Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk

Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk is a Kumamoto-style guricha with tea leaf stems.  Apparently, the curly-shaped guricha leaves are prepared using a steaming process, rather than a pan-fried process, which give this tea its special flavor.

First and foremost, let me say that I like the name of the tea, and it’s helped me be inspired while drinking this brew. This is a well-balanced tea, just the right mix of both vegetal and fruity notes, and both sweet and savory tones. The vegetal notes feel like spring grass that grew up fast and got caught by that last, sudden wet frost.  This tea feels green and fresh, like melting frost on new grass, very wet and green.

There are also some brighter notes, which taste more lemony with a hint of savory herbs like sage or parsley.  In the aftertaste, there’s a bit of green almost-melon sweetness.  The most I drink this tea, the more I experience a buttery mouthfeel with hints of toasted nuts.  

Reminding me of the cusp of spring weather where new greens meet the last clutches of cold, Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk is aptly named, and a fresh, fantastic brew.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk

Frosty Garden™ is a shiraore (also known as karigane), a tasty sencha mixed with some white leaf stems. That, plus a slightly different tea-crafting technique, results in a uniquely “soft” tea—a lightly herbaceous aroma, a gentle, creamy sweetness with nutty overtones, hints of sage, and a savory finish. This tea is always first flush—made from the first harvest of spring leaves.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Fresh and Easygoing Green: Tian Mu Mao #FengGreen Tea from @Teavivre

There’s a lot of green teas out there: potent matcha, sour kukicha, toasted hojicha, or smoky gunpowder, to name just a few. After trying this offering from Teavivre, now I can add Feng Green tea to my list.

First of all, the leaves of Feng Green tea were unlike any of the green teas I mentioned. The Feng Green tea leaves were long and tightly curled, tangling into each other as I tried to scoop some tea into my teapot.  This was certainly a different shape than the rolled pellets of gunpowder green, or the flattened hojicha leaves, or the powdered matcha.

The Feng Green dry leaf smelled lightly floral and just a touch sour, like an aged forest floor.  There was just a hint of something spicier, like pine resin or citrus, almost making the leaves smell like a box of Christmas potpourri.  Brewed, the tea is well-balanced, with the expected grassy green notes, a hint of sour fermentation, and a full scent and aftertaste of sweet apple and green grape.
I don’t often reach for green teas, but Feng Green from Teavivre was so drinkable and naturally sweet that I found myself making a cup to help take the edge off my long afternoons.

Try Feng Green when you need something pleasant and easygoing, like sitting on your porch and taking in the fresh grass of spring and the fresh fruits of summer.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Teavivre

Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng Green Tea is one of the ten famous Chinese teas. This Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng Green Tea origins in organic tea base of Tianmu Mountain in Lin’an, Hangzhou. The organic tea base of Tianmu Mountain, has passed the organic certification of European, USA and Japan, is a significant base of planting organic dragon well and green tea. When brewing, it tastes light sweet and fragrance. In Chinese, Mao Feng refers to the hairy buds—to be covered by pekoes means a super quality of the tea leaves.
This Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng Green Tea is produced by traditional manual frying method and the idea of modern crafts of tea making. Combined with the advantages of organic tea and high grade tea, it is suitable for tea lovers of organic tea,

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Himalayan Shangri-la from Teabox

If I had to choose between dark oolong or green oolong, for me it would be green every time. I find them characterful and unique, with more variation in flavour than I’ve typically found (at least so far…) among their roasted counterparts. And that’s coming from a habitual black tea drinker.

Himalayan Shangri-la is a Nepalese Oolong from 2015. It’s a first flush, or spring, oolong comprising highly graded leaves taken from a single estate.

The leaf here is pretty impressive – they’re long and twisty, with a high predominance of downy buds, and vary from a dark khaki to the palest green-silver. The scent is lightly vegetal and just a touch floral, in the way of orchids.

I followed the recommended parameters, and gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in water cooled to around 85 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, the scent mineral. The initial flavour is also mineral, with a hint of petrichor and wet rock. There’s a hint of heady floral in the mid-sip, reminiscent of orchid and jasmine. Heavily scented, and very reminiscent of perfume, but thankfully not in the cloying, throat-coating way some floral tea possess. The end of the sip features some cleaner, fresher notes. Tomato flesh, wet grass, and the return of the petrichor.

