Zen Tea

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90
drank LongJing (Dragon Well) by Zen Tea
103 tasting notes

My first Dragonwell, and I think it’s probably my favorite green tea I’ve tried yet. Really love the crisp flavors from this, quite refreshing. Sharp grassy notes, almost resinous, dominate the early steeps. Crispness remains but drops off to some degree in later steeps. Also get a lot of nice, nutty sweetness tempered by a bit of astringency. Body had some almost creamy aspects to it, but was not extremely thick. Very refreshing tea. If there’s a green tea that I would enjoy enough to want to order a lot of, right now it’d be Dragonwell for sure.

Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Resin, Sweet

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

Haven’t tried Zen Tea’s Dragon Well, but if you like the taste be sure to try some of Teavivre’s dragon wells. They have multiple kinds, organic, non-organic, ming qian etc. Anyways, it’s some of the best I’ve ever had.

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87
drank Oolong Jade 2015 Winter by Zen Tea
1121 tasting notes

This is pretty good oolong. It had a bit of a grassy note at first. There was something of a creamy note too. There was some bitterness in the first couple of steeps that slowly turned into more of a sweet note. This was an excellent green oolong tea. It did start to get a bit watery in the seventh and eighth steep. I think this is an oolong that doesn’t resteep real well or maybe I just needed longer steeps.

I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7g leaf and 190 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.

Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Grass, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Today’s tea party teas were chosen to revolve around our dessert from start to finish. Youngest made the French Almond Cookie Cake with Apricot Cream Cheese Glaze. Yes, yes, look it up in Pinterest cuz it was yummy. Keep in mind that she uses freshly ground whole wheat and homemade vanilla when she bakes, as well as fresh eggs right out from under my chickens, so small wonder I have gained weight since she started baking.

Our first tea was Fairmonth Breakfast, plain and medium strong to stand up with this super sweet dessert. This was the second tea and Marzipan Black from Tin Roof Teas was the third, carrying on the fruit and almond flavors of the dessert.

This was listed as a free tea on the Zen website. You could choose one free tea with each order, and I got chai for my eldest daughter last time so I got this one for youngest this time, as she likes peach tea. It says the free teas do not meet their quality standards or are older than they will sell but are still fine to drink. I don’t know which this was, but we will drink it up gladly!

I am not a fan of strong ginger but this tea has a nice balance with the peach. It is smooth and tasty, and I would have no problem paying for it – it doesn’t taste like tea that a company would just give away! My youngest likes it a lot, and everyone seemed to enjoy it today. The base is smooth and not weak and dishwatery like some decaf. The flavoring is at a very good level to let the base come through but still have lots of impact.

Fjellrev

Sounds and looks simply divine!

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This tea has a mild note of malt and a note of what I can only think to call spice on the back of the throat. It is pretty good but not spectacular. It falls into the category of tea I will try to finish but probably not buy again.

I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 2.5 minutes.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Dr Jim

You hit the same sale I did. I haven’t tried this yet.

AllanK

It was good but not spectacular.

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85
drank Milky Oolong by Zen Tea
481 tasting notes

Hooray, my order from Zen’s sale came in today, so now I’m restocked on that amazing coconut oolong. Zen also kindly threw in this sample. I do love milk oolongs, so excited to try this one. Interestingly the leaves, though whole, are quite small, about a third the size of most rolled oolongs I’ve come across. This is one of those milk oolongs that has milk flavor added, so no surprise, the butter notes are quite strong. Overall it has a buttered spinach taste. I think I like Mountain Tea’s version of this a little better, or maybe Teavivre’s unflavored version — but this is still a quality milk oolong and the preference just comes down to personal taste.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashmanra

I got mine today, too! Monty fast for tea coming so far. I got the unflavored milk oolong and I am drinking it right now. It is pretty tasty!

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78
drank Cream Caramel by Zen Tea
1121 tasting notes

This is a fairly nice rooibos. You get a nice flavor from the caramel. However this is not so sweet that you can’t taste the rooibos. The rooibos base to this tea has a fairly nice savory character.

I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for five minutes.

Flavors: Caramel, Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
tea-junkie

Sounds interesting. I’m assuming this one was from the nice sale they had. Do you think it’s worth paying the full price?

AllanK

It’s not all that expensive so, if you like rooibos that has that woodsy rooibos flavor to it and is not all sugar sweetness, yes.

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86
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
103 tasting notes

Had to make a second review of this tea, because using 190 degree water instead of 205 made a huge difference. The lower temp, combined with my being sure to keep the steep times down, almost totally eliminated the issues of mouth-drying I got from my last session and made this a purely sweet experience. Got rich malt and chocolate notes, along with caramel. It was like a dessert. Body wasn’t particularly thick, but there was some almost creamy mouth feel going along with the sweet flavors. Glad I got two 10g samples of this, as I’m looking forward to drinking this a couple more times!

