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Recent Tasting Notes
Teeny Tiny TTB
Wow! This one is really nice. It’s more of a toasted coconut. It actually reminds me of those toasted coconut marshmallows they used to give us at camp. I wasn’t a huge fan of those, but this is delightful! I added a touch of sweetener so it wouldn’t get too vegetal. Not sure how much water I used, but I filled my 12oz mug about 3/4 of the way so close to the 8oz mark I think? Anyway, really enjoying this one. Hope it lasts a resteep!
When brewed, this smells like fresh sweet coconut.
Tastes buttery and smooth with sweet, light and fresh coconut. The green tea blends nicely and adds a bit of savoriness.
Re-steeps well for a just as fragrant and tasty second cup. A nice coconut tea!
I did try cold brewing the used leaf overnight to see if I could have a refreshing glass the next day, but the taste was light and too vegetal/seaweedy for me.
Samples Only TTB
Tonight I decided to try two more teas as I have about 11 left I want to try before passing this thing onward. Gotta keep it moving. :)
I picked out a green at random and a herbal, let the water get to 180, poured it over the green, put it back on and let it boil, poured it over the herbal, which was a pyramid teabag in a cup. I have never used the pyramid teabags before but they’re so damned cute and I just had to try one, even tho it was Lipton and I wasn’t expecting to be impressed. More on that one later.
There isn’t much of an aroma to this tea out of the bag. It’s green and the fruit is dry. I can’t smell much of anything… So I brewed it up. Aroma is lightly fruity and barely present.
I took a drink and was happy. It’s a green tea that doesn’t taste of grass which is a bonus. It’s smooth, round, with a sweet fruity accent, not a hint of sour or bitter or tang. Everything I ever wanted in a green tea. Finally.
I take deeper drinks as this tea cools and it’s just … delightful. I keep saying I’m not a green tea drinker. I think it’s because I haven’t found the right green teas. I did sweeten it, as I sweeten… everything… But it didn’t require a lot of sugar. Typically, greens really take extra sugar for me to like it.
I am not sure if it’s just that this is a better green, or if it’s that I finally didn’t overheat the water… I don’t know. I just know I liked this tea and I’d drink it again. I may have to get some. :)
Flavors: Berry, Cranberry, Sweet
I received this sample from DeleriumFrogs. Thank you!
Zen Tea continues to impress me. Most of the teas from here I have really enjoyed and they are at such reasonable prices. This one goes on this list. I enjoyed this one last night while making dinner. The first few infusions were creamy, floral and slightly vegetal. All were very smooth with no bitterness. The next few infusions offered a tangy/fruity taste. This was a really nice TieGuanYin. I will order a bit of this on the next Zen Tea order. Thank you for sharing DeleriumFrogs
I usually approach straight-up herbal blends with fairly low expectations. In the case of Cranberry Acai from Zen Tea, I was very pleasantly surprised. Before brewing up this fragrant mix, I saw that two of the usual suspects in herbal infusions were conspicuously absent: hibiscus and rose hips! So often one or both of those two ingredients end up wiping out the flavor of everything else.
I cannot say that Cranberry Acai tastes very much like either cranberry or acai to me, but the overall combination is quite likeable, albeit somewhat indescribable. I appear to like the taste of nettle leaves! Honestly, this was one of the few complicated herbal infusions which I truly enjoyed imbibing and did not feel was some sort of health ritual to which I was subjecting myself. This combination is also very original. Along with the absence of hibiscus and rose hips is the glaring omission of mint. Yet the flavor is robust thanks to the nettle and verbena.
I like Cranberry Acai a lot and would consider buying it again once my small envelope has been depleted. I should make clear that this is not a sweet infusion at all, and to me it is not really very fruity either. But I like it anyway!
(Blazing New Rating #48)
This sample comes from DeleriumFrogs. Thank you!
I had put a Lapsang Souchong on my wishlist when i really enjoyed one of the smokey teas from Yezi. I am glad DeleriumFrogs included this in our swap because it gave me the chance to try this without having to commit too much. Unfortunately this was a little much on the smoke for me. This was like drinking a BBQ pit. I wish I could love them all, but this wasn’t my cup of tea. Thank you for the opportunity to try this type of tea.
This is another tea I’ve had to a while.
The dry leaf has brown, black and grey leaves , with scattered golden tips.
I used one heaping TSP/225ml.
After 3 min the tea brews up to deep mahogany brew.
The tea smells comfortingly of biscuit, light sweet red fruits, tempered by plum, honey, spice with a slight presence of vanilla and honey, with the deeper tones of malt underneath.
First impressions are of a smooth, sweet and light Assam. Light fruit and honey are in the first sip, with biscuit notes deepening into a malty slightly deeper fruit tone base. Spice and vanilla are underneath. There is a slight light floral tone in the lighter top notes. Pleasant and probably a nice Assam for those who have difficulty with heavy tannins and astringency as this tea is lighter in both of these for an Assam but has enough texture to have a nice density in the mouth. Despite honey being quite present in the initial sips, this tea does not have as sweet an aftertaste as some of my Assam’s. A citrousy malt note becomes more present as the tea cools and a sharper tone develops in the tea. I think when I first had this I used less leaf as I remembered feeling that this tea was too light in flavour, but with a heaping spoonful this is quite a pleasant tea.
Finished the jug of this I made (brewed hot then chilled).
Brews a reddish colour and smells a bit like blueberries and apples.
Tastes tart and fruity with hibiscus, apple, lemongrass and blueberry.
Refreshing, but not a favorite due to the hibiscus which seems quite strong in this.
(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
Another satisfying tetsubin of haute sencha, this one the Superior Uji brought to my doorstep by Zen Tea.
This tea was the perfect accompaniment to today’s first meal of the day (3 pm—I got up at noon…): roasted escarole and endive with scallions frittatta made with provolone cheese, fresh organic half & half, and eggs produced by nonoppressed chickens.
I wonder whether eggs are good or evil at this point in time? The received medical wisdom appears to oscillate back and forth. Not that it matters: I’ll eat them no matter what anybody says!
Let there be eggs. And sencha, of course.
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)
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)
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!”
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
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
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
(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)
(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)
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.
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!
After 4 hours of sleep it was nice to brew up a few cups of this tea. It smells so strong…I can’t really place how it tastes.
They definitely got the name right. It is pretty fragrant. Kinda ends up tasting fragrant too, now to think of it. xD
I would never have thought to buy this but they threw it in my order…it’s kinda expensive tea, but now I have to buy more since it’s so good.
And it’s helping me wake up-so it’s the perfect tea for today ^^
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)
I first had this months back, before I even liked black tea. In fact, I think it was the first straight black tea I tried since really getting in to tea. And I loved it. It’s sort of funny that it took me a couple more months to go to the dark side. I don’t think I’ve had it since I started to really get into black teas, so when I saw the packet in my sip down pile, I was curious to see what I still thought.
This is one of those teas that almost gets better in the later steeps. The first steep was fine, a bit smokey (that was the note I was picking up the first time I had this that I didn’t like), and a bit cocoa, and almost powdery. But each steep gets fuller and thicker and smoother and more cocoa. Around the fourth steep, there’s a bit of caramel and honey popping up, and some grain.
This is delicious, and I’m almost out. And I can hardly believe that it’s $10 for 100g. I’m still kicking myself for not loading up when it was an additional 40% off. But maybe they’ll run another sale around Black Friday and I can load up (; and even if not, it’s still such a steal that I might even place an order for just this tea.
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!