I really enjoyed this one. It’s a flavourful green oolong, and the tomato note in particularly was a highlight as it’s not something I’ve come across in an oolong before. If you’re looking for a high quality oolong that’s also accessible in flavour terms (there’s nothing to deter the newcomer here…) then this would be a good place to start. If you already love oolong, this one might still have a few surprises…

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teabox

If there is one oolong that can compete in the same league as the Taiwanese and the Chinese kind it has to be this Nepalese offering. The rigors of high elevation, mineral-rich terrain, and cool air allow the plants to grow slowly resulting in an immensely flavorful tea. Also interesting is the fact that it’s from the country’s small-scale producers’ cooperative which produces small batches of orthodox teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Dragon Well Green Tea from Canton Tea Co.

organic_dragon_wellTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This delicious organic Dragon Well is grown in the hills of Zhejiang Province near Long Jing, the village where this famous tea originated. The green tea leaves are picked young and taken back to the village where the skilled tea masters use their bare hands to press them flat in a hot, dry wok in the traditional way. This arrests the oxidation process and ensures the liquor carries the notes of freshly cut grass, rounded off by a soft, nutty flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Dragon Well has become, to my surprise, one of my favourite green tea varieties. I used to think I didn’t like green tea, but I’ve been persuaded over time by some those I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried. The leaves of this particular Dragon Well have been folded and pressed flat. They’re around 1cm in length on average, although some are longer and some are a little shorter. The overall tone is variegated, running from the dark green of pine needles to the lighter green of spring grass, some with a yellow mottling. The scent is quite heavily vegetal. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. Once unfurled, it’s clear that the leaves are mostly partial, although there are some almost whole leaves complete with stems. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow green, the scent remaining vegetal.

To taste, this tea strikes a pleasant balance between grass, green beans, and chestnuts. The initial sip is almost sweet, in the way of freshly shelled peas, but this quickly deepens to a more vegetal intensity. I’m reminded very much of freshly cooked green beans – still retaining some sweetness, but with an overriding savoury flavour. There’s a grassiness in the mid sip that continues the sweet theme, and which helps to brightens up the heavier notes of green bean. The end of the sip is mildly nutty, with a slight roastiness, putting me firmly in mind of chestnuts at Christmas. I’m usually the kind of person that drinks green tea more in spring/summer, but this one seems particularly well suited to autumn. It’s a relatively complex green tea with multiple layers of flavour, but they’re all complementary and work well together to create a beautifully flavourful cup that still possesses some subtlety. Nothing here is overpowering. I also feel I should commend this tea for its smoothness and lack of astringency. It’s almost buttery in terms of mouthfeel – silky and decadent.

I really enjoyed this cup, and I’d definitely look at Canton Tea Co. for green tea again in the future. This is a beautiful example of a Dragon Well, and I’d like to think it could please connoisseurs, while also converting those less certain about green tea in general. This tea is a green tea everyone should try.

Lemongrass and Ginger from T2 Tea

LemongrassGingerTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal blend

Where to Buy:  T2 Tea

Tea Description:

Zesty and bright lemongrass contrasts the spicy flavor of ginger to create a bright and wild taste sensation.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I enjoy tea blends that have lemongrass added, but I don’t reach for plain lemongrass much. I am also not a huge fan of ginger as it’s usually very strong and spicy, but I’m in the mood for a tummy-soothing blend this evening.

The blend smells very invigorating! The lemongrass is strong with a nice ginger note. It’s not surprising as the only two ingredients are ginger and lemongrass.  I have a feeling this blend is going to be rather straight-forward.. no real surprises.

I’m enjoying this cup much more than I thought I would. I notice the lemongrass first. It’s lively and bright. Not tart, but smooth and calming. The ginger appears next and is a bit more mild than I thought it would be. It lends a delicate spicy note that works quite well with the lemongrass.  The ginger also has that sweet, tongue-coating quality, but it doesn’t linger.

Even though I wouldn’t reach for this daily, I could see this blend being a nice choice to have in the cupboard. If you’re on the hunt for a lemongrass and ginger blend, I recommend this one from T2 Tea! It’s balanced, satisfying and refreshing.