Tea: Top Leaf™ Green Tea

A Sencha from Mellow Monk

Picture of Top Leaf™ Green Tea
Brand:Mellow Monk
Style:Sencha
Region:Kumamoto, Japan
Caffeine:Caffeinated
Loose?Loose
# Ratings:5 View All
Product page:Top Leaf™ Green Tea

Review of Top Leaf™ Green Tea

AromaFlavorValueTotal
8 of 105 of 55 of 592 of 100
ExcellentExcellentOutstanding

This is a mellow tea, and probably my favorite sencha I've ever tried, and I also think it is one that would have broad appeal. I found it very easy to brew, pleasantly aromatic, and relatively smooth in flavor, in every incarnation. I also found that it lasted through multiple infusions better than any other Japanese tea I've tried.

Dry leaf is intensely green in color, almost like gyokuro, and has a mellow, pleasing fragrance, suggestive of sweetness.

Brews up a relatively clear cup (less cloudy than a lot of sencha). Quite mild tasting. Flavor is sweet, with little bitterness. Light astringency in the finish, just enough to impart a pleasant body. Aroma is grassy, fresh, slightly floral, and ever-so-slightly toasty.

Easily brews three infusions. I found Mellow Monk's brewing recommendations to be spot-on. Using a 1-2 minute infusion produces just about the right range of strengths that I'd like. The second cup, brewing 1 minute as recommended, was nearly identical to the first. The third cup I found changed character ever-so-slightly, tasting cooler, crisper, fresher, and more herbaceous, but also thinner-bodied.

The leaves still had some aroma left in them after the third cup and I suspect it would have brewed a fourth cup, but I haven't wanted that much tea in one sitting yet, so I can't say.

This tea is not very picky about brewing temperature. I tried upping the water temperature (probably to around 190) just out of curiosity, to see what happened. I find that the tea developed a very slighty metallic taste, noticeable but not even enough to really bother me much. It did not get appreciably bitter, nor develop any of that "overcooked spinach" aroma or other "off" aromas the way most gyokuro and some sencha does if the water temperature is too high.

The tea this reminds me most of is the Ureshino Tamaryokucha I tried from Wegmans (also produced on Kyushu, probably not far from where this is produced), but unlike that tea, this one was much slower to infuse, and thus harder to oversteep and much easier to make multiple steepings from.

I give this tea very high recommendations. It's easy to brew, pleasing to drink, has the complexity to please connoisseurs, but I can see it appealing to a broad audience due to its smooth flavor. The price is also very reasonable; I've tried pricier sencha that I liked less, and the leaf stretches very far, given it can make at least three nice cups from a teaspoon of leaves.

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