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Recent Tasting Notes
Cocoa, Malt, Plums, Smoke, Vanilla, and Muscatel are all pretty good descriptors, though I would add “Leather” to the mix. Malt, Leather, Smoke, and Cocoa are the best adjectives in my opinion. I am loving the brewed leaf smell, though it reminds me of the blends its often mixed with like English Breakfast and some rose blends. It is also very smooth and has a solid amount of natural sweetness, but dry bitter-sweetness like cocoa.
Evol, you might gasp, but I decided to power steep the entire sample Gong Fu. It actually turned out really nice with super short steeps. Cocoa almost every time. First was 14 due to timing of pouring, and the second 5, 7, 8, 10 and then stop. I actually liked this tea more cooled down closer to 170 F instead of 180 F since I caught more of the nuances with that temperature. The last steep was more malt than anything else with the fading cocoa and leather.
I feel a little buzzed and weighty after this one. A little bit of pressure on my skull…I am mildly tea drunk or too frickin’ drunk of caffeine lol. I did randomly look up that this has a higher concentration of geraniol, an alcohol in the essential oil of roses among other plants. That is what makes me think this is a bit rosy. I don’t know if it is contributing to the mild delirium.
As much as I as I enjoyed the smoke and the cocoa, I am not sure I would drink this often. I pretty much have the same opinion about Keemums in that they are good teas if I am in the mood for mega malt and if it’s good quality. This one comes to that mark for me ’cause of cocoa and leather, but it might not for others. I liked the body a little bit more than the Nepal, but the honey note in the Nepal off sets its dryness. Again, thank you so much Evol! Now, for some water!
This is a black tea, but is extremely smooth. Lots of tannins, but I steeped about 2.5 minutes in 350 mL 95*C water and it was perfect. No hint of bitterness or being overly tannic as stronger black teas can be. Not that I would describe this as a strong tea, more of a medium intensity. Very classic black tea flavor, fully oxidized and full of flavor.I can taste notes of malt, but not specifically milk or grain. It reminds me a lot of assam. No smoke or minerals. After tasting some of the oolongs from Zen Tea, I expected as much, but was pleasantly surprised. I can’t get over how smooth this tea is, it is incredible. I almost get a creamy and thick mouth feel, but without the
Flavors: Malt, Smooth, Tannin, Tea, Thick
GCTTB (round 6) entry
I’ve come to the conclusion I really like peach flavoured things. I also really like ginger and black tea. This is one of my favourite flavour combos of all time.
Brewed 500 mL hot water (just under boiling) for 5 minutes and it was plenty strong. Lots of sweet peach, but not overpoweringly artificial. Some spicy ginger, lots of black tea flavour.
Flavors: Fruity, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Peach, Stonefruits, Sweat, Tannin
I’ve never tasted bamboo leaf before, so this was very interesting.
Flavours of dry corn husk, dried berries/fruit (papaya?, grape, goji, blackberry, pineapple, blueberry), lemongrass, slight bit of floral. I actually really like the blackberry and blueberry in this, it makes the tea sweet and fragrant. Overall, a delightful herbal on a cold day. I’ll be trying this iced when it warms up outside.
Flavors: Bamboo, Berries, Blackberry, Blueberry, Corn Husk, Flowers, Fruity, Goji, Grapes, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass
All my ZenTea samples came in today! I made 7 pots of tea this afternoon…it was a bit ridiculous. This was on top of the 8 cups from this morning. I’m going to sipdown all these little samples lying around if it kills me! Now I have 2 herbals and 10 teas from ZenTea on top of that. What am I doing to myself?
The rooibos base is nice. I like the spicy ginger and cardamom. In fact, the whole spice blend is lovely. This is a pretty solid chai blend.
Flavors: Anise, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Cloves, Fennel Seed, Ginger, Pecan, Peppercorn, Rooibos, Spices, Spicy, Sweet
I’m normally not a big fan of hazelnut flavourings in coffee/tea (just a bit picky with them) but I adore this flavoured oolong blend.
