Too tired to do a good review (local time is 12:39 am), but the tea was great, was just as good as I remember it. Got a lot of infusions out of it, and the way the taste changed throughout the steepings was interesting and delicious. Got sweeter during the last two infusions, which was interesting and refreshing when compared to many green teas I’ve had. Hopefully I won’t be too busy tomorrow, and me review will actually be substantive.
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Backlogging 7 cups of this liquid gold throughout today…YES…SEVEN…
One of the smoothest Japanese style tea’s I’ve ever had. No astringent or bitter taste to it at all. This is a good staple to have in your stash to get your Japanese tea fix.
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I got this tea as a birthday gift, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I saw that a lot of people had a lot of good things to say about it, so I must admit that I was rather excited.
After the first steeping, which was 2 mins. long, I found it interesting how it smelled grassier (is that even a word?) than my Yamakai Sencha. It also tasted a bit grassier, but that was restricted to being an undertone which enhanced the vegetative flavors. What was really nice about the flavor was the it was subtle, and I couldn’t identify the exact flavors (with the exception of the grass and a vague sense of “vegetable”), and it made for a nice tea to sip while stuck inside due to weather. All in all, I’m rather glad that I have a whole bag of this, as it is officially my new favorite tea.
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Starting my day with this…YUMMO!
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I agree with TeaEqualsBliss – this tea has a buttered veggies kind of taste which I personally enjoy quite a bit. Delicious.
Started my day with 3 cups of this! AWESOME! See previous notes…
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…
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.
A pure delight! Unique and true! See other notes ;)
This is a drier earthy-sweet. Quite different yet pleasingly tasty! The cooler it gets – the flavor changes a little to a slight grassy flavor. Thumbs up!
First tea from Mellow Monk. They had a promotion going on after Top Leaf won an award.
Smelled very…. green, similar to fresh cut grass. Its a good smell, but not at the top of my list. With the first steeping it was shockingly smooth yet the flavor was distinct and noticeable, not in an overpowering way. The flavor demands and holds your attention. The second steeping, while having a fainter flavor is remarkably similar in quality to the first.
Verdict: Beautiful and delightful, this tea is under-priced. No reason you shouldn’t treat yourself to top notch, award winning tea.
2 cups so far today! LOVE :)
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Oh! Mellow Monk – among my favorite MONKS :)
I got this in the mail today and what an experience! WOW!
First, let me start by saying this is a black tea made from green tea varietals! Ahhhhh!
This has a sweet tomato-soup-like flavor to it with a gentle smoke almost like a bisque type note underneath. As the sip progresses the smoothness increases! It’s really special!
This is completely warm and comforting without spice. It’s not bitter or astringent – it’s sweeter and it’s lovely!
When I first bought this tea few months ago, I was skeptical because the price was quite cheap. However, I wasn’t disappointed with the taste at all. I love the grassy smell and taste since this is what I want to taste in my green tea – Chinese green tea is out of question since it is roasted. When brewing according to the instruction, I don’t get any bitter taste at all. I’ve tried other sencha from other brands, but I’m not quite as happy as I am with Monk’s Choice. Today, I just received my order for Mellow Monk’s Top Leaf and Harmony Tea, and I can’t wait to try them :)
Dry aroma: sweet, toasted notes, hints of spring clover and cut melon
Wet aroma: sweet cream butter, nutty, clover and baby spinach
Appearance: deep green jade hue, folded-slightly twisted leaf and wabi sabi hints of curled leaves and blond threads. Moderate leaf length implying spring pluck and new growth pick.
Cup: Pale, ghostly green luminescent liquor; clear, bright, translucent. Clean, vegetal sweet flavors, creamy mouth feel, with hints of pistachios. A silken astringency slides against an elusive body that seems to call to mind spring clouds. Hints of melon and fruit are ethereally present against the creamy, nutty layers. Wonderfully balanced, in all of its characteristics, dancing somewhere between a gyokuro and quality shinriku sencha.
Brewing: 3g in 8oz porcelain gaiwan, using 168 degree water and steeped for 3 minutes. Managed to get 3 consistent extractions.
This tea won the North American tea championship in the green tea division in 2010. The service was swift, courteous, and enclosed note had a personalized touch. Overall, a very lovely tea.
I love green tea(and drink it every day) but sometimes have a taste for black or it happens to go better with what I am eating. This tea is a very happy blend of both worlds. Has a very nice aroma and love the bit of sweetness and smokiness.
I just finished my smoothie: banana, frozen strawberries and yogurt + some of this powdered green tea. YUM!
As always, I love Mellow Monk. This tea is delicious! It has a stronger, more refined flavor than the Top Leaf. It’s more vegetal, and has mild berry notes, which I love. It’s buttery, and has a creamy texture. The color is a beautiful, and deep shade of green. I would definately order more of it, and keep it for those special times.
::Edit:: I just decided to try this in my gaiwan, instead of my kyusu, and wow! If I’d known that tea could taste this good, I would’ve been living off the stuff! I had to bump the rating up, and edit the preparation details. This is a truely special cup of tea.
I love Mellow Monk. All of their teas are great, and this one is no exception. It packs a potent bitter quality, which makes it a nice after-meal drink. I enjoy it enough to order it again, but not enough to keep it in stock considering that the Top Leaf steals the show, and gives me everything I need. It was quite special.
This is my favorite! I love this like no other. I also love the company. Their customer service is awesome! I love how they use the personal touch. Their shipping is fast, and inexpensive. I especially love how they listen and respond to, not only their own customers, but also the tea drinking community, in general. They are very in-touch. They are also a green certified company, and all of their teas are organic.
Top Leaf is my top choice. It is sweet and berry-like, and has that slightly citrus tangy lip smacking quality. There’s also a hint of sweet butteriness, like corn on the cob. I love the smell of the dry leaf, too. It smells of sweet mellon and honey suckle. The color is quite beautiful. I always order a lot, because I drink it down, fast. It leaves me feeling centered, clean, and relaxed. I crave it all day long.
This green tea is the best. My Japanese husband thinks so, too, and his mom is a tea ceremony teacher, so there you have it. It’s pricey, but worth it. We get it every once in a while and buy the less expensive ones in between. A nice treat, and you don’t need much to make a flavorful pot.