The folks over at Mellow Monk were excited to inform me of a new tea being added to their fine selection. Mr. Watanabe is an award-winning artisan who is dedicated to the quality of his tea, and Kuma Green 1228 refers to the location of his tea estate. This new tea is a guricha-style sencha. It should be brewed at 167°F for two minutes. The dry leaves are tiny and emerald green with some lighter tips scattered throughout. The aroma before brewing is a slightly bitter vegetal scent, and reminds me of cut grass in the summer. Use a wide strainer in order to give the small dry leaves room to unfurl. You'll be amazed at how they expand while steeping!
The bitter aroma softens once brewed, and takes on a whole new identity once you take your initial sip. The first flavor on the tongue is surprisingly sweet. Like sugar has been added! Fortunately for us the tea carries that refreshing sweetness naturally! I marveled over that for some time, as I've never had a tea tasting start out like that. A light citrus note comes into play afterward that lingers on the palate and reminds me of a sugared lemon candy -- followed by that I get a taste of jasmine on the back of the tongue. It is a very gentle and light cup. It makes me think of a springtime afternoon just as winter lets go ...timid greens and flowers springing up once the snow melts.
The cup brews an incredible peridot color, and is marvelous to look at in a glass teacup.
Thank you again to Mellow Monk, for finding such incredible Japanese artisans and sharing their tea with the world. I am never let down by their offerings and their dedication to quality. Did you know they offer gift certificates on their website? I recommend picking one up as a holiday gift for the tea-lover in your life! ♥