Zen Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

80
drank Ginger - Rooibos by Zen Tea
70 tasting notes

I haven’t done any reviews in a while—not because I haven’t been enjoying tea, but mainly due to the limited amount and limited variety I have been drinking. I pretty much have only one or two cups of either Assam, English Breakfast, or a Yunnan black tea per day, all of which I have already created tasting notes on. That, and as my taste buds are rather goofy sometimes so I don’t quite trust myself to write a thorough review! So that at least partially explains my absence from Steepster of late.

After a random bout of morning sickness today, I could only really keep down (at least as far as beverages are concerned) a cup of Assam with a little milk added, and this ginger rooibos. The ginger rooibos was a great tummy-soother! Warm, rich, with a slight sweetness, it was a very good choice for me today. Thanks TeaTiff for the sample!!!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Ginger - Rooibos by Zen Tea
70 tasting notes

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80
drank Ginger - Rooibos by Zen Tea
70 tasting notes

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80

This was a typical decent Mao Feng, nothing out of the ordinary to report.
This tea became even better after the first resteep – so in future I would probably abandon western style and favor an eastern approach to wake up the leaves. A gongfu session with this would be wonderful.

Flavors: Chestnut, Mineral

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Masala Chai by Zen Tea
92 tasting notes

My first cup of this is the quick and dirty western way, because I’m pretty tuckered today. I’ve saved enough of the sample that I will be able to do the traditional brewing method as well.
The picture of this tea is an exact representation, there’s heaps of spices. I had a taste of the full strength version before pouring milk into it, and it was amazing (too strong sans milk thought). Now that i’ve added sugar and milk, it’s lovely. Now knowing what I do, I would have extended my steeping time (which is what Zen recommends, and I always find them to be so bang on about steeping times and methods that it’s almost unsettling. Does Kenneth have a camera in my house, to see exactly how I like my tea? I wouldn’t be surprised) by a couple of minutes. I cut it off at 4:30min as there is/was a decent amount of the ctc base tea in it, and I didn’t want it getting too astringent. I needn’t have worried.

Alright, despite how tired I am, my curiositea (oh bad tea puns! how I enjoy you…) got the better of me, and I’ve prepared a cup on the stove.
It was delicious this way too, but I think I need more practise at stovetop brewing. Okay, I know I do. I scalded the milk. Twice. Lesson learned, do not prepare stovetop tea while tired and distractible.

I’m planning on continuing my search for my perfect chai (and knowing me, I’ll end up with 3 of them), but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what I settle down with.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Mikumofu

there can never be enough tea puns!

Miss Starfish

look to the right if you want more haha (my profile) ;)

Mikumofu

haha, those are some great ones! and nice color scheme :)

Miss Starfish

Happy it made you smile :) and thanks!

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drank Pu-erh Vanilla Mint by Zen Tea
989 tasting notes

Vanilla mint puerh sounded great! But there’s CINNAMON in here too? Hmm…

I’m drinking it, but it is a bit weird to me! O_o

Tea Sipper

love this one

Kittenna

Cinnamon? That seems out of place in a vanilla mint tea (but I suppose it could work!)

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87
drank Blood Orange by Zen Tea
92 tasting notes

Omg you guys, I suck! I fully intended to catch up on my logging, but I fell off the map. And now it’s almost summer here in New Zealand, and thus a lack of hot tea drinking. Our winter was milder than usual as well, so I didn’t drink even a quarter of the normal amount.

There’s a huge storm going on outside, so I’ve pulled down my samples box and picked one at random.

Plain – Yum! Base doesn’t overshadow the flavour. This is great!
With milk and sugar – pretty damn good!
With just milk – I prefer it straight, definitely still good though. Takes milk well.
Plain, with sugar – Good! The sweet and slightly sour notes are bouncing off each other, it’s interesting. I’m also picking up on something that tastes faintly like saffron?

Overall, I was impressed! I always love when there’s a tea I equally enjoy several different ways.

Flavors: Blood orange, Citrus Zest, Saffron

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

Welcome back! :)

Miss Starfish

Thanks Cameron! :)

madametj

oooh, how did you get colored text in your bio?

Miss Starfish

easy madametj, just type"%{color:fill in a colour here} enter whatever you want to say here %". Hope that was helpful! :)

madametj

thank you :)

madametj

{color:red} testing testing

madametj

i did something wrong :(

Miss Starfish

you’re forgetting the % on either side

Miss Starfish

try again :)

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75

At three and a half minutes, it already tastes a little astringent. That said, it’s also malty and full; with milk and sugar it would probably be lovely. On its own, though, not anything too special. The instructions do suggest adding milk and sugar, though, so it it up front at least.

