Zen Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
177 tasting notes

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drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
210 tasting notes

Tea #4 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB

As mucky as it is out right now, I still wanted tea, so I grabbed this one out to drink. In hindsight I don’t think the smokyness was the best choice when I was already feeling nauseous due to, well, the weather. But I refuse to pour out a perfectly excellent cup of tea because I’m stubborn and stupid like that. Lol!
It was between this one and Teavive’s Keemun Grade 1, but this one smelled a bit less savory/smoky so I figured it would be lighter on the smoke.
Yeesh. This one turned out pretty smoky in the end anyway. It’s a bit sweet, but I mostly get smoke from it. Not Lapsang type smoke, but smoke nonetheless.
It’s good, but definitely not the tea that I should’ve been drinking right now. Honestly, I think I shouldn’t really have had any tea at all, but ugh, what a depressing thought that is. Lol!

(1.5 tsp)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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LooseTman generously provided a sample of this in our swap – thank you!

I had the first cup of this earlier this morning, but didn’t write down any notes, but I remember thinking it was smooth, creamy and tasted golden (if that makes any sense). And to be honest, I don’t remember very much of the second steep. I also realized that I had been using too much water per the instructions provided, so decided to try again with fresh leaves a couple of hours after.

Third cup, with fresh leaves and less water produced a stronger, maltier cup, but I also detected some bitterness at the end of the sip as the cup cooled. I tried a second time with the same parameters, but still found a little bitterness, so I added a tad more water. Back to the creamy maltiness that I enjoyed this morning.

This is also a sample sipdown.

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80

Oh wow, this smells pretty intense!

You know, never in a million years would I have thought that I’d like this straight, but I do. There’s a malty, almost caramel note, another one that reminds me of when you cook with beer for that depth of flavor? that’s present! Which now makes me wonder about dumping a strong cup of this into my next stew!

w/ sugar – good with sugar, but a bit more sour which doesn’t make immediate sense. But I’ve realized it enhances the caramel note, making it taste like caramel that is close to being scorched.
w/ milk – mmm yum.
w/ milk and sugar – okay, prefer without sugar

Overall, this tea really surprised me in a positive way. I’d consider keeping a small amount in my cupboard as I have friends who enjoy really strong dark blacks, and have the odd cup myself from time to time.

Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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94
drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
101 tasting notes

mm. Delicious. mm mm, delicious. mm. Delicious. mm mm, delicious. ← That is the song that I am currently singing to myself as I drink this tea. The tea is making me do it! I can’t help it…it’s just so good!

This tea is pure, simple happiness. You know what is in here? Green Tea, shredded coconut, and flavors (which I am assuming is just more coconut). That’s it. Plain and simple. But don’t let it trick you, this tea is going to take your taste buds on an amazing ride.

Steep 1: 1 heaping teaspoon, 2 minutes, 8 ounces of water, 185 degrees, and a touch of agave
the first flavor to hit you is the sencha… it’s smooth and buttery. As the sip ends you get an influx of glorious coconut. Sweet, lovely coconut. Almost like the coconut that you bake with..it’s just naturally sweet, undeniable, milky coconut without the artificially in your face over-flavored taste that many teas seem to take. There is a bit of astringency towards the end of my sip nothing too off putting.

Steep 2: same leaves, 2 minutes, 6 ounces, 175 degrees, a touch of agave
WOW! Even better than the first steep. No astricency whatsoever. Just perfectly silky, creamy, buttery sencha and coconut. The two flavors perfectly balance each other out. One is not too dominate over the other, solely working together to create a beautiful medley.

Steep 3: same leaves, 2 minutes, 6 ounces, 175 degrees, a touch of agave
Yum. Dear cup, please don’t end. You are making my taste buds dance like a joyous greek family dancing at a wedding.

Steep 4: same leaves, 2 minutes, 6 ounces, 175 degrees, a touch of agave
This tea just keeps going and going with the same amazing flavors. Ahhh. Soo good. Commence the singing that started this post.

