Strawberry from Zen Tea Life. . . .

I am always fascinated by how something so simple can impact a cup of tea. For instance, I have had this Strawberry Black Tea by Zen Tea Life before and when I initially had it, it was in a small 6 oz mug. In that mug, the flavor was like a very pleasant shot of strawberry.

Today I brewed it up in a 16 oz mug and the black tea base is far more prominent. It is smooth and almost chocolatey so the presence of the base in and of itself is not offensive. However, with the prevalence of the black tea, the strawberry flavor I enjoyed in my first cup is lacking.

The strawberry flavor has devolved into a generic fruity note. It is no longer discernible as strawberry or even berry. Instead, it now comes off like the red fruit flavor found in a lot of French teas. It is not bad but there is nothing all that interesting about it either.

With all of this said, it seems as though it is a moot point as Zen Tea Life has transitioned to a company that sells just teaware. As such, this tea is no longer available. On the off chance it becomes available again, the key is to brew it in a smaller mug it seems.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Zen Tea Life

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Toffee Dream White Tea from Zen Tea Life

toffeedreamTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White Tea

Where to Buy: Zen Tea Life

Tea Description:

The nutty toasty flavor from the toffee. It smells lovely toffee and looks pretty with lots of yellowish green soft buds mixed with blue corn flower. Recommend for someone that loves a light, sweet, and nutty tea. Must try teas for white tea lovers.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Zen Tea Life is an excellent company. Funny enough, I have yet to try any tea from them. I usually go with their teaware, which are really cute and cheap! Their slabs of Korean cedar are a fixture on my tea tray.

This tea hails from a friend on Steepster who did a mystery box sale a while back. The box took a detour to another user’s place before making it back to me. Luckily, there was no problem fixing the problem and in no time I had a perfectly packed cube filled with tea treasures at my door. The only thing is, I had forgotten that I had asked for a box in the first place. It took me a hot minute to noodle out where the box of insane samples came from. Thank goodness I love surprises!

White Toffee Dream was the first sample I tried out of the box. I was very intrigued, I have never had a toffee tea with a white base before. I picked it out because of it’s visual appeal; the cornflower and the big chunks of caramel substance looked awesome against the backdrop of the Bai Mu Dan.

Brewing the tea made the toffee pieces melt in slow motion. The aroma really filled the room. Who needs scented candles or air fresheners when you can just brew a cup of tea? Using 4g in a 16oz mug with 90c water produced a unique cup. The toffee was not doubt there, and an interesting floral and hay rounding out the notes. I do get a candy sequence I get strong notes of graham cracker that follows the toffee. Like a toffee cheesecake almost?

While I agree that black tea may have mad a better choice for this flavor, it’s just so… pedestrian. Zen tea life made a good choice going with a white tea base. It’s different, and worth a try, even if I wouldn’t think about stocking it any time soon.

Curled Dragon Silver Tip from Zen Tea Life

Curled Dragon SIlver Tip
Curled Dragon SIlver Tip from Zen Tea Life

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Zen Tea Life

Tea Description:

The name refers to the unusual and striking shape and color of the leaves, which are rolled into tightly-curled dragon-like shapes with a silvery color.

It is a good example of the high level of hand-work. Infused, it produces a complex, sweet, and somewhat floral liquor. Entirely handmade, it is a must have for green tea lovers.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

What a beautiful looking tea! When looking at Curled Dragon Silver Tip from Zen Tea Life, the leaves are all curled and have variegated colors of light to dark green. The appearance is almost fluffy. Its a fairy tale dreamy sort of tea that makes me feel like a Princess. Yeah that was a little corny but that is what the vision of this tea evoked. If you are a guy and don’t want to feel like a Princess then just consider the curled delicate little leaves the tea you will serve your Princess.

Regardless, this tea has an equally lovely aroma of sweetly steamed veggies perhaps caramelized in a honey butter, white flowers, and summer grass. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy sniffing it.

