|"The tea is smooth and creamy and textural enough to savor on a number of levels and to me the bittersweet component makes this tea stand out enormously."|
Here is a bit about Top Leaf, direct from the Mellow Monk website:
"This is our top-of-the-line honcha, or traditional green tea. Top Leaf™ Green Tea is specially pampered in its own separate corner of the tea orchard. Not only does this tea receive extra fertilizer (organic, of course) during the growing season, but at harvest time, the growers pick only the top layer of young tea leaves. The result is a distinctive, more subtle, gentler flavor. This tea is always first flush. Top Leaf™ is a winner in the 2010 North American Tea Competition."
Mellow Monk suggests steeping one teaspoon of this tea in 8 ounces of 167 degree water for three minutes to start and suggested a steeping time of 30 seconds and one minute for second and third infusions, respectively. I used 165 degree water and followed the directions to a "tea." :-)
The tea brews to a beautiful bright greeny-gold infusion the color of an enticing extra virgin olive oil and has a somewhat opaque quality. The taste is sweet, vegetal and tangibly creamy in the mouth in a way that makes me think of a soup broth. Hearty and full! There's a hint of bittersweetness in the taste that is absolutely delicious, reminding me of the unsweetened cocoa dusting around a dark chocolate almond. Fantastic! The tea is smooth and creamy and textural enough to savor on a number of levels and to me the bittersweetness made this tea stand out enormously. I really loved this about it. I found myself taking small and slurpy sips to really bring the bittersweetness to the surface. My first infusion of this tea was wonderfully enjoyable and I recommend it highly!
I brewed a second infusion using the recommended 30 second steep time and the resulting liquor was also bright green, less golden and a little less opaque. The flavor was quite different, sweet and mild with a little vegetal taste but lacking in the bittersweet component that so shone for me in the first cup. The second cup was good but didn't have me sipping with as much dedicated attention as the first cup. I found a third infusion brewed to a cup that I enjoyed while sitting in a chair reading...it was tasty but didn't require a great deal of thinking to just enjoy it.
My rating of this tea is based primarily on a superb first infusion - one of the tastiest green teas that I've enjoyed in a long time! The second and third infusions didn't stand out as much to me (or this would been a hearty ten rating for certain!!), but they were enjoyable and the first cup is so good that if there were no further infusions I would still rate it as highly! I also appreciated the helpful and cheerful website Mellow Monk has put together. Check them out!!
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