Zen Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Fireside Chat by Zen Tea
1364 tasting notes

(262) Another sample from MissB. :)

I have to admit when I pulled it out and saw the word ‘peppermint’ on the label, my first thought was “OH HELL NO!” But then I saw ‘cinnamon’ in the ingredients, and a little known fact about me is that I LOVE cinnamon and peppermint together. So I had to try it. (Note: My BFF is very allergic to peppermint, and spearmint can upset my tummy like none other. I don’t consume a lot of minty things!)

It is very very cinnamony. There is a touch of peppermint. And also rooibos. It’s not bad. I’d never get it, because my favourite cinnamon-and-peppermint tea is Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Black Tea Blend (Their description is cinnamon and orange, but that is such a lie. It’s dominated by cinnamon and peppermint.), and also I’d rather not keep any peppermint teas in the house unless they’re well-bagged (like the Good Earth, in individual foil packets) just in case.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

Dependable as always. I love this one in the mornings.

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drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
80 tasting notes

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89
drank Sencha Superior Uji by Zen Tea
872 tasting notes

Haute sencha converges at some point with gyokuro—well, that’s my impression, at any rate. This one, the Superior Uji Sencha from Zen Tea is a perfect illustration of that thesis. Yesterday’s ichiban “house” sencha from Zen Tea was very good, and today’s superior version looks and smells and tastes very similar to some of the gyokuros I’ve tried.

The brew is shimmery yellow-green, and I would be hard pressed to distinguish this from gyokuro is a side-by-side blind test. Very smooth and silken on the tongue, and the flavor is slightly vegetal but not at all astringent or bitter. I don’t really know what else to say, except that this sencha is gyokuroesque!

(Blazing New Rating #24)

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
TheTeaFairy

That’s the sencha I always keep a supply of…I find the quality to be exceptional for the price.

sherapop

It is good, TheTeaFairy! I’ll probably restock, too. ;-)

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88
drank Sencha House by Zen Tea
872 tasting notes

I have been focusing on China greens of late, but I was craving sencha, so I decided to brew up a two-glass tetsubin of the house sencha from Zen Tea.

Very tasty! The liquor is pale green and slightly shimmery—the citrine-peridot color unique to sencha—and the flavor is fine indeed. Slightly vegetal but also smooth and silken. This house sencha is said to be ichiban Kyoto style from Uji. Now I’m very curious what the superior sencha is going to be like! Up next…

(Blazing New Rating #17)

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
Cheri

I love the differences and similarities between Chinese and Japanese greens. It’s amazing.

sherapop

Cheri: I used to only really drink sencha and bancha. But then I began exploring China greens. The variety is amazing!

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90
drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
213 tasting notes

Happily sipping on my fav EG variation and listening to the new Tori Amos album that is not half bad!

The weekend is here and I will be away for a few days (from the computer, from the Internet = from Steepster), but I am going to try a lot of new teas and then I will be backlogging them the entire next week… and then the weekend comes again… and so on. You see a pattern there :D

Wishing a great weekend to all the Steepsterites! :)

TheTeaFairy

A great week end to you also :-)

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This morning, I’m very pleased to review Keemun Finest from Zen Tea Life, Western style: 8 oz. / 1 heaping tsp. (3.5 g) / 208*F / 3 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro.: My 1-kg Premium Keemun Hao Ya stash from TeaVivre was very joyfully consumed a while ago now. :- ( :- ( :- ( I’ve been waiting for their next sale to reorder and am suffering from Keemun withdraw! In my experience to date, no other black tea is quite like a Keemun! Then along came an email from Kenneth Son of Zen Tea Life telling me he was going to be offering a new Keemun that he thought was superior to his current one. Needless to say, I was curious. When his May sale arrived, I could not resist! I purchased 200 g without sampling it first, which is very unlike me. But you have to understand, I’ve been Keemun-less for a while now and it was a good sale. I also suspected that this Keemun may have been sourced from the same supplier as a Keemun that used to be offered by Butiki – a highly regarded and favorite Steepster supplier. Would I regret sampling a new Keemun with a 200 gram package???

