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Recent Tasting Notes
Stopped by the local tea house and grabbed a few things. This Nilgiri from Tiger Hill is quite nice. It reminds me of a second flush Darjeeling with the fruitiness. It also has a woody, chestnutty character. When it cools it gets a chocolate note. I’m pleased.
I saved the leaves yesterday and made a third steep to go with lunch today. The spinach flavor is seriously dialed back but it was still a good cup of tea. I miss the creamed spinach richness of yesterday, though.
This came as a sample with the matcha I ordered from ZenTea. I understand there is more than one company by this name. To clarify, this is the company in Canada whose site is ZenTeaLife.
I am having some of the Asian buffet leftovers for lunch and wanted a good green to go with it. I am delighted that I spotted this in my free sample and swaps box. I will get to do a sample SIPDOWN, which isn’t as exciting as for some of you because I don’t put samples in my cupboard, but is still exciting because I have reduced the embarrassing large amount of tea I own by one so I feel a little better about myself. Ha!
The color reminds me of the organic unfiltered olive oil I buy. The leaves in the sample pack are a good size but lots of teeny tiny bits escaped into my cup. It didn’t matter – it didn’t make it bitter. I have made two steeps so far and the second is as good as the first and just as flavorful.
My main thought as I drink this is that if I were chewing, I would know for certain that I was eating creamed spinach. I really like creamed spinach, by the way. So I thoroughly enjoyed both cups of tea and am glad to try my second gyokuro ever. Now I know what to buy for that rich, creamy spinach taste.
Thank you, ZenTeaLife for the sample!
Trying to work through some swap samples. I still enjoy this one quite a bit :)
I like this much more now. After a couple rinses you can taste the puerh much more and the toffee calms down a bit. Add a little bit of agave nectar and we’re in business.
Tea is like art. Sometimes it’s open to interpretation. That’s the case with this tea, the flavors are so subtle and ambiguous that it allows my subconscious to imply whatever it wants onto the canvas of this flavor painting.
I’m actually having this right now blended with Classic Chai from Teajo and Breakfast Blend from MarketSpice. I don’t think I could handle it on it’s own. The puerh base is fabulous but the caramel flavor is too artificial tasting for me. In this blend, however, it works phenomenally. Especially with a tiny bit of local honey.
This tea is very much like a Pai Mu Tan. It even looks like one. The only thing telling me it’s an oolong (besides the label) is the golden colored liquor. It has a very sweet finish. Slightly citrus-y. This might be a regular in my cupboard.
Thanks for the swap My Friend Rashad! This is pretty good :) Hard to describe but good!
Ummm…. this is absolutely delicious! Thanks for passing some of this along as well, momo!
The tea in my baggie looks like a dark rolled oolong, even though the picture shown here definitely looks like a green oolong. Hrrrrrm.
Anyways, this tea smells like candy. Like really delicious, sweet, fruity, yummy candy. And that is exactly how the flavour is too – all candy-sweet and delicious atop a lovely creamy oolong base (so this is probably a green oolong that’s perhaps a bit old? Idk.) You know, this actually kind of tastes like cotton candy, in a way. I think I’d be hard-pressed to say that this is raspberry… it’s certainly a sweetened raspberry, if it is, because raspberries are usually more tart. It does have raspberry-ish tones to its fruit flavour, though, especially lingering in the aftertaste.
Regardless of accuracy, I’m really enjoying this tea! I haven’t had as many tasty flavoured oolongs as I would like, and this one is certainly filling a gap in there. I don’t think this is the first tea that I’ve really enjoyed from ZenTea; may have to look into trying more teas from there/making an order at some point! Thanks again momo!
ETA: Oooh, picking up some bitterness in the re-infusion, although it’s still tasty. Less candy-like, as other reviewers have mentioned. As with many teas, this one would be best with infusions done a bit closer together than 12+ hours, IMO. The leaves still had some aroma after this infusion, so we shall see if I end up re-steeping them again (possibly not; I have at least 6 other teas waiting their turn for an infuser downstairs, and I think 2 western-style infusions for most teas is pretty good!)
ETA again: I think I lied. Pretty sure the above re-steep was actually Leslie Grove Strawberry Patch. Drinking the proper infusion now, and I pretty much have the same opinion, except there is no astringency :) Also, it tastes more like raspberry.
My neighborhood is the exact opposite of a food desert. A food oasis! It’s so packed with places to get delicious goodies that I honestly don’t know about even half the places within a 2 block radius. Might sound like I am exaggerating but it’s the truth! For example, 2 weeks ago I discovered a Chinese bakery literally around the corner from me that has been there for years. Yet I missed it! Considering that I am addicted to red bean buns this is like the best news ever.
Plus, everything is insanely cheap. Spent $4 today (no taxes since it’s cash only!) and got a red bean bun, a taro bun, a pastry cream stuffed croissant and a raisin & cream cheese pastry. Yum! Of course I can’t eat all of those in one day, I’m so stuffed from my late lunch of homemade korma that I don’t even have room for a bite right now. But they smell so delicious! I keep sticking my face in the bag and taking big whiffs.
Um, yeah, so this is supposed to be about tea. Whoops, I got carried away by my love for red beans! Can you really blame me? I made this last night while planning my bakery trip (see, they are connected!) thinking that a citrusy jasmine would go well with heavy desserts. This tea isn’t really what I expected, though. It’s floral and citursy but not in any identifiable way. I’d never go “oh, this is jasmine and lemon!” Really, it might as well be rose and lime or lavender and orange on the label.
It’s weird that the flavor is so vague. I am usually really good at identifying floral scents—we had all kinds of flowers in the garden when I was little and I spent a ton of time gardening with my dad (or rather, running around with the kitties while he worked ^^;) so I can generally tell the difference between lilac, magnolia, violet, hyacinth, rose, etc. But here it’s just… kinda generic floral. Like walking by a flower shop—you get hit by all these flowery smells but none of them are distinct. And the citrus is the same way! What kind of magic is this?
It’s not a bad cup of tea, it’s just… weird. Well, not weird tasting, but it’s frustrating not being able to identify smells and tastes. Ah well, lemon jasmine tea does sound really good so now I am thinking about hunting one down!
Tea #20 from the ‘Here’s Hoping’ teabox.
I am slowly becoming a fan of raspberry especially when paired with Oolong. With the first steep of this tea (3 minutes) the raspberry flavor was so light it was almost floral. It was sweet and soft while just hinting at juicy berries. Combined with the buttery flavor of the Oolong the tea was delicious. The second steep (5 minutes) gave a tea that was all raspberry with almost no Oolong flavor to be found. I was kind of surprised at how strong the raspberry flavor was, but it was still wonderful. I may do a third steep later tonight just to see what happens.
Sunday Sipdown #1
Thanks to whoever sent this to me as a sample! It was so long ago I couldn’t even begin to make guesses!
I am trying (and actually succeeding!) to move away from adding soy milk to every tea that I drink and only drinking dessert teas, so I like to push myself with non-dessert teas that do NOT warent soy.
Anyway, for that reason, I started with this nice, light green. Though I am rather inexperienced in green tea, I think this one has nice, smooth base to it. The “caribbean” flavoring is okay, but I wish it could be stronger. I did add just over 3tsp to a 16oz travel mug, so I don’t think it’s brewed weak; I just think the flavoring is subtle.
Half of me wishes it was more “in your face” flavoring, but the other half thinks it’s fine just the way it is. Guess you’ll just have to decide for yourself!This is one I’ll enjoy, but probably not re-order.
Had this as a latte at the Zen tea bar today with my mom. It’s the first time I’ve been there – or any tea room, for that matter. Mom tried the herbal Pitta blend (which was a nice combination of lemon and mint), but I wanted something decadent.
Steep notes: I don’t know, for a change! There’s something both awesome and unnerving (because I’m a control freak) about having tea made for me!
I didn’t really know what to think about it, though. I feel like there was an artificial caramel note that I could pick up on on some sips, and then not on others. And sometimes the texture would be nice and chocolatey rich, but then others – it seemed like it might have been made with skim milk and was therefore too thin for me. And then sometimes it tasted sweetened, but sometimes it didn’t…so weird, now that I think about it.
But I love that I got to try it, and that my mom and I got to just sit somewhere and relax with a pot/mug of tea and not feel rushed to go anywhere. Since mom teaches yoga and they offer classes I will probably go back with her one of these days to try it out. So fun!
Backlogging: circa 2 months ago. I had nice detailed reviews written out and misplaced them in the boyfriends room! This was before the introduction of a tea journal unfortunately. :S
A sample I received from ZenTea months ago, this was my very first Earl Grey and in retrospect was the best earl grey I have had! The bergamot and citrus are so strong and delicious, with cream and sugar this made the perfect morning blend! The leaves are beautiful and high quality, I have seldom seen a broken leaf from a ZenTea blend. They also resteep very very well- I think I steeped the same bit of this tea 4 times over the course of 3 days, keeping chilled in-between steepings.
I want more more more! I will be buying this tea when I get the chance to do so!
Thanks Dinosara for the trade! The dry leaves here smell like a fruity champagne. I love the flowers. Though this says it it supposed to be a jasmine tea yet lists rose petals. This tea really could have used a brew basket instead of my infuser… hopefully next time. I wanted to order a brew basket but I just noticed Tea Lux is having a sale!! They have so many delicious sounding teas. Not sure if I should place two orders of tea right now — no money and too much tea! ha. Anyway, this one is very smooth, light, sweet, floral and slightly fruity (but not anything like hibiscus..maybe it’s lemony, but I can barely tell). It’s light flavored, yet complex. It’s very tough to pick out the white and green tea flavors, but I like that it is a blend of both. The steep color looked like it was going to be a light sea green color, before turning yellow. I’ve never seen that before! I really like it! I gulped this one down.
thanks again Dinosara for the trade! First, I must mention there are too many tea companies with the word Zen in them. I am getting confused. (But I must also mention that my very favorite is Zentealife.com!) Also, suddenly I have so many oolongs to write tasting notes for! Where did they all come from?
