Zen Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

100
drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
1 tasting notes

This tea is currently my favorite. We put half a Mason jar full of 2% milk and shake it like your life depends on it. Put it in the microwave for 45 seconds. I usually do this while the Grey Cream is brewing. A very small amount of sugar and the perfectly concocted microwave foam/hot milk combo makes a perfect cup of tea. My wife puts a little shake of Pumpkin Spice on the foam and after that first drink you will think your in Bath, England in late 1792

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 5 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95
drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
121 tasting notes

This is my fourth Keemun, and I would definitely say it’s my favorite so far! It’s smoky but smooth, with enough strength to get me up and going. This was another generous sample from ashmanra, thanks again for expanding my Keemun horizons! I’m going to purchase this one for sure!

ashmanra

My favorite of the three I sent you as well! Glad you like it. Grace Rare Tea has one called Winey Keemun that is very different from the ones I sent but is very good. It can be purchased online or at A Southern Season. It is true to the name – winey and fruity without smoke or cocoa notes.

Mike

Awesome, I’ll have to make a trip up to Raleigh soon, it’s been a while. I’ll wait until I diminish my current stores, I bought a lot of tea last month, hahaha! Thanks again!

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drank 2 by Zen Tea
11 tasting notes

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94

This is another one Zen sent for me to try and include in the teabox. Here we have a very tightly rolled oolong, very dark green. The dry leaves have a faint fruity scent to them, which is unique. I decided to go with one heaping teaspoon of leaves because they are rolled so tiny, I knew it would be an explosion of unraveled leaves in the brew basket. This is a great example of a fantastic oolong. Somehow all three steeps tasted the same, which probably means the leaves had many more steeps remaining. I think I steeped this one perfectly – no oversteeped flavor. The flavor is mostly floral with hints of milky butter, which turns out how Zen describes this one too. Very delicious. Not the most floral oolong, but more floral than most. I’m loving the even higher quality of Zen’s new batch of teas they have for sale. They never disappoint!
Steep #1 // 1 heaping tsp for a full mug// rinse // 10 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 1 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 minute steep
Todays sipdown: English Tea Store – Dorian Grey

Flavors: Butter, Floral

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drank Juicy Blueberry by Zen Tea
2494 tasting notes

Sipdown (157)

Thank you Dexter for sharing this tea with me. I know I had this before but I can’t seem to find a review. I used what was left for a cold brew and I think it was underleafed. In this cup, I’m getting mostly lemongrass and hibiscus. It was definitely juicy but the blueberry was overshadowed by the other elements. I believe the first time I had this was better as it was more balanced.

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90
drank Bamboo Buddha by Zen Tea
110 tasting notes

This tea reminds me a bit of Citrus Camomile by Mighty Leaf, although this one does not contain camomile.

It is delicious. The lemon notes are softened by vanilla with the occasional red berry zing of tartness. There’s a lovely mild pineapple lilt in the background.

This is the second bamboo leaf tea that I’ve tried. Wonderful. I get the impression that bamboo imparts a flavour similar to camomile although I can’t be certain as I haven’t tried bamboo tea straight up.

Apparently bamboo tea contains dietary fibre which aids the digestive and cleansing systems of the body. In addition, bamboo is thought to be beneficial to bone, hair, and skin health. Can’t hurt.

Such a pleasant evening tea.

Flavors: Berry, Lemon, Pineapple, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
ashmanra

Oh, I may have to try this! Sounds lovely.

carol who

This sounds delightful. I haven’t had many teas that can pull of the pineapple flavor at all. And as you said the benefits can’t hurt!