So it’s no secret, I really like this tea. It’s buttery and coconuty and makes me happy. What more could I want?

Flavors: Butter, Coconut

yyz

This is my favourite coconut green.

Anlina

You are inspiring me to want to do multiple steeps of the same leaves for more teas. I usually only do that with higher end straight teas, but your tasting notes make me reconsider that limitation.

gmathis

Perkiest tasting note I’ve read all day. Thanks for the smile!

TheTeaFairy

Love this review.

albertocanfly

yzz I can see why! It is definitely the best one that I have ever had!
Anlina I would recommend it! :] Often, the flavor profiles of the tea can shift dramatically..and plus, more lovely cups for free! And if it ends up not resteeping well, you aren’t out anything!:]
gmathis and TheTeaFairy Thank you so much, you two! :D

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91
drank Coconut Oolong by Zen Tea
690 tasting notes

From the Round 3 Here’s Hoping TTB

I’ve wanted to try this tea for quite a while, so when I saw it in the ttb I was excited. This is indeed a lovely oolong. The coconut flavor doesn’t have that funky artificial taste (yay!), and it taste wonderful combined with the buttery smoothness of the oolong. I also like the floral note in this tea. It’s very delicate, and it makes this coconut oolong stand out from the others I have tried. This is another tea I’d like to serve at a tea party. For the right crowd I think this tea could be an absolute show stopper.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65
drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
379 tasting notes

This sample came from Mandy. I really need to stop requesting so many flavored samples from people, as I tend to not like them so much anymore. This one looks like a shou mei with a few flower petals mixed in. It has that alcoholic flavoring smell to it, meh. I steeped it for 3 minutes although the package recommended 2 minutes.

Meh, this tea is just kind of unremarkable. It doesn’t really taste like toffee to me, closer to caramel, and even then it’s mostly just vaguely sugary. I can definitely taste that it’s artificial flavoring. The white tea itself isn’t great either, it’s quite “rough” tasting for a white tea – it reminds me of autumn leaves.

Overall, meh. This one will go in the rehoming box.

Flavors: Artificial, Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Hay, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70
drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
379 tasting notes

This sample came from Mandy! A dark oolong with one of my favorite flavors? Yes, please! This is clearly a very oxidized oolong, the loosely-rolled pellets are almost black in color. The website doesn’t specify whether it has been roasted or not, and I can’t tell from the smell because of the flavoring. Dry scent is sweet vanilla and caramel with a bit of that alcoholic “flavoring” note. I did a 3 minute steep.

Oolong is always so amazing to watch! I love how huge the leaves are when they’re unfurled, and I find it interesting that even these leaves ended up looking fairly green once wet. The aroma is vanilla custard with a background note of autumn leaves. I was surprised that the oolong is actually the strongest flavor in this tea! It tastes like autumn leaves with a bit of a roasty note. The vanilla flavor is very creamy and pudding-like, and the hazelnut accents it well without being entirely identifiable by itself. It mostly manifests as a creamy roasted nuts flavor. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of an artificial, almost alcoholic aftertaste to this which makes me very sad. Too bad!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cream, Custard, Hazelnut, Roasted nuts, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

This is from my swap with Mandy. Must try all the almond teas! :D The smell is not terribly enticing, it has that alcoholic “flavoring” smell that tells me nothing, lol! Steeped about 1.5 tsp for 5 minutes in boiling water.

Mmm, the brewed aroma is definitely marzipan! Yummmm! I was fully prepared to be disappointed by this tea, but it defied my low expectations! The flavor is mostly sweet almond extract or marzipan, which I adore. There’s definitely a cherry element here, though. It’s like Jergens lotion! Lol. In the best way possible! I did add sugar to mine. The rooibos taste comes out a little bit near the end, but it’s definitely not very strong.

Pleasantly surprised! :D

Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Marzipan, Rooibos, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mandy

I wasn’t too impressed, I guess I’m not much for very almondy teas, so I’m more than willing to send you the last ~30g

Cameron B.

