Zen Tara Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

86

Thanks to Geoffrey for a sample of this tea!

In comparison to Rishi’s Yunnan Golden Buds (hereafter RYGB), these leaves are smaller and darker (less pure gold). I think that is because this isn’t a pure bud tea. The liquor is also much darker than RYGB (this is more like a dark brownish-red, whereas RYGB is a light red with a disctinctive gold ring around the edge of the cup).

There was no bitterness or astringency, and had a definite presence of honey sweetness, and cinnamon or some other spice. The aroma and overall flavor are not as strong as RYGB, so I am rating it slightly lower. However, this is still a delicious Yunnan Gold.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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100

I really like this tea. Really, really liked it. It was great steaming hot, it was great when it cooled off, and it’s delicious over ice. I added a little sugar once, just in case, but the extra sweetness didn’t help. It’s perfect on its own.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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61

That’s the end of this sample packet – I found that it was an interesting alternative to the usual nutty-tasting Chinese green teas. Despite its sour flavour I have noticed that it gets a bit sweeter as the tea cools off a bit, so it does have some redeeming qualities which was I why I didn’t completely slag this tea. ;)

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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61

I’m glad I cut back the steeping time a bit because I like this cup better than the last one. It’s still grassy in flavour but not as overwhelmingly as it was before and the sourness isn’t as pronounced either. The sweetness is a bit clearer, and I actually can taste a bit of fruitiness that could be interpreted as the plum flavour people talk about with this type of tea.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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61

The name ‘Chunmee’ always makes me laugh – I mean precious eyebrows? I consider my eyebrows to be a lot of things but ‘precious’ generally isn’t one of them. The dry tea does sort of bear a resemblance I guess – the leaves are twisted into short little curves, though to me it’s still a bit of a stretch.

The tea brews up fairly dark for a green tea, turning the water a sort of dark-golden colour. Right away I can taste the sourness in the description, it’s not exactly gack-worthy but it takes some getting used to. In my head it’s not so much like sour plums as it’s comparable to a crisp, dry, white wine like a sauvignon blanc. The body of the tea is rather grassy and the aftertaste has a touch of sweet that I wish was a bit stronger.

The resteep (@ 3:30 min) is much mellower, but it still has a hint of that dry, grass-like sourness. The sweetness at the end is a bit stronger however – possibly because the other flavour elements aren’t drowning it out.

All in all I’d say that this isn’t my cup of tea (pun not intended…okay maybe a little) although I think that might be down to personal tastes rather than this being a crappy tea – I haven’t really tried enough chunmees to form an option of how this particular tea holds up to others of the same kind.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Suzi

You won’t realize how precious your eyebrows are until you do a bad job lighting a gas fire and burn those suckers right off.

(I haven’t actually done this, but one of my friends burnt off half an eyebrow lighting her BBQ. It never quite grew back.)

Jillian

Mythbusters’ Adam Savage – “Am I missing an eyebrow?”
XD

gmathis

Piffle .. this is the third time I’ve tried to post this comment and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth the read … in short … favorite Mythbusters wallpaper is google-able, still, buried deep on the Discovery.com website, but it’s Adam and Jamie in Victorian garb sipping tea.

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100

On their site, Zen Tara calls this Pu-erh & Blood Orange Blend, but the package they sent me says “Organic Red Tiger Tea” so I put that in the title too.

Open the package and it smells like fresh citrus fruit, mostly orange. Yum!

The liquor never gets as dark as other pu-erhs do, and really all I can taste is the oranges and grapefruit. Mostly the oranges. I get a little spice in there, maybe the licorice, but not much, just an accent. It kind of reminds me of those orange spice kind of teas, except juicier and just much better. Also with those orange spice teas, it’s usually a black tea that it is blended with (I’m thinking Constant Comment here-side note-Constant Comment was the first tea I ever had with sugar in it, a patient’s sister made it for me, and really it was pretty good.), but the pu-erh is so subtle in this, you almost can’t tell it’s there. The mellowness and earthiness of the pu-erh goes soooo well with the citrus. Seriously, this tastes and smells like fresh oranges squeezed into your cup of pu-erh, without the pulp and that sometimes acrid smell from the pith. I’m talking good fresh oranges. It’s very fresh tasting.

Oh my gosh, I love this one. Quite excellent.

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79

I love the medley of white tea, fragrant jasmine and sweet honeydew. Steep for about 2-3 mins and you’ll be rewarded with a tea reminiscent of spring time. Great to chase away the winter blues.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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100

Up to that point, I tried my fair share of Dian Hongs (Yunnan blacks) but never the “golden” variety, which was apparently the best way to get it. And, boy, the sommeliers are right. This IS the way to get it. I felt like I was drinking buttered candy with a cup of straight beer malt. It was clean, subtle, but somehow…manly. Also worthy of mention is a cinnamony note on the scent and aftertaste. It was a perfect black tea.

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2010/12/26/review-zen-tara-golden-yunnan-special/

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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84

Unlike yerba mate – which can have a bitter, bark-like taste to it – this has a tinge of sweetness on the aftertaste to offset the initial nettle palate. That and it kicks you in the arse for a good five hours. (I.e. It’s caffeinated. Deliciously caffeinated.)

