332 Tasting Notes

drank Pumpkin Spice by Harney & Sons
331 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?


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.


Ditto. Paris.


Thirding Parris, and adding hot cinnamon spice!


Paris. Vanilla Comoro.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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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drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
331 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.


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


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


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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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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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.


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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drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
331 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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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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Gunpowder & Mate by Teapots & Treasures

Backlog from this afternoon. This is one I got on a curiosity-whim back when I visited this store in July while I was staying with my friend in Indy, and because I always want black tea, I haven’t done anything with it until this afternoon. Since I was feeling sleepy and wanted to simultaneously tidy up my room a bit and watch Back to the Future: Part 2, I decided to give it a shot.

I think it’s self-explanatory; it’s gunpowder green tea mixed with yerba mate. I have no experience with either, so I have no basis to go on for this tea. I was afraid I was going to roast it; the instructions said “almost boiling (180 degrees).” To me, 180 doesn’t count as “almost boiling,” and that kettle was definitely “almost boiling,” but I poured the water, let it steep a comparatively short time (1-2 minutes?), and hoped for the best.

It’s decent. Since it’s a backlog, not a whole lot to say, but it was quite smoky. Not really in a bad way. A twinge of grassiness, maybe a hint of spiciness but I can’t remember? The yerba mate definitely did its job, though; I was nice and awake for the rest of the afternoon! … Although there was, admittedly, more movie-watching than room cleaning.

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drank Vanilla black tea by Zen Tea
331 tasting notes

Sipdown! This was my post-tornado-warning, get-through-the-rest-of-the-evening tea. It’s been surprisingly enjoyable. It’s not at the top of my list for a restock, but I wouldn’t mind having it again.

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drank Earl Grey Black by Teavana
331 tasting notes

So last night I went to a midnight screening of Back to the Future, which I, unlike most of my generation or the one before, had never seen. Had a blast, got back around 3 in the morning, and got to bed a little after 4. Well, my body no longer understands the concept of “sleeping in.” So in the mist of a rainy Sunday morning, four hours of sleep, Huey Lewis and the News stuck in my head for the next two weeks, and a ridiculous new crush on Michael J. Fox, I wanted something brisk.

I swear I’m only in the mood for this tea once every three or four months, but it seemed right today. I still think it tastes like chilly autumn weather. It’s not necessarily the greatest EG in the history of existence, but that’s okay. I’ve got enough of it left that, at the rate I drink it, it’ll probably last me a while. :D

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Sipdown! Today’s cup is gonna be interesting. I wound up with a rather small amount of the genmaicha for a cup, so I threw in some of the plain Laoshan black since it’s used as the base…

Of course it tastes fine, since both teas involved are delicious. I wish I’d picked a smaller mug today so that I could really enjoy the genmaicha without having to throw more base in, since the base flavor kind of masks it in greater proportion. Ah well.

It also just occurred to me that I get paid on Black Friday.

…This could be dangerous.

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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

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?



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