a pleasantly tangy and grassy flavor. A touch of the tamaryokucha sweetness.

02 (15s; 158F): Even thicker body, which pairs nicely with the clean vegetal flavor, balancing brothy umami and grassy sweetness.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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1.5 tsp for 100 ml; loose-mesh stainless steel basket in small ceramic cup

First thought on smelling the freshly opened dry tea—fennel. Somewhat sweet, rather than vegetal, though none of the berry notes sometimes found with tamaryokucha.

Dry leaf warmed in cup. Could have used a longer warming, but the smell was nonetheless intriguing, as always. Seemed both darker and cleaner than the Mellow Monk mecha and shiraore (“Blissful Buds” & “Frosty Garden”) that I’ve been having.

01 (1m00s; 155F): Not terribly fragrant liquor. Sometimes that comes across more on the second steeping. Medium astringency, with a somewhat upfront mineral flavor. The finish is closer to what I would expect from this tea, though darker like the warmed dry leaf. None of the brightness or sweetness that I enjoy.

Seems like this one will take some figuring out as far as preparation.

02 (20s; 150F): Tried going lighter on this steeping to see if I could lessen the astringency, potentially allowing lighter flavors through. Nice color, and a slightly more discernable nose, with some herb-y notes. The mouth is still pretty unexciting, though on this steeping I’m getting some great semi-sweet herb flavors and a little bit of tang on the long finish. A little bit of “sweet salivation” / cooling.

03 (45s; 158F): Leaf acquired much more seaweed smell. Mouth has a very pleasant, clean feel and taste. Very nice actually. A little more of that tang picked up on the finish of the second steeping, this time in the mouth, pleasantly playing with the herb flavor. Interesting how little sweetness is present. There is definite potential in this tea.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Frosty Garden by Mellow Monk
5 tasting notes

~2 tsp for 80ml; loose-mesh stainless steel strainer in small ceramic cup

Dry leaf warmed in cup. Delicious, complex, and full smell of sweet grass.

Changed up the parameters a bit—greater ratio of tea, even lower temperatures. It is interesting trying to find an ideal brewing process with this tea, as it seems fairly forgiving.

01 (1m30s; 155F): Very full flavor and velvety feel, though not overwhelming or bitter. The attack has a flavor that’s somewhere between salty and umami (possibly, not sure about my sense of umami). Perhaps a little too high of a ratio on this steeping, as the mouth notes were a bit muddled together. However, the finish was impressively long in the mouth—I had to run a quick errand after finishing this cup and each breath of unseasonably warm, humid air gave me an opportunity to consider many of the flavors which were more difficult to discern while drinking.

02 (20s; 155F): Much less muddled, as I compensated by steeping a little more water, perhaps a bit short too. Nice sweet and grassy notes, though a less velvety feel and little to no salt/umami.

03 (50s; 155F): Still tasty, very similar to 02.

04 (2m; 160F): You know …

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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drank Frosty Garden by Mellow Monk
5 tasting notes

~2 tsp for 120 ml; loose-mesh stainless steel strainer in small ceramic cup

Delicious complex smell of dry leaf warmed in cup. Heady with grass, sweetness, herb.

01 (1m30s; 158F): Most notable is the mouth, which is smooth, fairly thick, and buttery. Flavor is much less sweet than the dry leaf and liquor smell, tending more towards herb. Some level of drying, though only after (little astringency in the mouth). Not getting the sweet, sweet salivation I have in the past from other gurichas.

02 (25s; 160F): Less thick/heavy mouth. Less drying. Somewhat sweeter flavor. Perhaps a little too short steeping.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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