Zen Tea

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68

Sipdown (114)!

Need to go to bed, but I’m on a really good tasting note roll right now…

Anyway thanks again Stephanie for the sample! I used extra leaf this time around since my biggest complaint with the last brew was that the flavour was weak and watery. This cup was a little less bland and had some notable differences; it was sweeter with a much more distinct and present vanilla flavour though to me it came off just a touch like artificial vanilla extract and less so like, well, actual vanilla.

There was still a fair amount of cinnamon – that part was definitely consistent. But where I gained vanilla flavour, I definitely lost the cooling, refreshing flavour of the mint. I think I just slightly prefer the vanilla flavour being present over the mint, despite the fact the mint was more natural, but having both present would be ideal. I mean this is Vanilla Mint and not Vanilla or Mint, right?

The earthy Pu was very subtle; most present in the aftertaste. It read to me like damn soil, with a light sweetness to it. I think I’d have really enjoyed the flavour if it was more present.

So to summarize; this was better than the first cup but only slightly. I just want more flavours from this one – more of all the flavours (except maybe the cinnamon). I think it could be really good, if it weren’t so light.

TheLastDodo

Ooh, I just got this blend! Maybe I will have to add some ‘meh’ puerh to it to make it stronger. Oh! Or Coffee and Cigs + this O.o

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68

This sample comes from Stephanie!

I had this one earlier in the week on the way to work and honestly, I didn’t find it very exciting or memorable. In fact, it’s already slipped from my mind so much that I’m relying purely on the jot notes I wrote down to write what I thought about it.

What I’ve written for myself is basically that it was surprisingly soft in flavour with a light earthiness and a slight cooling sensation from the mint. Mostly, it was very cinnamon heavy, which was a little unwelcome. I know there’s cinnamon in the blend, but given the name you’d expect the vanilla and mint to be the most dominant flavours – and they just weren’t. In fact, it was kind of hard to pick up the vanilla at all.

I do have at least one more cups worth, but probably two, so I guess I’ll play around with the amount of leaf I’m using and see if I can make this stronger.

Today’s word of the day is/was (I mean, the day is pretty close to over) commodious. Commodious means having a comfortable amount of space.

And I just realized something; it’s practically only a month from my birthday! Holy shit I’m going to be 20. I know the majority of Steepster users are a fair bit older than that (and I still don’t know if anyone is younger), but man I feel really old and unaccomplished now…

:(

Lindsay

Oh gosh, you’re so young. Plenty of time left to accomplish things. :)

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drank Cream Caramel Rooibos by Zen Tea
483 tasting notes

I had a travel mug of this on the bus this morning. It was nice to sip on and stay warm. It is not great, but not bad. I added milk and sugar. I really like when rooibos is slightly more flavor. I got hints of sweet caramel, but nothing too convincing. Not my favorite.

yyz

I found that this tea improved if you used more leaf than recommended. I think I used two TSP per cup.

TeaTiff

I will have to give this a try with what remains. Thanks!

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drank Taiwan Ruby by Zen Tea
450 tasting notes

I was desperate getting nice quality white tea cup. White because it shows the true color of the tea.
its not that easy. The cup had to be around 80-90ml and not too thin. While i like thin cups they are not practical for me. its too hot to hold them. and im always afraid to break them.
So Zen Tea Life has pretty extensive Korean ceramic pieces which i happen to love. And i found my perfect cup there.

They got new Taiwanese teas . I had to add a sample of this tea.
Its delicious. made gongfu 5g 100ml 195F
Leaves are gorgeous, long full,not broken. had many steeps. it has usual Taiwanese black tea profile of fruity longan sweetness and raw nuts.

Zen Tea never disappoints me with quality of teas, teaware, pricing and careful packing. And i got it in two business days from Canada.

http://instagram.com/p/ypTfYbhwi_/

http://instagram.com/p/ypUosqBwlJ/

http://instagram.com/p/ypU1oVBwlj/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
DeliriumsFrogs

YAY!!! The cup (which is exactly the type of thing I need…need? maybe more ‘want’, but it feels like a ‘need’! haha), sounds so perfect! I haven’t looked at their teaware before, but now I have to check it out.
Gorgeous pictures, too. :D

looseTman

How does this Taiwanese tea compare to similar offerings from Butiki and TTC?

boychik DeliriumsFrogs, i will send you PM.

looseTman, the tea is very good. $20 for 100g . and you can get a sample, their samples are 20g. Pretty generous. This is not Taiwanese Assam,so I cannot compare it Butiki’s PTA, but Taiwan Ruby #18. i’ve sampled some TTC black teas. Some I liked , some were ok, or so so. its not side by side tasting but I assure you it is very good tea.

