When Paul at Mellow Monk told me that Kuma Green 1228 was in the same family as Top Leaf, I couldn’t wait to try it. Comparing the dry leaves, I can absolutely see it. Appearance wise, I can hardly tell them apart. Kuma Green 1228 has the same dark green leaves, the only difference is Top Leaf is a little less tightly twisted. While Top Leaf has more loosely rolled leaves, Kuma Green 1228 is more spindly and twisty.

They also both smell fresh and vegetal and mouth watering. But while Top Leaf smells a bit more darker some how, Kuma Green 1228 smells a bit more almost fruity. The wet leaf also resembles cooked spinach on both.

This too produces a beautiful green broth. The first steep is a delicious sweetly vegetal green, just barely hinting at a seaweed like note, which I love. It’s also dm very smooth, with no astringency or bitterness. I practically gulped down the 16oz cup.

Second steeping, the tea is a bit cloudy, but that doesn’t seem to affect the flavor in any way. This steeping, the vegetal notes have mellowed a bit, allowing a citrusy note to come into play at the very end of the sip. It reminds me of cooked spinach with the smallest touch of lemon juice.

The third steep is even more mellow and delicate, and this time there’s a floral note dancing with the citrus note at the end of the sip. Overall it’s a very subdued cup.

Like Top Leaf, I loved this. I like how in the second and third steep, instead of just becoming weaker, new notes are found as the overall cup becomes weaker. I’m going to have to do a side by side comparison to see which one I love more.

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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