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84
drank Sencha House by Zen Tea
281 tasting notes

Tried this in my 20oz cast iron enameled teapot this time rather than attempting to use a gaiwan. I used 6.3g of leaf and 160f water (increased to 165 after two steeps) and did steeps of 1m, 30s, 1m, 2m.

The first steep was the best – Crisp and vibrant grassy flavor with a lightly fruity finish that lingered in the mouth. The flavors of this steep seemed to explode in the mouth.

Second steep was a more subdued version of the first.

Third steep had a sweet and grassy start with a bit of a dry finish. The fruity notes were no longer present.

The fourth steep was more a corn sweetness with a bit of a mouth drying effect.

I much prefer sencha this way to attempting to do it in a gaiwan, and I’m excited to try it with some other small sencha samples I recently received in a swap!

Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Green, Sweet

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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84
drank Sencha House by Zen Tea
281 tasting notes

My first sencha! I thought this one was pretty decent. Not particularly suited to brewing with a gaiwan due to the small leaves, but I made it work. I used 3.6g and did longer steepings than usual: 30s, 20s, 30s, 60s, 2m. Liquor looked like yellow gatorade lol. Very grassy flavors and something remaining on my palate that reminds me of some sort of fruit, but I can’t put my finger on what kind. Extremely smooth tea, and body was decent as well.

Flavors: Grass, Green, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g
CWarren

Congrats on your first sencha. There was a period in time where all I was drinking was Japanese green tea especially shincha. You might want to invest in a teapot just for those teas if you start enjoying them more often. I have a houhin just for fine leaf teas like gyokuro and kyusus for other greens. You’ll also notice that they can get bitter at longer temps and times depending on leaf quality and size. The higher quality senchas always seem to tolerate so much more but I suppose that’s the case for many teas. After reading this, I just might have to make a pot again soon. Thanks for sharing!

Matu

Yea, right now I’m diving headfirst into raw puerh, but I may start to try some more Japanese greens. This was pretty tasty. Once I start really going down that road I’ll pick up a kyusu or something.

Actually, I have a 20oz. cast iron teapot I bought from Teavana quite awhile ago. Maybe I’ll try the rest of my sample in that :)

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80
drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
1460 tasting notes

I notice a few notes to this. There is a creamy note. There is a note that seems spicy to me, I suppose this is the bergamot. The tea itself seems to have a slight malty note. Overall this is good.

I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 4 min.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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95
drank Sweet Coconut Island by Zen Tea
1135 tasting notes

I needed another tea to cold brew without the dreaded hibiscus. I don’t mind hibiscus when it doesn’t overwhelm the tea, but it gets a little tiring when it is in EVERY fruit tea. Anyway, there’s none in this one so yay!
And really, I couldn’t pass up the 50% off sale they had in March. I have so much tea already, so what’s a little more right ;p. I picked up 100g of it because it was so cheap!

I cold Brewed this tea for about 20 hours. This tea is sweet coconut and pineapple. It tastes very tropical and almost like a pina colada, which is my favourite alcoholic drink. Yum

Mookit

Wow, that’s a long cold brew! Did it end up pretty strong in flavour?

Kristal

I totally agree on the hibiscus thing. I’m thinking in the summer I may go to a bulk store and buy dehydrated fruit pieces and make my own fruit blends without hibiscus. Also, I was looking around at a local tea shop and they sell individual herbs/ingredients including elderberries and orange peel, which may be fun to experiment with :)

tigress_al

Mookit— I usually cold brew my herbals for that long, I don’t find that they are super strong in flavour when brewed this way.
Kristal— keep me informed how your experiments work out! I was thinking of trying that too the other day!

Kristal

Will do! But it’ll prob be a couple months til I get to that- it’s still snowing here in my hometown and often under 0 Degrees Celsius :(

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86
drank Coconut Chai by Zen Tea
117 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box

This is a creamy, toasty coconut-y chai. I enjoyed both steeps that I had of this. The first I added some honey and almond milk to it which was really yummy. I felt that the chai & coconut flavours were spot on and mated with the black tea very well. It was a cup of comfort really. The second steep was slightly less coconut and cream flavoured but still a nice chai blend with a hint of coconut. I’d have it again if offered. :)

100 Hooray!

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Spices

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87
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
117 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box

Another wonderful black tea! Nice notes of cocoa, and baked bread abound in these lovely little pearls. I infused them 6 six times (all day!) I did however brew these at 180 degrees, which is slightly less than the requested temperature I believe. I was able to watch the leaves unfurl a bit each time which was really quite lovely. It was interesting to see a black tea pretending to be a green oolong. You know what I mean. Hehe.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa

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97
drank Taiwan Milk Oolong by Zen Tea
562 tasting notes

If you read my note here before you could probably guess I was sick and couldn’t taste anything correctly. My apologies to Zen Tea because this is a great tea. I’m a little disappointed that they had to add milk flavor to it but of all the Milk Oolong I’ve tasted thus far only one has been a true milk oolong. This one is by far my favorite in the flavor added category. It’s rick and smooth. Milky, of course and I detect flavors of melon too! It’s light and leaves a good feeling on your tongue. The dry and wet smell are also amazing.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Raspberry Vanilla by Zen Tea
1460 tasting notes

This blend tastes of raspberry, it tastes of vanilla, and for better or worse depending on your perspective you can taste the rooibos. It is a flavorful blend. I think I would like it better if the rooibos were a little less strong. But still, it is good.

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: Raspberry, Rooibos, Vanilla

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

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Being sick is really doing weird things to my taste buds. The more you steep is the earthier it becomes. I’ve cleansed my palate with the first brew. Hoping for more floral notes on the second brew. A bit of floral notes along with some grassy notes. Going in for a third round. Hmmm nothing much in the first couple of minutes. Third infusion was very bland. …. I feel that I need another cup of this tea. You know maybe its because I’m sick but I really can’t quite get the floral notes from this that I was hoping for. I’ll have to come back to this later after I’m better.

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85
drank Japanese Treasures by Zen Tea
117 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box

While I do believe I got more of the green tea flavours that make up this blend in my sampling of it, I really must refer you to Tea-Sipper’s Review. I agree with it completely. It was a primarily strawberry flavoured green blend. I didn’t detect much, if any, citrus flavour at all. I was able to get a roasted green flair in my cup from the genmaicha in the blend though. I enjoyed it. Thanks Zen Tea & Tea-Sipper!

Flavors: Roasted, Strawberry, Vegetal

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86
drank Fengqing Golden Buds by Zen Tea
117 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box

What a yummy sweet potato delight! The heaviness of flavour was remarkable so I knew I would be able to steep it many times. I got about 6 or 7 infusions before I gave out (it was bed time!) I think I could have maybe gotten another steep too.

Flavors: Malt, Sweet Potatoes

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90
drank LongJing (Dragon Well) by Zen Tea
281 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
1460 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
544 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
1460 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
281 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
281 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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90
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
53 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
2149 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
7975 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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