Zen Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

83
drank Anxi dark by Zen Tea
1899 tasting notes

Sipdown. This is a beautiful dark roasted Anxi oolong with notable buttery and nutty notes, hints of wood and cinnamon. The roasted flavours are well balanced between sweet roasted grain and molasses. Slight sweetness in the first few steeps.

Flavors: Grain, Molasses, Nutty, Roast nuts, Toasty

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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68

Iron goddess tends to be an oolong I dislike most of the time, but I needed another sipdown today so I brewed this when I got up early this morning. 1 tsp leaf in 500 mL hot water (not boiling) for 4-5 minutes wasn’t strong enough, I suggest a little more leaf.

-very heavily roasted, notes of toasted barley and burnt sugar
-milky scent, but more like old musty milk
-potent orchid/floral flavour
-vegetal undertones (reminds me a bit of the smell of viney plants like ivy when you prune them)
-Gets more floral over time (leave the teabag in and drink over 10 minutes or so)
-With sufficient leaf, would probably make excellent gong fu tea and would likely change in flavour significantly over multiple steeps. I can’t remember if I’ve tried gongfu with this tea, but with other iron goddess teas it has been a pleasant journey.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Floral, Herbaceous, Orchid, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Toasted, Toasty

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

I’m starting to run out of my favorite Zen Tea blends. My pouches are almost a year old, so it is about time I got around to finishing them up, however I like to keep the around because I know I can’t replace them right now.

~8 pearls (1 tsp) in 500 mL hot water (~80 deg. C, not boiling) for 4 minutes

The loose leaf is very fresh and fragrant, and I’m happy to report the steeped brew is always equally fresh. Lots of jasmine, a natural sweetness from the tea. It steeps an amber brown colour, which is quite unlike my other jasmine greens and whites. There is a fruity note (pineapple, apple, apricot) and the jasmine is not bitter at all. This is a really nice jasmine tea that produces a smooth and flavourful cup.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Fruity, Jasmine, Pineapple, Smooth, Sweet, Tannin

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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30
drank English Breakfast by Zen Tea
2393 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #6
I usually love Zen’s teas but this must be their worst. I’ve never had a tea that tasted like liquid cardboard before… and this isn’t even a Ceylon (to me Ceylon would probably usually be described like cardboard but not even those come close to this though to be fair this does say it is 1/3 Ceylon.) And if this is a BREAKFAST tea then it has to be much stronger than this. I poured most of this mug in a plant. And I NEVER waste tea.

MrQuackers

You need to try some good Ceylons

tea-sipper

I don’t know… I imagine I would have found some good Ceylons by now…

MrQuackers

Take a look at Upton Tea’s Ceylons. That should give you an idea.

MrQuackers

If you’re looking for a strong tea then it’s Assam for breakfast..

tea-sipper

Thanks for the Upton suggestion. I’ve been meaning to buy from them for years but then forget about their existence with all the other tea companies. And I love my assams!

ashmanra

I dislike high grown Ceylon, but enjoy low grown.

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100
drank Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
581 tasting notes

This fell into my hand this morning and it was the perfect choice for gallivanting around town in the bright warm sun and sharing BBQ pork from Chinatown on a park bench with a friend.

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100
drank Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
581 tasting notes

Adore this one— with the malt and the mild smoke.

I hope that Zen Tea Life comes back to selling teas as this is one—as well as several others, of course— I’d like to keep on hand, even though I don’t tend to drink it regularly.
ashmanra

This was a shelf staple for me and I am out!

Evol Ving Ness

A sad sad day that will be. Gah!

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85
drank Coconut Chai by Zen Tea
312 tasting notes

From the Here’s Hoping TTB. I should almost write two different reviews for this tea. My first cup was OK; not terribly strong, but with pleasant spice flavors. Nice but not special.
For the re-steep, I tried to approximate the directions on the package, and mixed the steeped tea with hot milk. It was really good! I don’t think I’ve ever actually tried chai with milk before. It reminded me of a weak latte but with spice rather than coffee flavor. BTW: I couldn’t taste the coconut at all.

Rasseru

Yeah, Indian style Chai with milk, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, sugar (lots of that sometimes) can be really good

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72

This is a really lovely Darjeeling with a sweet and smooth flavour. The most notable characteristic is that it is very plain. It tastes like a plain, high quality black tea. I find it has hints of bitterness, but also sweet notes. I add half a tsp (a pinch) of brown sugar to round it out. It would also take milk, although it stands on its own and is quite drinkable straight. It doesn’t have a lot of unique characteristics, but it would make a solid daily drinker or English afternoon tea (served with scones or sweets, of course).