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
63 tasting notes

subtle malty cocoa notes and nice and smooth to drink

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt

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80
drank Coconut Chai by Zen Tea
1931 tasting notes

This one is from the teas Zen sent along for the teabox! The leaves are medium sized with a nice proportion of spices, including a lot of coconut. The flavor is mostly creamy coconut overall, so the name coconut chai is certainly accurate. The toasted creamy coconut flavor is really nice with the spices. The black tea itself is a great strength for a chai, but doesn’t overpower the flavor with its robustness. Though especially on the second steep, the black tea is a little light. I wouldn’t mind a stronger base. I love chai on a dark gloomy winter day. There has been many of those lately. I sipped this down much too quickly!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 5 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep

Todays sipdown: Davidtea’s Honey Bee

Fjellrev

It’s nice to hear that this one has a lot of coconut in it!

tea-sipper

I forgot to wish all the Steepsterers a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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93
drank Fengqing Golden Buds by Zen Tea
1931 tasting notes

The leaves here are a gorgeous fuzzy amber with hints of black. Some of them look sickle shaped, like an amber version of Silver Needle white. The dry leaves have a promising sweet fragrance. The medium amber brew is delicious – sweet malt with hints of chocolate and a lot of sweet potato and squash, that sweet yet vegetal flavor. Very delicious for this type of light Chinese black tea. It reminds me a little of Yunnan Sourcing’s Imperial Mojiang that I love, though the leaves don’t look exactly the same. Another great tea from Zen!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep

Zen just sent over some teas to include in the next round of the HH Traveling Tea Box! So nice of them. But this one is from my last tiny order. I think I’ll try a new tea every day and try to manage a sipdown every day. Well, at least a sipdown every day. I’ll see how many days I can go. Sipdown today: A Quarter to Tea’s Cranberry Orange

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Malt, Sweet Potatoes

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
110 tasting notes

First thing is that I was really craving either a red fruit or citrus black this morning, but with having begun shuffling things around, I was unable to find my stash of either. And the boiling water was already cooling.

So. I don’t know how I made the grand leap to this choice, but here we are.

It seems unfair to give this a rating under these conditions, but if I were to today, I would rate it at a 75.

It’s fine, though in a perfect world, I’d like a richer flavour here, of the oolong, of the flavourings.

Hazelnutty. A bit of cream. A bit of that slightly bitter nutskin thing going on. But there’s something metallic at the end of the sip that I don’t find pleasing.

Slightly past boiling on first infusion. Boiling as per instructions on the second.

I will come back to this on a different day. A day on which I am not already slightly biased.

Flavors: Cream, Hazelnut, Metallic

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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This is one very delicious strawberry tea. I do love a good strawberry tea. I have some favourites already, but I think this one will be added to them once I figure out the steeping parameters to take me to strawberry tea bliss.

I think I overstepped by a minute or so. The three minute steep brings out astringency in the black tea base that I think would disappear with a shorter steep at two minutes and/or two and a half minutes at a slightly lower temperature. I am going to try those and report back.

The strawberry flavour works for me. Not quite natural, but pleasant and lovely. No weird aftertaste. Sweet enough but not overly.

I am becoming a big fan of Zen Tea . Delicious. Canadian. Reasonable. And they haven’t steered me wrong yet.

Flavors: Strawberry, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
ashmanra

Great teaware, great customer service. I really do like Zen.

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, that too. It makes such a difference. I am delighted to spend my money with a company that stands by their products and appears to treasure their clients.

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100
drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
110 tasting notes

I ordered this tea during the Black Friday 2015 sales based on reviews. Then rumour has it that this current batch, the new one that I am assuming I received, is inferior to the original.

Now, I haven’t tried the original EGC from Zen, but what is in my cup right now is pretty fantastic. It is not particularly creamy, perhaps that is the problem. However, it works for me. I have tried DT’s EGC and found it to be a disaster for me.

This vanilla is deep and grounded, with several levels of flavour, none of that false perfumey vanilla flavour or scent. The bergamot is there, also grounded, but with lovely floral and citrus lilts that surprise your sips from time to time. The tea base is a pleasant Ceylon mix, as opposed to the thin tinny nonsense that often finds its way into flavoured teas.

Word is that the original tea will be back in stock in two weeks or so. Can it get better than this?

