Zen Tea

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70
drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
83 tasting notes

Hm, I’m not an expert with Keemun at all, so I really can’t say much about this in comparison to others. I do know that to me this is a good, very basic, plain black tea, with no special frills or pleasantries. When first steeped it had almost no flavor, but after cooling slightly it improved. Still, it’s a flavorless black tea to me, smooth and decent, but not worth making again. It may not be Zen Tea’s fault, though, it could just be that all Keemuns are like this. I’m confused as I see descriptions of smoky, or chocolate, but I get absolutely none of that.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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80
drank Ginger - Rooibos by Zen Tea
73 tasting notes

I haven’t done any reviews in a while—not because I haven’t been enjoying tea, but mainly due to the limited amount and limited variety I have been drinking. I pretty much have only one or two cups of either Assam, English Breakfast, or a Yunnan black tea per day, all of which I have already created tasting notes on. That, and as my taste buds are rather goofy sometimes so I don’t quite trust myself to write a thorough review! So that at least partially explains my absence from Steepster of late.

After a random bout of morning sickness today, I could only really keep down (at least as far as beverages are concerned) a cup of Assam with a little milk added, and this ginger rooibos. The ginger rooibos was a great tummy-soother! Warm, rich, with a slight sweetness, it was a very good choice for me today. Thanks TeaTiff for the sample!!!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Ginger - Rooibos by Zen Tea
73 tasting notes

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80
drank Ginger - Rooibos by Zen Tea
73 tasting notes

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80

This was a typical decent Mao Feng, nothing out of the ordinary to report.
This tea became even better after the first resteep – so in future I would probably abandon western style and favor an eastern approach to wake up the leaves. A gongfu session with this would be wonderful.

Flavors: Chestnut, Mineral

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Masala Chai by Zen Tea
96 tasting notes

My first cup of this is the quick and dirty western way, because I’m pretty tuckered today. I’ve saved enough of the sample that I will be able to do the traditional brewing method as well.
The picture of this tea is an exact representation, there’s heaps of spices. I had a taste of the full strength version before pouring milk into it, and it was amazing (too strong sans milk thought). Now that i’ve added sugar and milk, it’s lovely. Now knowing what I do, I would have extended my steeping time (which is what Zen recommends, and I always find them to be so bang on about steeping times and methods that it’s almost unsettling. Does Kenneth have a camera in my house, to see exactly how I like my tea? I wouldn’t be surprised) by a couple of minutes. I cut it off at 4:30min as there is/was a decent amount of the ctc base tea in it, and I didn’t want it getting too astringent. I needn’t have worried.

Alright, despite how tired I am, my curiositea (oh bad tea puns! how I enjoy you…) got the better of me, and I’ve prepared a cup on the stove.
It was delicious this way too, but I think I need more practise at stovetop brewing. Okay, I know I do. I scalded the milk. Twice. Lesson learned, do not prepare stovetop tea while tired and distractible.

I’m planning on continuing my search for my perfect chai (and knowing me, I’ll end up with 3 of them), but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what I settle down with.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Mikumofu

there can never be enough tea puns!

Miss Starfish

look to the right if you want more haha (my profile) ;)

Mikumofu

haha, those are some great ones! and nice color scheme :)

Miss Starfish

Happy it made you smile :) and thanks!

Lupiressmoon

I still need to find my perfect chai, will try this sometime

Miss Starfish

Definitely give it a shot. I was almost disappointed as I had expected a long search before finding my chai match (I quite enjoy the “hunt”), haha! ;)

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drank Pu-erh Vanilla Mint by Zen Tea
1111 tasting notes

Vanilla mint puerh sounded great! But there’s CINNAMON in here too? Hmm…

I’m drinking it, but it is a bit weird to me! O_o

tea-sipper

love this one

Kittenna

Cinnamon? That seems out of place in a vanilla mint tea (but I suppose it could work!)

