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Recent Tasting Notes
Trying to go through samples – This one was from when Zen Tea did a big sale a while back and I ordered tons of samples. It was alright, though I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. This is my first Shui Xian/Shui Hsien. The dry leaf smelled a bit roasy with fruity, raisin notes. After a rinse, the only aroma I could really detect was charcoal roastiness.
The first steep was grossly sour and roasty with a bit of almost chocolatey sweetness left in my mouth after the cup. Thankfully that sourness was mostly gone by the next steep, and I got some more classic yancha notes including a mineral and a honey taste. There were also very slight hints of a chocolatey flavor throughout. The sourness that kind of stuck with the tea in a much more mild way than in the first steep became sort of a nutty astringent flavor like walnuts. This reminded me a lot of a Da Hong Pao. Pretty decent, but I think the roast is still a little bit intense for me, which is weird because it can’t be all that freshly roasted, as I’ve had it for a few months already.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Mineral, Roasted, Sour, Walnut
I decided to cold-brew this rather than brew it hot and strong then dilute it down. The short, black, gnarly leaves here are interspersed with the occasional bit of green (strawberry leaves) and red (dried strawberry pieces). The dry leaf smelled of strawberries, chocolate and vanilla – in fact, it reminded me an awful lot of chocolate-covered strawberries!
I ended up with a nice, almost peach-coloured brew after everything was said and done.
The iced tea tasted exactly like it smelled – like chocolate-covered strawberries. It wasn’t bad, but I honestly think this was a waste served cold. I bet this tea would be much better hot, where the contents would probably taste like an amazing strawberry-laced hot chocolate.
Here’s Hoping TTB.
This tastes almost exactly like pina colada candy. I’m most familiar with this flavor from lifesavers and dum dum suckers. I’m a big fan of pina colada, so I’m enjoying this. I feel like it’s not something I would reach for often, but I would really enjoy it on occasion
Flavors: Coconut, Pineapple, Sweet
Thank you Evol!
Well, I’ve had this tea before. I was enamored with it the first time I tried it. I’m still impressed with this teas endurance to heat and over steeping. The orchid sweet cream is as strong as ever. It feels kinda weird though. I taste the same thing that I did the first time, but I am not as much of a fan of the florals as I used to be. This is what happens after trying great Taiwan jade oolongs.
In short, great for its mega florals, but also detracting for its mega florals. And warning: this tea will DETOX you and make you pee. Or it at least happened to my friend. She was exercising her demons out when we saw Crimson Peak. Still funny how she complained about not seeing enough of Tom Hiddleston’s ivory moon while another exclaimed: “It was everything I ever wanted and even more!”
This is an interesting tea. I got it on sale from Zen Tea when they had a big sale a few months back. It’s pretty weird looking – five or so leaves on long branches. I used 4g and 195F water in a 100mL gaiwan. I didn’t quite know what to make of the aroma – I kind of got maybe some creaminess, fruitiness…or maltiness? I couldn’t really tell.
The taste started out light and vegetal, with a bit of a creamy texture. After that, it moved to a more floral note – I think it might have been orchid. I see a lot of teas that say they taste like orchid specifically. This was mentioned on the bag. To me this was a floral taste that was a little different and wonky than what I usually get from teas that taste floral – so maybe that’s orchid. We’ll go with that for now. The floral sweetness mixed with some nice creaminess for a few really enjoyable steeps. At one point, I thought I got some creamy fruitiness – it reminded me of banana for a second.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with this tea’s longevity. I got maybe 7 good steeps from it. The flavors were decently interesting, but nothing to write home about either. It’s certainly unique. It was described as being like a mix between a Jin Xuan (which I like) and a Tie Guan Yin (which I generally am not a fan of). I guess I could kind of see that. It had some creamy texture along with some pretty intense floral notes like a really green Tie Guan Yin might have. I’m glad I bought a sample, but would not buy more of this tea.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Orchid, Sweet, Vegetal
I know I have reviewed this before. We are on our third tin of it, yet it isn’t even showing up in my cupboard. Maybe a steepster glitch?
