Review: Mellow Monk Matcha-Style Powered Green Tea

Green Tea, Japanese Tea, Matcha Tea, Mellow Monk, Sencha Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The taste was all tamaryokucha, but with more of a punch since I was consuming the whole leaf."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Vanessa gave it 7/10
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Most of the sencha produced in Japan comes from a single type of tea bush known as "yabukita". The name stems from the bamboo trees (or "yabu") the bush grew near prior to cultivation. The use of this type of bush also heralded a change in Japanese tea growing practices - from orthodox to breed-specific. Mellow Monk imports their teas directly from the farmer. All such tea leaves are yabukita and processed into tamaryokucha; a curly type of sencha. Even their powdered variety.

Typically, matcha comes from tencha; tea leaves and buds given extra shading similar to gyokuro (high-end green tea). However, powdered sencha also finds its way onto the market as a cost-saving measure for those that can't afford matcha. Such as myself. The powder is usually finer, machine-ground instead of stone-pulverized, and the taste is sometimes sub-par. I once tried powdered sencha from a salt shaker. Never again.

Mellow Monk's Matcha-Styled Powered Green Tea differed from the run-of-the-mill ground sencha because of its smell. Whereas most smelled like...well...leaf, their pulverized tamaryokucha possessed a fruit-rich melon and peach nose. Of course, there was a grassy note to the nostrils as well, but it was a distant second.

The powder itself was a paler green than normal matcha, resembling a mid-grade "usucha"-type. The granules were incredibly fine and - to my ease - didn't clump very easily. I heated water to 170F, used a little less than a teaspoon's worth, brought over a miso soup bowl, poured 4oz of water, and put the bamboo whisk to work. Unlike regular matcha, it didn't froth up much at all, only producing peripheral bubbles after whisking. The scent was a little more grassy but still maintained the fruity boldness.

The magic - as they say - was in the taste. While it didn't have the flavor of matcha, it kept the characteristics of its sencha roots. The taste was all tamaryokucha, but with more of a punch since I was consuming the whole leaf. Caffeine-wise, it seemed to pack more zing after drinking; lighting me up once finishing. On the tongue, it was all fruit-sweet excellence with a slightly grassy echo. Not as exquisite as top-o'-the-line tencha-based matcha, but a high quality and affordable substitute.

— To purchase Mellow Monk Matcha-Style Powered Green Tea, 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: Geoff Geoff Reviewer
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