King's Zen TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Wow, this one was…different. First of all, I love puerh and strong shu is good shu in my book. I am trying to get better at judging sheng, but I am happy to say I have become much better at telling one shu from another. For a long time they all tasted the same to me, then I could distinguish different ones, then this happened.
And what happened was that I opened the pouch and it was like Captain Jack Sparrow was singing “I’ve got a jar of diiiii-iirt!” Because that is ALL I COULD SMELL. DIRT. Not just dirt. Dusty dirt like the dirt under your house that smells so dry your nose shrinks up from the first sniff and you can’t decide if you like it or hate it.
After all the alarm that brought on, this was a decent enough tea to drink. Yes, the first steep tasted like…well….dirt. But it was good dirt. And later steeps were good.
But I think I have found what this tea will be used for. I am trying to be a good girl and not give in to the warm weather cravings for soda that sometimes beset me. The only thing that consistently makes me happy to turn away from soda is cold puerh from a glass pitcher in the fridge. It is so refreshing.
So a couple of days ago I put one tablespoon of leaf in a pot and steeped it over and over until I had 3 quarts of tea. I put it in the fridge. We have finished one of the pitchers. It really is refreshing and good. I think cold puerh tastes like spring water must have tasted on the first day it ever existed – clean, pure, and unpolluted.
There were a bunch of kids and young adults over last night to play D&D and I offered them some, and would you believe they loved it? My daughter bought me bunches of this tea when she was in Toronto, so I think I have a pretty good start on my hot weather beverage stash!
This tea while not overly complex is a pleasant, easy to drink loose ripe puerh blend.
The dry leaf smells slightly spicy and fresh and looks pretty much like the photo. I used 3g in 100ml of water. The tea broth had a deep reddish peach tonein the first steep after the rinse before darkening. The first steep was a little woody and drying. It had tones of tart fruit, camphor, leather, and cacao.
Subsequent steeps softened significantly with the tart fruit diminishing and mixing with the other notes and a floral toned vanilla becoming apparent.
This is maybe not the most resilient maocha. I got 6 short steeps before lengthening to a minute steeping time. However on the 10 the steep which was around 3minutes it still has a pleasant and fruity flavour. The woodiness and tartness returned in the longer steeps. Altogether pleasant and easy to drink and a nice shou for the still slightly hesitant initiate like me.
This tea is not as sweet as some teas of this style I have had. Instead has an interesting combination of tart malt and fruit notes and bitter cocoa with some grain notes and touches of molasses and sweeter fruit. An interesting fig note appears during some steeps. Altogether it makes a nice and interesting everyday tea.
I steeped 1.5tsp in 200ml of 95°C water. I got several steeps out of this tea and enjoyed it all day.
50s First notes are malt, and a slightly apply fruit tone mixed with barley. Underneath is cocoa and the deeper bitter tones of molasses. Smooth but robust and deep flavour. Has some nice sharp tart tones countered by bitter and slightly sweet tones. As it cools tart tones and bitter notes soften with more grainy cocoa notes and touches of honey. The tea has a certain liveliness on the tongue, not really s astringency but a sense of evervesence like a nicely pulled espresso.
40s. More cocoa and grainy notes. Cocoa and malt are dominant. With a bitter cocoa note. Grainy notes thicken the tea followed by fruit and molasses notes. The fruit note is an apple plum note. Hint of dried fig.
50s similar to above slightly more grainy, with a hint of cream. Malt, cocoa,plum, and fig still present. Hints of savoury spice, lemon thyme and cinnamon.
90s similar but weakening.
3 min malt cocoa, fig, light grain notes and a touch of molasses.
This tea is one of the teas I picked up when I went to the Zen Garden restaurant in Mississauga http://www.zen-garden.ca/ourbranch.html. I need to go back there as I am especially fond of their Gold Monkey and their Osmanthus Dancong. As for this tea it is really nice and is much fresher and brighter tasting than the Lychee teas I have had in the past.
The dry tea has a bright and sharp fruity scent that is different than some of the lychee teas I have had in the past that have softened sweet, or floral fragrances. The scent rich and deep bright lychee fruit with a wine like raisin scent underneath from the base. They balance each other well and are a little spicy.