Flavors: Bitter, Honey, Tannin

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 3 g 15 OZ / 450 ML

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80
drank Milky Oolong by Zen Tea
300 tasting notes

Backlog

I had drank this about a week ago now, but as I look through my tea notebook with all of the unwritten notes, I realize that I need to catch up. I want to start producing more notes on here; rather than getting too far behind….Which I am already. :P So, here is my attempt at doing that.

Notes: Thick, creamy mouthfeel. Reminds me of almond milk or vitamin D capsule. The longer the session, the less “creamy” it becomes and it “smooths” out a bit.

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74
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
1899 tasting notes

Steep 1: 300 mL 95 deg. C water, 45ish seconds
-Earthy, similar to a good puerh
-bittersweet cocoa, woody, lots of tannin (a bit bitter and overly tannic, maybe try a shorter steep time)

Steep 2:300 mL, 95 deg. C, 15 seconds
-very aromatic, it smells like a Chinese black with some honey and cocoa in the background
-less Earthy, still slightly bitter

Steep 3: 300 mL, 10 seconds
-still very flavourful, more cocoa
-hints of wood
-honey (but I wouldn’t say it is very sweet)

Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Honey, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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drank Strawberry Cream by Zen Tea
2273 tasting notes

I didn’t realize I had not added this to my cupboard yet. I have taken a lot of teas out but hve failed to get the new ones added. Ah well, I will catch up one day!

This was the second tea of tea party, and I focus on it because one has already been reviewed a lot and the other was detested by my guest!

Zen Tea is taking a year off from selling tea. I remember a note on the discussion board long ago where the owner expressed frustration that he could sell teaware all day long but had trouble moving tea. I did indeed buy a good bit of teaware from them, but also tea.

My favorites from Zen were their Keemun and Vanilla Mint Puerh. My daughter loved their Lapsang. I am pretty sure I bought their matcha a couple of times.

This strawberry cream was a gift from my eldest daughter, purchased right before they announced that would not be selling tea for one year. I wish them the best in finding great new sources, and I do hope to find a great Keemun to buy from them for breakfast again,

This tea has a really nice strawberry flavor and the cream aspect of it takes the edge off so that the strawberry is neither sharp nor candy-like.

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73
drank Vanilla Chai by Zen Tea
1711 tasting notes

This is a decent chai but nothing I haven’t had before. The base is smooth and the vanilla palpable, but I think I would have preferred if they were a little more heavy-handed on the spices. Cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves are the most predominant spices here, and in that order (at least to my palate), but it is still lacking something. I added some half and half which subsequently drowned out the vanilla.

One day, when I’m feeling ambitious enough, I’ll concoct my own chai blend loaded with spices galore. But for now, it’s still exciting exploring various companies’ renditions of chai.

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72

Good job not logging this tea when you actually drank it, Fjellrev. It’s all gone now too. From memory, I wasn’t overly impressed with this. The flavours were a little weak facing the strong rooibos base, but on the plus side, the vanilla was detectable, creamy, and dainty. The almond wasn’t a heavy almond extract kind of almond either, but more like roasted almonds. This had the potential of being great if the vanilla almond weren’t so overpowered by the dry, woodsy base.

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83
drank Taiwan Ruby by Zen Tea
200 tasting notes

Major thanks to mtchyg for this sample! He’s classing me up with these straight teas and I am always sending him bizarre picks. “This one has molten cherry and glitter-lava and the giggles of a monkey mixed with a green base.”

This tea was the first I tried, and I’m onto the third cup before actually getting around to tapping out a review. The first cup was far and away my best cup. I was sipping it while making brunch for house guests and I kept going “(sip) this is niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice (sip) (cook).” I think I oversteeped and understeeped 2 and 3 respectively, but here’s what I’ve found to be the case!

This is a semi-sweet, earthy, honey-nectar flavor. The dirt that bees carry into their mudrooms after a long day swirling among flowers.

HONEY,” the bee yells, “I’m home! What’s the BUZZ around here?”

The nectar sweetness is gentle, in the background, unaggressive. But it’s still there. There’s also a little bit of a tang, like the striking of a bell, that’s maybe a little bit raisin-y. A thing that I totally like.

I would be remiss, before pulling out of this quick post, without making note of one last thing: the leaves. They are SO LONG. OH MY GOSH. So much DRAMA. They’re the tea equivalent of the Penguin’s long cigarette lighter and umbrella collection.

Flavors: Earth, Honey, Nectar, Raisins

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88

Yay, sipdown. This is great Assam but it’s still nice to make some room in the cupboard. I made the last of this with boba! My mom gave me some leftover boba she found from a nuts.com order we made a few years ago, and understandably, in spite of storing it in a cool, dark place in its ziplock bag, the boba didn’t taste as good.

I also steeped this a little stronger than necessary and didn’t add sugar the result of the ultra strong tea, some 2% milk, and older boba didn’t make the best drink.

