Monk's Choice

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Green Tea
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170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 15 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

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From Mellow Monk

Monk’s Choice™ is a honcha, or traditional green tea, as opposed to other types of tea such as genmaicha (tea with roasted rice) or shiraore.

This is our most standard green tea, meaning the grower’s most popular tea. It’s prepared in the most popular style, and is what your typical Aso resident sips all day.

Another term for honcha is “sencha.” Our sencha is a type called tamaryokucha (“curly green tea”), the most popular style on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. Unlike the straight leaves of big-city sencha, country-style tamaryokucha is curled after steaming and drying during the tea-preparation process. These and other subtle differences in the tea-making process give tamaryokucha its distinctive fresh taste and muted astringency. The rich volcanic soils of the Mt. Aso foothills, where this tea is grown, make for an exquisitely rich flavor and a hearty aroma, but without the bite that comes from other soil types.

Monk’s Choice™ Green Tea comes vacuum-sealed for freshness in foil packets. Each packet contains 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of tea, enough to make 40–50 cups of brewed tea.

To brew, use 1 heaping teaspoon of tea leaves for an 8-ounce cup or mug. The water temperature should be about 75 degrees Celcius (167 degrees Fahrenheit). (For more on water temperature, see here.) For the first steeping, let the tea brew for about 3 minutes. For the second and third steepings, let the tea brew for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

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16 Tasting Notes

6770 tasting notes

I recently emailed back and forth with Paul over at Mellow Monk and I must say he’s one of the most easiest/nicest people to chat with about tea via email. He sent me some more of this tea because of my previous review. Thank goodness Steepster dates our tasting notes because it reminded me I tried this one well over a year ago which leads me to believe that I received my sample (that the first review note was based on) was stale or something. So…please base my review of this tea on THIS review and THESE notes…

Upon opening the 3.5 ounce bag the green tea aroma was AMAZING!!!! Pure-Green-Fresh Veggies! As true as you can get! Maybe a hint of buttered veggies with a sprinkle of pepper as an afterthought-smell if that makes sense.

Now I am convinced that the sample from a swap I tried well over a year ago was ‘off’…just goes to show you how important proper storage is!!!

The taste of this is really smooth…not your average green tea! It’s a sweeter-green maybe a mellow to medium strength green with a wonderful creaminess to it! Very hearty! Pretty brothy, too, but a clean-brothy!

I’m REALLY enjoying this cup! Special thanks to Paul for being so wonderful in his emails and sending me a fresh new batch! This is delish!

MAJORLY increasing my rating!!!! This IS a winner! YUM!

Ken Durocher

I agree. I have some of this tea left over, and I find the smell to be very nice. Smells like a Chinese green, but with this wonderful sweet smell, that sencha usually has.

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4846 tasting notes

Delightful! Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me a bit of this tea. Its one of the nicest Guricha teas I’ve tasted. It tastes so sweet and mild and smooth. An earthy taste to it, but not too strong, I would classify the earthiness as more of a vegetative earthiness. It has a pleasant nutty flavor to it too.

A very nice tea indeed.

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91 tasting notes

I am not a great drinker of green teas, but I am trying more each day to see how my preferences may alter!

I got this in a box of samples and must say it’s pretty tasty. The initial aroma of the liquor was a little overpoweringly like fresh seaweed, so I let my cup set a moment before proceeding much. As it cooled slightly, the scent was less pervasive and the flavor of the tea itself became more to my taste!

It’s a very solid, general green tea. It is lightly vegetal but not overpowering in any flavor. It’s definitely a mellow brew, and that suits me right now! I’m trying to determine where to draw the line between “grassy” and “seaweedy” in flavor, but this sort of balances between the two for me.

Not my favorite tea, as I don’t drink green teas with much frequency as I noted. But it definitely is going to be considered whenever I am in the mood for a mild flavored tea.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec

Have you tried anything else from Mellow Monk? They all share that wonderful, mellow profile- the values are clear to see in the taste of their tea.
If you’re making any other orders to MM, I really enjoyed the Top Leaf and (even more so) the Shaded Leaf. Shaded leaf in particular has a distinctive sweetness that’s just like honey nut cheerios to me.

Dinah Saur

I haven’t yet! But thanks for the suggestions. I’m totally going to place an order sometime soon. :D


try this: cover the tea with cold water (just enough to cover the leaves) and then put your kettle on the boil…use the cold water like a heat shield and a preextractor and when you add the hot, pour off nearly immediatly and see what complexity you get from it…i think you may be surprised :)


That sounds fun! Thanks for the tip, Kashyap. I’ll have to try that, too. Usually I just try and pour directly onto the side of the vessel from a height to help prevent shocking the poor leaves.

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95 tasting notes

Interesting tea, as it is my first guricha. Honeyed & fruity sweetness in the first brew, mildly astringent in the second. A pleasant tea, very mild, and great value for the price.

First infusion — 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 65 deg., 1 min.

Second infusion — 3 g. per 8oz. water, 65 deg., 10 min.

150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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27 tasting notes

Had to buy this tea when they offered 20% off for reddit users. I’m not disappointed!

The leaves have a strong smell, almost like a gunpowder green. They also look somewhat similar to gunpowder green, with their rolled shape.

I used my own brewing parameters: 2g for ~3oz water at 175F for 1 minute. The color looked good, a nice bright yellow, and had a nice buttery smell. The taste at first was kind of like a Chinese green with some earthiness, but as I continued to sip, I found more of a smooth buttery flavor come out. I personally like a little more vegetal flavor to my green tea, but it’s still very nice.

For $10, this is a really nice tea. Comes in a nice resealable metal pouch. The shipping was also really fast (Ordered Friday night, got it Monday afternoon).

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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10 tasting notes

So good. This tea always puts a smile on my face – especially on a cold morning. During the second and third steeps I tend to taste a slightly salty flavor. I’m not quite sure what it is but I like it.

160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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17 tasting notes

This has to be the freshest green tea I have ever tried. It’s absolutely amazing, even if it’s one of Mellow Monk’s ‘cheaper’ teas. I’ll have to try Top Leaf next.

The package suggests steeping at 167F – opps.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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1 tasting notes

I really love this tea. From the moment you open the bag, it’s a great experience (it smells wonderful). I’ve become a big fan of Japanese green teas, and as I don’t have loads of disposable income, I’m always looking for a Japanese-style green that is a great bang-for-your-buck buy. Of the maybe 15-20 Japanese-style teas I’ve tried, this is one definitely has the best price-to-quality ratio for me. Highly recommended for anyone that wants a tasty fukamushi tea without breaking the bank!

I made an account at steepster just to review this tea!

(Also, worth noting — Steepster says the tea is unavailable but that’s not right!)

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2 tasting notes

It has a subtle and calming flavor. Very different from your typical green tea bought at a supermarket. Great every day tea. It is steamed so it does not have that distasteful oily note typical of pan fried Chinese green teas. That note is so overwhelming for my palate that all Chinese teas basically taste the same to me. That is why I think Japanese green teas are the best. This particular tea has a strong scent so it gives me the impression that it is very fresh, or at least fresher than all other teas I have tasted before.

For these kinds of teas, intensity of taste or richness of flavor will depend on how you steep the tea. Make sure to have a good brewing method, so you can make the most of affordable and well manufactured teas such as this one. Follow the instructions in the package first and experiment what tastes best for you.

I noticed that the region in which it grows was far away from the areas affected by radioactive fallout from the Fukushima incident such as mid and northern japan, and is not an area affected by heavy pollution such as China. I feel safer buying tea from them because of that.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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2 tasting notes

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).

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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