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Recent Tasting Notes
A unique blend from Zen: a roasted oolong with hazelnut flavor. I’ve never seen these flowers before, so I’m not sure what they taste like. From the blend in general, I’m tasting cream, vanilla and nuttiness. The description says hazelnut and vanilla, so the flavor is very accurate, though not a pronounced amount of flavor. This is a roasted oolong that doesn’t have too much charcoal flavor I don’t like. It reminds me more of a light houjicha. It’s light, sweet and would make the perfect dessert tea (though I can’t tell how much caffeine is in this one.) The color of the brew is a light brown just like these odd flowers. The second cup was even tastier – it seems like the flavors melded together. Another nice one from Zen!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsp // few min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea # 31
I had to try this one! I thought there was only one serving left but measuring it out, there was 2 1/2 teaspoons. Baozhong oolong is certainly my favorite oolong. It’s light, buttery, floral, sweet. Here, it has additional coconut flavor. I was supposed to only use one teaspoon. The flavor wasn’t at all oversteeped anyway: no astringency. The oolong pairs so well with the coconut flavor. No actual coconut in the blend so the tea won’t be ruined faster. (Coconut: the ingredient that makes tea taste terrible faster.) But the coconut here is like a light breezy tropical flavor the pairs well with the long and wiry oolong. The coconut is actually stronger in flavor than the oolong. Both steeps were delicious. I don’t see this type of tea often, so I’d certainly stock up on this one at Zentealife.com. I recommend trying an unflavored Baozhong as well.
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 3-4 min
Sad sip down. This tea is pretty much award-winning in two ways: for being pretty much the best flavoured rooibos I’ve ever had, and for being pretty much the best chocolate mint tea I’ve ever had. I say pretty much just to leave a little wiggle room there, of course.
I just got back from grocery shopping and was so preoccupied that I grabbed my 1 litre of light eggnog, opened the sealed tab, and nearly poured it into this tea rather than grabbing the 1 litre of light cream. Thankfully I noticed just as I was about to pour. Don’t think that would have been a good combination!
ZOMG. ZO. M. G. Why haven’t I touched this until now? I bought it way back in January and just started it a few days ago. Worried it was going to be stale even though it was sealed, I was pleasantly surprised to bust open the pouch and find myself an ultra pepperminty stream of awesomeness dancing around me.
It pretty much tastes as good as it smells too. An undeniable York peppermint patty. The best news? (Almost) no rooibos base can be detected! The peppermint is easily the strongest note, followed by the chocolate (though I wish it were a touch stronger).
With light cream, this is a dream. Note to self: must order more next time I find myself reordering from Zen.
Most excellent work, Zen!
Off-topic, but regarding my cotton candy pink hair, I feel like I kind of got swindled. It’s not nearly as pink as what it should have been (about five inches of my roots didn’t absorb any of the pink dye at all), they did a horrible bleach job (lots of peachy chunks everywhere) and they double charged me for it. That said, I got some Joico Colour Intensity pink dye, just blended some in with conditioner, and now I’ll be hanging out like this in the apartment for a few hours. Right now my head looks Barbie pink but we’ll see how it’ll turn out!
Onto this tea. I wasn’t expecting much since CTC teas and I don’t really get along well, but seeing that this is an Assam, and Zen had a killer sale earlier this year, I thought it wouldn’t hurt. Eh. Quite astringent. You can definitely taste that underlying classic maltiness that Assams have but the liquor just seems to thick and sludgy compared to other Assams. I had to brown sugar it up and top it off with half and half to make this drinkable. Their other Assam is lightyears ahead of this one.
But Zen, your EGC is so good, why should I even bother trying the others? Ok, you’re right I should. I picked up an ounce of this last time I ordered and glad I did. This is like their Earl Grey with a fresh bouquet of lavender bursting from the envelope. I enjoyed every single cup with half and half, if I remember correctly, and the floral and citrus notes were very well-balanced. The base, like the EGC, isn’t astringent either.
It is re-order worthy in theory, however, I have a feeling that I’d always be reaching for their EGC because, well, it’s their EGC. Enough said!