After 1 minute the broth is a reddish gold tone. It tastes of lychee fruit, a tone that slightly reminds me of dried figs, a rich malt in the base and a flavour that reminds me of a fruity rosé with the fruit, and wine tones mixing with the barest hint of rose. I could see how this could make a nice ice tea.
It resteeps well with consistent lychee flavour and a deepening wine, dark honey and cocoa notes in the base and with the lychee tasting more honey like and rounded with sweet sharp notes tempered with a touch of rose. So far I have steeped this tea three times (1,1.2,2 min) with the tea becoming sweeter and the fruit mellowing a little. Really enjoyable and now added to my Kin’s Zen Tea shopping list.If you live close to one of their restaurants it is worth dropping in. The prices of their tea is cheaper than online and you can get samples, 25g and 50 g sizes, and you can get some teas in bulk that they only sell in tins online ( ie gold monkey). If not they sell online at http://zentea.ca/category.php?category=0.
Awesome, a restaurant that sells tea :-)
Thanks for the links, I go to Quebec city occasionally, will keep that in mind next time I go.
This was my afternoon tea (no confusion here – this is oolong).
Thanks yyz for sending a sample of this my way.
I like oolong, I like dark oolong, I normally like dancong – this one isn’t dark enough. I don’t think this is oxidized as much as the “dark” oolongs that I normally enjoy. This seems more like a medium oolong. For my tastes this is too green for me. It still has quite a bit of the floral notes of a green oolong, and that just doesn’t work for me.
This is probably a really high quality tea, but it’s not to my tastes. :((
I think your description of why you don’t like this one is exactly why I like Dancong so much but NOT darker oolongs, heh.
This is a tea that I picked up a sample of at the Zen Garden Restaurant, It’s not currently available on the King’s Zen website.
This tea consists of dark green, grey curls with silver tips. The tea smells sweet and slightly spicy.
I found this tea to be very robust and flavourful. It is also quite resilient, so far it’s lasted seven steeps. I originally steeped it for 45s and I suspect that next time I could reduce the steeping time or the amount of leaf as the flavour was quite intense and the broth was a deep gold. The flavour is quite nice, with roasted chestnut, plum , honey, spicy sweet floral ( like dames rocket) and spinach notes. Plum honey and roasted nut notes remain in the aftertaste. Once the spinach notes calm down the tea becomes quite smooth and silky. Quite a nice tea with quite a bit of natural sweetness.
I have to preface this by saying this is the first Dancong I’ve ever had, but this tea is now on my adore list. I’m not sure if this is just me discovering I love Dancongs or if this tea is really spectacular in it’s genre, regardless I really like it.
It reminds me strongly of a scotch based liquor that my cousin brought back from Scotland. It has these lovely floral notes which I described to myself as lily of the valley touched with gardenia but that may be Magnolia in afterthought balanced by a beautiful apricot cream flavour and whiskey grain alcohol notes including that warm tingling notes that neat scotch always gives me.
Secondary flavours include sandalwood, toasted nut, cotton flower and incense smoke so far. This tea is still going strong after 11 steeps ( though it is more apricot cream right now.
The original leaves were quite dark and smelled slightly of peach, but now they are an olive green with a more floral scent. The first steep at 1 min smelled like cooked peach, woody tones(sandalwood, a hint of stewed rhubarb, honey, cereal, and cream notes. The tea was a pale sepia type tone. The flavour was quite intense at 1 minute. I’ll use a shorter steeping time next time.
Looking to further steeps of this tea tonight and can easily see myself restocking this one. Does anyone have any recommendations for other Dancongs?
I love Dancongs! I’ll be stocking Mi Lan Xiang (honey orchid fragrance) soon :) Message me for more info on that – I have some at the moment I would set you up with a special order of!
This sounds like an amazing tea. Is it true that the Osmanthus frangrance is a natural occurrence in the Dancong tea? It’s not due to a close proximity to an Osmanthus shrub, is it?
Some of the osmanthus dancongs out there are scented ( ie cured with osmanthus flowers etc), but there are varietals in which the fragrance is produced naturally by the tea itself and can be coaxed and highlighted in the finished tea by proper handling and harvesting. The information provided for this tea is that it is a natural occurrence within the leaf. I’m not sure if it was grown near osmanthus, but dancongs are famous for being able to mimic certain flavours.
