100 Tasting Notes

drank Blood Orange by Zen Tea
100 tasting notes

Omg you guys, I suck! I fully intended to catch up on my logging, but I fell off the map. And now it’s almost summer here in New Zealand, and thus a lack of hot tea drinking. Our winter was milder than usual as well, so I didn’t drink even a quarter of the normal amount.

There’s a huge storm going on outside, so I’ve pulled down my samples box and picked one at random.

Plain – Yum! Base doesn’t overshadow the flavour. This is great!
With milk and sugar – pretty damn good!
With just milk – I prefer it straight, definitely still good though. Takes milk well.
Plain, with sugar – Good! The sweet and slightly sour notes are bouncing off each other, it’s interesting. I’m also picking up on something that tastes faintly like saffron?

Overall, I was impressed! I always love when there’s a tea I equally enjoy several different ways.

Flavors: Blood Orange, Citrus Zest, Saffron

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

Welcome back! :)

Miss Starfish

Thanks Cameron! :)


oooh, how did you get colored text in your bio?

Miss Starfish

easy madametj, just type"%{color:fill in a colour here} enter whatever you want to say here %". Hope that was helpful! :)


thank you :)


{color:red} testing testing


i did something wrong :(

Miss Starfish

you’re forgetting the % on either side

Miss Starfish

try again :)

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Oh wow, this smells pretty intense!

You know, never in a million years would I have thought that I’d like this straight, but I do. There’s a malty, almost caramel note, another one that reminds me of when you cook with beer for that depth of flavor? that’s present! Which now makes me wonder about dumping a strong cup of this into my next stew!

w/ sugar – good with sugar, but a bit more sour which doesn’t make immediate sense. But I’ve realized it enhances the caramel note, making it taste like caramel that is close to being scorched.
w/ milk – mmm yum.
w/ milk and sugar – okay, prefer without sugar

Overall, this tea really surprised me in a positive way. I’d consider keeping a small amount in my cupboard as I have friends who enjoy really strong dark blacks, and have the odd cup myself from time to time.

Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Malt

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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I was really looking forward to trying this one as I LOVE vanilla. To not have a bottle of nielsen massey in the house is akin to high treason in my family.

The aroma is very vanilla, mmmmmmmm. Slightly artificial but not much, although that’s me being very picky with my really sensitive nose.

Oooh!! There are sliced vanilla pods in the tea!

Straight – the vanilla note is there, but its weak, beautiful tea base though. Just the tiny tiny hint of astringency, so I’d try it at 2:30-2:45 if I was drinking it plain.
w/ sugar – Doesn’t really change the overall taste or bring out different notes.
w/ milk – Decent.
w/ milk and sugar – the vanilla note comes out a bit more. Interesting.

Overall not a *super** vanillary tea, but a light vanilla tea with a beautiful base.

*That being said, I love vanilla and like it STRONG. I restrained myself from adding my homemade vanilla sugar to this tea since I wanted to judge it on it’s own merits, but that’s what I would do in future.

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
100 tasting notes


We had an awfully hot summer here in NZ, so now that it’s very much winter, true to my Canadian heritage, I’m ready to GET LOGGING! Haha, that was terrible…. I think we’re off to a good start.

First tea is Bossa Nova by Zen. Holy moley guys, the dry leaf smells amazing! Like ferreo roche, but without the chocolate.

Smells so good when brewing with the addition of what seems like roasted? oolong. (Obviously, to the oolong portion)
Alrighty, plain I can really taste the nut and the vanilla is faint, but still present.
w/ sugar –Alright, didn’t love it with sugar.
w/ milk – prefer than with sugar. Helps to bring out the vanilla and creamy hazelnut note
w/ milk and sugar – better than just plain sugar, but definitely preferring this one without the sugar.

Plain or with milk was my pick for this one. I steeped it to 3 minutes at one point to try and that was definitely too long, so 2:30 is the magic number for me. This is definitely something I would keep (in a small quantity) in the cupboard.

Sadly I have run out of my sample (Many thanks to the generous Zen Tea – Kenneth is such a sweetheart), but when I make my next order I’m looking forward to mixing it with a chocolate black tea and seeing what comes of that… because it sounds really really good in my head.

