Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mellow Monk Kuma Green 1228 Sencha

Country of Origin: Japan
Leaf Appearance: small, deep green
Ingredients: green tea
Steep time: 2 minutes
Water Temperature: 165 degrees
Preparation Method: kyusu
Liquor: bright greenish yellow

+Mellow Monk is definitely one of my go-to's for Japanese green tea. I've reviewed quite a few of their teas but I think that this one just might be my favorite so far. The leaves, both dry and while steeping, were incredibly aromatic. If you could bottle the smell of spring this tea is what it would smell like. The taste was incredible smooth with a pure and sweet vegetal character. I was surprised at how many fruity notes there were. I was reminded of crisp apples and honeydew melon. There was no bitterness or astringency to speak of. I absolutely adored this tea hot but I really want to try in my cold drip iced tea maker. I couldn't resist having a tea session on my windowsill, shared with no one but my African Violet. Paul from Mellow Monk puts a lot care into where his teas are sourced from and I really enjoyed the information that he provided:

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.

Kuma Green 1228 Sencha sample provided by Mellow Monk.