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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve had a few coconut flavoured oolongs over the past few years, but this one is the best. Creamy, milky oolong with a dash of coconut = delicious! I’ve been drinking this tea quite frequently this week, and I think the third steeping of the leaves is the most ideal. The people at Zen Tea have managed to find the perfect balance of coconut flavour without sacrificing the taste of the oolong tea.
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Milk
This is sort of an interesting tea, for the first few steeps, it had a very strong sort of.. spiced flavour? (im not knowledgeable on my spices so I dont know which) In later steeps this gave way to creamy/milky flavours, all while having a subtle vegetal and floral background. It was nice towards the later steeps but I wasn’t all that big on the spiced notes
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Milk, Spices, Vegetal
Alright so this is the 6th oolong that I’ve tried from Zen Tea, and the second to be labelled floral, which is really something I tend away from. Now the first one, the TieGuanYin (Review here: http://steepster.com/teas/zen-tea/30494-tieguanyin-iron-goddess-mercy-oolong) was really not enjoyable, and so with this being the very next tea I reached for, I didn’t expect much. But luckily I was pleasantly suprised; the floral flavour is more of a subtle lightness, a sort of root flavour, but what jumps out at me are cream and milk and vegetality, it’s also very sweet with slight astringency. But what it does have is that really nice combination of astringency and creamy/sweetness that makes me unable to slow down my aggressive sipping, It’s a very nice tea :)
Flavors: Astringent, Cream, Floral, Milk, Vegetal
Ooh this one is interesting! This is the type of oolong most companies use as the base for Milk oolongs (Including Zen tea’s Milky Oolong, which I reviewed rather extensively here: http://steepster.com/teas/zen-tea/56529-milky-oolong) since it’s regarded as a Milky tasting tea already and that they add to that with flavouring. If your mind went straight to davidstea’s Quangzhou milk oolong, yes they use a different base tea. Anyways yes so Jin Xuan is often referred to as Milk oolong just on its own.
Right okay I should probably talk about the tea,
The first couple steeps for me were really vegetal and almost more like a black oolong rather than the green oolong it is. The tea’s pretty bitter and astringent, at least while steeping according to Zen’s GongFu instructions: 2 tsp, 6oz water and 2.5-4 mins for about 5 steeps, which I listened to at first but then I put too much water into my Perfectea maker (yes, this is how I brew gongfu okay) and poured maybe 2oz out straight away and it was almost as flavourful after 5 seconds of steeping as it had been in about 3 minutes so I started to feel like they were messing with me and i went for like 30 second steeps. Granted, at this point the tea had lost a decent bit of its flavour. Alright anyways.
I should maybe talk about the tea at least a little.
So after i started doing shorter steeps, the tea was actually really creamy and a bit milky, with hints of seaweed and vegetalness, .. wait, vegetality? vegetal.. lets go with vegetal flavour. You know what, I liked vegetality. I’m gonna say that from now on.
Anyways, yes, so the vegetality is rather light amongst the creaminess, but at this point im getting a bit of that taste of an empty flavourless oolong (you guys know what i mean by that right?)
This review was weird. I like weird
I’m gonna make more weird reviews
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Creamy, Milk, Vegetal
okay so maybe I oversteeped this one a bit, but it tastes like a cross between drinking floral perfume and a really dark oolong. This is not for me, but I really rarely like floral teas, so don’t necessarily take my word for it; if flowers are your jam then maybe give it a shot.
Flavors: Flowers, Nutty, Perfume, Roasted, Vegetal
Received this one from Evol Ving Ness at our meetup and had it early this morning. the downside is that i got side tracked and don’t remember detailed notes on how it tasted, but i really enjoyed the cup. There’s a little left in my cup that’s been sitting there, cold. and sipping it now it reminds me of fruity, malty delicious. I may need to look at ordering some of this for myself later on in the year.
I’m drinking the 2015 winter harvest of this one, with Gong fu style brewing in my very traditional Perfectea maker from teavana. I only have experience with davidstea’s milk oolong, which I love, so I was really excited to try this one! When I first opened the bag, the very familiar milky aroma washed through me and I was overjoyed.