Edit: I read notes from 2 years back and a common thread was that this tea tasted artificial. I didn’t find it artificial at all. I wonder if they’ve tweaked it in the elapsed time, because I have eaten fresh hazelnuts today and this seems pretty on point.

Flavors: Hazelnut, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Welcome back!

Miss Starfish

Thanks hun! It was nice to see that you’re still around :)


woohoo! welcome back! :)


Starting with a pun is always appropriate :) Geographical curiosity: what’s considered “very much winter” in your part of the world?

Miss Starfish

Thanks Sil! :)
and gmanthis- always happy to indulge curiosities! It depends where you are in the country. I’m from Queenstown (South island, inland & mountainous), but living in Wellington (North island, coastal) at the moment. So if I were in Qt, it would mean lots of snow, ice, and easily below 0’C temps. Wellington probably averages around 7’C? If it snows, it doesn’t stay very long. Lots of hail though. The main hurdle is the wind. It’s an extremely windy city. Today we had 140km/h. When southerlies come directly up from Antarctica (which happens often sadly), that’s when you put three duvets on the bed.


Nice to know it’s good tea weather somewhere ;)
Can’t complain—we’ve had a very mild summer so far and September isn’t that far off!

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drank All Day Oolong by Teascent
100 tasting notes

I’ll admit that I was a little wary of bagged oolong, but was pleasantly surprised. There was enough room for the oolong to fully expand in the tea bag and the leaves both looked and tasted very fresh. The tea was light and smooth with a lingering sweet floral fragrance. I would definitely pick this up to have at work (where bringing steeping equipment would be a nightmare) or to gift to a friend who only drinks bagged tea.

Thank you Teascent for the sample.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Genmaicha by Ujinotsuyu
100 tasting notes

A solid Genmaicha at a fantastic price (Even in NZ this stuff is usually rather cheap). Great with & after meals. Only downside being that because it’s quite a big bag (400g!), it can spoil before you get through it all. I’d also suggest transferring it to a container to help prevent this, as well as for ease since the bag it comes in rips/splits easily.


My goodness, they actually sell only 400g bags? Thank god it’s inexpensive!

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Blleearrrgh! Way too artificial tasting for me. Reminded me of cheap sugary fizzy drinks without the sugar.

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This was a very balanced Oolong – slightly floral, slightly sweet, slightly mineral, slightly green with medium-light oolong flavour. Due to trying another Bai Hao that I fell head over heels with, I naturally wanted to try Teavivre’s version. While it was good, it failed to meet admittedly high expectations sadly.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

What was the other Bai Hao you tried?

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Wow, these leaves are GIGANTIC! The shortest was over 3" long.

The dry leaves smelled earthy, deeply vegetal and sweet. The liquor was a neon green.

I brewed this in my glass bodum coffee press to watch the huge thick leaves swell. The cup was light and pleasant, with a clean fresh feel. No sweetness but no hint of astringency either. I feel like this would make an excellent introduction for someone who’s new to green tea.

I wanted to find out more about this tea and found that Teavivre has added some wonderful information, maps, and history to their site. I found it very interesting, and it’s neat to know exactly where the tea you’re drinking comes from.
http://www.teavivre.com/taiping-houkui-green-tea (It’s under the “more info” tab)

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

i’ll have to try this one next!

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Time for a profile update. I’ve been on Steepster since early 2012, and my tastes have expanded since then.

I generally take my tea straight, although occasionally blacks may end up with a splash of milk if I’m after a certain comfort factor. Right now, I’m going through a black phase, although white and oolongs still remain my secret favourite children. Honeybush and Rooibos are still a case-by-case basis.

Likes: Coconut, Peach, Honeydew, Various Melons, Lychee, Nectarine, [Blood and normal] Orange, Tangerine, Berries in general, but specifically Strawberry and Raspberry, Chocolate, Pumpkin, Caramel, Pecan…

Dislikes: Licorice, Coffee, Grapefruit…

I (still) haven’t perfected a rating table as of yet, so here’s some bad tea jokes instead!

What is a baby teapots favorite game?

What does a teapot say to it’s lover?
O, dajarling!

How long does it take to ship tea from China by slow boat?
Oolong Time!

What does a tea bag do when it’s tired?
It seeps.

What do lady teapots like to wear?
String of Earls!

Why did the tea get away?
Because it was loose.


New Zealand

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