The flavor … butter, cream, nutty, floral, grassy, toasty, it almost reminds me of a genmaicha! There is a vegetal edge to it, but just as in the the aroma, the caramelized note comes out in the taste as well. Its naturally sweet, nothing artificial about this tea.

I would consider this a very fine tea.

I really appreciate the masterful art work of this hand rolled tea.

On some levels it is complex with layers of flavor notes to discover, yet on the other hand the way this tea makes you feel when you sip it is simple. It makes you feel wonderful. Nothing better than that!

Matcha Sifter from Zen Tea Life

Matcha Sifter from Zen Tea Life
Matcha Sifter from Zen Tea Life

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Zen Tea Life

Product Description:

Prior to use, the matcha is often forced through a sieve in order to break up clumps. Comes with a fine wire mesh sieve and a temporary storage container.

Learn more about this tea ware here.

Product Review:

The Matcha Sifter from Zen Tea Life is such a wonderfully functional item to have. Its quite simple in its design but works wonders! Its also very pretty – love the deep crimson color!

The sifter comes with this scoop like tool that helps you push or drag the matcha along the screen to sift it.

Its easy to clean as well which for me is a HUGE plus!

I always dry mine right away as I don’t want it to rust and can’t say if it would or not if left to air dry but really this is an essential item for anyone who drinks a lot of matcha like myself.

The canister is quite large. I have sifted a full 60 grams of matcha and had plenty of room to spare.

You can store your matcha in the canister once sifted, or, if you are like me, and have many matcha to sift, you can put the matcha back into whatever you store it in, or its original container, and sift another matcha.

The tin itself is very thin, its not made to withstand driving over it with a car or anything but it serves its purpose. The screen is very fine for perfectly sifted matcha.

I find it far more convenient than using what I had in the past which was just your basic kitchen strainer. I always made messes when using that and wasted some good matcha!

I am really happy to have this and it is one of the less expensive tea tools I have purchased!

Sencha Superior Uji from Zen Tea Life

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Green, Sencha

Where to Buy: Zen Tea Life

Tea Description:

Sencha is the most commonly enjoyed variety of Japanese green tea. Sencha contains more of the beneficial nutrient Catechin than other green teas, because it is grown in full sunlight, thus it becomes yellow-green in color. Sencha tastes gently astringent and smells wonderfully fresh. Sencha is harvested three or four times a year. But with each harvest, the tea becomes slightly lower in quality. This is why the first flush, or Ichiban Cha, is the best. All of our Sencha products are made exclusively from Ichiban Cha. You will certainly be delighted with the fine and generously harmonized flavor of our Sencha.

Ingredients: Sencha, Matcha, Brown Rice, Puffed Corn.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The cup steeps into a clear, nearly neon green color. Its bright and cheery, and just what the doctor ordered on a foggy dreary day!

The flavor of this tea is deliciously green, vegetal, sweet, nutty, and fresh.

As described there is a light astringency to the cup but it does not become bitter if brewed correctly.

The directions say to use 1 to 2 teaspoons so I split the difference going 1.5 teaspoons however I am feeling I could have saved some leaf and went with just one. It is a strong tasting tea, not too strong, just strong enough that you don’t need as much leaf as you could use unless you want your sencha to really punch you in the face.

There is a wonderful fresh cut grass after taste that I adore! It lingers just like beautiful clean crisp blades of summer grass from a full lush lawn.

There is a nuttiness to the tea as well which is another of my favorite flavor notes. The matcha in the tea is noticeable in flavor but does not leave matcha “dust” in the bottom of your cup. This brings me to the following: One thing that does confuse me is that on the ingredients listing it says there is puffed rice, matcha, sencha of course, and brown rice, yet in the leaf itself I see none of this so it must be somehow mixed in here perfectly so it is not detected in the dry leaf. To the naked eye it looks simply like a beautiful deep green sencha. Or the labeling on my sample may be incorrect. Regardless, I can taste the flavor notes listed on the ingredients, I just can’t see them.  What the label infers to me is a genmaicha.

What one can’t be confused about however is that this particular tea, is delicious.