Review: Mellow Monk Top Leaf Green Tea

Green Tea, Japanese Tea, Mellow Monk Add comments
Troy’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"It placed first in the steamed green tea category at the North American Tea Championship earlier this year (2011)."
Troy’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 10/10, Vanessa gave it 8.0/10, Jamie gave it 9/10, Erika gave it 8/10, Sophie gave it 8.4/10, Katie gave it 8.5/10, Raven gave it 8.5/10, Samantha gave it 9.0/10
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mellowmonktopleafMellow Monks Top "Leaf(tm)" is a first flush Guricha made from only the topmost layer of the first flush. This means, I would presume, that mellow monk pays extra to ensure that the growers only pick those leaves exposed to the sun, and not those growing from further down the stem. This prescribed system of care given to the grower by Mellow Monk leads to a richly colored dark green blend of comma shaped leaves (a peculiarity of the Guricha process that differs from Sencha) that move smoothly over one another when falling from a teaspoon.

The product is grown to Japanese "Eco-Farmer" standards, and is certified by the American "Co-Op America" standard as fair trade. I'm not familiar with the Eco-Farmer label, but from the descriptions I could hunt down it appears at least as restrictive, and thus comparable, to USDA organic with a specific focus on sustainability.

Now onto the most important aspect of any review, the actual experience. The leaves are small, evenly cut, and have the consistency of cut grass when dry, smelling a bit like alfalfa when dry, developing into a rich scents of asparagus and sweet leeks. The flavor is a good blend of light grassy flavors and stronger notes of roasted vegetables and possibly what Mellow Monk speaks to as "grapefruit overtones" but which I experienced as more hints of the aforementioned leeks. I generally find that green tea's often paint with a palate more derived from green vegetables than fruit, but that is just my own personal taste buds at play. A very strong Japanese green tea, wholly deserving of the awards its won, namely taking first place in the steamed green tea category at the North American Tea Championship earlier this year (2011). Although I prefer about double as much leaf as Mellow Monk recommends, it makes for a richer second and third cup.

— To purchase Mellow Monk Top Leaf 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.

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