Friday, July 19, 2013

Zest Tea

I am not really much of a tea drinker.  Yes, I do love my Celestial Seasonings Fast Lane variety and have had quite a few good tea based energy drinks, but by and large I would rather settle down with a big cuppa joe than a cup of Earl Grey.  The reasons for this are threefold.   Firstly, I am impatient as hell, and I can never wait long enough or my tea to finish before I start drinking it, and secondly, teas are rarely powerful enough to keep me going through the day.   Thirdly, I am not really a subtle guy, and most teas are very subtly flavored  - lacking that same exquisite kick that you get from smelling a freshly roasted and filled cup of coffee.

All that might soon change, thanks to a couple ingenious inventors who loved tea but wanted to see it kicked up a notch.  Between playing with tea extracts and antioxidants, and crowd-funding their venture through Rockethub - they ended up with the ONLY teas I will now ever drink outside of Fast Lane.  These teas were strong, flavorful, and urned into a delicious way to both start my morning and continue my energy through the entire day.

The brilliant creators need to bring their Zest Tea to market - pronto.

Packaging: n/a
As this is a crowd funded project and not quite going all gangbusters, the package this came in is not going to be the one they hit stores with.  They just wrapped it i in cellophane, and sent some ery pretty looking labels to tell me what I am drinking.

One thing to note of the actual tea package is that they are larger than my normal tea bags.   While it does not necessarily look like they have more in them than your average te bag, the bag itself looks more...roomy.   According to one of the founders, they did that on purpose to allow the quality teas to expand to a greater volume than the normal bags. This is important because it lets all the caffeine, flavors and nutrients diffuse more easily through the tea.

Taste: 10
I got to try four different varieties of their teas, two of them based on green tea and the other two on black - and all of them were definitely more full of a big punch of flavor than I expected from a normal tea bag.   When I make tea, I usually use two teabags so I can really taste it.  But in this case, all the tea bags were tried one at a time so I could really taste the flavors in the way they were meant to. As I was instructed, I followed the steeping times precisely. One of the important things to keep in mind is steeping times, as good tea can become bitter relatively quickly if allowed to steep for too long.

English Breakfast Black Tea
I was expecting the most kick from this one so I started here first.    The first thing I noticed was that there was a very big punch of flavors - much more than I ever got from Celestial Seasonings.   I could really taste stuff in here!  More than that - it was nice and strong too.  I drank a couple cups of it and felt totally and completely energized like I just downed a big Starbucks coffee drink.  The difference was that I could actually taste the actual tea - without it getting all bitter and chalky in my mouth.  The aftertaste was certainly the best of all of them - giving a rich sweetness for a few minutes after each sip.

Blue Lady Black Tea
This is my favorite out of all the different teas I was able to try.   One thing that I have never really done with tea before is take a good whiff of it as I am drinking - I am still pretty new to tea drinking it seems.  The odor this tea gives off is almost as inviting as a cup of coffee - only without the invigorating properties my mind reacts to like a pavlovian dog.  It is a seriously good tea, with flavors that are fruity and a bit exotic, and at the same time it was also very floral tasting - like eating an orange in a flower shop.  If i were to pick a tea to get myself up and moving in the morning this would be it.

Pomegranate Mojito Green Tea
I fond that for the most part green teas give off a certain pungent notes - something you just have to get used to if you like green tea.  The flavor here is not as strong as I would have hoped for (I like my teas strong)-  and this flavor was on the weaker site when compared to the others.   I did taste a little mintiness and a bit of the pomegranate, but it was too subtle a taste for my untrained tea taste buds.

Cinnamon Apple Black Tea
I have to admit I kinda faked on tasting this one.  I tried to drink all the teas pure to really get a good idea for the flavor, but this one just cried out for a little sugar!  This one would not be my everyday drinking flavor, but could definitely see heading down this path if I ever wanted something more unique than the regular black teas.   I liked it - but like drinking Chai it is not something you are normally going to be doing every day for your energy fix in the mornings. 

Normally, teas do not give much in the way of kick.  Even an over-brewed strong Lipton has about 40-60mg of caffeine, compared to the 100 in a similar sized coffee.  If you are looking for something in the energy department, tea is usually not the place to go.

The extra tea extract added to these blends is what really gets these babies humming - without really deviating from the tea experience ( they don't use any other non-tea based substance to add the caffeine).  So rather than the usual 30-40mg of a green tea, Zest has around 100-130.  Their black tea is even stronger - giving a boost equal to coffee in all regards.

We all have to sit tight a little bit for their products to come to market now that their funding round is over.  Soon though, they promise to release their four chosen flavors to market. I still have a problem waiting the time for a good tea to steep -  but in this case it is definitely worth the wait.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out! We'll be shipping our first batch over the next month.

    Founder, Zest Tea