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96
drank Zealong Pure by Chicago Tea Garden
911 tasting notes

So apparently New Zealand can make some tea. Who knew? But yeah, this is some seriously tasty stuff.

Normally I’m not one for using boiling water on greener oolongs. However, the directions printed inside the tea’s packaging say use boiling water and, given that Zealong’s packaging is pretty serious (a vacuum-sealed bag of tea inside a matte black square tin which sits snugly in the foam bottom of a large, magnetic-close box), I’m going to take their directions seriously, too. Zealong also says you can take this up to 8 steeps. I’m not sure I can make it that long, even if the tea can, but we’ll see.

The dry leaves have a very faint smell to them. Very faint. Even the liquid is fairly lightly scented, but it is a delicious smell anyway.
Steep 1 (1min): Sipping is kind of wow. It’s rich – dark, heavy, sweet, floral at first. Slurping a bit makes the flavor lighten up more and becomes like a fresh lemongrass flavor. As it cools, that almost-lemon-candy note comes up more and more. There’s a little dryness left behind after each sip, along with a lovely sweet, floral/fruity taste.

Steep 2 (1min): The main reason I don’t use boiling water on oolongs is that it seems that the leaves can get easily cooked and that smell and taste is kind of gross to me. After pouring the tea, these leaves now have a bit of that cooked scent about them, but instead of smelling like over-boiled collard greens, it’s like toasted bread… with some lemon preserves smeared on top. The tea, though, doesn’t have any overcooked-ness to it but there is a darker note to it that wasn’t present in the first steep. Also, the fresh lemongrass note has turned into a more lemon preserves note. The astringency is still there and adds a bit of texture at the end of the sip.

Steep 3 (1min): The flavor is darker now. The lemon note is gone and replaced with an almost honey note. Slurping brings out a woody flavor. There might be a hint of something almost spicy, or I might be insane.

Steep 4 (2min): Heavier again with the nuances and light notes of the first steep kind of muddied up a bit but still not overcooked. And is the lemon back some? And maybe something that reminds me of cream… (Though that could have been the sip of half & half I took while making the hubby some EG, but it continues to stick around so maybe it’s the tea.)

Steep 5 (3min): The leaves are smelling pretty done now but the done-ness hasn’t come into the tea. It’s darker, heavier, thicker and a little more one-note tasting than previous steeps but there’s still a faint hint of lemon/lemon preserves.

Steep 6 (4min): Might be tasting a little overcooked now? Still has a lot of the same tastes as steep 5, though.

Okay, I’m done. Seriously, I’ve had a lot of oolong – it might be coming out of my pores at this point. Could the tea take a couple of more steeps? Maybe. Can I? Nope. But I will say that this is seriously good stuff though. Congrats, New Zealand, for making good tea!
5g/5oz

PS – Just watched the documentary All in This Tea. Definitely recommend it to any tea lover out there!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
T.C.

Ah, I need to try this! Great thorough review, by the way.

Auggy

Thanks! It’s a tasty one. I probably won’t take it through as many steeps in the future but it’s always fun to see what a new tea can do!

EntireTea

I’m wondering if I was drinking something different…. I didn’t really like it at all when I tried it!

I didn’t use boiling water… maybe that’s why? I didn’t really like ANY of the Zealong teas that I got from Chicago Tea Garden… but it seems like everyone else loves them. Maybe I’ll have to try them again later.

Auggy

The directions that come in the fancy Zealong box state to use boiling water – I don’t recall if the CTG reference card they include states boiling or not, but since the fancy box said to, I figured they really meant it. And it could be that not using boiling (or near boiling) water is making it not pop for you (I know some oolongs (well, teas in general) can be muddy tasting at lower temps) or it could just be that these types of oolongs aren’t up your alley? Though I’d have to say, having 2 of the 3 so far, if you normally like these types of teas, it’s probably the water temp that is keeping you from liking these specific ones – because they are good! (If that all makes sense.)

EntireTea

It might just be that I don’t really like the smokier Wulongs, like you said… I’ve finished 4 of the 5 teas that I ordered from Tea from Taiwan, and I think all of them are absolutely amazing… but they seem to be more on the smooth/sweet side of Wulong territory.