Anyway, I haven’t had much tea lately because the rebound reflux came back with a vengeance and was destroying my esophagus. Today went well, though, so I took a chance. Home flaked oats with maple syrup for breakfast and water to drink, apple slices and Gouda and home baked bread with butter for lunch.
Youngest and I were reading a detective novel (thank you, GMathis, we now have five of the Barker and Llewelyn series!) and a gentlemen’s club was described as having the scent of exotic spices and pipe tobacco. I struck an incense match and made a pot of Lapsang to go with the story so we could enhance the feeling of being right there with them.
Oh my goodness, this is why I have bought three tins of this in less than a year. The liquor is pretty pale but the flavor is oh so good. This is a bacon-y sort of Lapsang if you dare to dip anything in it, a sweet smoke flavor. Good golly it was good, and we made two pots. Finished the novel, too, and the ending was quite satisfying. The dog lived, Mr. Llewelyn recovers, and the bad guy dies without anybody having to knock him off.
The dry leaf here was gorgeous. Strands of black tea leaves were mixed in with dried chunks of papaya, pineapple, orange peel and orange blossoms, resulting in a blend that looked delicious and festive.
The leaf smelled sweet and fruity. I wasn’t able to pick out notes of individual fruits, but the overall aroma was sweet and somewhat musty, with a strong overtone of vanilla and cream.
I took the entire packet and steeped it with cold water in the fridge for about 12 hours, and added some agave nectar to heighten the sweetness.
However, the resulting tea was bitter, and the sharpness of the tea leaf base overwhelmed the fruit flavours. I got an overall soft, sweet flavour from the fruit, but it was rather generic and bland, with a strong candied note on top of the fruit notes. It was more vanilla than fruit to me. This was pretty surprising considering just how many chunks of dried fruit were visible in the dry leaf — I wasn’t expecting them to taste so weak.
Diluting the tea with some water and adding some more agave nectar helped to cut down the bitterness, but it failed to make the fruit flavours pop in a way that I was hoping for. However, the brew was a lovely peach colour — sort of a blushy pink — and that helped mitigate my disappointment with the result. I probably would have been better off filling the pitcher all the way to the top with cold water rather than halfway.
Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/
Pouring out the dry leaf, I was greeted by an intensely rich, juicy, fruity smell. If I hadn’t known the mix was supposed to be cranberry-mango flavoured, I would have had a hard time guessing. In fact, the whole thing smelled like gummy bears! The aroma was sweet, tart, juicy, and very vibrant.
I mean, are you surprised when you look at leaves like these? Dark green needles of broken up leaf interspersed with chunks of dried cranberry and mango. This is pretty sweet!
I took this loveliness, filled my pitcher halfway up with cold water and let it steep in the fridge for about 12 hours. The resulting brew was a golden yellow-green colour with an aroma that matched that of the dry leaf.
The taste was pretty good to match! Juicy, fruity, sweet, with a hint of the earthiness and vegetal flavour of the green tea underneath. The interplay between the base and the flavouring was really solidly balanced. The green tea flavour was kind of sharp, but not so sharp that it became bitter or seaweedy — it was fresh-tasting and green in a way that complemented the fruit well.
Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/
I bought this tea after Tea Sipper recommended it. They were gaga over it, saying it was one of their favourite fruit blends, so how could I ignore such an endorsement?
Because this was an herbal tea that contained only chunks of fruit, I decided to get 50 grams instead of only 10 — 10 grams of such a dense, heavy tea would have been too little to experiment with.
Opening up the package, I was greeted with a colourful mix of dried chunks of carrot, pineapple, coconut, apple, and pumpkin. If you look closely at the picture, you can pick out the carrot and pumpkin pieces in particular, which are a sort of muted orange here amid the white flakes of coconut and the glassy chunks of candied pineapple.
As expected, the smell was amazing — a rich, sweet, juicy smell of pina colada from the pineapple and coconut. Tropical! I was pleasantly surprised by how much the pineapple and coconut dominated the scent considering they weren’t as prominent in the dried leaf compared to the other ingredients.
Because the tea leaf was made of such thick chunks, I decided to brew this one with boiling water rather than cold water to give the pieces a chance to reconstitute properly. So I took half the package (about 27 grams), poured about 6 cups of cold water in the pitcher, let the pitcher sit on the counter for about half an hour, then put the whole thing in the fridge to cool for the rest of the day.
