336 Tasting Notes

34
drank Arabian Night by Zen Tea
335 tasting notes

It’s the end of a long day of staring at the snow all day at work; whacking myself on the chin with a collapsible yardstick; drinking tea, gingerbread latte, and water all at the same time; and listening to the first official Christmas music of the season, thanks to this next set of program notes I’m writing. And I have the next two days off again – yay! Will probably be used to write program notes and watch things on Netflix.

I decided to give this tea a second go because I remember having such high hopes for it, then being so let down. I tried a relatively cool steep temperature this time (again, I can’t give specifics since I heat the water by sound), and did like a 1 minute steep.

Yep. It’s still not good. The flavoring tastes like some kind of medicine almost, the kind that tries to taste like something good and just comes out like a nasty counterfeit. I can’t even pinpoint the flavor, maybe a bit of an attempt at rose along with something slightly pungent.

Thank you for the sample, Zen Tea, but it’s not one of my favorites. At least I know your vanilla tea is delish!

Fjellrev

Oh yeah, this one was like pungent jasmine to me.

TeaKlutz

I’m impressed that you got jasmine. I just got some kind of wildflower slap in the face.

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80
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
335 tasting notes

I don’t have a ton of time to write a tasting note, but I’d just like to say that third time’s the charm. I tend to brew by the sound the kettle makes rather than time or temperature, so I can’t give exact specifications, only that I let it be under boiling temperature and steeped for about 4 – 5 minutes. And I’m eating it with cereal, which probably helps. It certainly feels seasonally appropriate today – it’s snowed and very wintry gray outside!

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85

Sipping on this while continuing my Family Ties viewing / putting off working on the program notes until tomorrow. I was about to do the H&S Holiday Tea for the third time in two days, then I realized – wait. Black Friday’s in four days, Cyber Monday’s in a week, and I’m planning a tea splurge regardless of whether or not the companies in question are offering discounts or not. My cupboard’s not enormous by Steepster standards, but I better sip down a few things up in here.

I oversteeped this by a bit, so it’s a little bitter. But still good and smoky. Little mushroomy, but that might be the oversteeping. I wish I could say more, and more intelligent stuff. But it’s enjoyable.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
335 tasting notes

Attempt #2. Per JustJames’s advice, I let this cool a bit before I steeped it. I think it helped. It’s still a little underwhelming in flavor, but there’s more cinnamon. Yay.

JustJames

it just sounds like you love it so much!….. i thought it might be worth some coaxing?

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67
drank Pumpkin Spice by Harney & Sons
335 tasting notes

Harney & Sons Blind Date #2.

I was fairly unimpressed by the smell. It’s just “pumpkin” enough to call it pumpkin and that’s about it. As far as the flavor goes, I’m really getting more of the rooibos than anything. If I hadn’t been expecting pumpkin, I would have a higher opinion of this. It’s really a rooibos with a subtle autumnal flavoring, if you ask me.

I’m seeing people suggesting trying this with mulling spices. You’re giving me ideas!!! And I DO have 29 more sachets of this stuff!

…Hey! I now have rooibos in sachet form! So I don’t have to fiddle with cleaning up all the stupid little rooibos loose leaves that are so damn hard to get out of infuser baskets! JOY TO THE WORLD! … OK wrong season but still.

To be perfectly honest, I’m kind of in the mood for flavored teas in sachets now. I just like having something that I can enjoy without having to… overthink it. Heat the water, drop the sachet, sip, smile, don’t lament missing out on all the weird little nuances that everyone else is getting. And I’ve heard many good things about Harney & Sons, flavored and non-flavored. Recommendations?

OMGsrsly

Paris! :) Pomegranate Oolong is pretty good as well. And Fruits D’Alsace (I think it comes in sachets). The black iced tea is really good if you want to make a pitcher.

Tuscanteal

Ditto. Paris.

keychange

Thirding Parris, and adding hot cinnamon spice!

Nicole/Tea-Historic

Paris. Vanilla Comoro.

tea-sipper

Paris, Tower of London, Vanilla Comoro, Hot cinnamon sunset some of my favorites!

tea-sipper

Also Indian Nimbu.. not sure if that’s in satchets.

TeaKlutz

Thank you everyone for your recs! OK so I am most definitely adding Paris to the list, seeing as EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has commented has recommended it. :D Also the item descrip on their website sounds amazeballs.

Cavocorax

Yes! Paris!
I was disappointed with my first cup, but I don’t think I brewed it well because everyone since then has been great.

keychange

Ha! so I just placed my first h and s order, and I’m getting a free tin of this tea (pumpkin spice) that I’d rather not have LOL.

Cavocorax

Awww. Maybe you can gift it or trade it away? If it’s sachets, that makes it easier for swaps.

mj

The H&S soho blend is AMAZING. It’s my favorite tea right now. Of course, coconut and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations!

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80
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
335 tasting notes

This is my first venture with Harney & Sons! I got a buy-one-get-one coupon for the H&S tins at Barnes & Noble, so after taking myself to the movies today, I made a little stop on the way home.

