Review: Mellow Monk Crimson Grove

Black Tea, Mellow Monk Add comments
Dan’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Crimson Grove is an intriguing tea in that it is a black tea, but it is "made with lightly fermented leaves from the same tea plan varietals used to make sencha." I can't say I've had a tea before that claims to be sourced this way. The result is sweet, nutty and creamy in aroma and flavor. "
Dan’s Teaview: 7.8/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 9.5/10, Vanessa gave it 9/10, Sophie gave it 8.7/10, Jamie gave it 9/10, Katie gave it 8.1/10
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Mellow Monk is a tea purveyor that focuses exclusively on different kinds of green tea from Kumamoto, and their teas are made "guricha style" -- this is a steaming method as opposed to pan frying. The steaming results in a curly leaf (as opposed to the typically straight-leafed sencha). Mellow Monk reports that the flavor difference results in naturally-occurring citrus and berry tones that combine with the traditional herbal green tea flavor. Additionally, all of their teas are first flush. The company website is very informative and a worthwhile visit.

Crimson Grove is an intriguing tea in that it is a black tea, but it is "made with lightly fermented leaves from the same tea plan varietals used to make sencha." I can't say I've had a tea before that claims to be sourced this way. The dried leaf appears no different, really, than your average black tea - medium length mahogany-toned leaves, with a sprinkling of lighter tan colored stems and twig-like pieces mixed in. The aroma of the leaf is sweet, nutty and creamy.

A 2 minute first infusion of sub-boiling water is recommended, and does a great job of producing a lovely cup. The liquor is a rich coppery red black tea hue that somehow seems extremely reflective of light. The flavor is creamy and sweet on the trailing end, with a mild and slight hazelnut finish. Mellow Monk claims a smokey taste profile, but I'm not really finding that to be evident. I liken this flavor to a high quality Assam tea.

I typically don't infuse black teas more than once, but as Mellow Monk claims that this tea will infuse 2 or 3 times, I give it a go. A second infusion at 1 minute, per Mellow Monk's recommended parameters, results in a flatter liquor and a flatter taste. Despite the reduction in sweet and nutty flavors, that purported smokiness comes through a little better on the second infusion - but really just a hint. Although the elements are there, it just has that second infusion kind of taste that's just watered down and frankly nowhere near the potency of the flavorful first infusion. In all fairness, it does hold up better than most black teas, but I would recommend not bothering with additional infusions.

— To purchase Mellow Monk Crimson Grove, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Dan Dan
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