I’ve been kind of on a Winners and Marshalls binge lately, desperately keeping my eye out for Fauchon hoping it’ll come back this fall. Instead, I’ve been finding some awesome deals on OPI, random conditioners, lotions, and socks. Plus I snagged a gorgeous cape the other day. They only have mediocre teas there at the moment. Lesigh.
I don’t particularly like rooibos but this was tolerable. The almond was strong in this one, very almond extra-like. It helped cover up the prominent base. Making it as a latte also helped. With half and half that is.
No repurchase for me but it was a fun one to try.
Yeah, I took my teaware out of my cupboard. We’ll see how I feel about that in a few days; I may want to add them back in…
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample! You know I’m always up for trying “all the Genmaicha”! This one was more roasty than green, though it still had a faintly bitter taste to it that I’m associating with the green tea. Probably a user error in brewing it, but maybe not though.
This was a sample given to me for review. As posted on Zen Tea’s review section:
I brewed this one Gong Fu style, keeping the temperature at about 80C for all infusions.
The first infusion was very light and seemed to have notes of coconut accompanying the green tea flavors. The expanded leaves are really beautiful (as are the dry ones but you can see those here)! Most of the leaves are whole with a bright green color.
The second infusion had more of a bitter background flavor that I personally really like in green tea. I think it happened because I steeped it for longer, creating a stronger brew. At this point there is an aftertaste that lingers and the coconut notes are gone.
The third infusion has had the bitterness recede and give way to sweetness.
The fourth and fifth steep were really weak and only had the lightest of flavor so I probably wouldn’t do a repeat of those but 3 infusions is pretty good for a green tea.
Thanks Zen Tea!
Tea #4 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB
As mucky as it is out right now, I still wanted tea, so I grabbed this one out to drink. In hindsight I don’t think the smokyness was the best choice when I was already feeling nauseous due to, well, the weather. But I refuse to pour out a perfectly excellent cup of tea because I’m stubborn
and stupid like that. Lol!
It was between this one and Teavive’s Keemun Grade 1, but this one smelled a bit less savory/smoky so I figured it would be lighter on the smoke.
Yeesh. This one turned out pretty smoky in the end anyway. It’s a bit sweet, but I mostly get smoke from it. Not Lapsang type smoke, but smoke nonetheless.
It’s good, but definitely not the tea that I should’ve been drinking right now. Honestly, I think I shouldn’t really have had any tea at all, but ugh, what a depressing thought that is. Lol!
LooseTman generously provided a sample of this in our swap – thank you!
I had the first cup of this earlier this morning, but didn’t write down any notes, but I remember thinking it was smooth, creamy and tasted golden (if that makes any sense). And to be honest, I don’t remember very much of the second steep. I also realized that I had been using too much water per the instructions provided, so decided to try again with fresh leaves a couple of hours after.
Third cup, with fresh leaves and less water produced a stronger, maltier cup, but I also detected some bitterness at the end of the sip as the cup cooled. I tried a second time with the same parameters, but still found a little bitterness, so I added a tad more water. Back to the creamy maltiness that I enjoyed this morning.
This is also a sample sipdown.
Oh wow, this smells pretty intense!
You know, never in a million years would I have thought that I’d like this straight, but I do. There’s a malty, almost caramel note, another one that reminds me of when you cook with beer for that depth of flavor? that’s present! Which now makes me wonder about dumping a strong cup of this into my next stew!
w/ sugar – good with sugar, but a bit more sour which doesn’t make immediate sense. But I’ve realized it enhances the caramel note, making it taste like caramel that is close to being scorched.
w/ milk – mmm yum.
w/ milk and sugar – okay, prefer without sugar
Overall, this tea really surprised me in a positive way. I’d consider keeping a small amount in my cupboard as I have friends who enjoy really strong dark blacks, and have the odd cup myself from time to time.
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Malt
mm. Delicious. mm mm, delicious. mm. Delicious. mm mm, delicious. ← That is the song that I am currently singing to myself as I drink this tea. The tea is making me do it! I can’t help it…it’s just so good!
This tea is pure, simple happiness. You know what is in here? Green Tea, shredded coconut, and flavors (which I am assuming is just more coconut). That’s it. Plain and simple. But don’t let it trick you, this tea is going to take your taste buds on an amazing ride.