That’s kind of you, but I really don’t need more tea right now! :P

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95

I was really looking forward to trying this one as I LOVE vanilla. To not have a bottle of nielsen massey in the house is akin to high treason in my family.

The aroma is very vanilla, mmmmmmmm. Slightly artificial but not much, although that’s me being very picky with my really sensitive nose.

Oooh!! There are sliced vanilla pods in the tea!

Straight – the vanilla note is there, but its weak, beautiful tea base though. Just the tiny tiny hint of astringency, so I’d try it at 2:30-2:45 if I was drinking it plain.
w/ sugar – Doesn’t really change the overall taste or bring out different notes.
w/ milk – Decent.
w/ milk and sugar – the vanilla note comes out a bit more. Interesting.

Overall not a *super** vanillary tea, but a light vanilla tea with a beautiful base.

*That being said, I love vanilla and like it STRONG. I restrained myself from adding my homemade vanilla sugar to this tea since I wanted to judge it on it’s own merits, but that’s what I would do in future.

Flavors: Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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92
drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
89 tasting notes

AND I’M BACK!!!!

We had an awfully hot summer here in NZ, so now that it’s very much winter, true to my Canadian heritage, I’m ready to GET LOGGING! Haha, that was terrible…. I think we’re off to a good start.

First tea is Bossa Nova by Zen. Holy moley guys, the dry leaf smells amazing! Like ferreo roche, but without the chocolate.

Smells so good when brewing with the addition of what seems like roasted? oolong. (Obviously, to the oolong portion)
Alrighty, plain I can really taste the nut and the vanilla is faint, but still present.
w/ sugar –Alright, didn’t love it with sugar.
w/ milk – prefer than with sugar. Helps to bring out the vanilla and creamy hazelnut note
w/ milk and sugar – better than just plain sugar, but definitely preferring this one without the sugar.

Plain or with milk was my pick for this one. I steeped it to 3 minutes at one point to try and that was definitely too long, so 2:30 is the magic number for me. This is definitely something I would keep (in a small quantity) in the cupboard.

Sadly I have run out of my sample (Many thanks to the generous Zen Tea – Kenneth is such a sweetheart), but when I make my next order I’m looking forward to mixing it with a chocolate black tea and seeing what comes of that… because it sounds really really good in my head.

Edit: I read notes from 2 years back and a common thread was that this tea tasted artificial. I didn’t find it artificial at all. I wonder if they’ve tweaked it in the elapsed time, because I have eaten fresh hazelnuts today and this seems pretty on point.

Flavors: Hazelnut, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec
yyz

Welcome back!

Miss Starfish

Thanks hun! It was nice to see that you’re still around :)

Sil

woohoo! welcome back! :)

gmathis

Starting with a pun is always appropriate :) Geographical curiosity: what’s considered “very much winter” in your part of the world?

Miss Starfish

Thanks Sil! :)
and gmanthis- always happy to indulge curiosities! It depends where you are in the country. I’m from Queenstown (South island, inland & mountainous), but living in Wellington (North island, coastal) at the moment. So if I were in Qt, it would mean lots of snow, ice, and easily below 0’C temps. Wellington probably averages around 7’C? If it snows, it doesn’t stay very long. Lots of hail though. The main hurdle is the wind. It’s an extremely windy city. Today we had 140km/h. When southerlies come directly up from Antarctica (which happens often sadly), that’s when you put three duvets on the bed.

gmathis

Nice to know it’s good tea weather somewhere ;)
Can’t complain—we’ve had a very mild summer so far and September isn’t that far off!

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drank Earl Grey Lavender by Zen Tea
177 tasting notes

I adore this iced, not hot. The lavender and bergamot complement each other nicely and make a crisp refreshing drink. Not something I would drink all the time because I’m not normally in the mood for flowers but it is a nice change. I’m so exhausted of fruity iced teas right now I could scream.

