Zhena's Gypsy Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I ordered two of the stackable tins of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea as I have been curious about this brand but was not sure that I wanted to buy a full tin of any of the flavors without trying them out first. Tonight I brewed up one of the four filter bags of Italian Chamomile.
My first observation was that the scent of the dried tea is overwhelmingly dominated by fennel seed. I have had a few different teas which feature fennel, mostly “digestive aid” teas such as the Good Earth Tea for Digestion. Fennel apparently settles stomachs. I cannot say that the flavor of fennel seed is all that appealing to me in tea blends. It’s a very different flavor from licorice root (confusingly identified in the company text as the same). There is also licorice root in this blend, but the fennel really steals the show.
The brew tasted better than the dried tea smelled because the fennel was less loud once infused. Still, I would not really consider this to be a chamomile blend so much as a functional fennel blend for digestion. It’s okay, but I won’t be buying a full supply. I’ll drink the other three filter bags, but unless I undergo some sort of conversion, that will be all for me of this particular Zhena’s Gypsy Tea creation.
My second cup of this, and my opinion holds. This is nice. It is, in fact, nicer than I expected it to be, and it suits today. In my part of the world its going to be in the lower 90’s. Gah. Its too early for this summer weather, thats for sure. Blerh.
Off I go, to get ready for work on this hot day.
Hmm. Not sure what I was expecting with this. Something more citrusy? But I like it! Its a green tea with mint, and, as it cools, indeed a bit of citrus. I am always timid around green teas, but I’ve got help with this one. Mint and lemon is a lovely combo, and help introduce this green and myself. Maybe we can be friends!
I feel like this review took a turn for the weird. Now back to your regularly schduled steepster.
Decided to try this one next, since I’d already tried the chocolate chai and it wasn’t bad. With that in mind I had high hopes for the caramel chai. I brewed it up and added a spoonful of sugar.
The smell of the brewed tea was off-putting. It smelled more like potpourri than anything. While potpourri’s nice, I’ve no real desire to drink it. I let it cool a bit and tentatively took a sip. To my dismay, it was nowhere near as pleasant as the chocolate chai had been; between the cloying sweetness, the faint undertaste of rooibos, and the strong potpourri scent, I began to feel a bit nauseous and dumped the rest down the drain.
Maybe it would be somewhat more tolerable with milk added, but I really don’t feel like wasting any on a second attempt.
The second one out of the four-pack that I decided to try. Not without misgivings; rooibos isn’t something I normally enjoy. It certainly smelled nice, I’ll give it that. I let it steep for roughly eight minutes and added sugar. While waiting for my cup to finish steeping, I pondered what exactly the “shortbread flavoring” listed on the can could be.
The first sip I took? UGH. There was something sharp and almost medicinal about it. I thought about dumping it down the drain for a moment, but I figured I’d let it cool a little and try again. The taste definitely improved when I did, making it mainly chocolate and cinnamon. A tiny hint of rooibos, but not anything I couldn’t ignore.
Not really the spiciest of chais, but still a tasty tea. And getting me to willingly drink rooibos is certainly a plus.
Picked up a Zhena’s chai sampler cheap at Marshall’s. Not like I’m exactly running short on tea right now, but I have a hard time turning down more. This was the first one out of the four I decided to try. And well, the name’s a bit misleading. There’s no hazelnut flavor to it at all. It’s just chai. A very, very mild chai at that.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible. I’ll use the other three bags (there’s four bags of each kind in the sampler), but it’s not something I’d buy more of if I wanted something hazelnut flavored. Or hell, even if I wanted chai; there are far better ones than this.
I haven’t reviewed much lately, been really busy and drinking down some favorites… not had much time to sit with a new tea this week, until tonight.
I got this as a part of a sample pack on a trip to Indy a few weeks ago… found this at a Homegoods store. It’s bad when there are so few tea purchase opportunities in the area that you make a special trip into a housewares store in the hopes of finding some tea. I grabbed the sampler tin of chais, and a raspberry mint that I haven’t yet tried.
I wasn’t sure which of the chais to try tonight. I thought I grabbed a caffeine free one, but oops.. Now upon a second look, it’s a black tea. Dry it smells sweet, nutty, and spicy. Steeped as a latte, I get sweet caramel chai goodness. I’m not really noticing the nut except maybe in the depth/richness of the cup, but some of that may be the black tea that I hadn’t realized I had chosen when picking this tea.
I actually think I liked this one better than their coconut version I tried awhile back that I thought I would love. Wonder how a second steep would do since I finished this cup so fast? I think I might have to try.. but after that, gotta turn to something w/o caffeine :)
Thinking that it would be nice to stumble on a full size tin of this sometime.. I might just snag it up. We’ll see if I feel the same way after I finish the other 3 tea bags.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Vanilla
Light, creamy, vanilla. It’s nice, although there’s something metallic in the finish that’s ruining it for me. Otherwise? Simple and lovely. Used two teabags for 12 oz.