Steep 1: 1 heaping teaspoon, 2 minutes, 8 ounces of water, 185 degrees, and a touch of agave
the first flavor to hit you is the sencha… it’s smooth and buttery. As the sip ends you get an influx of glorious coconut. Sweet, lovely coconut. Almost like the coconut that you bake with..it’s just naturally sweet, undeniable, milky coconut without the artificially in your face over-flavored taste that many teas seem to take. There is a bit of astringency towards the end of my sip nothing too off putting.
Steep 2: same leaves, 2 minutes, 6 ounces, 175 degrees, a touch of agave
WOW! Even better than the first steep. No astricency whatsoever. Just perfectly silky, creamy, buttery sencha and coconut. The two flavors perfectly balance each other out. One is not too dominate over the other, solely working together to create a beautiful medley.
Steep 3: same leaves, 2 minutes, 6 ounces, 175 degrees, a touch of agave
Yum. Dear cup, please don’t end. You are making my taste buds dance like a joyous greek family dancing at a wedding.
Steep 4: same leaves, 2 minutes, 6 ounces, 175 degrees, a touch of agave
This tea just keeps going and going with the same amazing flavors. Ahhh. Soo good. Commence the singing that started this post.
So it’s no secret, I really like this tea. It’s buttery and coconuty and makes me happy. What more could I want?
Flavors: Butter, Coconut
From the Round 3 Here’s Hoping TTB
I’ve wanted to try this tea for quite a while, so when I saw it in the ttb I was excited. This is indeed a lovely oolong. The coconut flavor doesn’t have that funky artificial taste (yay!), and it taste wonderful combined with the buttery smoothness of the oolong. I also like the floral note in this tea. It’s very delicate, and it makes this coconut oolong stand out from the others I have tried. This is another tea I’d like to serve at a tea party. For the right crowd I think this tea could be an absolute show stopper.
This sample came from Mandy. I really need to stop requesting so many flavored samples from people, as I tend to not like them so much anymore. This one looks like a shou mei with a few flower petals mixed in. It has that alcoholic flavoring smell to it, meh. I steeped it for 3 minutes although the package recommended 2 minutes.
Meh, this tea is just kind of unremarkable. It doesn’t really taste like toffee to me, closer to caramel, and even then it’s mostly just vaguely sugary. I can definitely taste that it’s artificial flavoring. The white tea itself isn’t great either, it’s quite “rough” tasting for a white tea – it reminds me of autumn leaves.
Overall, meh. This one will go in the rehoming box.
Flavors: Artificial, Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Hay, Sweet
This sample came from Mandy! A dark oolong with one of my favorite flavors? Yes, please! This is clearly a very oxidized oolong, the loosely-rolled pellets are almost black in color. The website doesn’t specify whether it has been roasted or not, and I can’t tell from the smell because of the flavoring. Dry scent is sweet vanilla and caramel with a bit of that alcoholic “flavoring” note. I did a 3 minute steep.
Oolong is always so amazing to watch! I love how huge the leaves are when they’re unfurled, and I find it interesting that even these leaves ended up looking fairly green once wet. The aroma is vanilla custard with a background note of autumn leaves. I was surprised that the oolong is actually the strongest flavor in this tea! It tastes like autumn leaves with a bit of a roasty note. The vanilla flavor is very creamy and pudding-like, and the hazelnut accents it well without being entirely identifiable by itself. It mostly manifests as a creamy roasted nuts flavor. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of an artificial, almost alcoholic aftertaste to this which makes me very sad. Too bad!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cream, Custard, Hazelnut, Roasted nuts, Vanilla
This is from my swap with Mandy. Must try all the almond teas! :D The smell is not terribly enticing, it has that alcoholic “flavoring” smell that tells me nothing, lol! Steeped about 1.5 tsp for 5 minutes in boiling water.
Mmm, the brewed aroma is definitely marzipan! Yummmm! I was fully prepared to be disappointed by this tea, but it defied my low expectations! The flavor is mostly sweet almond extract or marzipan, which I adore. There’s definitely a cherry element here, though. It’s like Jergens lotion! Lol. In the best way possible! I did add sugar to mine. The rooibos taste comes out a little bit near the end, but it’s definitely not very strong.
Pleasantly surprised! :D
Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Marzipan, Rooibos, Wood