Full Review: http://www.teaviews.com/2010/12/15/review-zen-tara-tea-organic-amazonian-guayusa-tea/

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Jaime

A good five hours? I hope it doesn’t kill me.

Geoffrey Norman

It’s about as caffeinated as yerba mate, which in turn is as caffeinated as a light cup of coffee. But luckily it is a “slow jolt”. In other words, it builds gradually throughout the day. Doesn’t zing ya all at once.

Jaime

Builds gradually? Sounds like an early morning drink for me…sometimes caffeine and I aren’t the best of friends.

Geoffrey Norman

Caffeine and I are in a love/hate relationship. Loves me in the morning (but not on an empty stomach). Hates me at night. And only tolerates me in tea form.

Jaime

Good to know caffeine treats other people the same way!

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72

Slightly astringent, but refreshing brew. A good tea to try if you’re over sencha but aren’t willing to commit to the pricey matcha.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Lincang Maofeng by Zen Tara Tea
120 tasting notes

The leaves for this tea are contrasting light and dark green braided leaves. The dry aroma has overtones from its wok firing and vegetal notes you can pick out.

This tea brews a vivid amber liquor and provides a steeped aroma reminiscent of grilled squash and charred leeks.

The flavors are less subtle. Strong astringency with fired notes similar to a camp firey Lapsang Souchong and notes of charred leeks match with nutty textures in the finish and a long tail.

I happen to enjoy these strong teas from time to time and am excited to find another Yunnan tea I can pick from.

I would recommend this tea for fans of Gunpowder green teas, Lapsang Souchong black teas and less malty Assam teas.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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76

Got a free sample of this including with the rather disappointing GABA tea. This is a nice green oolong with a floral sweetness and spiciness very reminiscent of a Tie Guan Yin, but it is a Taiwanese cultivar.

Can’t give exact brewing directions because I did it in my kamjove, but would start with enough leaf to cover the bottom of a gaiwan, water about 185-195 degrees, and 30 second first infusion, increasing time for at least 5-6 infusions. Didn’t have enough to test the stamina of the leaves for many many infusions.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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86

I’m sitting here at Zen Tara Tea in Bethesda sipping on one of their iced teas of the day. So nice and refreshing, especially since it’s 93 degrees outside!

Preparation
Iced
VeryPisces

Were you sipping houjicha? I can’t imagine it iced.

slygirl

Indeed, it was their featured iced tea that day. I haven’t tasted it in a while, though.

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48

I bought this tea at the request of a friend who had heard about it and was interested in the purported health benefits of the GABA-rich tea. I thought it sounded intriguing, and I’m always up for an oolong, so I tried it. The dry leaf was brown rather the green I expected from their photo, and when brewed I was a bit disappointed at the relatively thin flavor: I used a quantity that usually is enough to fill my thermos with rich, deep oolong flavor from wuyi, anxi, or taiwanese teas.

I steeped it at 185 degrees, several infusions totaling about 2-3 minutes of infusion time, and combined the infusions to fill my thermos. The result was a brown infusion, with flavor of highly oxidized, almost black tea—no hint of bitterness, but a lightly fruity flavor, without much spice or earthiness.

I have passed it on to my friend after we shared the first infusion, and doubt I’d buy it again. It wasn’t particularly memorable, and I didn’t feel particularly mellow afterwards either.

Addendum: as I was cleaning up last night, I discovered the leaves from this tea were still left in my kamjove, and about 10 hours after the infusion, they were springy, not as soft as typically rehydrated tea leaves, and had a wonderful plum scent—probably more accurately, a very pleasant prune scent—fruity and sweet, and I was regretting giving the entire rest of the bag over to my friend, because it seemed like something with so much good scent must have more flavor potential as tea. Sigh. But if he figures out how to make it yummier, maybe I’ll try a smaller sample again.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

Thanks for this review! I’m really curious about GABA oolongs. So sad to hear that that the taste is thin.

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99

I think pu-erh is quickly becoming my favorite black tea.
This one comes in those cute little discs, and fits in my tea ball perfectly.
Very smooth and mellow. Very rich in color and taste. There is a hint of something, I can’t tell what it is, something different than the other pu-erh I have, like a hint of a spice? I’m not sure if my taste buds are fooling me. Either way, I like it!
My first tea from Zen Tara, and it’s a winner!

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89

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Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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71

To me, this tea is like a smoother, milder gunpowder green tea. The milky flavor definitely makes it nice and mellow – looking forward to another 3 steeps!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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76

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Preparation
3 min, 30 sec

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76

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Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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76

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Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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76

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Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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73

More of a grassier/green type taste today…

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73

Yea…this is green tea alright. And it does seems like it has a sweet/sour aftertaste…it’s good and interesting.

gmathis

Dumb question … I’m guessing the “eyebrow” refers to leaf shape? Or does it make your eyebrows quirk strangely while you try to figure out what it tastes like?

TeaEqualsBliss

Yes
:)

I found this online

The shape of the leaves is reminiscent of an eyebrow, hence the word “mee or mei” which means eyebrow. Chunmee translated is “Precious Eyebrow”. The leaves are hand-rolled in a traditional fashion

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75

Pretty delicious, got a sample from them and even ordered more! ;)

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