The resulting tea was a pale amber with a touch of cloudiness. Maybe it was the coconut that made it cloudy, or that there was so much dried fruit in general? It looked very promising.
However, the promise didn’t hold up to the taste. While I certainly did taste pineapple and coconut, to me the carrot and pumpkin flavours won out. They made the whole thing taste starchy and pale, rather than juicy and vibrant like I was expecting. I still have half the packet left, so I’ll need to see how it tastes when brewed with less water. Right now, though, this tea was a bit of a letdown.
Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/
I had to try this Iron Goddess, as this type of oolong has been a favorite in the past. The bundles of this oolong are very green and have the scent of fresh grass somehow. I was expecting the flavor of flowers… lots and lots of flowers. But I must be spoiled with floral oolongs that are REALLY floral, as this had a typical oolong flavor for me… a flavor that I can’t put into any of the oolong categories: floral, butter/milky, peach, pineapple or charcoal. I guess there were hints of ALL of these flavors. Both steep sessions I’ve tried resulted in the same. It’s simply a solid oolong, but I like when they are distinctly one or two of the flavors I mentioned.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 14 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 5 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 minute steep
I’m going to have to try this again, Evol. I attempted to gong fu it sipping on a lightly sweet and woodsy splash, then decided to make it western. It was a decidedly black black tea with some the tannin and malt qualities that I’ve gotten from an Assam, but with the Yunnan sweet potato hints along with more of that sweet wood quality. That was at 3 minutes, and much the same in the later flash steeps I had of it.
Like I said, I’ll have to try it again to get more cocoa.
Wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to sample this one from the box, but I finished off my most recent pitcher of cold brewed tea and was looking for something new to make. Trey suggested something citrusy so I pulled this one out and let him smell the dry leaf, and well here we are…
This isn’t bad; I was actually quite worried about it being too tart but on the contrary it’s almost a little too watered down/mellow tasting. I still get orange notes, as well as apple, but they don’t pack nearly as much punch as I’d expected from the dry smell. Now, on one hand that’s great because I half expected this
what with the hibby also in it to be far too tart, but on the other hand it leaves you somewhat dissatisfied too. What’s for sure though is that it’s super refreshing and definitely fitting for summer.
I probably just underleafed a little bit; I just really didn’t want to use all of the leaf in the box…
All this talk of milk oolong took me there. Tasty. Creamy and thick and sweet condensed milk and fruity oolong. I am enjoying it even more with all this milk oolong preamble.
The second steep seems to be far more buttery than the first, but just as sweet.
The green oolong tastes come up more as it cools.
Flavors: Coconut, Cream
This is another of the old sample tea sipper gave me. It smells strongly of artificial cherry and almond. Those aren’t flavors I’m a huge fan of, so I decided to make it a latte as I assumed I would enjoy that more. The flavor is not nearly as strong as the scent. I’m not tasting much of the rooibos. I think someone who enjoyed these flavors would really like this, but I don’t think it’s something I would buy.
Flavors: Almond, Artificial, Cherry
There are so many copies of this on Steepster Evol. Anyway, I actually quite enjoyed this tea. It was a western brew beginning at three minutes that yielded four nice cups.
The first one was a fatty, creamy flower butter melting in my cup with a strong buttery vegtal back ground and a sweet foreground. There was some coconut lingering here and there, but overall, a thick condensed milk was had. The second cup was much the same, but sweeter with a little bit more of the coconut I described. The third continued the same character along with a stronger floral edge. The fourth, and the final cup was much the same of everything in lighter, yet continually full bodied form.
Drinking a milk oolong near midnight is mad, but I’ve been mad for a good one. After the HUGE disappointment with Oollo’s, I figured a flavored one was well deserved. The milk flavor is very strong in this which is why I really enjoyed it, but I can see how the weird condensed fatty milk with the buttery green body could disgust some people. Yet I was looking for some thick creamy oolong, and this is what this was. Examining the price was the other main impetus because I’m on the search for the best tasting oolong for the best price of daily drinking. This might fit that criteria, and there’s a few other teas that Zen offers like the Coconut Oolong, a Baozhong, that looks promising. Nevertheless, I’m leaning towards What-Cha for some good results.