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Creamy, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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86
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
103 tasting notes

First tea I’ve tried from Zen Tea. Not too shabby. Nice cocoa and malty flavors, lasted around 7 steeps. Seemed to die quickly, but might just be because I’ve mostly been drinking puerh/oolong lately. Had a pretty noticeable mouth drying effect but didn’t taste bitter to me. Mouthfeel was relatively silky, not particularly thick or anything either. I did like how the rolled leaves looked, and after they unfurled they appeared to be mostly whole leaves, many still attached to branches. I haven’t seen this processing with a black tea before, only with rolled oolongs.

Flavors: Cocoa, Drying, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank 1 by Zen Tea
12 tasting notes

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90
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
38 tasting notes

The leaves are really beautifully curled and look quite artistic. And it’s pretty cool how they uncurl while steeping, too. It made me wish I had the type of teaware that lets you watch leaves expand, because that would be fun. And after it’s steeped it tastes smooth and friendly. It’s sweet and not bitter at all and has some other flavors that I can’t really describe because I’m not quite that eloquent yet. I’m not really tasting the chocolate in this one, but that’s okay, I have other go-to chocolatey teas so I’m not too disappointed. I was expecting to like this one based on its flavor profile and I’m glad I wasn’t wrong. :)

Preparation
1 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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83

First of all let me just say that I really appreciate the specificity here: I was about to measure out 1.5 teaspoons like it says on the package but when I looked at the leaves I realized they weren’t going to fit easily into my teaspoon, so I got out my scale and measured 2.3 grams because the package specifies that’s how much a serving weighs. So easy (unlike all these practically unlabeled teas that are sitting in the tea box with their names and the company they came from but no clue about how to brew them. I’m thinking maybe I should add some supplementary labels based on the info I find on the internet before passing them on. Sure, you can look up the recommended steeping time online, but I don’t want to be rushing back and forth between Google and my hot water which is rapidly cooling and will soon need to be re-heated because I can’t find any info on the company’s website so I have to try Steepster and normally I consider my internet connection to be fast but . . . yeah.)

Also, it is the first thing in the morning and I haven’t tasted anything else today, so if that influences what I’m tasting I apologize. I think the first few sips will probably manage to wake my mouth up, though.

The leaves look nice (like I said, too big to be easily measured with a teaspoon) and do have an obvious gold tone. The tea brews up to be a lovely dark gold/medium goldish brown. It has a dark fragrance of, I think, malt, and the same flavor note is obvious when first sipping. It has a hint of astringency but is on the whole mostly smooth. It doesn’t seem to me to be a very subtle flavor, but it’s not unpleasant (although the package description says it’s supposed to taste like tobacco! I wouldn’t know, never having eaten tobacco). It certainly does have a “sharp” flavor as advertised. I think I’ll go put a bit of sugar in before I finish it off. It’s not my favorite black tea ever, but it seems to be a good solid tea with plenty of merit.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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60
drank Bamboo Buddha by Zen Tea
2133 tasting notes

There is a very unfamiliar undertone to this tea. It’s most likely the bamboo and to be honest I have no idea what bamboo on its own is suppose to taste like. I can’t quite describe it—its not quite earthy or nutty—it definitely stands out, it isn’t unpleasant, but I’m not exactly sure that I enjoy it. This is one of those teas that just continues to mess with my mind because I can’t figure out how I feel about it.

You can read the full review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2016/3/1/tuesday-tea-bamboo-buddha-zen-tea

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sample taken from GCTTB5
A bit artificial in my opinion. It also turned a bit bitter, but that was my fault. The timer went off (I always set a timer or else I forget about the tea), and I got distracted by the kids. So, I oversteeped—-maybe 5 minutes or so instead of the 3 minutes the website recommends. Oops, I have enough for one more cup, so I will try some other time.

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60
drank Evening Lights - herb by Zen Tea
7440 tasting notes

Another sample from evol ving ness this one isn’t as bad as others seem to think. The main problem is the abundance of licorice causing the sweetness to be a little overwhelming. there are other flavours here but the licorice sweetness buries a lot of it.

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drank Taiwan Ruby by Zen Tea
335 tasting notes

I had this yesterday as a change of pace from all the sheng. :) It’s a typical Taiwanese black: long, twisted, black leaves. Sweet, malty, biscuity flavour. Not the best one I’ve ever had, but quite good. I was distracted by work and not paying a ton of attention – will have to do another review some day when I’m more focused on my tea.

