49 Tasting Notes
This tea doesn’t taste quite like any sencha I’ve ever had, but it’s still undeniably a sencha—and a really tasty one, at that. The flavors are sometimes subtle, but still very clear. The tea is earthy, rich, and vegetal, with a hint of sweetness, a bit of umami, and a little bit of a nutty flavor and smell, which was a nice surprise. In addition, it seems like a pretty easy brew; I’ve only had it for a couple days, but it doesn’t seem nearly as finicky as some sencha can be, and I’ve been able to get its good flavor consistently.
Part of the reason I rated this so highly is the value. I find that inexpensive sencha can be murky, with the subtlety replaced by a lack of real flavor; this is not the case here. I’ve moved from Chinese greens to Japanese greens, so I tend to drink sencha every work day, and had been looking for something not too expensive but still good. I was pretty disappointed by the Daily Sencha from O-cha, so I decided to give this one a try. For $10 for 100 grams, it’s an incredibly complex and rich tea, comparable in quality to many teas that would cost $17 or more for the same amount. I’d highly recommend it as a daily drinker; without a doubt, it has the best quality-to-price ratio I’ve ever seen in a sencha.
If this is what Mellow Monk offers as its least expensive tea, I’m very excited to try some of the pricer ones on special occasions!
Flavors: Earth, Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Toasty, Vegetal
Oh my. My brother got me a large amount of this tea for my birthday, and I couldn’t wait to try it. Wow. This is amazing—definitely the best Tieguanyin I’ve ever had. It’s smooth, vegetal, floral, and it has a roasted edge. There are so many subtle flavors—and they’re slightly different with each steeping! I’m glad that I dedicated my Yixing teapot to Tieguanyin, since it’s led to my experiencing this amazing tea!
I’ve not been too pleased with Teavana in the past. Their prices are very high, but I don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth (in part because I find that I have to use more leaves to get flavor). So it was with hesitation that I ordered this from Starbucks today (it was my brother’s first day back at work after a long illness, so I went to say hi).
I was very pleased. The result was one of the better green teas I’ve had in a while, to be sure. It’s subtle, sweet, and vegetal. I’m withholding judgement until I buy a tin and see just how many leaves I have to use, but I really enjoyed the tea bag that I had today. I tentatively recommend it.
For Christmas, my brother got me my first Yixing teapot—and I decided to dedicate it to Tieguanyin oolong (partly because the Whole Foods in town sells it, and I like to avoid shipping). So, I seasoned my pot with it and used it to makes very first gongfu style tea. I was really impressed—I loved this one Western style (see my other review for more detail), but I think gongfu brings out the subtleties more (no doubt partly due to the number of steeping a possible). I’m really looking forward to experiencing this tea even more as my pot continues to soak it in—it’s now an every-weekend tradition!
Starbucks is switching over from Tazo to Teavana. I don’t work there any more, but my brother does, so he got some of this for me. I was… not impressed.
The first time I tried it, I brewed it according to directions (3 minutes). It was weak and watery—even the color was only a very pale brown. I thought I might have used too much water, and, since it’s not CTC, I figured 3 minutes was too short. So, I tried again today.
It took six minutes before the tea looked about right, and it did pour a lovely color. But again, it was incredibly weak. I used 1 teaspoon per cup, and one for the pot, but I could hardly taste the tea at all (milk and sugar, of course, made it even harder to get any flavor).
Maybe this would taste good if I used 2 teaspoons per cup, but I don’t think I’m going to try that—after two failures, we taped up the tin and gave it to our daughter to use as a shaker.
This was one of the most disappointing teas I’ve ever had—not least because, if I hadn’t gotten it for free, it would have cost $8.95 pre-tax for 1.7 ounces. The taste wasn’t bad, it was just almost nonexistent. I’m a fan of subtleties in tea, but a tea that calls itself an English Breakfast should have a strong flavor, even with milk and sugar. I’d rather drink Lipton than this.