Kuma Green 1228™ Sencha Green Tea

Tea type
Green Tea
Green Tea
Broth, Butternut Squash, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Apple, Butter, Creamy, Grass, Honeydew, Jasmine, Lemon, Seaweed
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Edit tea info Last updated by fancyteacup
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165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 11 oz / 315 ml

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7 Tasting Notes View all

From Mellow Monk

A brightly herbaceous guricha-style sencha, with a sweetness highlighted with fruity notes — apples, melon, and white wine grapes. Made from yabukita tea plants grown in the rolling hills of Kuma County, tended and crafted into tea by artisan Kazuo Watanabe.
Kuma Green 1228™ is the culmination of all the teamaking skills of a stubbornly old-fashioned artisan, Kazuo Watanabe, who personally tends to his plants, harvests the leaves, and turns them into guricha-style sencha green tea of the highest quality.

The name “Kuma Green 1228™” refers to the address of Mr. Watanabe’s estate in Sagara Village, in Kumamoto Prefecture’s Kuma district. This area is renowned for traditional tea estates ensconced among its gently rolling hills, whose rich soil and ideal water drainage provide the yabukita plants with a wonderfully nurturing environment in which to thrive.

Mr. Watanabe is a two-time recipient of Japan’s prestigious Minister’s Award for his dedication to quality. He tends to his plants with what can only be called tenderness. In the documentary Japan, Where Japan’s Green Tea Grows, he says his tea plants are like his children, and this dedication to high-quality teacrafting is abundantly evident in every sip of this smile-inducingly delicious tea.

About Mellow Monk View company

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7 Tasting Notes

29 tasting notes

Broth, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Grass, Lemon, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet.
Ages very well (2+ years).

Flavors: Broth, Butternut Squash, Spinach, Sweet, Umami

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4843 tasting notes


Mellow Monk is one of my favorite sources for top notch Japanese Teas. I’ve not been disappointed by anything that I’ve tried from them, and they carry one of my all-time favorite green teas. So, I was only too happy to try this Kuma Green 1228.

For my full-length review, please check out the blog: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/10/30/kuma-green-1228-sencha-green-tea-from-mellow-monk/

A beautiful dry leaf. It looks a bit like freshly cut grass only much darker than any grass that I’ve ever seen. I’d love for my lawn to be this color. I’d be the envy of the neighborhood. It’s beautiful. The aroma is grassy with fruity notes.

A remarkable Japanese green: sweet, fruit (I tasted notes of apple, grape and melon with a hint of citrus toward the tail), not so much buttery as it is crisp and refreshing. Clean. Vegetal.

There are some savory notes but nothing that I’d call bitter. Just sweet with a savory note. Brothy. A hint of tart toward the tail from the citrus.

After a few sips, I start to pick up on a Jasmine note. Beautiful! A very satisfying and well-rounded cup of tea. Be sure to resteep this one, it’s well worth the effort. The second and third infusions were quite lovely. I little more vegetal than the first, but still very enjoyable.

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2884 tasting notes

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

160 °F / 71 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

ooh, I’d love to try the Kuma Green. I’ve had the Top LEaf before and it is delicious…

Cameron B.

TeaBrat, I’ll be sure to send you some. :D

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294 tasting notes

When Paul at Mellow Monk told me that Kuma Green 1228 was in the same family as Top Leaf, I couldn’t wait to try it. Comparing the dry leaves, I can absolutely see it. Appearance wise, I can hardly tell them apart. Kuma Green 1228 has the same dark green leaves, the only difference is Top Leaf is a little less tightly twisted. While Top Leaf has more loosely rolled leaves, Kuma Green 1228 is more spindly and twisty.

They also both smell fresh and vegetal and mouth watering. But while Top Leaf smells a bit more darker some how, Kuma Green 1228 smells a bit more almost fruity. The wet leaf also resembles cooked spinach on both.

This too produces a beautiful green broth. The first steep is a delicious sweetly vegetal green, just barely hinting at a seaweed like note, which I love. It’s also dm very smooth, with no astringency or bitterness. I practically gulped down the 16oz cup.

Second steeping, the tea is a bit cloudy, but that doesn’t seem to affect the flavor in any way. This steeping, the vegetal notes have mellowed a bit, allowing a citrusy note to come into play at the very end of the sip. It reminds me of cooked spinach with the smallest touch of lemon juice.

The third steep is even more mellow and delicate, and this time there’s a floral note dancing with the citrus note at the end of the sip. Overall it’s a very subdued cup.

Like Top Leaf, I loved this. I like how in the second and third steep, instead of just becoming weaker, new notes are found as the overall cup becomes weaker. I’m going to have to do a side by side comparison to see which one I love more.

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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95 tasting notes

This is a classic, brothy fuka (though lighter than some of this genre). Having a noticeably nautical, clam-water taste in the first infusion, and a nicely biting astringency in the second, this is a fine tea. The best sencha I’ve had in quite some time.

First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, 65 deg., 2:00 min.

Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 65 deg., 5:00 min.

Third infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 65 deg., 10:00+ min.

2 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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40 tasting notes

I like this tea. It has dark green leaves and bright green liquid. It has a strong scent. It has an almost smooth flavor. The rest of the review is on my blog. https://randomtopicgirl.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/review-for-kuma-green-1228-tea/

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2 tasting notes

Just got this in today. Upon receiving, I noticed that the tea inside the package felt very dense compared to my bag of Monk’s Choice.
On opening, I noticed that this tea was much “dustier” than Monk’s Choice. I don’t know if this has to do with the methods of the particular artisan, but it’s very similar in piece-size to what you would see if you cut open a tea bag, with some whole leaves here and there.
Scent was nice. Similar to Monk’s Choice, but a little less bold and a bit more sharp. Steeped for 1:20s. Flavor is still earthy, slightly astringent, and sweet. So note for those who buy this, steep short due to small leaf size. Very good stuff. The liquor is more actual-green looking compared to some greens/senchas i’ve had.

Handles 2nd steepings very well, probably because of low initial steep time.

After drinking this for a while, Monk’s Choice tastes weak in comparison. This is some flavorful stuff, apparently. Highly recommended.

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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