AnnaEA

Red #18s are interesting teas. Eco-cha has a nice one, lots for rich sweet sundried tomato and minty notes. They set me up with ’12 and ’13 from the same farmer, and it was really fascinating to taste the two side by side. Clearly the same tea, but so different at the same time. Like the same girl dressed for an upscale restaurant one night and beach bonfire picnic the next.

sansnipple

lol, never seen a tea seed in a black tea before, only in puerh bricks

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78

A Gong Fu favourite that I am steeping Western style for a change. Not sure if that is pure insanity, but right now I feel like a large pot of tea to use with my pot warmer.

The raw leaves are: long and flat with light twists and stems present, dark brown/red brown in colour and bares a toasted hay and floral scent.

Once steeped the tea liquor is burnt orange, it has a toasted hay, floral and malt scent, somewhat matching it’s raw form.

Strength is medium. I can taste toasted flowers and earth, sweet malt, wood and a subtle hint of smoke. It is rather mellow and smooth, with each flavour blending in well together to create a toasted and earthy mist in my mouth that lingers.

As it cools it becomes a little sour though remains consistent in flavour and strength. Also slightly dry now in the after taste.

Overall: It’s very pleasant, reminds me a little of Oriental Beauty Oolong but more mild. The flavours were pure and quality of the leaves were nice. However, my taste of darker Oolongs such as this one comes from comparison and this will unfortunately not be memorable. I’m also aware it could be down to the steeping, as it did mention to fare well from Gongfu Steeps.

Flavors: Flowers, Hay, Malt, Smoke, Toasted, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 7 g 30 OZ / 900 ML

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drank Strawberry Cream by Zen Tea
338 tasting notes

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90
drank Energizing Chai by Zen Tea
432 tasting notes

Overboard TTB

I am really enjoying my cup of this tea! It has an interesting depth of flavor with the pu’erh and the yerba mate with the chai being light but flavorful.

I’m not really sure why it is considered a chai since it doesn’t have the spice I would expect. It has long pepper and cardamom but no cinnamon, cloves, etc. Even though it’s not necessarily a chai it is lovely.

The cocoa, vanilla and coconut blend nicely. And I love almost any yerba mate so this makes a wonderful, invigorating cuppa.

Flavors: Cacao, Cardamon, Coconut, Dandelion, Pepper, Vanilla

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This was one of the free sample size teas Zen Tea had (and may still have) on their website. It even says on the package that, ‘yes, this tea is not the pinnacle of refinement.’ I agree. This is not an amazing tea. But, I took that with a grain of salt.

I have an espresso machine at work and I wondered to myself, ‘what if I made tea espresso out of this?’ The leaves are certainly fine enough. Presto! That is how my Teapresso was born!

I prepared this tea by packing it tightly into the portafilter (espresso-shot-puller-thingie) and tamping it into a tightly compressed cake. Pulling the shot as I normally do for a doppio espresso, I got a similar color as the coffee, but without the thick, caramel colored crema you typically see on top. It smelled strong and very… tea-like. I suppose this is what ‘tea smell’ means for the rest of the non-tea-obsessed world.

With a pump of vanilla and steamed milk, I was able to transform this ‘unsavory’ leaf into three amazing tea lattés from the 20g pouch I received. Hooray for sipdowns!

P.S. I did not give this a rating because I know not many of you would not be able to recreate my same brewing parameters.

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95
drank Coconut Oolong by Zen Tea
177 tasting notes

Cooking TTB #5

I’m drinking this right now and I hope my cup never ever runs out!! This tea is seriously fantastic!! Chock full of amazing coconut and cream flavors its like drinking a coconut macaroon!! I must have more of this!!! Huge thank you to Flyawaybirdie for including this sample in the TTB for me!