Flavors: Bergamot, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Fjellrev

I haven’t ordered this in a year but it’s too bad to hear that the newer one isn’t quite up to snuff. But glad you still enjoy it. I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say yes, yes it can get better than that.

Evol Ving Ness

I am going to have to conjure up an excuse to make another order then. I am really thinking that I got a bag from the original batch though. Who knows.

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94

Oh my god. This smells so damn good. Assam, cocoa, berries, faint hint of all spice, honey – but the mild light kind.

Plain – Oh my gosh, this is good. If I were having it plain, I’d reduce the steeping time as there’s a bit too much astringency for my liking. Rich cocoa notes and honey, still getting a hint of red berries. Gorgeous.
w/ Milk – Wow. What a delicious creamy cup. So so good. I must get more of this. Permanent addition to the house.
w/ Sugar – cuts the astringency that was too much for me, nicely. Delicious!
w/ Milk & Sugar – MMmmmMMmmmm! So good.

This. This is the type of black tea I love having in my house. One that is versatile and tastes fantastic any which way, for whatever mood I’m in, and so that I can serve it to guests who adjust to their preference – knowing that it will come out great.
Just making a note that this is the organic version, just in case this title comes in both organic and non-organic.

Flavors: Berries, Cocoa, Honey, Raspberry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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85

Mmmmmm…this has a heady chocolate assam aroma.

plain – would steep for 3 mins if having plain, astringency present but much less than anticipated, similar levels to Darjeeling. Very light floral undertone. Malty.
w/ sugar – astringency enhanced by sugar. prefer without
w milk – astringency still present, creamy malty deliciousness.
with milk and sugar – still good, but prefer without sugar.

My sample is gone, otherwise I would retry at 3 minutes.

Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Nice to see you around!

Miss Starfish

Cheers Fjellrev! Has been a busy (and very warm, poor tea weather here in NZ) year. Hope your year has been good :)

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80

Interesting smell – complex.
Light dried fruit like flavour. As I get towards the bottom of the cup I get orchid and violet.
It’s good, and very complex. A lot is happening in this cup.
Sadly there’s a note that I can’t quite pin down, that I’m not the biggest fan of personally. Had that not been present, I would love this tea since I’m a big fan of complexity.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Orchid, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2115 tasting notes

I was going to have something else tonight but there was a tiny bit of this left from breakfast. I drank it to empty the pot, and it was so good I decided to have another pot. The whole pot, all by myself, this late at night with an amazing candy bar that my daughter brought me from The Ganachery at Disney. Might be up late tonight…

This is my favorite Keemun right now. It has just the right heft to be delicious at any time of day and yet never need sugar or milk. But it isn’t one of those Keemuns that gets relegated to afternoon tea because of not being strong enough for breakfast.

Best of all, I bought more during that two day sale a few days ago. Between the coupon and the exchange rate, I almost feel like I robbed Zen Tea. I got so much tea for so little money! And then Ken included three samples in the box, and they are generous sizes. In addition, I added some of the free tea to the cart that is listed as not meeting their standards so you can get one pack free with each order.

Between the box of new tea and the candy bar, I would say my tastebuds have had a pretty awesome day.

Evol Ving Ness

Yay! And what coupon? Please do tell.

ashmanra

It was a two day sale. I had posted it in the Sales thread on the discussion page. I don’t think it is valid anymore but you could try! I received an email promoting it.

Evol Ving Ness

Ah, yes! I remember now. Thank you!
Just as well that I conveniently forgot about that as I am totally overwhelmed with teas for now. Happily so. But still…

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2115 tasting notes

My house sounds like a kennel. A kennel where all the dogs have kennel cough. I needed fortification this morning.

This is a really good breakfast Keemun with the nice scrape of unsweet cocoa on the tongue that I have come to love, and yet it has some of the fruity flavor found in some Keemuns. It really could take milk and sugar and I almost added them this morning just for the comfort, but decided to stick with my usual unadorned cup. Excellent. Will need to order more soon, and if you are placing an order you might as well get a little new teaware at the same time, right?

