drank Zen by Tazo
1247 tasting notes

Little by little, my original stash of what seems like thousands o’ tea bags that I bought to try to turn myself into a tea drinker (before I started reading up and realized that was not the best way to go), is diminishing if not yet dwindling. This is among that group, and one of the first I bought. I think it was part of the second wave of splurge, after the original Bigelow/Twinings purchases. It’s in one of those spacious rectangular tins that the full leaf “sachets” come in.

The sachets, by the way, are pretty nice. I feel confident I’m not going to taste paper, I can see the leaves, and there’s lots of room for them to swim in once they hit the water without being too compressed. They do expand to fill the bag and bump up against the sides a bit once they’ve steeped fully.

I expected to like this one quite a bit as it has a reputation for being one of the tastier Tazo blends. But I think I may have to come to terms with the fact that I am not generally liking flavored green teas. Green teas on their own, yes. But I haven’t yet found a flavored green tea that really sends me. This one smells quite nice, a little minty, a little green, and a tiny bit of citrus if I really try hard.

While this is a significant improvement over the Orange Blossom by Tazo, I like their China Green Tips better as a green tea. I can taste a grassiness in the Zen, but it doesn’t have the sweetness and succulence of the Green Tips. And I like Refresh quite a bit as a mint tisane. The combination of peppermint, spearmint and tarragon really works well, and is much more interesting to me than the spearmint present here. In fact, Refresh is still the frontrunner in my Tazo experience and I plan to buy more of it (loose this time) when I run out of the bags as I’ve not been able to duplicate the blend using my own peppermint, spearmint and tarragon.

This isn’t bad, it just isn’t as great as I’d expected, and it’s not something I’ll feel compelled to replace when I finish. I could see having it every once in a while when something I like better isn’t available.

Also, I should say that it steeps well at a longer time without bitterness, but there’s not a noticeable change in flavor between 1.5 min and 3 min.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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