A few interesting notes come from the oolong itself. I think I taste tobacco and leaves (like dry maple and elm leaves), maybe in a storage/fermented kind of way? I’m digging it though, whatever it is.
The oolong is a bit toasty, the hazelnut and vanilla combo are nutty and fragrant. This just wow’d me a lot. It almost tastes like there are some spices and whatnot in there too, but I’m not sure what. So much nutty, creamy, sweetness. This will be perfect as a latte some morning.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cardboard, Coffee, Creamy, Hazelnut, Honey, Leather, Nuts, Nutty, Roast nuts, Sweet, Toasted, Toasty, Tobacco, Vanilla
This tea is so mmm, yeah, I can’t even tell you. It’s in the direction of honey black, but stops just before reaching the outer edge of sweetness, and with so much more depth and layering to it. So smooth with the ever so slight bit of smoke.
The cinnamon that others have mentioned eludes me. This does not trouble me.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Plums, Smoke
I drank this sample Western-style both times I tried it, as that’s just what the smaller leaves seemed best suited to. The dry leaf smelled malty with a bit of cocoa, smoke, and plum. The flavor was a nicely deep and malty, with a little bit of cocoa and vanilla in the first steep. There was also just a small tough of smoke to it. After the first steep, I didn’t get any of the vanilla or cocoa notes I got before. The maltiness remained, along with a slight bit of a plum note. Pretty good tea, especially to western and take with me!
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Plums, Smoke, Vanilla
GCTTB DAY 6
Back to sampling GCTTB teas this afternoon. This is one I had brought with me to work, and it is just lovely! It reminds me of Harney and Sons’ Florence tea, à la oolong. Hazelnut and vanilla are dominant flavour notes, smoothly mixing with the familiar slightly earthy oolong tea base. Well-balanced and smooth tea – delicious! Another keeper. :)
Another sample slain! I’m going through them at a blistering pace, reducing that mountain! My girlfriend is helping me pick them out at random so I’m not paralyzed by indecision :) This rolled oolong had smaller nuggets than most others I’ve seen. I would say these leaves smelled pretty classically Jin Xuan – with some floral and creamy/milky aromas coming off of them. I preferred this one at 180F, which is lower than I typically go for oolongs.
The flavor was simple but satisfying. Green floral and slight milky notes dominated, though nothing about this tea suggested domination. It was pretty gentle, with a nice smooth and thick silky texture to it.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Milk, Sweet
Tea 4/8 from the GCTTB that I traded off. Moving along fast!
Interesting how so many reviewers found a prominent licorice taste to this tea. I made a cup for me + 1 for my husband (different leaves for each cup) and with each cup I found the foretaste to be mint, next- floral, then maybe a touch of licorice. Maybe it’s because I only steeped for 5 min? Either way this blend is decent and I’ll use it up pretty fast.
Flavors: Floral, Mint
Hmm, this one didn’t quite do it for me. It had some good qualities, but it was really kind of just a “meh” tea. The leaf smelled a little bit roasty and chestnutty, maybe a bit of autumn leaf.
The flavor started out a little bit sour, which I would attribute to the roast most likely. Also some nutty, a bit of floral as well. After the sourness went out, around the third steep, a bit of a nice mineral note came in as well, along with just a smoother feeling in the mouth. Unfortunately, just as it was getting a little bit nicer, the flavor died…like it only went for around 5 or 6 steeps. I’m thinking this one wasn’t a huge fan of the boiling water that I hit it with, so I got some roughness and a shortened session.
The flavors for this one were much “higher” than other DHP that I’ve had. I think that could be part of why this one just didn’t seem to have the depth I was hoping for from it. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Da Hong Pao or even Wuyi oolongs, but I would consider this a lower quality DHP than the others I have tried.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Sour
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