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74
drank Blood Orange- fruit tea by Zen Tea
7440 tasting notes

Another sample from evol ving ness this one smells pretty good, but brewed it has a weird taste until you add a tiny bit of sweetner. Then i can totally see “blood orange” as a flavour here. I’d be curious to see how this tastes cold brewed since it might be a decent summer drink for something a little sour but not hibby sour (not that i mind hibby!)

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84
drank Sweet Coconut Island by Zen Tea
7440 tasting notes

NOM! This is another sample from Evol Ving Ness Decided i should have a few herbals tonight so that i get some sleep since we need to get up early tomorrow to visit PUPPIES!
My valentine’s day has consisted of cleaning up around the house and letting my husband go on TWO bike rides today while i stay home to cook him a delicious meal. haha this tea is lovely. coconut and pineapple…sweet but not cloying. I am a big fan of this one. I suspect it would be pretty damn good as a col brew as well! thanks a bunch evol!

Nicole

Rental dogs? Or forever home dogs???

Sil

we can’t take home THESE puppies..but they’re from the breeder we’re getting our dog from. They let people come play with the litters…so i’m making Ian take me so i can have an hour with puppies.

OMGsrsly

Have fun! Also: PICS OF PUPPIES PLEASE!

Lindsay

I second that request! Puppy pics please! :)

Evol Ving Ness

Puppies! :)

I am so glad that some of these teas are working for you, Sil.

Sil

omg puppies were soooooooooooo awesome.

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81
drank Bamboo Buddha by Zen Tea
7440 tasting notes

noms. Sample from evol ving ness Contining my journey to try and get to 120 by the end of the weekend – which i will totally include monday since it’s a long weekend :) this one is pretty tasty! lemony, slight hint of vanilla, overall a really calm and soothing cup of tea. If i could have sweetner, i think this would be fantastic with just a splash of honey in it to make some of the flavours pop. there’s an underlying taste here that is a little sour that i love. thanks evol!

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78
drank Taiwan Ruby by Zen Tea
7440 tasting notes

Another sample from Evol Ving Ness

This is a pretty tasty tea.. there’s some honey notes here, though not as strong as my delicious TTC teas. It’s also a little malty and there’s a taste there that i can’t quite place, adding a little strength to the tea. This is a nice, none USD$ alternative for a ttc sort of tea.

The flavor is a great example of this types of tea: honey, hints of malt, and a lot like those chocolates with the roman nougat filling. That is exactly why I love this type of tea. It’s probably only noticeable if you’re a fan of those types of candies. Maybe to others it’s a hint of cherry (or maybe just something fruity) and nuttiness. I could wish for a little more of the roman nougat flavor, but some of these types of teas don’t have that at all, so I’m glad it’s there. The flavor is very smooth and I think perfectly steeped this way. The cup looks like it’s full of maple syrup and just as smooth!

ashmanra

I love Taiwan Ruby teas but I haven’t tried Zen’s. Will rectify soon.

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74
drank Japanese Treasures by Zen Tea
36 tasting notes

Okay so straight off the bat, opening this bag.. the smell of this tea is unbelievable, its like this fruity strawberry melody its just oh my god. Also another thing is that they used 5 different green teasas the base, (sencha, genmaicha, gyokuro, bancha and kukicha) (don’t genmaichas use sencha, isn’t that redundant?) thus the name.
The brewed tea has a really different flavour to the loose tea, it leans a lot more back towards the leaves than the fruit/flowers
I’m having a really difficult time noticing notes in the leaves.. I expected it to be really complex, but it seems .. simple cause you can’t tell whats going on. Okay i’ll try though;
It’s definitely vegetal, there’s a hint of bitterness behind the predominantly floral, and berry flavoured. There’s a bit of roasty notes as well from the bancha/genmaicha. The leaves also have a sort of.. empty taste, you know like when leaves have been steeped too long and then you steep them again and they’re just empty.. theres that but its like with the flavourful leaves which makes me think all the different leaves have different optimal steep times.. I dont really get why they needed to use so many base leaves lol but I mean I still enjoyed it.
oh! and you can resteep this one and its still good. which is really nice for a flavoured tea

Flavors: Berries, Bitter, Flowers, Roasted, Strawberry, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Milky Oolong by Zen Tea
141 tasting notes

29Jan: Sample sipdown. milky, very milky. I like this tea beter sans extra flavoring. If you want your milk oolong to be extra milky…I didn’t care for it.

Flavors: Milk

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75
drank Coconut Chai by Zen Tea
141 tasting notes

I didn’t have this one per directions, just made it as a straight tea. Very coconuty, not bad.

Flavors: Coconut

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83
drank Taiwan Ruby by Zen Tea
141 tasting notes

From Jan 18th: super long twisty leaves. Wet leaves smell spicy, malty. Aroma same. Tastes cinnamony, spicy, malty. Very nice

Flavors: Cinnamon, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank 1 by Zen Tea
15 tasting notes

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