I decided to experiment further and did a second steep, mixed it with honeydew bubble tea powder, top with milk, and add some more boba. Better, actually! But I’m just not liking the boba so I drank the liquid, leaving the boba because it just isn’t worth the calories, ugh.

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88

Zen has brought us quite a tasty Assam. Malty, not all that astringent, at least to my tastes, and a hint of caramel-like sweetness. I added some whole milk and it brought out the sweetness even more. It’s like I’m drinking tea with cream and sugar yet I didn’t add any sugar to this.

It was a good thing that I’ve run out of coffee to brew in the morning because it only pushed me to try this. It’s going really well with the new Pure Protein Mocha Brownie bars.

Oh look at that, according to Steepster, this is the 800th tea I’ve rated on here. I know I’ve tried even more than that, but that’s still cool.

teepland

Sounds good—I will have to add this to my list of teas to try!

Fjellrev

Totally worth checking out. :)

Arby

Congrats on 800!

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81
drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
234 tasting notes

It is hard for me to get green tea (especially flavored green tea) to come out right using my gaiwan. But I continue to try. For this tea, I’m glad I did.

This comes out surprisingly smooth with no trace of bitterness. The coconut flavor is present and creamy. I am enjoying this after a perfect spring trail walk. Life is good, friends. Drink it up.

Flavors: Coconut, Creamy

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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85
drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
234 tasting notes

Yeah, I can see why these are rated so highly. They are delicious. Malty, slightly sweet, slightly citrus-y and bright, very smooth. I’m happy that I discovered Zen tea before they stopped selling actual tea but also sad that I discovered them this late in the game. Everything I have tried so far has been really top notch.

Flavors: Citrusy, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75
drank Chocolate Chai by Zen Tea
1711 tasting notes

Sipdown already. I actually rather enjoyed this for what it was. It could potentially satisfy chocolate cravings, but not so much chai cravings.

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, that would work for me. I have an abundance of chai teas I like, but few chocolate ones for when the craving hits.

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75
drank Chocolate Chai by Zen Tea
1711 tasting notes

I went into this not expecting much because I haven’t had the best of luck with their chai blends in the past, but this is better than expected. Not nearly as spicy as I would like, but it’s like nibbling on some chocolate cake with a light spiced drizzle on top. In terms of spices, I taste mostly super muted cinnamon and cardamom, but the licorice is overpowering the spices a little bit. The chocolate is realistic but not as prominent either, more like milk chocolate than anything else.

Not repurchase-worthy but it’ll be easy to sip down my sample.

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72
drank Taiwan Ruby by Zen Tea
234 tasting notes

This is a nice daily tea. Nothing too noticeable that stands out. It is very smooth and drinkable. If you are at all familiar with Taiwanese black tea, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that it is evident in the flavor profile that it is in fact a Taiwanese black.

The main flavor in this style of tea that tends to stick out at me is almost a greener umami flavor. More than you’d expect in a black tea. And while this tea has those flavors, they are subdued. Which is fine by me.

Overall, glad I bought some tea from Zen during their sale.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75
drank Chocolate Mint Rooibos by Zen Tea
511 tasting notes

Not really getting any chocolate flavor out of this one. But on the plus side, it has real mint in it instead of just mint flavoring!

Flavors: Mint

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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58
drank Coconut Chai by Zen Tea
1711 tasting notes

Sorry, Zen, but I had to chug the remaining dry leaf out despite having around two cups worth because it just wasn’t worth it. The notes were all over the place and the coconut was on the soapy side.

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58
drank Coconut Chai by Zen Tea
1711 tasting notes

I don’t remember the last time I had so many teas in my cupboard. 72! That is crazy talk. I’m opting for this tonight because the weather is brutal and sucky in my neck of the woods. It’s cold, damp, and half rainy/half snowy.

Despite loving coconut and spices, I went into this chai not expecting much. My gut told me that the coconut was going to be soapy and the spices mild due to the licorice root. I know, I’m so optimistic, right? But sadly, I was right. The coconut is soapy, the licorice is drowning out the majority of the spices. To be fair, I’ve had much soapier coconut and more cloying licorice root. The ginger is more prominent than the cinnamon, and I can’t taste any cardamom, sadly. With half and half, the astringency of the base is toned down a little bit.

So glad they have 10g options. Is it sad that I’m not even sure if I can bring myself to finish it?

Oh wait, weird, a few minutes after I finished my cup, I’m picking up on the cardamom. It reminds me of the kheer I had earlier this week, especially blended with the coconut and cream.

If the coconut were fresher and the spices a little more balanced, this could have been pretty good.

CrowKettle

There’s no shame in throwing the soapy coconut out. When I first started drinking tea I never thought coconut would be such a finicky ingredient. XD

Fjellrev

You’re right, why torture yourself?

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