Zen Tea

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
596 tasting notes

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.

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68

GCTTB V2

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…

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90
drank Milky Oolong by Zen Tea
172 tasting notes

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

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I’m not the only one fixated on it?

Evol Ving Ness

Maybe you are currently the only one, but you seem to be taking several others on this ride.

Daylon R Thomas

Well, considering how many milk oolongs I just sampled…

tigress_al

On the wish list it goes!!

sundaysipping

Oooh,this tea sounds tasty!

Evol Ving Ness

I drank this one for two days, approximately seven steeps.

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60

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

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Milky Oolong by Zen Tea
596 tasting notes

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.

Hoálatha

I think you and I have similar tastes. What you’ve been drinking lately sounds amazing!

Rasseru

Oolong fans of steepster unite

Daylon R Thomas

Green oolong drinkers usually like the same things :)

Evol Ving Ness

BTW, the company is called Zen Tea Life in full. Reviews for the same tea seem to show up under either Zen Tea or the other.

Delighted that you’ve already discovered some that you enjoy. It’s all about tea joy!

At this rate, you’ll be through that box in a couple of days. :)

Daylon R Thomas

I’m saving the black teas for when it gets cooler. :) The milk oolongs I’m plowing through because I’m on the quest for a good daily drinker. Mandala’s Milk Oolong is one of my very favorites, but it’s so expensive per ounce.

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95

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.

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
596 tasting notes

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.

Evol Ving Ness

I have found I enjoy this one more when I go a bit more lightly on the leaf. For some reason, it seems to tone down the minerality of it and bring up the nuttiness. Glad to hear that you are diving in with full gusto!

Evol Ving Ness

Oh, and also, I am so glad that the box got there.

Daylon R Thomas

:) Same. I could see this tea being better light western. I was surprised how much I was able to get out of it Gong Fu though. I wonder if Western would have been better for the next sample of yours I guzzled. The Milk Scent Kinsen was interesting, and is interesting. It’s giving me a little bit of a buz. It actually has some interesting dimensions.

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84
drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
3707 tasting notes

GCTTB V1

- 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

Rasseru

Spanish dig Hazelnut custard

Evol Ving Ness

I like this one. The more I drink it, the more hazelnut cream comes through and the mineral aspect seems to slide into the background.

Super Starling!

This sounds amazing. If you ever want to do a trade, let me know. Yummm.

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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.

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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….

Evol Ving Ness

Do I really need more of this in my cupboard?

The million dollar question, heh.

Fjellrev

Good to know that they’re similar!

Christina / BooksandTea

If anything, this version seems a little more buttery and floral. That could be because it’s fresher, though.

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90

GCTTB V1

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!

Evol Ving Ness

I thought you would like this one. :)

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84
drank Japanese Treasures by Zen Tea
555 tasting notes

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.

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Beautiful green leaf. I can definitely see a Japanese noble sitting on a tatami mat and drinking this. It becomes bitter quite quick. So after a minute taste often. Predominantly grassy with slight marine flavors.

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80

As soon as I smelled this tea I knew I had to try it. It’s that mineral, very slightly grassy and floral notes that really hit the nose and make you go… yup have to try that. It has such a pure and airy flavor. Mineral notes are what I pick up on first; especially the more you steep it. Definitely buttery with an aftertaste for fresh cut flowers.

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75

Really not sure how I feel about silver needle so far. This is the second one I’ve tried and it was alright. First time, I tried doing normal gongfu, but the leaves just weren’t opening up at all, and my best brews were among the last, when I got up to steep times of a minute or more. My second session, I did a sort of reverse gongfu, with steeps of 1m, 45s, 30s, 20s, 20s, 30s, 45s, etc. It did work a lot better, as I got some decent flavor in the early and later steeps.

Very light tasting tea, with floral and straw notes. Also picked up on some grassy taste. Late in the first session and midway through the second, I got a kind of sweetness I’ve only tasted in silver needle that I can best describe as “fluffy.” Like marshmallows maybe, but not so overwhelmingly sugary. Also got a bit of a milky and creamy mouth feel during those steeps. I have one or two more silver needle samples, so if anybody has any brewing advice for them, I would welcome it.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grass, Straw, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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89
drank Sweet Coconut Island by Zen Tea
1832 tasting notes

GCTTB
This tea tastes like toasted coconut with added creamy sweetness, like the coconut milk was added to the blend along with the meat. There’s a tropical fruit undertone that’s mostly pineapple and all tastiness. Excellent both hot and iced, this would make an excellent mixer for some kind of summer cocktail.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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69

GCTTB
Pretty standard ginger peach tea. It’s not bad by any means, but not really remarkable. It’s actually quite similar to the ginger peach tea that Davids Tea carries. It is nice that this one is decaf though so I can drink it after 4pm and not have to worry about being wired all night long. :D

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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70
drank Coconut Chai by Zen Tea
415 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping TTB

This one was heavy on the chai spices (specifically cardamom) and light on the coconut. I liked it, but it didn’t blow my mind.