Flavors: Cocoa, Muscatel

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2115 tasting notes

This has been my breakfast tea of late. I need the strength and bold flavor to give me fortitude!

My mother-in-law is in an assisted living facility. The administrator told us in early December that she could save about $200 a month if we do mail order pharmacy. I was elected to handle it. I don’t know how that happened since I wasn’t running! I was told it was because I was the only one who could pronounce the names of the meds!

Red tape. Doctor’s voicemail. Compounding pharmacies. Automated calls – three per day for every script called in and every refill that ships, and you have to respond if you don’t answer the phone and get that 22 digit tracking number written down. Studying the meds and realizing that one hasn’t been given to her in weeks – a strong narcotic patch that is no doubt being sported by staff and lasts three days – and also has potential fatal interactions with two of her other meds. Having aforesaid med cancelled so it won’t kill her since she says it has never helped her pain anyway. Also, the admin said he ddin’t want it in his facility because they know staff steals it off the patients bodies. (???) Finding an alternative source of protein because why should an 81 year old be forced to drink a nasty beverage they hate twice a day when there are other choices. Websites that don’t work properly, but finally with the help of their tech support who couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working, I have the ability to handle all of this online and cancel those stinking phone calls and bypass some of the nonsense to make getting her meds easier. This has been my thing lately.

Bring on the tea. This is a super tasty one. I drink it straight for breakfast and love the cocoa scrape across the tongue and the bloom of flavor. I have also added brown sugar and made a sort of milk tea with it and it was delicious. This will be a re-order when it started getting low. I do strongly prefer this one to Harney and Sons English Breakfast, which is also 100% Keemun.

gmathis

Owie, owie, owie! Elder care is not for the faint of heart! In the separation of duties, medications did not land with me, which is probably a good thing. Drink up :)

K S

Ugh. The only thing harder than dealing with mail order pharmacy is doing so for someone else. The election may have been rigged but the right person has the job. My next door neighbor is in assisted living temporarily. His wife found out they weren’t giving him all of his medicines. Hard to believe this stuff happens. Stay strong and stay observant. Hugs and prayers.

Christina / BooksandTea

Wow. You are made of strong stuff indeed. I hope that you get the help you need.

__Morgana__

Ugh. Sorry.

tigress_al

Dealing with that kind of stuff is so frustrating!

Evol Ving Ness

Keep fighting the good fight! She is fortunate to have you on her side.

Our societies have a long long way to go before we figure out how to appropriately take care of our aging population. However will we manage when it is our turn?

I am delighted to have this tea here waiting for me to get around to it. Now that you have rated it so highly, I will make sure to get around to it sooner.

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2115 tasting notes

Eldest daughter, SuperAnna, gave me this for Christmas. Sometimes she Steepster-stalks me for gift ideas, and sometimes she makes notes on what I like. She picked a winner here!

When she asked what I wanted for Christmas, I requested the beautiful Aurora matcha bowl from Zen Tea. She added this to the order and I am glad she did.

First reaction this morning was a growl as I lifted the cup. This is breakfast Keemun. Not so bold that you have to add milk and sugar, but bold enough that you are not going back to bed! (I don’t need tea to wake up – I am pretty at it once I awaken and I have to go out first thing and feed the chickens anyway, so that gets me going. If I don’t make it out quickly, the chickens “moo” annoyingly and I am afraid they will disturb the neighbors!)

There is the raspy scrape of unsweetened cocoa on my tongue and the very light hint of smoke, then as you sip, the building fruitiness. Nice tea! This would be very good with milk and sugar for those who like it that way.

gmathis

Mooing chickens! What’ll they think of next? ;)

ashmanra

Moo-ing is their morning grumpy sound, and one of them actually sounds like it is saying, “Moooooom!” I imitated it once and the kids thought I had brought her in the house. This particular chicken was named Darles Chickens but we call her Buffy most of the time. When they squeal, they are being picked on by another chicken. If they sound like geese, it means they see a flying predator.

