This is my second free tea sample for review from Paul at Mellow Monk. Thanks again, Paul, for the opportunity to try your lovely teas! This is Mellow Monk’s version of sencha, and the 1228 refers to the grower’s street address, which I thought was really cool. The leaves are rather irregular in terms of both size and shape – some are long and thin like needles, some are shorter and wider, some are somewhat curved. There seem to be a lot of broken leaves, although by looking at it I would say this is intentional. The dry scent is a lovely comforting combination of sweet alfala hay and succulent grass with some honeydew notes. I did three steeps of this tea, all at 165 degrees: 1.5 minutes, 45 seconds, and another 45 seconds.

The first steep was 90 seconds. The liquid is a lovely yellow-green that reminds me of a certain lemon-lime carbonated beverage! The aroma is both sweet and savory, the sweet being grass and butternut squash, and the savory being a touch of seaweed and vegetable broth. It also smells creamy and buttery with notes of soy milk. Wow, the sweetness in the taste surprised me! It’s quite sweet with steamed spinach and dark grass notes, but there is a savory touch of saline seaweed and vegetable broth. The texture is definitely thick and creamy, and I’m detecting a light touch of floral. The aftertaste is all sweet grass.

The second steep was 45 seconds. The aroma seemed quite similar to me – a combination of sweet butternut and savory seaweed broth. The taste, however, was even sweeter than the first steep. The texture has lightened a bit, and now there’s a touch of crisp, sweet apple. I’m still tasting steamed spinach and the floral has identified itself as jasmine to my palate. There’s a very slight drying sensation and a tiny hint of bitterness in the aftertaste.

The third steep was also 45 seconds. The liquid is just slightly lighter in color this time, and perhaps a touch more green. Aroma is sweet and mild with spinach, grass, and jasmine notes. Again, the taste is super sweet, and it reminds me of honeydew melon juice. The foundation of steamed spinach and sweet grass remains, and the jasmine seems to have become slightly stronger for me, especially in the aftertaste. Astringency is extremely slight, and I’m picking up a light lemon flavor after the sip.

I really enjoyed this one! I did find it to have some similarities to the Top Leaf – both are quite sweet with spinach and honeydew notes, but the Kuma Green 1228 had a distinct natural jasmine flavor while the Top Leaf was more citrusy. Both are totally delicious Japanese greens from Mellow Monk!

If anyone would like to try a sample of either of these lovely teas, please let me know with a comment or a PM. Willing to share!

Flavors: Apple, Broth, Butter, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Grass, Honeydew, Jasmine, Lemon, Seaweed, Spinach, Sweet

160 °F / 71 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

ooh, I’d love to try the Kuma Green. I’ve had the Top LEaf before and it is delicious…

Cameron B.

TeaBrat, I’ll be sure to send you some. :D

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



ooh, I’d love to try the Kuma Green. I’ve had the Top LEaf before and it is delicious…

Cameron B.

TeaBrat, I’ll be sure to send you some. :D

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby related-things… ;)

~ June Sipdowns: 37
~ Total 2021 Sipdowns: 358

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I also use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Current Subscriptions:
Bird & Blend
Dessert by Deb
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, and oolong varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I love matcha and drink it often!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Taiwan Tea Crafts
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer