I was surprised to find out that Zhena relaunched another brand. When I started drinking tea, my mom used to get Zhena’s pretty often. The Egyptian Mint and both Green and Black Coconut Chais were my favorites before I upgraded to loose leaf tea.
Now, Zhena has upgraded too selling exclusively loose leaf blends. A lot of people on Steepster would be turned off by the SoCal health marketing approach-each ingredient-even vanilla-is described by health benefit-but the blends and the quality of the teas in their catalogue is higher than normal, and the flavoring is actually fun and clever.
While some of the old Zhena blends still exist in a loose leaf form, there are many new flavors that have become trademark for this company that are actually unique. This one is heavily sold as an coffee alternative and as the buyers next staple breakfast tea. However, the pomegranate+currant+vanilla combo is not something you see in something like an English Breakfast, nor is a Pu-Erh as the most prominent tea in the base with Rwandan Tea. The only other comparable teas I’ve had to this one are Morning Mojo, and more so, Boulder Breakfast. However, this tea is significantly more mild than even those two.
Opening the bag up, it’s really nice to smell as a dry leaf. It’s woody and heavy with vanilla with fruity notes sneaking in without being overwhelming. Brewing the tea up, it’s the same way and thankfully has no Pu-Erh stank. It’s exceedingly smooth, and resistant to bitterness and astringency.
I could see some people using dark chocolate as a note, though I’d say dark wood, malt, and clear hints and textures from the flavors. The vanilla is what I’ve tasted the most, but the pomegranate and currant add a lot more thickness to the body of the tea while the other black teas prevent it from being too heavy. I was able to rebrew three cups western before it lost flavor, and steep four actually retained light vanilla.
Making it with a splash of cream and sugar (and collagen for protein-I know-stupid health nut thing), the fruit flavors stand out a lot more. Even my mom liked it, and she’s not a fan of Pu-Erh.
Overall, this is not a super bold breakfast tea that my weaker stomach enjoys. I also know I’m a blasphemer and prefer Pu-Erh in blends over true pure pu-erh. I think the tea is a little bit too expensive for being around $8 an oz, but the company makes up with it by sending an oz sampler with my order, great customer service, and insanely pretty packaging.
I’m fairly sold on this one even though I’m usually an unflavored tea purist. I can see a lot of purists enjoying this one because it takes advantage of the qualities of the leaf bases and enhances them with slight flavoring rather than heavy flavoring. On the other end, some drinkers might think this tea is too weak, whereas others might be impressed with the full silky body and texture without astringency or bitterness. Ignoring the heavy marketing, this is a good quality blend that could make a great morning work tea.
Flavors: Black Currant, Cream, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Malt, Pomegranate, Smooth, Thick, Vanilla