Leaf: A mix of thick & thin twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 1.3 cm or less .
Fragrance: Potent, very fine-quality rich pipe tobacco – YUM! Quite a surprise for a Keemun!
Liquor: Clear, dark copper
Aroma: YUM – this is something different! A touch of Keemun smokiness blended with fine-quality rich pipe tobacco. Take a moment to deeply inhale it over & over.
Flavor: Keemun with a subtle winey character

3-min: A thick, rich, full-bodied, extremely smooth and mellow juicy Keemun with zero astringency or bitterness. On the first sip, it has a subtle winey character compared with my regular Keemun – heavier on the bass. But keep sipping! As the winey flavor gradually builds with each sip, this Keemun is so warm, relaxing, and satisfying. Oh my! In the infamous words of Meg Ryan, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Re-Steep:
4.5-min: Light to medium bodied
6-min: Light to medium bodied

Impression: A thick, rich, full-bodied, extremely smooth and mellow juicy Keemun. This black tea is very enjoyable and highly recommended for any time of day, especially for Keemun-lovers who might enjoy a unique Keemun experience. Sometimes in life, you just have to go for it, and in this case, I’m glad I did.

Thanks to Kenneth Son of Zen Tea Life for recommending this unique and excellent Keemun.

Method:RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
http://steepster.com/teaware/revere-ware/46814-classic-2-1-slash-3-quart-whistling-tea-kettle
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/davidstea/36677-thermometer-and-timer

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Terri HarpLady

Gotta love Meg!

TheTeaFairy

Great review as always! I didn’t notice that Zen Tea offered a new Keemun. I quite enjoy the other one they have, it’s very light in smoke. I shall give this one a try eventually. Glad it turned out this way so you can fully appreciate your 200g :-)

looseTman

Thanks TheTeaFairy! Me too! Now if the re-steep was nearly as full-bodied as the first cup …

boychik

I got myself 20g of this tea. I have to try.

boychik

Wonderful review. I really like that your reviews are to the point.

looseTman

Thanks boychik!

Terri HarpLady

I do enjoy Keemun teas, & the variety of flavor profiles they can have. Most of them don’t seem to resteep all that well, unless you’re going with really short gongfu steepings. This one sounds tasty!

looseTman

Thanks, good point! I’ll have to try TeaVivre’s Western Steep recommendations for their Premium Keemun (5g / 1, 2, 3 Min.) with this one.

Charissa

Great review! I haven’t had any Keemun in a long while…almost forgotten what it tastes like. Your note about this tea makes me want to buy it!

looseTman

Thanks Charissa!

looseTman

5g / 1, 2, 3 min. is sub-optimal for this Keemun.

Terri HarpLady

You tried it then?

looseTman

Yes, I did.

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90
drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
164 tasting notes

I got my Zen tea order this morning and told myself I wasn’t going to open any teas until I sipped something down… even a sample bag. Well, that didn’t work very well. I let myself open this one just to smell it.. and I was sunk.

I bought this one due to it’s glowing reviews and some positive comments about it during the discussion about their sale. I figured it would be easy to swap if it didn’t meet my expectations.

Dry leafed this smells rich and sweet. Steeped, and with my normal touch of raw sugar, I found the vanilla & creaminess everyone speaks of with this one, and quite the bergamotty flavor. I can taste the base, but the bergamot, vanilla, and cream almost take over the cup. The added sugar almost makes this decadent. The second steep is almost the same as the first, I didn’t dare try another, but might next time.

I think if I had the option, I would tone down the bergamot a touch so that the vanilla and cream could dance a little more in this blend. Still very good though.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cream, Vanilla

TheTeaFairy

So happy you like this one :-)

TheTeaFairy

(And trying not to open any pouches from a new tea order is a torture I cannot endure!!)

Suziqzer

I know Hubby is going to see my box and say something about where am I going to put it. At least I have a plan… if I can stick to it. Luckily I have a couple of teas w/just 1 cup left ;) That will help!

carol who

The scent of Earl Greys tend to make me swoon. I can never resist!

Suziqzer

carol who.. Have you tried this one?

Cheri

What is your plan?

Suziqzer

I wondered if she’d like a sample. I can send one in my package to you Cheri. :)

Cheri

Not too into the Earl myself, so I don’t need this one. But thanks!

Suziqzer

Ok. I’ve found most people either love it or hate it.

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70
drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
872 tasting notes

(backlog from 5/29/14)

The sencha base of Zen Tea Coconut Green is very neutral—not at all vegetal. The cloudy gold liquor has a very strong coconut aroma and taste. There are literal chunks of coconut amidst the dried leaves, but there must be some coconut essence as well.

