My grocery store recently revamped their tea section and part of that revamping including selling new vendors, Zhi Tea being one of them. I was looking to see if I could find one of the yummy-sounding unflavored teas Zhi offers but it looks like my grocery store is just offering a selection of their flavored blends. Somehow, I will manage to cope. Coconut will help in the coping process.
I’m a bit mixed on this tea. First off, it smells awesome. Honest-to-goodness coconut with a touch of bakey. The steeping tea smells even better than the dry leaves – musty/sweet coconut. It makes my mouth water. Though after smelling the steeping leaves, going back to smell the dry leaves makes me notice something unpleasant in the smell, something almost fake or plastic. Maybe it is the coconut flavoring or maybe I’m smelling the packaging. I’m going to ignore it for now and just smell the steeping tea.
Once I get the tea into my cup, the coconut smell is milder than it was in the steeping leaves, but it’s still quite nice. I do so love coconut. (Though I rarely eat it because I can’t get behind the texture. Yuck.) Still, quite lovely. But it’s the taste of this tea that has me a little torn.
First off, let me explain. I used to log every single cup of tea that I drank. I can be a little too structured with things like that. But then Steepster slowed down to a snail’s pace and logging was too frustrating so I went away for a while (all or nothing, you know). Now I’m trying a little moderation – logging teas to review them but not being obsessive about it. So this is not the first time I’ve had this cup since I purchased it, it’s just the first time I’m posting (and being coherent) with my thoughts on it.
The first time I had this, it was more Assam with a coconut aftertaste. The Assam was nice – honeyed, bakey, a little starchy – but the coconut felt a bit lacking. This time, however, there is coconut all through the sip, from beginning to end. Good, strong, lovely coconut. I can taste the Assam underneath the coconut, but it doesn’t seem as nice as before. Starchy, malty and maybe slightly sweet. But sometimes I also get flashes of… watery. And strong prickles of astringency that weren’t there before. And the honeyed note is all but gone, replace (or overwhelmed) by a faint tartness that doesn’t quite enter into Bitter-land but definitely has been planning a trip there.
So it seems like my choices for this tea are either 1) delicious, smooth and sweet Assam with a disappointingly faint aftertaste of coconut or 2) strong, full coconut flavor with a rough and unpleasant Assam. I’m not sure how one tea gives two such different cups when brewed the same way both times. Ideally, I’d like the sweet and smooth Assam note to be coupled with a beginning-to-end coconut note. Maybe the third time will be the charm. Or else my next cup will be faint coconut aftertaste coupled with a rough and watery Assam.
So see? Torn. It’s a bit too roulette wheel for my tastes but the potential for awesomeness is there. But this is either inconsistent or picky. And since both attributes make me grumpy when I find them in tea, I suppose I’ll be sticking to SerendipiTEA’s Burroughs’ Brew for my coconut tea cravings.