Mellow Monk® green tea is made guricha style. Also known as tamaryokucha ("curly green tea"), this is the most popular kind of green tea in Kumamoto, where our tea artisans are located.
Kumamoto guricha: A unique sencha
Our green tea tea is grown, harvested, and crafted essentially the same way as conventional sencha, but crucial differnces result in curly tea leaves — and a flavor unique to guricha.
Exquisite flavor profile
Our green tea combines the herbal “green” flavor of conventional sencha with the citrusy brightness and berry-like sweetness unique to guricha. The sweetness, which spreads gently across the palate, is similar to that of gyokuro. Behind these foundational flavor components are secondary components, such as the hint of melon behind the berrylike sweetness in, or the overtones of sage. Our tea is also less astringent than ordinary sencha.
Naturally, our guricha/tamaryokucha can also steeped more than once. Each infusion brings out a subtly different flavor and aroma.
Steaming locks in the flavor
Mellow Monk tea is made by steaming (mushisei in Japanese), instead of pan frying. Steaming is thought to preserve more of the disease-fighting antioxidants than frying, and to preserve the tea's natural earthy flavor.
Always first flush
All of our tea is first flush. "First flush" means a tea orchard's very first harvest of tea in the spring. These are the branchtop leaves that have been growing since the second flush, which is harvested in the fall. These leaves avoided the baking heat of the summer sun, growing instead in the milder climate of the late fall, aged and mellowed in the chilly winter air, and then began growing anew in the spring. So what you get is the perfect balance beetween aged and fresh flavor and aroma.
From Japan's heartland
Mellow Monk tea is from the Kumamoto region of Kyushu — a major farming region that produces some of Japan's best tea, rice, and other crops.
Just like the soil and climate of California's Napa Valley make for such sought-after wine, the soil and climate of Kumamoto are eminently suited to growing green tea.
Our tea comes directly from a family-owned and -operated tea estates in Kumamoto. Read more about our growers here.
Harvesting the choicest leaves
Tea plants are shrubs around three feet tall. Tea leaves are harvested by clipping the uppermost leaves — the newest leaves, which not only taste better but also have more antioxidants than older leaves, simply because they haven't been baking in the sun as long.
Each morning during harvest season, our grower–artisans harvest only as much leaf as they can finish crafting into tea that day. And by taking the harvested leaves immediately from the orchard for steaming — thereby minimizing oxidation — the growers lock in the tea's fresh taste, earthy aroma, and rich supply of natural antioxidants.