Thank you to Janelle for giving me the opportunity to try this one out!
Flavors: Metallic, Vanilla
Last night I was looking for something w/o a caffeine base, but wanted something easy as we had had a long day. I had picked this up earlier in the week when Hubby and I made a trip out of town for a little shopping. Unfortunately, we weren’t near any tea shops, but we did make it into a HomeGoods so I checked out their tea section and found a stackable set of Zhena’s Chai teas and picked up a Zhena’s Raspberry mint as well. MissB had sent me some of the coconut chai recently, and although I hadn’t tried it before this trip, I had read the reviews and was expecting a good experience with their chais. Knowing I have little opportunity to pick up great teas locally, I grabbed at the chance.
Cinnamon and chocolate are not a favorite mix of mine if you are talking dessert. My mom makes a cake that is rich & chocolatey… I’ve had others versions of the same cake with the addition of cinnamon and I’d rather just pass on them. Somehow though, it seems to work for me in tea.
I found this blend to be rich and inviting as I had wanted for something warm when we came in from the cold. We have had a couple of nice days where you just need a jacket or a sweatshirt, but last night.. cold again, Ugh! The rich chocolate paired with the spice, although not overly so, of the chai made for a nice heartwarming cup… I can see why MissB has been a fan of chocolate chai as of lately. This was a nice blend of the two and with little to no caffeine (not sure if the cocoa they use has caffeine). Glad I picked this one up.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon
I’m not finding this one to be as great today as the last time I tried it, but I’m thinking my taste buds must be off today because I’ve tried a few and gotten the same response with each one.
I went for trying this one as an iced latte today, and although it is sweet and creamy, thanks to my normal added raw sugar, the spices and coconut aren’t coming through like I would have liked. I think if I try it again, I will steep it a bit longer and maybe use less milk than I would for a hot latte.
I’ll leave the rating as it was since I seem to be having an off day.
Snowing Again!! I thought it was supposed to be Spring!
I had this late last week and just now getting around to writing a note. I love coconut & spice in tea, so theoretically this should work for me… Thanks MissB for sending some my way to try.
I finally got around to trying this one. I sometimes have trouble getting myself to try teabags because I think I’ll save them and take them with me for easy tea on the go, but then I always forget them.. sigh.
This is the first tea bag I’ve seen that seems to turn itself into a bubble and float while it steeps. I was a bit annoyed at this at first, but decided it must be the way it’s made and let it go.
I found this tea to be an interesting blend. First sip I got all coconut with a touch of spice behind it.. Yum! The following sips were more of a blend of the flavors, although I had to think about coconut to notice it sometimes. I’m not used to having chai w/other flavors, so maybe it’s something to get used to for me. I like this one, not my favorite chai right now, but thinking it may grow on me some.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut
Unfortunately, I burnt the roof of my mouth earlier today, so the first thing I get when I taste this is pain. :(
Ignoring that and sipping onward, it’s another understated fruit tea, actually reminding me a lot of the Exotic Fruits tea I reviewed recently. The peach lends a softness, though it doesn’t scream peach. I think it would pair very well with something sweet — this seems like a tea that would be even better with a pastry than on its own, though unfortunately I’m not hungry enough to test that hypothesis right now.
I got a couple bags of this tea to try thanks to Skysamurai!
This tea smells really lovely and spicy. I can smell a little coconut in there too. The spices mesh so evenly and well together that they are hard to pick out on their own. I’m guessing cinnamon, cardamon and clove. Drinking this unsweetened, which is unusual but I have been giving it a go more often lately and it tastes alright on it’s own. The clove comes out a little more in the sip and the coconut is pretty subtle acting more like a background creaminess and comes out in the aftertaste. I like it and it is one I’m glad to have tried, but it won’t be making it as a cupboard staple.
Had a cup of this last night: 2 teabags for a 12 oz. cup. A pretty good brew, especially because it’s rooibos. Yes, I can taste the rooibos, however it’s faint and way in the background. This is mostly caramel with only a hint of chai spices. I wish the chai was more present, but otherwise I’ll have zero issue drinking this down – especially since it’s so rich and has zero added sweeteners.
I made this tea this morning to take with me to work. I added sugar and creamer to make it like a traditional chai. I liked the tea and will definitely make it again, but I am not sure that it had a distinct coconut flavor. I love coconut in just about anything, so I was hoping it would have a stronger coconut flavor to it.
I’m not picking up as much lemon in this tea as I’d like. I’ve had some lemon teas that are just so lemon-y, and it is so wonderful when that happens, but this is… much more rooibos and flower with a touch of lemon than the other way around. It’s a nice, soothing blend, but it disappoints me that it doesn’t live up to its name.
A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but words come with promises and expectations, and the right name would let me appreciate this tea much more, I think.