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87
drank Blood Orange by Zen Tea
96 tasting notes

Omg you guys, I suck! I fully intended to catch up on my logging, but I fell off the map. And now it’s almost summer here in New Zealand, and thus a lack of hot tea drinking. Our winter was milder than usual as well, so I didn’t drink even a quarter of the normal amount.

There’s a huge storm going on outside, so I’ve pulled down my samples box and picked one at random.

Plain – Yum! Base doesn’t overshadow the flavour. This is great!
With milk and sugar – pretty damn good!
With just milk – I prefer it straight, definitely still good though. Takes milk well.
Plain, with sugar – Good! The sweet and slightly sour notes are bouncing off each other, it’s interesting. I’m also picking up on something that tastes faintly like saffron?

Overall, I was impressed! I always love when there’s a tea I equally enjoy several different ways.

Flavors: Blood orange, Citrus Zest, Saffron

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

Welcome back! :)

Miss Starfish

Thanks Cameron! :)

madametj

oooh, how did you get colored text in your bio?

Miss Starfish

easy madametj, just type"%{color:fill in a colour here} enter whatever you want to say here %". Hope that was helpful! :)

madametj

thank you :)

madametj

{color:red} testing testing

madametj

i did something wrong :(

Miss Starfish

you’re forgetting the % on either side

Miss Starfish

try again :)

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75

At three and a half minutes, it already tastes a little astringent. That said, it’s also malty and full; with milk and sugar it would probably be lovely. On its own, though, not anything too special. The instructions do suggest adding milk and sugar, though, so it it up front at least.

Not bad by any rate, rather malty and full-flavoured, but definitely needing something to balance it out.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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84
drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
1041 tasting notes

From the SanTEA Claus TTB

I think this is the last tea I need to review from this ttb. It’s taken me a while, but hey, I got it done. :)

I’m not a huge fan of white teas, but this one was a treat. The toffee flavor was light but present throughout the sip, and the tea itself had a clean – almost sweet – flavor. It was nice and refreshing while also feeling like a dessert tea.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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82
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
1162 tasting notes

Sip down with the lovely help of cacao husks AND Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon. It’s kind of like drinking Fry’s cocoa with Baileys but more complex.

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82
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
1162 tasting notes

More pearls to go with my dinner, which is this concoction of basmati rice, spinach, parmesano, random spices, light cream, and margarine. It’s like a cross between curry and risotto haha. Then I was bad and had Ferrero Rocher for dessert. For shame!

This was a good choice because it doesn’t have any sharp or loud notes which can interfere with food. Surprise surprise, I’m detecting a faint smoky note this time around.

Cameron B.

Yum, Parmesan!

yyz

Yum.

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82
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
1162 tasting notes

These pearls are a lot more subtle than I was anticipating. Bready, malty notes are what I’m picking up on the most, and there is no bitterness or astringency whatsoever. It’s a pleasant cup to sip on, however, I wouldn’t buy them again only because I prefer Teavivre’s black pearls, and I know that this would never get touched if I had both in the house. And I do! Which explains why it took me this long to try this. These have been sitting in my cupboard unopened since January.

I also just tried them mixed with cacao husks. The cacao overpowered the pearls despite intentionally adding lots of pearls. Still need to work on the ratio to accommodate the subtlety of this tea.

OMGsrsly

This one is good with just 1/2 – 1 tsp tea loose in the bottom of a mug, refilled throughout the day as it reaches 1/2 full. That’s why I stock this tea. :)

Fjellrev

Oh neat, I should try that! My problem, I’ll admit, is I almost never feel like resteeping, or refilling in this case, because after a 1.5- to 2-cup mug of something, I am ready to move onto something else.

OMGsrsly

I do understand! I do it at work, mostly.

tea-sipper

Nice idea with the cocoa shells!

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
903 tasting notes

I like this tea, but I’ve decided that it’s too finicky for work. This is fine as long as the leaf amount and steep times are reasonable, doesn’t do so well if you leave it for 7 minutes on your desk. This often happens and I have several teas that can handle that type of treatment soooo – I’ve enjoyed this while I’ve had it but not terribly up set that I’ve finished it.