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35
drank Lavender Nirvana by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

This…isn’t pleasant. I’m a big fan of Zen Tea but not of lavender. It doesn’t do anything for me – the same can be said for Jasmine. I’ve had worse, but this isn’t my thing. The rooibos has a nice sweetness and this tea is a dark color. Smooth flavor, tad of sweetness, the floral isn’t overpowering but layers.

Flavors: Lavender, Rooibos

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML
TheLastDodo

Oh noes, I just picked this one up with my last Zen tea order… I don’t usually like drinking lavender. what was I thinking?

Lupiressmoon

Hopefully you’ll like it more than me, floral really isn’t my thing.

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86
drank Anxi Tieguanyin by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

I’ve had this sample awhile. It’s weird because it looks like I never logged owning it in my cupboard, when I usually put everything in as soon as I get it. It’s also not on the website anymore, so I guess they don’t sell it now – they do have Anxi Dark, which sounds very similar, so it could have replaced it, but that one lists some differences (like peach) that this doesn’t have, so I don’t think so.

Either way, this one turned out nice. I liked it a lot – it had a grassy, earthy, nutty flavor. Sometimes I would sip in a mild, subtle cocoa, but other sips it seemed absent. When the cocoa was absent, it wasn’t missed; when it was there, it was welcomed.

It’s funny that this dark-roasted tea produces a relatively light cup. I didn’t have much of the sample left, so only brewed in half a cup rather than a full. Very vibrant, smooth flavor – not brisk or robust, but it’s great as it stands.

I’ll have to try the other Anxi sometime, although I really don’t think they’re the same tea. I will also try the same type of tea from Verdant.

Flavors: Cocoa, Grass

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
Anlina

I’ve had some weirdness with teas that I know for certain I logged in my cupboard disappearing from it. I’ve been emailing Jason about it, so hopefully the issue will get resolved soon. I hate the idea of stuff being missing – I don’t keep a spread sheet, so if it’s not logged in my Steepster cupboard, it’s not logged anywhere.

Lupiressmoon

Oh this could be it. I swear I logged another tea as a review a few years ago but can’t find it now. Discouraging. May start backing up steepster notes at least. I really depend on them with my memory.

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80
drank Blood Orange by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

Zen Tea continues to impress me with their teas and all I’m sampling from them.

There is nothing really wrong with this tea, I just don’t think it’s my style. I like spicy orange and lemon, but have never tried a blood orange tea. The blood orange does not seem artificial at all, and it does a great job of blending in the background, popping out it’s flavor, without overpowering the black tea. It is not cloying or fake. There is the small taste of acidic bitterness an orange has, but no bitterness in the tea. I’m glad the black tea does not have a bitterness of its own – otherwise that could be a disaster.

The tea also leaves behind a nice taste in the mouth – clean and similar to drinking citrusy drinks. Overall the quality of the tea is quite good, it’s just a flavor that I’m going to keep around as a staple.

Flavors: Orange

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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100
drank Coconut Oolong by Zen Tea
865 tasting notes

I do love this tea and I’m sad it’s gone. But that means one step closer to reducing my stash and getting new tea! I have a long way to go… D: I like this tea because the coconut isn’t overwhelming. The nutty/buttery oolong is the dominant flavor with coconut kind of hanging out in the background. I added a little bit of honey to this and it tastes exactly like a coconut macaroon. MMmmmm

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95
drank Lapsang Souchong by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

I keep drinking this and am bumping my rating. One of my all time favorite teas that I drink, love the smell of, the idea of, bliss. The only thing annoying is the price bumps up when I go to Zenteas to checkout.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Lapsang Souchong by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

Wow.

Well, I have never had Lapsang Souchong. I’ve been reading descriptions about it lately, and see many don’t like it. I was curious about the smoky and campfire description, so I tossed a sample in with my recent Zen Tea order. I’m digging most of the teas I’ve tried from this company.

I opened the bag and took several big sniffs – they aren’t kidding when they say it smells like smoky campfires and the whiff of bacon that has cooked. I like bacon as much as any person but wasn’t sure how much I’d like drinking anything with it’s flavor!