Auggy

The Pure isn’t smoky at all though – it’s really green. And normally I’m not a fan of darker roasted oolongs but I still liked the Zealong Dark because it’s not smoky so much as toasted and it’s really sweet (and I like sweet – though it is fairly roasty tasting so that still might be a bad thing for you). I haven’t been super-impressed by most of Tea from Taiwan’s offerings (they haven’t been bad (well, except for the GABA tea, I think it was) just not all that fantastic) but if you like them I’m surprised you don’t like Pure – it’s similarly light in oxidation. I thought maybe you tended to dislike greener oolongs since some folks feel they are too mild tasting (and I could totally see how Pure could get that reaction from someone used to a stronger brew).

EntireTea

Not sure… but it definitely sounds like I need to try it again. It was one of the first teas I tried after about 2 months of being without tea, so my taste buds may have been out of practice.

Auggy

Maybe it will behave for you next time. ;)

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Comments

T.C.

Ah, I need to try this! Great thorough review, by the way.

Auggy

Thanks! It’s a tasty one. I probably won’t take it through as many steeps in the future but it’s always fun to see what a new tea can do!

EntireTea

I’m wondering if I was drinking something different…. I didn’t really like it at all when I tried it!

I didn’t use boiling water… maybe that’s why? I didn’t really like ANY of the Zealong teas that I got from Chicago Tea Garden… but it seems like everyone else loves them. Maybe I’ll have to try them again later.

Auggy

The directions that come in the fancy Zealong box state to use boiling water – I don’t recall if the CTG reference card they include states boiling or not, but since the fancy box said to, I figured they really meant it. And it could be that not using boiling (or near boiling) water is making it not pop for you (I know some oolongs (well, teas in general) can be muddy tasting at lower temps) or it could just be that these types of oolongs aren’t up your alley? Though I’d have to say, having 2 of the 3 so far, if you normally like these types of teas, it’s probably the water temp that is keeping you from liking these specific ones – because they are good! (If that all makes sense.)

EntireTea

It might just be that I don’t really like the smokier Wulongs, like you said… I’ve finished 4 of the 5 teas that I ordered from Tea from Taiwan, and I think all of them are absolutely amazing… but they seem to be more on the smooth/sweet side of Wulong territory.

Auggy

The Pure isn’t smoky at all though – it’s really green. And normally I’m not a fan of darker roasted oolongs but I still liked the Zealong Dark because it’s not smoky so much as toasted and it’s really sweet (and I like sweet – though it is fairly roasty tasting so that still might be a bad thing for you). I haven’t been super-impressed by most of Tea from Taiwan’s offerings (they haven’t been bad (well, except for the GABA tea, I think it was) just not all that fantastic) but if you like them I’m surprised you don’t like Pure – it’s similarly light in oxidation. I thought maybe you tended to dislike greener oolongs since some folks feel they are too mild tasting (and I could totally see how Pure could get that reaction from someone used to a stronger brew).

EntireTea

Not sure… but it definitely sounds like I need to try it again. It was one of the first teas I tried after about 2 months of being without tea, so my taste buds may have been out of practice.

Auggy

Maybe it will behave for you next time. ;)

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Profile

Bio

I’m trying to be a better tea logger and actually post semi-regularly again! I’ve let my tea tasting senses become too complacent – it’s time for some focused and attentive tea drinking!

Sometimes my notices for PMs and such have been questionable. Email me at your own risk at aug3zimm at gmail dot com.


1 – 10 – Bleck. Didn’t finish the cup.
11 – 25 – Drinkable. But don’t punish me by making me have it again.
26 – 40 – Meh. Most likely will see if the husband likes it iced.
41 – 60 – Okayish. Maybe one day I’ll kill off what I have in my pantry.
61 – 75 – Decent. I might pick some up if I needed tea.
76 – 85 – Nice. I’d probably buy but wouldn’t hunt it down.
86 – 100 – Yum! I will hunt down the vendor to get this tea!

Not that anyone but me particularly cares, but there it is.

Location

Texas

Website

http://pinkness.danzimmermann...

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