This coconut green tastes different from Harney & Sons Bangkok Blend (aka Green Tea with Thai flavors), not only because the base tea is different (sencha rather than bancha), but also because there is neither lemon grass nor vanilla here.

Coconut, all coconut! For coconut nuts only!


second infusion: coconut flavor still going strong!

(Blazing New Rating #9)

Flavors: Coconut

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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55
drank Arabian Night by Zen Tea
872 tasting notes

(backlog from 5/29/14)

I don’t usually like flavored green tea (with the exception, I have recently discovered, of jasmine!), but I thought that I’d try Arabian Night just for fun.

The sunflower is the dominant flavor in this blend, but there is also some sort of unidentified fruit (“flavor” in the ingredients list…) present. As I’m not a big fan of the taste of sunflowers (though I love the sight!) this blend is not for me.

From the spent leaves, it is clear that black tea is present here, too. I’ll probably use the rest of this envelope for iced tea this summer.

(Blazing New Rating #8)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

i eat sunflowers every day. but they go rancid after a while. maybe thats why you had that taste

sherapop

boychik: I have had dried sunflowers in black tea before, and I didn’t really like it either, so I’m guessing that this is just a question of personal taste.

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77
drank Energizing Chai by Zen Tea
213 tasting notes

I put “energizing chair” in the search when trying to look this tea up. LOL.

I had this tea last weekend as well. One of my new Zen tea additions, just a sample size though. The description didn’t sound too exciting to me, but I thought it would be worth trying anyway.

I was pleasantly surprised by deep chocolate notes I was getting from it. Slightly spicy dark chocolate drink. The mate in the mix is not too obtrusive, although it does pop out its head more as the cup cools down. I don’t know if it was energizing though, I am always energized enough because, thank god, most of the time I work in accordance with my very own circadian rhythm where I go to sleep very late at night and get up very late morning :D

But yeah, I am looking forward to trying this tea again, although I can see that it’s probably not going to be my very favorite.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

There are days I could use an energizing chair….although I guess that depends on how the chair energizes. =D

Kat_Maria

LOL. That’s what I was wondering!

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85
drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
157 tasting notes

I love coconut, and I love green tea. So I knew this would be good. And it sure is! Kind of creamy and a vegetal, and very coconutty. I just want to make a giant pitcher of this and dive in. I finished my cup much too fast. I need to try it iced!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
157 tasting notes

I decided to just let the leaves of this hang out freely in the hot water this time, in order to give the leaves plenty of space to uncurl. Thankfully, it was really easy to scoop them out, and I think it was a success! This cup was even more delicious than the last. Sweet and nutty and vanilla-y, and sort of caramel-y. So good.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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76
drank Strawberry Cream by Zen Tea
1818 tasting notes

Sipdown!! (174)

Thank you Amariel for sending this my way. I really enjoyed getting to taste it. I think I actually prefer this cup to my first as I am getting a lot of strawberry and a lot of malt. Together it is making for a tasty treat. I don’t think I will be stocking this but we are parting on a wonderful note, thus I would not turn down another cup in the future :)

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97

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drank Coconut Oolong by Zen Tea
872 tasting notes

Virtually everything is better with coconut on it, so I decided to take a chance on this Coconut Oolong from Zen Tea. I say that it was something of a gamble because I have had troubles in the past with oolongs. I used to also have troubles with jasmine, and lately I have found several palatable jasmine greens which have not disagreed with my system, so I was hoping that my problem in the past with these two types of teas was simply that I encountered inferior grades.

Coconut Oolong brews up fairly yellow (I may have oversteeped…), and tastes smooth and coconuty more than oolongy—so we’re off to a good start. The big question is: how will I feel in, say, half an hour? We shall see… For now, I can affirm that this blend is pleasing to this amateur of all things coconut!


second infusion: also tasty. Unfortunately, however, I have been overcome by that vague headache-y feeling induced by oolongs in the past (with only a couple of exceptions involving blends in which oolong played only a minor role). I do believe that this may be an allergy. sigh.

