68
drank Zen by Tazo
951 tasting notes

Little by little, my original stash of what seems like thousands o’ tea bags that I bought to try to turn myself into a tea drinker (before I started reading up and realized that was not the best way to go), is diminishing if not yet dwindling. This is among that group, and one of the first I bought. I think it was part of the second wave of splurge, after the original Bigelow/Twinings purchases. It’s in one of those spacious rectangular tins that the full leaf “sachets” come in.

The sachets, by the way, are pretty nice. I feel confident I’m not going to taste paper, I can see the leaves, and there’s lots of room for them to swim in once they hit the water without being too compressed. They do expand to fill the bag and bump up against the sides a bit once they’ve steeped fully.

I expected to like this one quite a bit as it has a reputation for being one of the tastier Tazo blends. But I think I may have to come to terms with the fact that I am not generally liking flavored green teas. Green teas on their own, yes. But I haven’t yet found a flavored green tea that really sends me. This one smells quite nice, a little minty, a little green, and a tiny bit of citrus if I really try hard.

While this is a significant improvement over the Orange Blossom by Tazo, I like their China Green Tips better as a green tea. I can taste a grassiness in the Zen, but it doesn’t have the sweetness and succulence of the Green Tips. And I like Refresh quite a bit as a mint tisane. The combination of peppermint, spearmint and tarragon really works well, and is much more interesting to me than the spearmint present here. In fact, Refresh is still the frontrunner in my Tazo experience and I plan to buy more of it (loose this time) when I run out of the bags as I’ve not been able to duplicate the blend using my own peppermint, spearmint and tarragon.

This isn’t bad, it just isn’t as great as I’d expected, and it’s not something I’ll feel compelled to replace when I finish. I could see having it every once in a while when something I like better isn’t available.

Also, I should say that it steeps well at a longer time without bitterness, but there’s not a noticeable change in flavor between 1.5 min and 3 min.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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