Not bad by any rate, rather malty and full-flavoured, but definitely needing something to balance it out.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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84
drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
878 tasting notes

From the SanTEA Claus TTB

I think this is the last tea I need to review from this ttb. It’s taken me a while, but hey, I got it done. :)

I’m not a huge fan of white teas, but this one was a treat. The toffee flavor was light but present throughout the sip, and the tea itself had a clean – almost sweet – flavor. It was nice and refreshing while also feeling like a dessert tea.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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82
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
916 tasting notes

Sip down with the lovely help of cacao husks AND Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon. It’s kind of like drinking Fry’s cocoa with Baileys but more complex.

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82
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
916 tasting notes

More pearls to go with my dinner, which is this concoction of basmati rice, spinach, parmesano, random spices, light cream, and margarine. It’s like a cross between curry and risotto haha. Then I was bad and had Ferrero Rocher for dessert. For shame!

This was a good choice because it doesn’t have any sharp or loud notes which can interfere with food. Surprise surprise, I’m detecting a faint smoky note this time around.

Cameron B.

Yum, Parmesan! <3

yyz

Yum.

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82
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
916 tasting notes

These pearls are a lot more subtle than I was anticipating. Bready, malty notes are what I’m picking up on the most, and there is no bitterness or astringency whatsoever. It’s a pleasant cup to sip on, however, I wouldn’t buy them again only because I prefer Teavivre’s black pearls, and I know that this would never get touched if I had both in the house. And I do! Which explains why it took me this long to try this. These have been sitting in my cupboard unopened since January.

I also just tried them mixed with cacao husks. The cacao overpowered the pearls despite intentionally adding lots of pearls. Still need to work on the ratio to accommodate the subtlety of this tea.

OMGsrsly

This one is good with just 1/2 – 1 tsp tea loose in the bottom of a mug, refilled throughout the day as it reaches 1/2 full. That’s why I stock this tea. :)

Fjellrev

Oh neat, I should try that! My problem, I’ll admit, is I almost never feel like resteeping, or refilling in this case, because after a 1.5- to 2-cup mug of something, I am ready to move onto something else.

OMGsrsly

I do understand! I do it at work, mostly.

Tea Sipper

Nice idea with the cocoa shells!

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
752 tasting notes

This is a tea I’ve had for quite awhile and haven’t been drinking it. Took some today to work.
First off – this looks more like snails than pearls. Regardless of what it looks like this is GOOD. Holy chocolate!!!! About 2 tsp in a coffee mug – water 90 ish – for about 2 minutes seemed to be the sweet spot for me. WOW – this is great.
It’s not fancy, it’s not full of interesting nuances (at least not for me Western brewed at work) but it is darn tasty. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who likes this style of black tea. More than just pleasantly surprised – down right shocked at how good this is.

boychik

I like this one too !

OMGsrsly

This is one of my favourites. :) It works really well grandpa style in my not-a-Timolino as well.

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84
drank Yerba Mate by Zen Tea
296 tasting notes

Straight mate has a lighter flavour, like green tea. (Not that the two are in any way interchangeable, they just have a similar refined lightness.) Thankfully, it doesn’t oversteep as easily, meaning it survives travel mug abuse quite well.
Usually I prefer blends with mate in them, but I was in the mood for it straight today. It’s dry, light, refined. Pairs well both with savoury and sweet foods. I’m happy with this.

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100
drank Sencha House by Zen Tea
807 tasting notes

I finished the last of this off tonight. I really enjoy thins sencha. It has a nice, mellow fresh cut grass aroma that reminds me of spring. The flavor is nice, too. It has a nice sweet/vegetal/grassy flavor. The color is beautiful too! It will be missed. I will have to make a note to restock when my tea stash a little less than it is now!

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Vanilla black tea by Zen Tea
296 tasting notes

I was given a new travel mug, and it’s pretty much a thermos. Hours later, and my tea is still piping hot to the point that I’d actually like it marginally cooler to drink. (Mind, if I were to leave the top open, it would probably cool down more. I’m just REALLY IMPRESSED, okay?)
The tea has a nice vanilla taste to it. Adding milk added a creaminess that matched the taste well; I think having the tea with something sweet and creamy (a milk custard bun comes to mind?) might have had the same effect.
I like this better than a lot of other vanilla teas that I’ve had, but it’s still not necessarily a favourite. Still, pretty good.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Ginger Lemon Green Tea by Zen Tea
627 tasting notes

I received the SSTTB from Bear With Me today. As I’m starting to feel sick…sore throat and congestion building, I opted that I would try this as my first tea from the box, not because it appealed to me the most, but more for the medicinal aspect of the ginger.