I’ve had two Golden Monkeys over the last two days one was definitely a Fujian and then this one which I believe is from Yunnan though it’s origin wasn’t marked either at the store or online. I enjoyed both. They both had cocoa and fruity notes but with different characteristics. This one had deep cocoa notes and a sweet fruit note that reminded me of grape jelly and a floral note of violet. Really interesting and quite nice. Later steeps had notes of malt and light leather notes.
On the website this is only sold in their Classic series. I think they might be low on stock of this harvest as the leaves in my loose package were slightly broken but no matter the tea was quite nice.
About 75% of the tea was pale gold tips and buds. The tea had a deep rich scent of cocoa. I chose to do short steeps with this tea and finished at 9 steeps.
20s brew a lightly perfumed red brown broth with cocoa, plum, raisin and an almost violet like floral note that tastes of cocoa, with sweet fruit almost like grape jelly, honey, floral violet, with malt, smells and tastes more like some Yunnan’s I’ve had than a Fujian tea. Brisk, a little astringent.
25s deeper cocoa, honey jam in background violet strong in scent but less present in taste, more malty.
35s grape jelly, violet and cocoa, malt
45s cocoa, violet, jelly and a hint of leather.
55s cocoa, floral note, leather , hint of jelly. less sweet.
85s cocoa, floral, leather note
110 cocoa toned tea, with some sweetness.
5min cocoa and vitamin c notes.
If you’re curious about this tea you can find King’s Zen Tea here
The celestial aroma oolong also known as Golden Osmanthus, or yellow gold oolong is made from the Huang Dan Cultivar of tea grown in Anxi, Fujian. Harvested earlier than Tie guan yin , It is known to naturally emit an osmanthus like aroma. This is not a scented tea. This particular example tended to reference the peach like end of the osmanthus spectrum rather than the apricot. This tea is kind of interesting as an oolong it has the bite of a green TGY, It is definitely floral, but it’s fruit notes are kind of unique to the ones I have tried, It doesn’t have the sweet tropical fruit notes I’ve had in some milk oolongs and doesn’t have the spicy cinnamon like notes I get in mid roast TGY. It’s kind of a peach orange mix that softens later into apricot.
The dry leaves were a tightly rolled pale olive green to spruce green with a distinctive aroma of orange and peach and 1st cut hay ( more clover less alfalfa).
After a brief rinse I got twelve steeps out of this tea ( I could of made more but the flavour was losing complexity). The steeping times were 30,20,25,30,35,40,50,70,80,90,120 and 180s, brewed at around 80-85*C.
This tea gets some of it’s names from the loveley yellow gold of it’s liquor which stayed pretty consistant through each steeping.
This tea released flavours of orange, peach and later on apricot, over floral notes including at various points gardenia, honeysuckly and vanilla orchid ( one steep smelled a little like creamsicles) , occassional notes, of artichoke, spinach/green beans, and notes of pachouli and sweetgrass like spice).
The tea produced a cooling feeling on the lips and at the front of the mouth and a warming sensation at the back of the mouth and some of the middle steepings were buttery.
The spent leaves were fairly large, green, and some leaves had faint red edges.
Overall a nice selection when I want a green oolong that is not the sweet creamy fruit of a milk oolong, or as strongly floral as some Dong Dings and TGY.
I’m liking this. It’s a really good Lychee Black tea. One of the best that I’ve tried for the simple reason that it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly like Lychee. The lychee is subdued, and this allows the palate to explore the deeper side of the black tea and the sweeter side of the fruit without its unique flavors overpowering the cup.
This was part of Amoda’s Tea box for this month …I’m really glad it was in there! A really good Lychee Black!
I know I usually only have one tasting note per tea, but I can’t help it! I love this tea! I started my morning with it yesterday (steeped for 30 seconds, as planned) and I had an AMAZING day! And it was a Monday! I swear, this tea put me in a fantastic mood. I’m repeating the experiment today, and so far, sucess!
A friend gave me a packet of this tea, and the label doesn’t have the company name on it. It’s delicious! Lovely colour, great flavour (neither sweet nor bitter). The label said to steep it for 3-5 minutes, but the only place I found it online said to steep it for 30 seconds. I’ll try 30 seconds next time, and see how re-steeping the leaves goes.