This one is good! The leaves smell like a sweet ripe raspberry (my favorite!) The first steep was three minutes. The raspberry tastes like a raspberry candy, rather than a tart raspberry. The oolong is hiding! I really can’t taste any. With the second steep (at five minutes), somehow the raspberry tastes more genuine, but maybe that is the oolong helping with that. The oolong flavor is much more present this steep. It is very vegetal but sweet. Not very floral or peachy. I’ll have to try this one iced…
Not sure why this is a separate entry from the other Zen Teas…
This morning on my way out the door I grabbed a sachet of morning tea. When I got to work I noticed it said herbal – no caffeine. Ok, that’s not going to happen. I NEED caffeine. I rummaged through my tea drawer desperately seeking the cure when I spotted this one all alone huddled in the corner. Come with me kid, I’m going to make you a star. Dry leaf is malty and grain, just like a hundred others. I know it has potential. Once it starts steeping this awesome fruity aroma is released. I don’t want to wait for it to cool. Then again I don’t want to get burned. Maybe if I just sniff it, I can inhale some caffeine?
Finally, the moment arrives. The house lights go down and the twin Super Troopers are focused on center stage. Is it the adrenaline or is it the caffeine? Who cares? I feel it surging through my veins. Zen Teas description is pretty accurate here – “a medium-bodied cup with elegant fruity flavor and nutty notes”. Smooth. There is not much in the way of ragged edges but this is no wimp either.
Going with my star analogy, this has more substance and attitude than say Justin Bieber. (I can still hear Ozzy saying in that commercial – what’s a Bieber?) Maybe, this is more Carry Underwood – you know all sweet and innocent one minute, ripping the seats in your pickup truck the next. Kind of cool. My only complaint this morning is I was in more of an Alice Cooper “Under My Wheels” mood. On second thought, maybe the day would go a lot better if I go with it and just let “Jesus Take The Wheel”.
Oh, and sip down.
Another sample I received from Zen Tea!
This one is a sencha base with gojiberries, lemongrass, cornflower petals, blueberry and pomegranate flavoring. Dry, it smells fairly potent, it’s sweet and tart, and pretty to look at. I can smell the pomegranate and blueberry quite predominately. Wet, the leaves gain a slight grassy scent to them.
Taste is sweet and tart. Not quite as potent as the dry smell though. This tea is dominated by the blueberry and pomegranate flavors. If I search I can find the lemongrass. I can’t say I taste much of the sencha base, if at all.
I can’t say I’m impressed with this tea. It’s not bad, I just like to taste my tea base. Unfortunately, I cannot in this blend. Maybe I’ll try this cold brewed, I might like it more that way. Even with me not caring for this tea, I have to say that I’m still impressed with Zen Tea. This is only one tea that I don’t care for out of five different teas I’ve tried from them. The rest I thought were all delicious! One out of five isn’t bad, plus I got an awesome yixing from them. I like this company!
Scent- Bluebery, black tea and lemon
Scent- bluebery, black tea and clorox… Appolling to the scences.
Nude- Bluebery, Black tea (a heavy earl grey taste) with Carpet cleaner
With sugar- Sugar and Pinesole.
*in all …EW!
I think I’m not a huge fan of oxidized oolong teas. They just don’t seem like “real” oolongs to my tastes. This one has a nice caramell-y malty kind of flavor but it falls much closer to a black for the mood I was in.
I’m getting metal aftertaste flavors on this tea.
While I didn’t care for this much, it was exactly like it was described – If you like more roasty oolongs this might be for you.
Sample supplied by Zen Tea. This is identical to the tea I claim as my comfort tea. Ashmanra said she has found it in a local shop. I say shop around and find your best deal but do try this one. It is just a fruity delight. Warning – do not store this in the same drawer as your other teas. It is not over the top flavored when you sip it but in the package it is kind of powerful. Love this one.
Sample supplied by Zen Tea. The sip is medium bodied just as Zen Tea describes it. It is very aromatic and fruity without being overbearing. Zen describes this as having nutty notes. I wish I understood what nutty tastes like as I really don’t get that impression with this or most other teas. It has a strong woodsy aftertaste to me but maybe that is what they call nutty. There is a sense of dryness like found in a fine red wine. You can feel a bit of astringency along the sides of the tongue. It is well behaved and adds to the character and complexity of the cup. I am getting a strong mint like crispness that I feel, not only on my breath, but down in my lungs. I like it. Just slightly sweet. This takes sweetener well. I notice grape like fruitiness especially late in the aftertaste. Steeped two times.
I wanted to try this tea again since it has been a long time since I last had it. The last time I was pleasantly surprised but I wished it was an all black tea instead of a black/green blend, and I think that holds here. Despite that, it is a nicely almondy tea, and definitely one of the more almondy ones I’ve encountered over the years. It does have a marzipanny feel and a bit of an apricot hint, which really brightens up the sip, but I just wish it was on a yummier base. Still, it’s tasty and one of the few teas I’ve found that’s really almondy enough for me!