I found this tea to be ok. Just..ok. Not amazing or anything. But, I think it could be something better if cold steeped and drunk cold on a hot day. The flavour that I picked out most was the ginger, with the lemongrass not to far behind it.

I would not say that it is a bad tea, but I would say that it is not great either.

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80

This isn’t as flavorful as I was expecting. It could be that my nose is getting a tad stuffy though. It also isn’t a bad thing, it’s not “in your face” like several of the herbals that I have (and love). The word light comes to mind while describing this taste. I am terrible at discerning separate tastes when I try a tea. All I can really tell is fruit, probably some apple. I could see keeping this one around. It is perfect for relaxing a bit and digging in for the night to read some pharmacy guidelines.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
554 tasting notes

HHTB

I have never really gotten into oolongs. I can appreciate some, but they aren’t something I seek out, so my opinion might be biased. This a little floral… I taste some nuttiness… a little vanilla, but I’m not getting any depth to the flavors. It feels too light and bland for me. :(

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
250 tasting notes

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70
drank Strawberry Cream by Zen Tea
471 tasting notes

This is a nice start to my morning. This tea has quite a thick, creamy mouth feel, which is always nice in a cream tea. Very mild, pleasant astringency, and lots of creamy flavour. There’s berry sweetness that I don’t know if I would immediately identify as strawberry, but is quite nice. The black base is malty with a touch of bitterness.

Thank you TraceyC for sending me this!

Flavors: Berry, Cream, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
148 tasting notes

It’s a teapot and tea cup day! I haven’t had a chance to sit down and enjoy a full teapot for awhile. I’ve mostly been mug and thermos brewing lately, or using my inguinetea.

Malty, sweet, robust. Maybe just a tad astringent, but that’s totally my fault. I’ve been avoiding black teas lately because they tend to go bitter on me because I forget to take the leaves out too often. Oolongs and greens are much more forgiving. I’m surprised that this still turned a bit bitter on me, I guess the first cup out of the pot didn’t completely clear the water level from the brewing basket.

As you would think, the dry leaf is tightly curled into little pearls, soo precious. The leaves unfurled are mostly whole, about 1.5in from tip to stem. The color is a dark chocolate brown.

If I had anymore pumpkins, this would be the tea I would make pumpkin pie for. Unfortunately for me, the market ran out of small pumpkins 3 weeks ago.

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drank Lapsang Souchong by Zen Tea
148 tasting notes

I’m certainly not the best candidate for reviewing such teas. I’ve decided now that I just don’t like the smokiness of certain teas, and lapsang souchong falls under that category. It smells like burning wood! I don’t know, it’s just not appealing to me. It just screams RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!

Once I can get past the smokiness of this tea though, there is essentially nothing wrong with it… It’s got a nice texturity (if such a word exists). It’s kind of dry on the tongue and yet smooth on the finish. Like an old fashioned bourbon with bitters. Not that this tastes like bourbon at all. Minus the smokiness I’m reminded of when we drove through Avenue of the Giants. Smells like nature and the smallest bit of freeway.

I’ll keep it around for the ‘every once in awhile’, but it’s definitely not top of my list. but I don’t completely dislike it either. I guess it tastes like trees. lol.

On a side note, we won the World Series! Go Giants! Of course it would rain (POUR) on the day of the parade. Maybe the weather is celebrating with us and it’ll signal the end of the drought. A girl can dream?

carol who

It reminds me of my childhood and campfires and bonfires with friends.
For me, the smell is so special that I really enjoy this tea. It’s odd how smells really trigger memories. My husband hates the smell of it because it is so strong and scent and he (like you) just thinks it smells like wood burning. He never went to campfires or bonfires so he doesn’t have the good memories.

Flyawaybirdie

That makes sense. We never those things when I was a kid. So I learnt to associate the smell with burnt houses, woods, and rubber. Cigarette and cigar smoke really disturb me too. I love the smell of rain, fog and ocean though and I know some people really hate it.

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80
drank Raspberry Vanilla by Zen Tea
70 tasting notes

I like this flavored rooibos, but it’s not my favorite. The raspberry and vanilla are there, but very subtle. I first taste rooibos, and then it leaves a pleasant aftertaste of berries and cream. Maybe it would be richer if I steeped it longer. Oh well, I’m still enjoying it. Thanks TeaTiff for providing me with a sample!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaTiff

I like Zen Tea, but their Rooibos blends were not my favorite. It is enjoyable but not stellar. Hope you are doing well:)

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