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drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
345 tasting notes

This sample comes to me from TeaSipper Thank you!

I have been impressed with many of Zen Tea Life’s teas and this one did not disappoint. This was a tad fruity, with hints of smoke and chocolate. This was a little light in comparison to a few others I tried at the same time, but a little more leaf will solve that problem. This was smooth and pretty much spot on for what I would expect from a keemun. I am glad I had the opportunity to try this one.

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drank Vanilla black tea by Zen Tea
177 tasting notes

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88

This sencha is a such a lovely tea.

It represents everything I love about green tea. It is sweet, a little grassy with a salty marine breeze at the end of the sip. It’s very clean, and if prepared right, brings zero astringency to the cup.

Once wet, the leaves turn into a vibrant emerald green, just stumning!

I’m having it in a tetsubin pot tonight. Beautiful tea, beautiful teaware.

Because I know some of you like to watch, here are my pics:

http://instagram.com/p/rQYu-awh8y/

http://instagram.com/p/rQZ3eUQh-n/

Sarsonator

Drinking grass again, my little croissant?

TheTeaFairy

Yes, sarsy, because green keeps you clean!! Are you shenging tonight?

Sarsonator

I’m not, sadly. Our friends came over for tv night before I could get my pot seasoned and dinner made. We had golden orchid instead. I’m planning to sheng in the AM, though!!!!

TheTeaFairy

Lol, sheng before work, that will get you going!

Krystal

Nice! You take really good pics

TheTeaFairy

Thanks Krystal.

Cwyn

Ooo I love me a salty sencha! Am gonna put this one on my list!

TheTeaFairy

Really Cwyn, on top of being super delicious, this sencha is bargain for the quality that you get.

Cwyn

Definitely will be getting this, on my wish list. I comb the tea reviews looking for that salty flavor ever since I ran out of Leaf and Spoon’s salty sejak, they don’t carry it anymore and I crave marine green.

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88

I am just enjoying this sencha tonight in a tetsubin pot. Not much to say really, except that every time I have this one, I feel happy and relaxed.

I’m not afraid of grassy and vegetal, and this is the perfect blend of both. I like the little bit of seaweed poke I get at the end of each sip, kind of a salty marine breeze.

Buttery sweet peas are also in the mix. Yum. Tasty.

I haven’t been very hungry lately and skipped dinner earlier….but having sencha triggered the little hungry fairy in me.

So….smoked salmon, lemon slices and capers suddenly sounded very appealing at 1am. Should I? Hell yeah!

It’s all about life’s little pleasures…

Dexter

I’m eating shrimp, cream cheese, and cocktail sauce on wasa bread at midnight so you can for sure have smoked salmon and capers. :))
“buttery sweet peas” and “salty marine breeze” – no thank you, but if it’s making you happy and relaxed then that’s really all that matters…

TheTeaFairy

Haha! We’re both having sea stuff! You should know that my sencha would work perfectly well with your shrimps, you green tea hatter ;-)

Dexter

LOL I like genmaicha, and I like some fruity greens – so I’m not a total hater. Hmmmm genmaicha – it’s that a Japanese Sushi thing? Maybe I should have been drinking that with my shrimps….

TheTeaFairy

Ok, ok, You’re right, you’re not a total green hater, I’ll give you that…

Oh and yes. That would have been really good.

sherapop

Smoked salmon, lemon slices, and capers at 1am? I say “yes”!

TheTeaFairy

T’was really good, sherapop :-)

Cameron B.

Yum, smoked salmon! I had sushi last night. <3

TheTeaFairy

Cameron, green tea and sushi…mmmmm!!!

Stephanie

I loooove smoked salmon

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drank Genmaicha by Zen Tea
1881 tasting notes

This is a buttery and smooth genmaicha with lots and lots of roasted rice goodness. Really a great genmaicha so thank you Dexter for sharing with me.