I steeped at a smidge over four minutes in a five ounce cup, poured over with boiling water from the tea kettle.

I really had no idea if I’d like it – first, I’m picky. Second, I’ve never drank anything like this. I’m delighted to say I actually do like it quite a bit. It’s not something I could drink all the time, but the smoky flavor and uniqueness appeals to me. After it had cooled down a little, I found big gulps tasted good. I like the aftertaste. I added a tiny bit of sugar and I find that helps bring the flavor out more. I almost feel the smokiness slightly in my chest and it’s an enjoyable, almost decongestant feeling. The sugar mixed with the smokiness is a great idea for me.

I can picture this type of tea with the woods, campfires, road trips, old fashioned cowboys on journeys, the moon high in the sky with fog. It would be cool to have a woodsland or moon-centered name with this kind of tea. I’m cheesy like that, ok? And I make no apologies about it by this age in my life. :)

As it cools, it tastes even better still warm. Having a cold drink nearby to sip in between makes this even more enjoyable. That’s a weird thing I do when drinking hot tea a lot of the time.

And for some reason I think an addition of blueberry flavor or other dark berry would taste enticing with a Lapsang Souchong.

Flavors: Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML
Lupiressmoon

I’ve been in the mood to have this again, having cravings. Must have been a closet Lapsong addict.

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84

I was very curious about trying this one from the description.

It’s a beautiful color and I steeped three minutes with just under boiling water from the kettle in my 5 ounce cup. Next steep I will try 4 minutes to see if I bring out more flavor and all the way boil, with some cooling.

I don’t get much spice note at the end, but there are glimpses of it sometimes. It is a pleasant, soothing black tea with a nice reddish brown color left behind in the cup. A black tea that makes me feel tranquil and peaceful. Smooth with no astringency or bitterness.

A great black tea when you’re looking for a standard black tea – good with and without sugar. Milk wouldn’t make sense to me in this one, it’s not a breakfast tea. It’s smooth, not brisk, very peaceful.

I drank this with a small piece of Cheesecake. I hadn’t mixed tea and cheescake before but it definitely works. Delicious! This would be one of those soothing black teas that would fit a hot bath and good book perfectly. More of an evening, relaxing blend over a morning wake-up call.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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65
drank Chocolate Chai by Zen Tea
96 tasting notes

I have been trying to submit this note since yesterday, but Steepster keeps showing continual “saving” without progression. I got into the habit of copying and pasting notes until I was sure they went through after Steepster would randomly “eat” tasting notes a couple years back, but haven’t seen anything since. Is this normal? Or Holiday traffic?
-
First of all, this sample is quite old. I found it hiding in a drawer.

Dry scent is super strong chocolate and orange. This made me a bit hesitant, as I like chocolate, and I like orange, but the melding of the two has never pleased me for some reason. Shame. The next strongest scents are then pepper, clove, cinnamon, cardamom. I may also be picking up on some ginger. The orange peel chunks are as big as my thumbnail!

I had this with milk, and the 5 minute suggested steeping time causes it to not be as strong as I would like (I experienced this also with Zen’s Masala chai [which was excellent by the way], so tacking on an extra minute, minute and a half fixed it right up). Zen suggests making this like a normal black tea as “boiling Chocolate Chai in a pot with milk results in an undesirable taste”. I normally find Zen’s steeping instructions bang on, so I heeded Kenneth’s warning.

Clove is the dominant flavour, followed by cinnamon. The chocolate note is there, although not very strong. I get the chocolate note stronger in the upper back of my mouth as an aftertaste after a few sips. There’s a citrus freshness that cuts through the creamyness, but the orange doesn’t present as strong as I thought it would given the dry scent.

I wouldn’t keep this in my cupboard, but it may be because the sample is pretty old and I have been spoiled by trying the Masala Chai earlier this week; http://steepster.com/Starfish/posts/278781 It was just so darn good!

Flavors: Cardamon, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Orange, Orange Zest, Pepper

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Anlina

I have this saving issue often.

Usually I just copy and paste the text of my note, close the page, then go to my Tealog page. The empty note will be there, then I edit it and save, and it usually works. PITA but it’s a pretty reliable work around for me.