The First sip made me realize that maybe davidstea’s had too much milk flavouring for its own good because this is quite balanced and im very happy about it. I taste the same milk flavour .. or a very similar one, but its right alongside it is the taste of the oolong itself. The Jin Xuan seems quite vegetal and a bit roasty, though it’s a bit hard to differentiate between the milk and the leaf itself. The milk flavour, however, is rather thick and filling, it’s almost exactly like a deep fried milk ball, you know those? its really quite lovely, and very sweet.
Second steep is sort of.. less creamy? but still very milk ball tasting, I’m also noticing fewer vegetal/roasty notes, and this steep is really astringent.. I actually didnt notice whether the first steep was astringent or not. I’m gonna go with yes, but in any case, this steep is a bit more prominently milky than the first. Less complex.
Yeah I forgot to time this steep but I guessed and I usually have a pretty decent internal clock so… yeah anyways so this one seems to be creamier than the last, which is strange it sorta went back and forth there (maybe i just steeped this one really long .. ) It’s a little less sweet, and a bit more like the dt milk oolong im familiar with. There’s a weird feeling in the back of my throat kinda like im getting sick.. im not sure if thats cause of the tea but at this point im kind of hoping it is.. I really better not be getting sick right now.
I think it is the tea.. It’s kind of a weird sensation, honestly I’m not sure how to feel about it..
But anyways, the 4th steep was still nice and milky, just less creamy and sweet than before. It’s actually so impressive how much flavour these leaves are holding, i’m already like 10 minutes in and Zen Tea says I can go for about another 10? We’ll have to see
This is almost definitely some weird psychological thing but I swear the fifth steep was creamy again.. but nevermind that it probably isnt. lets just say its not, cause yeah so anyways it’s getting a bit more vegetal again as the milkiness is fading, which I’m not at all opposed to. Also i should say that it’s still quite milky after the 5th steep.
It’s just barely holding on to that milk aftertaste now, and the colour is fading a bit
Alright I’ve written about too many steeps now, It’s just waning in flavour all around (still delicious and flavourful, mind you)
This one just seems to go on and on (hey! just like this review is), even when I stopped expecting it to. Well done, my milky oolong. You’re a real trooper
lol I feel like a bachelor going around finding all the teas I can get my hands on and then never ordering it again, like I don’t know if my goal is eventually to settle down with the few best teas in the world, but I don’t think I’d ever be satisfied..
God I love tea culture right now
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Creamy, Milk, Seaweed, Sweet, Vegetal
.. ugh Steepster crashed just as i was finishing off my review, so I’m gonna try to recreate it..
The first steep was wonderfully complex, with notes of earth and rock, as well as peach/mango notes. It tasted kinda like a black tea, with mild astringency. there were some fishy notes that I’m not sure how i feel about but it’s not overwhelming in any way, so I quite liked the first steep.
The second steep was a bit less of everything, and somehow the fishy notes became way more prominent. This kinda upset me, but I pushed through. As it cooled, the fish was replaced with peach, and the second half of this cup was delicious!
the package said it would go for 2-3 steeps, but i also put a bit less leaves in than it wanted me to so I guess it’s fair that the 3rd steep didnt really work out to all too much, it was pretty empty with a few of peach notes still lingering.
If you’ve got this tea and you’re planning to steep it western style, I’d recommend either doing the 2tsp/8oz that Zen tea recommends and then steeping for maybe a minute and then incrementing your steeps, or going for what i did at 1.5tsp/8oz and steeping maybe 90s -> 120s.