(Blazing New Rating #4)

Flavors: Coconut

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 4 min, 30 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

Do you have an allergy or stomach ache ?

sherapop

boychik: I am feeling a bit headachy, which is what has happened in the past. I suspect an allergy…

Mandy

I don’t know how I missed this one when I made my zen tea order the other week. Oolong and coconut? Sounds right up my alley, haha. Have you tried zen tea coconut green? I did get that one, and it’s quite delicious. Creamy and coconutty and good.

boychik

oh no, but its so much other teas out there. i hope you got a sample size. i got it too, but didnt try yet

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90
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
157 tasting notes

When I first took a sip of this, while still very hot, I wasn’t in love. There was some flavor there that I wasn’t digging. But once it cools off a bit, the cocoa notes really came through! This is so delicious, so smooth and lightly sweet and chocolaty and with a little bit of a caramel hint to it. Resteeping, even more cocoa notes, and slightly more sweeter. I loved the way the flavor slowly transforms, yet holds up after 3 resteeps. I need to see how many steeps I can get out of this one. And I’m kicking myself for only buying 20g! I need to get more!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

This is the first time I’ve ever tried a tisane that purely dried fruits. There’s so much yumminess going on it this. Overall, its sweet and fruity and delicious. I think I’ll try cutting it with some green tea next time so I can try and make the bag stretch. I wish I ordered more than 50 g! I also must try this iced, the fruitiness just screams iced.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Cherry Rose Organic by Zen Tea
157 tasting notes

I don’t believe I’ve ever had a rose tea before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The dry leaf smells like smelling a fresh rose, next to like a cherry pie. Sweet and cherry and floral. Smells good, but I still wasn’t sure how it would taste.
I’m surprised by how much I like it. I didn’t taste much cherry, mostly just rose, though I think I might have had the water too hot. It was still very yummy. Rosy, with a touch of sweet cherry, supported by the slightly vegetal green tea. I really want to try it iced.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86
drank Coconut Oolong by Zen Tea
213 tasting notes

Okay, it’s time to backlog some teas!

So, I got my order from Zen Tea on Friday and I already tried some teas I was most curious about. Since I am a huge fan of Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong, I decided it would be a great idea to try this! And it seems like the base here is also Pouchong…

I cannot say much about the comparison of the base between the two, pouchong always just seems to me the shyest of oolongs that nevertheless makes a great base for flavored teas. However, the coconut flavor is creamier and bolder here, which does not necessarily make it better than the GM’s counterpart. It doesn’t make it worse either! Just different! Which is great because what would be the point of having virtually the same teas? :D It makes for a very delicious cup and I might be tempted to keep it in stock most of the time along with the Golden Moon’s one.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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81
drank Vanilla black tea by Zen Tea
164 tasting notes

I got this one from Tea Sipper’s Stash sale and had this one yesterday morning. I didn’t have high expectations for it after reading the reviews. I do sometimes like a plain black tea w/o much going on so I figured if the vanilla wasn’t there for me I could still enjoy it.

I can faintly smell the vanilla when it is dry leaf. Steeped, I do get some vanilla, although it isn’t real strong and if I didn’t know it was supposed to be vanilla I don’t know if I could pick it out. I do find it a drinkable cup, so think I can make it through these few cups.

Flavors: Vanilla

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80
drank Cream Caramel Rooibos by Zen Tea
157 tasting notes

This smells incredible, sweet and buttery and creamy. I want to dive in.
This is nice sweet, creamy rooibos. And the little caramel squares are such a cute touch. The creamy caramel takes front stage while the woody rooibos supports the caramel in a way that reminds me even more of browned caramel.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
246 tasting notes

Thanks to the TTB-C R2 I was able to sample another lovely tea. I love toffee and this is only mildly toffee. It is good and the white tea base is a change from the common black dessert teas. I would love a little more toffee, but I’m crazy. I added a bit of stevia (Ah, my old friend) It’s nice and the toffee flavor becomes a bit more prominent. I probably wouldn’t keep it in my cupboard but I would always drink a cup if it were in a swap or TTB.
My husband and I got back from our mini vacation. I did a LOT of walking and my sprained knee handled it well. I’m not sore at all. I am still wearing a brace but more for additional support. YEAH!!! I’m so glad to be back to being able to exercise. And yes, I’m still taking breaks and being careful with it. I don’t want to have to start over again!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Here’s Hoping traveling teabox – Round 3

I thought I would like this a lot more than I am as I tend to really enjoy rooibos blends with almond in them. This one is only ok. It just doesn’t seem almond enough for me and there’s almost something sour about it. I added a bit of sweetener, but that didn’t really help. Maybe it’s the cherry notes? I don’t know – something about it, though. Just not for me.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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