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