So, I've been on a bit of a Japanese tea binge recently, and my parents got me some Top Leaf tea from Mellow Monk. According to their website, this is a traditional Japanese green tea (read: unshaded), which was picked using only the youngest leaves on the very top of the tea bush, and that it received extra (organic) fertilizer throughout the season. I most say, the care that went into this tea shows.
When I first opened the bag, the first thing I noticed was the strong aroma of grass and vegetation that came out of the bag. Next, I noticed that the leaves were smaller than any other tea I had ever tried, but that they were a vibrant, fresh green. After heating up some water to the point that it was giving off a lot of steam, yest not bubbling on the bottom, I steeped the tea for two minutes.
The resulting tea was a vibrant green, with a strong grassy aroma. An interesting feature of the tea was that there was a lot of tea duct in the leaves, which made the tea initially a bit cloudy, but it eventually settled to the bottom as green fuzz. The teaste of the tea was very interesting, because I have never had a tea that was quite so grassy, but it was not overpowering. The other flavors were sublte vegetable flavors, which were enhanced by the above-mentioned grass flavor. The tea was also very smooth, leaving behind a faint aftertaste of grass.
Later steeps of the tea had the grassy flavors gradually become more subdued, and made the tea even more subtle. I was using my tea ball, and I got a good 6 infusions out of the leves before the tea became lightly-flavored water. Overall, it was a good tea for winter, becasue it brought to mind better (warmer) times, and was perfect for sipping while doing homework in my rather cold north-facing room. I do caution readers that it is a rather different green tea than one typically finds in America, so I would try out samples of Japanese-style teas before bying the gram bag of this.
Also, some time during the coming week I will post revies for the two different teas I got from Norbu Tea.