Good results came from this tea anyway. I’m impressed that a lot of the natural qualities like the floral notes were able to remain in the tea, which is one of the aspects I really enjoy about Milk Oolongs. Luckily, I have another sample of this. :) More experienced drinkers could be deterred because the liquor is so thick that is very much like a coconut oil lotion, but this is not a bad example of a Milk Oolong-just a potent one.
WOW. Officially one of the best fruit herbals I’ve had. It is naturally sweet, and quite enjoyable. Three cups total. Coconut is dominant, but the other fruit pieces are incredibly wonderful. I dig the apples, the carrots, the pineapples, and the pumpkin. Even as this brews, it brings different variants of the awesome ingredients. I’m totally biased to coconut, so if you love coconut, this is yours. And $7.34 for 100g? Deal.
Wow…Evol Ving Ness, I will be covered for a while. Thank you so much!!!
So I had to tag along the club and try this. The smell is great. Being impatient, I gong fu’d this entire sample. The first steep was really lovely: vanilla and strong hazelnut in the first steep with a roasted caramel oolong body. The second had more oolong and hazelnut. The oolong was definitely on the greener side but high on the roast. Farily vegetal. I wonder if this was a formosa-it was curled up like one.
The third cup is mostly nutty and vegetal losing out on some flavor. Anyway, “Pleasant” is the word to describe this tea. Not something I mind having every once in a while, but not something I’d reach for.
- Commute to work tea!
- Very smooth, creamy mouthfeel
- Very distinct and rich flavour of hazelnuts
- I ADORE the fact this is a hazlenut flavour without chocolate pairing
- The hazelnut is the perfect balance of sweet, nutty and umami
- Softer, bordering on sensual, notes of vanilla/cream cut through delicately
- Kind of custardy? Is hazelnut custard a thing? If not, can we make it a thing?
- A little bit of a floral background; and some nuttyness from the base as well
- Has a sort of mineral note
Aroma: sweet, nutty, tropical, tangy
Flavor: What is going on in my mouth?!?!?! It starts off smooth with an unknown, indescribable flavor and slowly makes its way to an amazing coconut and pineapple sensation! Pumpkin and carrot….what?! I can’t wrap my head around this tisane. Had to cold steep it because I dislike using hotel Keurigs. The water gets way to hot for me. I think this is better cold.
I got an email from Zen Tea saying they’re having a sale right now, which made it the perfect excuse to start drinking this.
And so far, my hopes have proven correct: this is pretty similar to the Coconut Pouchong offered by Golden Moon Tea! I’m so glad to have found a domestic version.
Now, the big question is: do I really need more of this in my cupboard, considering I have a ridiculous amount of tea already and I’ve got a fairly sizeable Teavivre order coming my way? Hmmmm….
Last tea of the night for me; I’ve had a day of mixed tea drinking success so I picked something from the box that seemed like a really safe choice.
And I have to say, I know my palate pretty well ‘cause this is delightful! Mostly it’s a lot of sweet, tropical coconut just like advertised/promised. There’s a nice fruity undertone to it though: a little bit of pineapple and a little bit of apple? Maybe something just a touch extra, like a hint of mango? Whatever it is, it works. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it this reminds me a lot of all the elements I really enjoyed in DAVIDsTEA’s Tropicalia blend. All the flavours are kind of classic pairings: nothing out of the ordinary here. It’s the balance between them that sort of sets this apart though.
It’s a perfect way to cap off the night, though!
Citrus and green tea should be banned. But green tea and fruit is okie dokie for lack of better wordage. After I read the description and saw citrus I almost put this back in the ttb but after reading the ingredients I realized it really didn’t have any citrus at all, it was just a descriptor! Hurray! Bonzai! And the flavor? HA! No citrus! I truly hate citrus in my green tea. You have no idea. Maybe it was because I once asked for a green tea no citrus flavor in Starbucks and what I got was a citrus green tea. YUCK! I love how this one starts out with a grassy slightly nutty flavor and swiftly turns over to strawberry. As far as red currants go… I dont taste them but I’m sure they are hiding there somewhere.