This was an absolute blind date. I hadn’t read any reviews on this tea, didn’t have a sample to smell/taste, had no idea what I was getting into. When I opened the tin, I went, “Oh.” I wasn’t expecting sachets. But they’re the good kind of sachets, so that’s OK. And the tea smells AMAZING, the cinnamon and clove really stand out. Not to mention it’s striking in appearance; black tea leaves with fiery red flecks.

I actually kind of like that they’re sachets; it’s a relief not to have to deal with the infuser, pouring out the right amount, pouring the water into the pot and letting it steep then pouring it out. I can just drop the little sachet right into the cup and boom! I can let it steep while I practice two-chord jams on my bass (can I just say, Eb minor is a REALLY pretty key?) OMG the aroma of this tea is to DIE for. It’s a warmer, more cinnamon-y version of the dry leaf aroma. The taste, on the other hand, is slightly less impressive. There’s a lot more spicy, a lot less cinnamon, and a bit of just… “I am drinking a hot liquid that has a flavor and there is an aftertaste.” I’m just going to inhale every time I sip.

Argh! It smells SO FREAKING GOOD and it looks so pretty, and then it just falls short of all expectations! Honestly, I’m going to have to give it at least another couple of gos for the smell alone. If nothing else, it’s a nice easy cup of tea that smells like the Ghost of a Christmas Past That Never Was. Or something like that.

JustJames

have you tried steeping at a lower temp for a bit longer? just a thought.

ashmanra

This one didn’t thrill me, either, and I am a huge Harney fan.

TeaKlutz

James, I might try that. I’m not sure how much more flavor I’ll get out of it; it just seemed like it had flavoring that was much weaker on the tongue than in the nose, if that makes any sense. But I’m not giving up on this one!

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98

It’s been a bit since I’ve had this one! (Mostly because I couldn’t find it, and when I did, I put it in a tin then forgotten I’d put it in the tin.) This is my breakfast tea while watching Family Ties on Netflix (ahh so good!!!) As I think I say every time I drink a dian hong, I have to remember to drink this slowly to get the flavor progression. Otherwise there’s still the tasteful rose flavoring. I feel like I’m just repeating what I’ve already said about this one. But it’s the kind of tea that we get obsessed with tea for. Definitely restocking on my impending tea splurge…

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85

I have a Saturday off!!!! WHAT WHAT WHAT!!!!!! AND I have Sunday off too! I have a real weekend?!? WHAT IS THIS??

ahem Sorry. Working retail does things to me.

I think I had this tea exactly ONCE, then never bothered to try it again. It was more smoky than I liked or something. This time around it’s quite enjoyable. I think it’s a tea you need a longer steep time for; I tried like a 3 min steep (Western style, of course) and it was pretty underwhelming. It’s a dark, smooth kind of smoky, like you’d get from a good lapsang. I didn’t really pick up on the sweet potato until I read it in the item descrip; I get a hint of it if I know to look for it. Then again, I’ve never been good with the subtleties.

Don’t know if it’s distinctive enough for me to restock, but clearly a quality tea. Pretty in dry leaf form, too.

Tuscanteal

I work shift work too, so I totally get it. My team is usually pretty good with scheduling though and balances out weekends with weekdays! I know what it’s like though, working retail is tough because it completely contradicts everyone elses lifestyle for hours.

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80
drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
335 tasting notes

I really don’t know why I’m in such a crappy mood this morning (headache? not enough sleep? just general ebb and flow of positivity and negativity?), but it’s Friday and I have a real weekend for the first time since September, so I should by all rights be in a really good mood. This is my wake-up cup before work today, and it does what it’s supposed to do. I’m getting a lot of the bergamot this morning, which is fitting, seeing as it’s grey and rainy outside and that’s what bergamot always makes me think of.

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91

Sipdown! I’m glad I have tea in my life for those mornings I’m feeling a little off. Like this one. (Stupid anxiety dreams.) I’ve gotten attached to the hay-ish flavor in this one. Don’t know if it’s necessarily my favorite tea, but it’s getting up there. Very possible restock.

Sorry my notes aren’t particularly eloquent this round.

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Bio

The name’s Holly. 27. Work for a small IT company. About to finish a Master’s degree this winter. ISFJ for what it’s worth. I play various instruments (mostly bass guitar right now), attempt to write songs that I’m too scared to play for anyone, and I’m currently taking voice lessons. I also enjoy starting various hobbies, wearing monochromes, writing, cooking, taking walks, and various and sundry other things…

I’ve been a tea drinker since spring of 2013. Tea is a source of happiness, positivity, curiosity, and relaxation (…and caffeine) for me.

I’ve been on and off this site over the years, and I even had a separate tea blog at one point. For now, I’m just working on getting back in the habit of enjoying tea regularly and to its fullest.

Love: Malty Chinese black teas, shu/ripe pu erhs, soft flowery teas (esp. jasmine teas)

Like: Japanese green teas, sheng/ripe pu erhs, white teas

Still trying to get into: Most oolongs, chai teas

Not crazy about: Roasty teas, fruity teas, rooibos, many (not all) herbal teas

Ratings:
90-100: YEAH!
80-89: Nice! This is good stuff.
70-79: Respectable tea.
60-69: Not bad.
50-59: Middling. Not really worth it.
25-49: Eeeeeugh. Not good.
0-24: Did you know you can use tea leaves as odor absorbent?

Location

Ohio

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