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This was actually pretty good. I am not a huge fan of rooibos, but I wanted something caffeine free from the HHTTB Round 3 and this was one of the few that was that also sounded good. It smells very cherry to me in dry leaf form, but doesn’t retain that much of the cherry once brewed. It was nice and the mulch taste was fairly well masked, but not something I would add to my cupboard.

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78
drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
124 tasting notes

I actually was avoiding trying this tea. It was included in the amazing box of goodies MissB sent me and I just wasn’t sure it was something I would enjoy. I maintain I don’t care for oolongs. Well I will now extract my foot from my mouth because this is now the second oolong I have really liked.

This is delicious and creamy and the hazelnut comes through nicely. I am very much a fan of this now. Glad I chose this rainy Saturday to give it a shot because it is absolutely perfect and perfect for today. I will not be passing this on like I thought I might. mmmmm….

Flavors: Cream, Hazelnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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75
drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
102 tasting notes

Tea #2 from Pass the Stash box

I would have liked more toffee flavor, but I don’t have any of the toffee squares in the sample. Still, this does taste like toffee on top of the delicate white base. I think these work well together. I just would have liked a more pronounced toffee flavor.

Nice, light, and refreshing…I must be a big fan of the white base, because I rate these fairly highly.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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The first time I had this tea, the smokiness that I usually associate with keemuns eluded me. I couldn’t find it. What I do recall from the first cup was the fruitiness that came through.

Today’s cup is different. I took my time and paid attention. The fruit note was still predominant, but I found those subtle tobacco and smoke notes. They came through at the end of the sip and sat on the tongue for a bit before disappearing. Interesting.

I have a couple of keemuns in my cupboard that I need to taste to see how this compares. I haven’t had keemun in a while. When I finally found the tobacco notes I enjoyed that, although I wish there was a touch more smoke.

My thanks to looseTman for providing me with a sample!

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

Samples-Only Small TTB

Hmmm…the aroma really reminded me of cinnamon bread. Funny, I wasn’t getting the mint in the aroma. But the first sip – all mint with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla and mint balanced out in the next few sips, but it was still really minty. As it cooled off, the cinnamon started to play a stronger role.

Interesting.

I’m glad I tried it, but it’s not something I would drink often.

And the base tea? There’s pu-erh in here? Nothing that I could detect.

TheTeaFairy

I liked the first cup I had of this, but then it turned weird for me…

Cheri

It is a little weird. I think what is weirdest is that it has all this beautiful color to the liquor, but there’s no tea flavor to back it up.

MzPriss

It SOUNDS weird.

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drank Strawberry Cream by Zen Tea
101 tasting notes

I picked this one up with my last Zen Tea order and I’m not disappointed. I was actually a little afraid of this one. Too many times I’ve seen people interpret Strawberry cream as Strawberry Ice Cream.

This has a sweet strawberry on top of a creamy black tea. I love that it isn’t too sweet, and it isn’t too vanilly. The strawberry compliments the black tea well and the cream adds a nice milky mouthfeel without taking away from the flavor much. The strawberry note isn’t quite a recognizable stage note. It isn’t tarter like early strawberries, nor does it have that heavier ripe note you find with late stage strawberries. The strawberry is kind of generic, as in it doesn’t lean too far one way or the other, much like strawberry candies, but it also reminds me of great mid-season cold strawberries in the best ways.

Spencer

Sounds pretty tasty!

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drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
104 tasting notes

Sample from Ost! Thanks hun!

Not too bad; it’s very straightforward. Green tea and coconut. No frills, no choir of celestial beings singing. The sencha base is buttery and grassy, but otherwise nondescript. The coconut tastes very “green”. It’s not like coconut cream pie or artificial coconut flavor. It’s very natural. It makes me think of one specific childhood summer, when my mom would crack open coconuts and we would sit in the front lawn eating coconut meat off of the shell. It calls to mind that specific texture. There’s a slightly floral, almost soapy aftertaste that I’m not a big fan of. Otherwise it’s alright. I’m not a green tea person so that’s as much as I can say!

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Floral, Grass, Milk

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