Lupiressmoon

I prefer cinnamon heavy chai with the clove in the background as a complement myself. Loving Zen Teas but it’s so hard to find a good-for-me Chai. It’s funny that out of all I’ve tried of Chais, I still prefer twinings tea bags as the most flavorful. So weird.

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65
drank Chocolate Chai by Zen Tea
96 tasting notes

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75

I think I steeped it in too hot of temperature, wasn’t paying enough attention.

This is a mild, pleasant Darjeeling with a slight astringent bite during the first part of the sip, but this seems to dissipate by the time the sip is done.

Overall a pleasant drink but almost bitter, and frankly a bit dry for my preference. There’s a smudge of sweetness that’s enjoyable but Darjeeling may not be my favorite thing. Will have to do more experimenting.

Will rebrew later at a different temperature.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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88
drank Strawberry Cream by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

Well, I have to say this tea is delightfully, surprisingly delicious.

The tea leaves are pretty with bits of strawberries. Dry, the smell is appealing and natural (not artificial seeming). It definitely holds up to the smell – the tea is surprisingly dark when brewed (did at 2 1/2 minutes, it was recommended as 2-3).

Strong tea but not overpowering at all. What surprises me is how non-artificial and realistic this strawberry tea is. A delightful flavor that stands out, but still somehow manages to stand behind the tea and highlights itself at the same time as just complementing.

Why this is so surprising is because I’m NOT a fruit tea fan. I only tried this sample because of an opportunity when doing another order – glad I did. I finally have a fruit tea I want to keep on the tea keeper shelf. It’s like drinking a nice black morning tea and eating a piece of toast with strawberry jam.

I’m curious about trying this with milk as a form of latte – usually don’t drink milk with tea but may in the future with this one just to test.

Flavors: Strawberry

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML
Miss Starfish

Isn’t this one great?! It was the first sample I tried from Zen and I was hooked. Their teas are fantastic!

Lupiressmoon

Yes I really love their Phoenix Pearl too. Thankfully ordered a lot of samples from them, can’t wait

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100

Aaaaand it’s gone… I actually really liked this tea. It was a nice oolong to have around when I wanted something more traditional tasting. It’s sweet and floral with soft nutty notes. It will be dearly missed :(

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82
drank Gyokuro by Zen Tea
96 tasting notes

Dry leaf smells great; vegetal and sweet.

The liquor is a light, vibrant green. Aroma of sweet baby asparagus and hay. Wow. This is really good. It’s like a sweeter version of sencha. But calling it sweet isn’t quite right, as it’s still savoury. It’s hard to describe. This tea starts on a sweet delicate note, and then quickly crescendos with a strong (but it’s not a “loud” kind of strong, it’s more of a depth?) sencha flavour, before rounding down with punctuated mellow notes of grass, baby jasmine and umami.

Also, I read online that a lot of people eat the leaves, so I tried that tentatively (As a small child I also tried eating a rabbit dropping after my father convinced me it was a raisin. It was not a raisin. Granted that is neither here nor there, but will hopefully serve as an amusement at my expense). Leaf report: I think there was some water left in with the leaves, so they’re a bit bitter. But I enjoyed the texture and if I had Ponzu on hand to add to them, I bet they’d be quite yum!

Flavors: Asparagus, Hay, Jasmine, Sweet, warm grass, Umami

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML
Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

that sounds very much like something my dad would have done to me!

Ponzu is super yummy on the leaves, I have also sprinkled some furikake on it which made it really tasty, reminded me of a really mild seaweed salad

Miss Starfish

Thanks for the rec Amanda, I’ll pick some up! :)

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70
drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

Hm, I’m not an expert with Keemun at all, so I really can’t say much about this in comparison to others. I do know that to me this is a good, very basic, plain black tea, with no special frills or pleasantries. When first steeped it had almost no flavor, but after cooling slightly it improved. Still, it’s a flavorless black tea to me, smooth and decent, but not worth making again. It may not be Zen Tea’s fault, though, it could just be that all Keemuns are like this. I’m confused as I see descriptions of smoky, or chocolate, but I get absolutely none of that.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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80
drank Ginger - Rooibos by Zen Tea
73 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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