Saturday, July 21, 2012

Zenjala Tea Company, Chocolate Mint Fusion

Ingredients: puerh tea, dark chocolate curls, flavor, spearmint, and peppermint.

It seems recently every time I have checked my personal Facebook account there is an ad along the side of the page for Zenzala Tea Company. I had never heard of this company before so eventually, I decided to investigate. The first thing I noticed is they offer flat rate shipping of $4.95. I recall once ordering a pound of tea from an Amazon merchant who charged me more for shipping than the tea cost. So I like this idea a lot. Then I notice they have been around for 15 years.

Scrolling through their offerings, the Chocolate Mint Fusion just jumped out at me shouting, “Drink me, drink me!” I contacted Zenjala, and they offered to send me samples to review. That being said, I do my best to present honest opinions of all the teas I review. So far I have not been offered a stinker. Let’s see if the trend continues:

The samples each came in a really nice reusable tin. Inside is a sealed plastic bag containing 1 ounce of tea. A very generous sample! The dry leaf smells of chocolate. Mmmm chocolate. The leaf itself is small cut pieces similar in size to most loose flavored black teas – far larger than fannings. On this particular bag there were no steeping instructions. Rather than look them up I used a healthy scoop of leaf (about 1 ½ tsp) and 12oz of boiling water. I steeped for 2 minutes in my press.

Afterwards I looked up the recommended brewing instructions. They say to use 205F water and an 8 minute steep! So the following is based on using my usual puerh brewing technique instead of their's.

The wet leaf smells lightly of spearmint and chocolate. There is also a light earthy aroma from the puerh. The brew in the press is dark and murky like river water. Pretty sure that is the melting chocolate curls. In the cup this looks thick, rich, and dark like molasses.

The sip is well balanced. The easiest to pick out is the spearmint but it is well behaved. In combination with the other flavors it has a slight peppery edge. You can definitely taste the chocolate under the mint and on your breath. It isn’t a decadent in your face chocolate but is powerful enough to sooth my chocolate cravings. (Had I gone the recommended 8 minutes this might be far more chocolatety)

For cup two I set the timer for 3 minutes, except I kind of got busy and forgot to watch. So this steeped anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes. I really have no idea. The nice thing about this tea is it doesn’t seem to care. There is no bitterness and no astringency. I actually like this cup better. The mint is less prevalent but does leave a pleasant zing in the aftertaste. The dark chocolate is smooth and creamy and moves more to the forefront.

Cup three I steeped for five minutes. It is the best cup yet. The chocolate and the mint are supporting one another. What I learned here is the longer you steep the more present the chocolate becomes and the less pronounced the mints. The puerh base adds a pleasant taste and shu aroma. I used sweetener as I think chocolate and puerh both beg for it. High yum factor.

I saved the leaf overnight to see if it could handle a fourth cup. I steeped about 6 minutes. It looked a bit weak but was still quite chocolate and puerh flavored. If you can’t tell I like this one a lot. This is a really good cup. Good job Zenjala.

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