I may update with a gong fu style review; overall a very enjoyable tea :)
Flavors: Astringent, Earth, Fishy, Mango, Peach, Wet Rocks, Wood
I got a shipment from Zen today, I’m really excited to go through these, starting with this genmaicha. this is a really smooth tea, I’ve had a couple genmaichas in my time, and this one is by far the best yet. it’s got lovely vegetal and roasted notes, such as any genmaicha will have, but this one is really very smooth and creamy, which is lovely. the first steep was very creamy and rich, especially as it cooled, and the second was a bit more roasty and vegetal. The third steep was still pretty roasty, less vegetal, and kinda sweet, it actually seems a bit creamier than the second steep. Hmm.. it still smells like i might be able to get another steep. Are my reviews too wordy? lol I’ll update on the 4th steep
So the 4th steep was relatively bland, basically just roasted rice + popcorn notes, I guess the leaves lost all their flavour. it still tasted good though :)
75s, 90s, 105s, 120s
Flavors: Cream, Milk, Popcorn, Rice, Roasted, Vegetal
This is one that Zen sent to add to the teabox that I wanted to sample. It’s delicious! This blend contains sencha green tea, Genmaicha, Japan Bancha, Kukicha, Gyokuro, red currants, strawberry pieces, and natural aroma. Mixing so many green teas might be a shame since you can’t enjoy them separately. I noticed mostly sencha looking types of green tea leaves but I haven’t had much experience with some of these teas, so those might look like sencha anyway. The flavor should mostly be citrus from the description but it tastes mostly like strawberry. It’s refreshing but you can’t really notice the flavors of the green teas themselves.
Steep #1 // one teaspoon for a full mug// 30 minutes after boiling // rinse// 2-3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
I love these types of light black teas. I knew I had to try the new one from Zen! The leaves are like tiny dark tree branches. 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!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // rinse// 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 21/2- 3 minute steep
Sipdowns: 1/25 The Tea Spot – Chocolate O
Flavors: Cherry, Honey, Nutty
This tea is currently my favorite. We put half a Mason jar full of 2% milk and shake it like your life depends on it. Put it in the microwave for 45 seconds. I usually do this while the Grey Cream is brewing. A very small amount of sugar and the perfectly concocted microwave foam/hot milk combo makes a perfect cup of tea. My wife puts a little shake of Pumpkin Spice on the foam and after that first drink you will think your in Bath, England in late 1792
This is another one Zen sent for me to try and include in the teabox. Here we have a very tightly rolled oolong, very dark green. The dry leaves have a faint fruity scent to them, which is unique. I decided to go with one heaping teaspoon of leaves because they are rolled so tiny, I knew it would be an explosion of unraveled leaves in the brew basket. This is a great example of a fantastic oolong. Somehow all three steeps tasted the same, which probably means the leaves had many more steeps remaining. I think I steeped this one perfectly – no oversteeped flavor. The flavor is mostly floral with hints of milky butter, which turns out how Zen describes this one too. Very delicious. Not the most floral oolong, but more floral than most. I’m loving the even higher quality of Zen’s new batch of teas they have for sale. They never disappoint!
Steep #1 // 1 heaping tsp for a full mug// rinse // 10 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 1 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 minute steep
Todays sipdown: English Tea Store – Dorian Grey
Flavors: Butter, Floral
Thank you Dexter for sharing this tea with me. I know I had this before but I can’t seem to find a review. I used what was left for a cold brew and I think it was underleafed. In this cup, I’m getting mostly lemongrass and hibiscus. It was definitely juicy but the blueberry was overshadowed by the other elements. I believe the first time I had this was better as it was more balanced.
This tea reminds me a bit of Citrus Camomile by Mighty Leaf, although this one does not contain camomile.It is delicious. The lemon notes are softened by vanilla with the occasional red berry zing of tartness. There’s a lovely mild pineapple lilt in the background.
This is the second bamboo leaf tea that I’ve tried. Wonderful. I get the impression that bamboo imparts a flavour similar to camomile although I can’t be certain as I haven’t tried bamboo tea straight up.
Apparently bamboo tea contains dietary fibre which aids the digestive and cleansing systems of the body. In addition, bamboo is thought to be beneficial to bone, hair, and skin health. Can’t hurt.
Such a pleasant evening tea.
Flavors: Berry, Lemon, Pineapple, Vanilla
This one is from the teas Zen sent along for the teabox! The leaves are medium sized with a nice proportion of spices, including a lot of coconut. The flavor is mostly creamy coconut overall, so the name coconut chai is certainly accurate. The toasted creamy coconut flavor is really nice with the spices. The black tea itself is a great strength for a chai, but doesn’t overpower the flavor with its robustness. Though especially on the second steep, the black tea is a little light. I wouldn’t mind a stronger base. I love chai on a dark gloomy winter day. There has been many of those lately. I sipped this down much too quickly!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 5 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
Todays sipdown: Davidtea’s Honey Bee