drank Crimson Grove by Mellow Monk
109 tasting notes

Mellow Monk really wasn’t high on my list of tea companies to order from until I looked at their web site. I liked the idea of all their teas being grown by small, family-owned farms, imported directly from Japan. All of their teas are first flush. I also like it that all their tea comes from the southern island of Kyushu, which never had high levels of radiation last year. I’m impressed that MM only chooses teas that are popular locally and not primarily produced for export. They shipped really fast. My tea arrived safe and sound but I’d appreciate a little sturdier packaging than a plain, brown kraft envelope.

So, a black tea from Japan seemed like such an anomaly that I had to try it. Upon opening the pouch, I am hit with a slightly smoky scent that reminds me a bit of a Formosa Keemun and/or Dark Roasted Oolong. The dry leaves are short and mostly chocolate brown with a smattering of chestnut colored tips or bits of twig in the mix.

The brewed leaves smelled a bit like a Taiwanese Ruby Red-slightly malty and minty. The liquor is fairly light-darker than a FF Darjeeling, but not much else. It has hues of burnt orange, amber, and chestnut brown.

The flavor is very smooth, zero bitterness or astringency, and about as mellow as you can get with a black tea. As for specific notes, I am having a hard time gleaning those. I can’t say that my cupping mimics what MM describes. To me, it tastes mostly similar to a Formosa Keemun (not exactly like) but I feel like I am still figuring this out. I think my rating number may change the more I drink this.

Brewing based on MM’s instructions, I got two cups of tea. I think maybe I can get a third if brew a little longer.

I wouldn’t recommend this based on the smoke alone, because I don’t think there’s enough of it for those who really enjoy smoky notes. However, if you like milder black teas or just enjoy the idea of a black tea from Japan made with green tea varietals, you may like this tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Started drinking tea for health benefits maybe 5 years ago-exclusively bagged tea. Usually went for various Celestial Seasonings type of stuff. I bought a tea infuser at a gourmet shop once and then I realized there was almost no loose tea available. Eventually tiring of bags, I started ordering loose tea online and I have never gone back. Initially, I was exploring all the wild and exotic flavor combinations, but now I mostly drink straight teas. I still enjoy blended teas-but prefer those without “flavoring”. Hope to learn here and find some new teas I might not otherwise find. Am a vegan, so “milk” generally means “soymilk” to me. If it’s almond, rice, or coconut, I will mention that fact.

I am new here, and new to reviewing tea. Many of my initial reviews will be from memory and may not be very detailed at all. I hope to write more informative reviews on current and future teas.

I won’t let external factors affect my rating of the tea-such as slow shipping, too expensive, etc. I’ll mention any customer service problems in my reviews. I also won’t let my mistakes in not following the seller’s recommended parameters affect a rating. I can’t believe people who say “I forgot about it and oversteeped it” and then give it a rating. If I brew outside the parameters, I will wait until I brew it right before I give it a rating.

TEMPORARY RATING SYSTEM- Don’t hold me to these numbers and descriptions-like George Bluth, I like to tweak.

90+ It’s awesome, right?? I’ll probably try to keep it on hand.

80-89 – I really like this and will buy it again at some point, but there are so many teas to try!

70-79 – This is a pretty good tea and I may buy it again based on my mood, what tea store I am buying from, and what kind of deal I can get.

60-69 – This is okay. I finished the bag. I would drink it again if offered, but would not buy it again.

40-59 – IF I finished the bag, I recall this tea thinking “Why in the hell did I finish the bag?”

1-39 – Did not finish the bag. Maybe not even the cup. Tea was given away or discarded.



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