Flavors: Cardamon, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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95
drank Fengqing Golden Buds by Zen Tea
415 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping TTB

This is a lovely Chinese black tea! The leaves are large and twisty with lots of golden tips and a rich, sweet aroma. The tea brews up to a deep reddish brown with a strong, malty sweet potato flavor. It’s super smooth with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. So glad for the chance to sample this one! I would definitely consider purchasing more in the future.

Flavors: Malt, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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The dry leaf of this is long, spindly, and a dark matte brown. The leaves are relatively straight, rather than being all twisted and curled up, and there isn’t much evidence of silver, white, or gold leaf tips. Dry, they smelled kind of fruity and woody, like prunes or bark.

I brewed this tea twice, and in so doing used up the entire sample. First, I did a traditional western steep with a giant mug — 2.8 grams of leaf in 2 cups of 95°C water for 2-3 minutes. After steeping, I had a sip that tasted of rose and citrus, like a Ceylon tea. However, it was much too hot to drink so I let it sit for a bit; while the fresh tea was a warm amber colour, it darkened considerably once it cooled. The cooler tea also tasted quite different, because the flavour turned from citrus to something more resinous, like camphor or pine.

The remainder of the leaf was brewed up gong-fu style in a gaiwan. I used 5.3 grams of leaf in 95°C water, started with a 20-second steep, and increased each subsequent steep by 5 seconds, ultimately getting about 6-7 steeps before letting things rest. Each steep of tea produced a cup of beautiful amber-coloured liquid.

And here is where words fail me, because this tea was so good. Every single steep I had smelled like cinnamon. And not just your bog-standard chai cinnamon sort of smell. No, this stuff smelled like whole cinnamon sticks, like cinnamon and sugar. Sweet, spicy, tingly, vibrant.

The taste was quite different, though, and that camphor/resin note I experienced when steeping it western style showed up again here. It felt very herbal and healing, like I was drinking some sort of tincture meant to restore my health. I could feel the dry woodiness of it all the way into my sinuses and nasal cavity.

As the steeps continued, the cinnamon note of the aroma started to give way to something fruitier, like plums or prunes. For one magical steep (steep 5? steep 6?), the cinnamon and fruit notes were balanced perfectly so it smelled like apple cider! If I could have every cup of tea smell like that, it would be a happy world indeed.

After 7 or so steeps, I called it a night, and gave the gaiwan a last loving inhale: the aroma of the spent leaves was plummy, malty, and rich. The leaves were also easy on the eyes, too, a beautiful rich brown:

Assuming the day ever comes where I manage to get my tea collection under control, I would seriously consider giving Zen Tea’s Taiwan Ruby Black Tea a permanent spot on the shelf.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/05/taiwan-ruby-black-tea/

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drank Bamboo Buddha by Zen Tea
1106 tasting notes

Thank you for the sample Evol Ving Ness

I really enjoyed this one cold brewed. The bamboo is refreshing and there is hints of lemon and strawberry. It probably helped that there was a huge chunk of dried strawberry in the brew!
I will likely HAVE to order this next time…..lol

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75
drank Genmaicha by Zen Tea
130 tasting notes

My first genmaicha. Wasn’t a tea category I was particularly excited to try, as it seemed weird. Took advantage of the Zen Tea sale to pick up a small sample for almost nothing. I used 2.5g for 150mL water at 160 degrees. Steeps of 1m, 30s, 90s, 5ish.

Super roasty toasty aroma. The flavor was roasty and creamy sweet. I didn’t taste much of any vegetal flavor, though I think it was there. Maybe I had more rice bits than sencha bits in this scoop or something. Not sure if it’s something I’ll want to keep around, but it’s interesting to try and was definitely not bad.

Flavors: Creamy, Roasted, Toasted

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Nicole

I recently tried this as well for the first time. I have pretty much the same opinion. :) I liked it more than I thought I would.

Matu

Awesome! :) I have to give it another go, because I recently heard that my 2.5g for 150mL water is probly way too light for Japanese greens. But yea, a pleasant surprise for sure.

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82
drank White Peony (Pai mu tan) by Zen Tea
130 tasting notes

This is my first White Peony, and I really enjoyed it. I used 5g in a 100mL gaiwan with 175 degree water. This tea yielded the most distinct hay/straw flavor I’ve ever gotten from a tea. Beneath that were some plummy, malty sweet notes. The body was slightly thick, but not particularly so.

The leaves for this kind of tea are pretty interesting with some small fuzzy ones and some larger ones as well. A fun tea to drink and I’m glad I got to sample it. So far (take this with a grain of salt, as I haven’t had much of either), I like White Peony better than Silver Needle when it comes to white tea.

Flavors: Hay, Malt, Plums, Straw

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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69
drank Genmaicha by Zen Tea
555 tasting notes

My coral colored teapot has become my genmaicha pot. I realized thay it’s pretty much the only thing I brew in it because I always want a nice big pot of genmaicha when I drink it. This one really does better with less steep times but it’s a very fine line between the creamy and the bitter. Maybe I should say grassy instead. Creamy just isn’t a descriptive word I think of when it comes to Genmaicha.

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