OMGsrsly

I do this one grandpa style all the time. 1/4 to 1/2 tsp leaves, my timolino full of water, and I’m off.

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
903 tasting notes

This is a tea I’ve had for quite awhile and haven’t been drinking it. Took some today to work.
First off – this looks more like snails than pearls. Regardless of what it looks like this is GOOD. Holy chocolate!!!! About 2 tsp in a coffee mug – water 90 ish – for about 2 minutes seemed to be the sweet spot for me. WOW – this is great.
It’s not fancy, it’s not full of interesting nuances (at least not for me Western brewed at work) but it is darn tasty. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who likes this style of black tea. More than just pleasantly surprised – down right shocked at how good this is.

boychik

I like this one too !

OMGsrsly

This is one of my favourites. :) It works really well grandpa style in my not-a-Timolino as well.

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84
drank Yerba Mate by Zen Tea
307 tasting notes

Straight mate has a lighter flavour, like green tea. (Not that the two are in any way interchangeable, they just have a similar refined lightness.) Thankfully, it doesn’t oversteep as easily, meaning it survives travel mug abuse quite well.
Usually I prefer blends with mate in them, but I was in the mood for it straight today. It’s dry, light, refined. Pairs well both with savoury and sweet foods. I’m happy with this.

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100
drank Sencha House by Zen Tea
867 tasting notes

I finished the last of this off tonight. I really enjoy thins sencha. It has a nice, mellow fresh cut grass aroma that reminds me of spring. The flavor is nice, too. It has a nice sweet/vegetal/grassy flavor. The color is beautiful too! It will be missed. I will have to make a note to restock when my tea stash a little less than it is now!

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Vanilla black tea by Zen Tea
307 tasting notes

I was given a new travel mug, and it’s pretty much a thermos. Hours later, and my tea is still piping hot to the point that I’d actually like it marginally cooler to drink. (Mind, if I were to leave the top open, it would probably cool down more. I’m just REALLY IMPRESSED, okay?)
The tea has a nice vanilla taste to it. Adding milk added a creaminess that matched the taste well; I think having the tea with something sweet and creamy (a milk custard bun comes to mind?) might have had the same effect.
I like this better than a lot of other vanilla teas that I’ve had, but it’s still not necessarily a favourite. Still, pretty good.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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67

I received the SSTTB from Bear With Me today. As I’m starting to feel sick…sore throat and congestion building, I opted that I would try this as my first tea from the box, not because it appealed to me the most, but more for the medicinal aspect of the ginger.

I found this tea to be ok. Just..ok. Not amazing or anything. But, I think it could be something better if cold steeped and drunk cold on a hot day. The flavour that I picked out most was the ginger, with the lemongrass not to far behind it.

I would not say that it is a bad tea, but I would say that it is not great either.

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80

Using up the last of this one with some chamomile for my last tea of the evening. I progressed in tartness throughout the evening. While enjoyable, I don’t know if I would order this one as there are so many fruit teas to choose from.

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80

I have no idea how much leaf was used nor how long this was steeped for. The boyfriend made it for me and is now laughing at me as my first reaction was, “whoo! that’s tart!” This is a sharp difference from the last time I had this. I really enjoyed it last time. I’m thinking he let it cool too long before serving it.

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80

This isn’t as flavorful as I was expecting. It could be that my nose is getting a tad stuffy though. It also isn’t a bad thing, it’s not “in your face” like several of the herbals that I have (and love). The word light comes to mind while describing this taste. I am terrible at discerning separate tastes when I try a tea. All I can really tell is fruit, probably some apple. I could see keeping this one around. It is perfect for relaxing a bit and digging in for the night to read some pharmacy guidelines.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
643 tasting notes

HHTB

I have never really gotten into oolongs. I can appreciate some, but they aren’t something I seek out, so my opinion might be biased. This a little floral… I taste some nuttiness… a little vanilla, but I’m not getting any depth to the flavors. It feels too light and bland for me. :(

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
338 tasting notes

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