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17dec15
Interesting looking tea – leaf at the end of a long branch. I had a bit of difficulty measuring the leaf.
Wet leaves smell of lilacs at first then nuttiness. It looks like a bush exploded in my steeper.
At 3 min (1st steep) – taste is nutty then flowers kind of a lilac/violet chaser. Taste is soft. Neither flavor is very strong. When I was done, I had a very drying sensation in the middle of my tongue.
5 min (2nd steep) – still lilacs. I lost the nutty, just flowers. I feel like I’m eating them. I’m not sure the tea is improved with the longer steep. I didn’t steep this a 3rd time.
It was interesting to have tried this. I usually like floral teas, but I think their is just too much lilac taste in this tea for me.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Nutty

Preparation
2 tsp 15 OZ / 443 ML

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88
drank Banyan Da Hong Pao by Zen Tea
313 tasting notes

Oh, yum. You know when a tea just really hits the spot? That was this tea for me, tonight. After sampling a whole bunch of straight black teas in a row, I wanted to try something different and decided on a roasted oolong. This is one from my Zen Tea order that I hadn’t had a chance to try yet. The scent of the dry leaf is sweet and floral and definitely roasted. The liquor is also roasty-toasty and sweet, with an underlying minerality as one would expect from a rock oolong. It’s like… toasted multigrain bread drizzled with honey. So far I’ve steeped it three times: 2min, 3min, and 7 min (I checked after 5min and it seemed light, so I gave it another couple). I’ll probably give it one more ultra-long steep via the “pour boiling water on and then forget about it” method to see if I can wring the last bit of flavour from these leaves. I’m drinking the 3rd steep right now, and it’s noticeably more mineral than the first two, but still very sweet. Nom nom nom.

Flavors: Honey, Mineral, Roasted, Toasty

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Fjellrev

Nice flavour profile!

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85
drank Sweet Tropical Fruits by Zen Tea
1931 tasting notes

I always love when Zen has a new batch of teas to try. There were plenty this time around. I had to try this one! It’s a medium strength, bright black tea (I would guess a Ceylon type base) that complements the fruit flavors nicely – plenty of fruit! There are pineapple and papaya chunks in the blend. Mostly, I’m tasting papaya which tastes like strawberry to me. It’s sweet and refreshing! The second steep still has a ton of fruit flavor as well. I’d definitely stock up on this one as tropical fruit black tea blend. I guess I say that about most of Zen’s teas. Most of them can represent a tea missing in your tea collection: like a tropical black tea or the lovely tropical herbal blend I had the other day.
Steep #1 // 1 1/3 teaspoons for a full mug// 7 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep
zentealife.com

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98
drank Sweet Coconut Island by Zen Tea
1931 tasting notes

This is the best herbal I’ve ever sipped! Whoa. I was intrigued by the ingredients: apple, carrot, pumpkin, pineapple, coconut. The flavor is amazing. The main notes are coconut and pineapple. So sweet and so delicious. I make smoothies with pineapple and coconut yogurt and I could swear there isn’t a difference. So it’s like a smoothie without the calories! The most delicious, sweet herbal tea you could possibly find. I have no idea how it tastes like so much fresh pineapple. Magic? This is the only tropical herbal blend I would need in my tea collection.
Steep #1 // 2 1/2 teaspoons // just boiled // 10 minute steep

Flavors: Coconut, Pineapple

tigress_al

Oh man this sounds so good. They added this to the website after I had received my order :/. It sounds like I need to try it though

ashmanra

Oh! Oh! Oh! Maybe time to place another order!

gmathis

Ooooh! Sounds wonderful.

tea-sipper

It IS delicious. I’m definitely stocking up next time I order, even though I’ve said no-more-coconut teas for a while. This is the best coconut tea though.

Evol Ving Ness

Attention Steepsters! Today is the last day of ZT’s 30% off sale. Code is thanks.

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